How to Perform a Bare Metal Restore on Small Business Server 2008

How to Perform a Bare Metal Restore on Small Business Server 2008

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[Today’s post comes to us courtesy of Shobhit Garg and Justin Crosby from Commercial Technical Support]

Today’s post will cover the basics of performing a bare metal restore on Small Business Server 2008. As you will see, a bare metal restore allows you to recover your Operating System, installed applications and data without first having to install an OS or backup software. The Small Business Server Backup Wizard will create backups that are bare metal capable. For more information on SBS 2008 backup, see: http://blogs.technet.com/sbs/archive/2008/11/03/introducing-sbs-2008-backup.aspx. It is important to remember to backup all volumes if you want the ability to restore the server to the exact state it was in at the time of the backup. You cannot restore data that was never backed up.

Some Advantages of Bare Metal Restore

  • Fast and easy recovery
  • Minimal downtime
  • Does not require installation of an OS or backup software
  • In most cases you can restore to dissimilar hardware

Now let’s consider that some irreparable damage has occurred to the server OS. You can perform a bare metal restore using the following steps:

  1. Boot from SBS 2008 disk 1.
  2. Select your language and click Next.

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  3. Click on Repair your computer

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  4. If you see an Operating System in the following list, then you are restoring to a drive on which Setup has detected an OS. If the list is blank, you could be restoring to a blank drive, a drive for which the SBS installation media does not have drivers for, or possibly a drive that has been damaged to the point where an OS cannot be detected. Take this opportunity to make sure you will be restoring to the correct disk or load the required drivers. Click Next.

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  5. Choose Windows Complete PC Restore.

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    1. Choose either to Use the latest available backup (recommended) or Restore a different backup and click Next. For demonstration purposes, we will restore from a different backup.

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      Note: If you receive the following warning, check to make sure your external drive is powered on and properly connected to the server.
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      A valid backup location could not be found.
      Windows cannot find a backup on this computer. Attach the backup hard disk or insert the final DVD from a backup set and click Retry.

  6. Select your backup drive and click Next.

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    Your backups will be arranged by date/time with the latest backup at the top. You will also see which drives are included in each backup. Select your desired backup and click Next.

    Note: Windows Recovery Environment does not adjust time stamps for daylight savings time. As a result, the time of the backup that is displayed in the Windows Complete PC Restore Wizard may be off by an hour from when they were actually taken.

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  7. You have several options to choose from on the next screen. Click Next after making your selections, which can include
    • Format and repartition disk
    • Only restore system disks (This only restores the disks required to run Windows, not separate data disks).
    • Exclude disks (Exclude individual disks from restore).
    • Install drivers (Required if the drivers for your disk subsystem are not included in the SBS 2008 installation media. This option was available earlier as well).

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    • Advanced settings
      • Restart computer after restoring is completed
      • Automatically check and update disk error information

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  8. Click Finish to proceed with the restoration process.

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If you have chosen to format the drive, you will receive a confirmation message before proceeding.

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The restore process will take several minutes. Once it completes, you will be prompted for a reboot.

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Important:
This procedure will trigger a reactivation of the server, which you must complete within three days.

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Comments
  • Thanks a lot guys, this was just what I was after.

  • Can this system be used to restore a backup of one computer, that is not the server, onto another computer that has a completely blank hard drive?

  • How reliable is restoring to different hardware, can we for example go from a HP to a Dell ?

    We've used Acronis universal restore before and sometimes its a bit hit and miss