Techie Tuesday: Re-deploying Windows to new hardware using Macrium ReDeploy

#TechieTuesday

Introduction

Macrium ReDeploy overcomes issues with Windows boot processes to run a Windows installation on new hardware. There are a variety of scenarios where you move a windows installation to a new machine, for example:

  • Due to hardware failure or planned upgrade.
  • Moving between a physical and a virtual machine (P2V / V2P).
  • Changing a non-raid to a raid installation or legacy SATA to AHCI SATA.

Aspects of the Windows boot process can cause a boot failure after significant changes to the hardware, ReDeploy can overcome these.

Discovering hardware and association with matching device drivers is time consuming and must be undertaken while windows is being installed. It is skipped during a normal Windows boot making the boot delay acceptable.

Early in the boot process, the boot loader loads the Windows kernel (the core of the operating system) and the critical drivers required to get Windows up and running. If the new hardware configuration requires a new driver to read the disk containing the operating system then Windows will fail to boot.

When the kernel and critical drivers are loaded, the kernel starts. The kernel and its associated hardware abstraction layer (HAL) need to match the motherboard for best enabling. Drivers are optionally loaded to handle specific central processing unit (CPU) features. For a stable system, the driver needs to match the hardware, in this example, the CPU model.

ReDeploy detects changes to critical system features, locates relevant drivers and injects them into your Windows operating system so it boots.

ReDeploy makes the complex process of getting an off-line Windows operating system running, as easy and intuitive as possible. It does not, however, install the complete driver set for the new hardware. You can complete the driver installation for devices such as network and graphics adapters when your windows installation boots on your new hardware.

You need to run ReDeploy from the Windows PE Reflect rescue CD. This allows the new hardware to be detected and the configuration of the Windows system modified to enable it to boot.

Note: To transfer to a Windows Server install to new hardware use Macrium Reflect v6 Server edition for ReDeploy.

For non-server (workstation) installs use ReDeploy included with v6 Home, Workstation or the Server Edition. Please note that ReDeploy is not included in 30 trial versions of Macrium Reflect

Note: ReDeploy modifies an existing offline operating system to work with new hardware. Restore your system image to the PC being deployed before running ReDeploy. There is no need to reboot your PC after restoring an Image and before you run ReDeploy.


  1. Boot the target PC with the Windows PE rescue CD or USB equivalent. (There is a link to a video on creating a Windows PE rescue CD at the bottom of this page).
  2. Click ReDeploy Restored Image to new hardware.
  3. If you have a multi-boot system, then you will be presented with a list of operating systems, select the operating system to be redeployed. Click Next.
  4. Specify driver locations for your mass storage devices (such as RAID card).
    1. If you haven’t already, insert a driver disk for the hardware you are going to boot from.
      This will typically be the motherboard or RAID card driver CD.
    2. Click Add to add driver locations.
      You can also specify additional paths such as network folders.
    3. Click Map Drive to add a network share.
    4. Click Next.
  5. ReDeploy searches through user specified driver locations. If none are specified or no matching drivers are found then it searches removable devices such as CD’s and disk drives. ReDeploy also searches through Windows’ database of drivers.
  6. ReDeploy seeks drivers for all discovered mass storage devices and displays a list with details, Click Next.

    For each mass storage device, there are three possibilities:

    1. The driver is already installed. It might still need to be enabled at boot, this is done automatically.
    2. The driver is located, either from a CD, user specified path or from the Windows database. This driver is installed on completion of ReDeploy.
    3. No matching driver is located.
  7. If no driver is located, or you choose to override the displayed driver, then use locate driver to manually specify an .inf file.
    If you have multiple mass storage interfaces in your system, you only need to locate drivers for hardware that contains the Windows system and active partitions.
  8. Review displayed options, leaving them as default if possible. Click Next.
    If you are having trouble booting these options can help to resolve issues. For more information about them options see below:

    Option Description
    Disable reboot on system stop Set this option to stop automatic rebooting if a blue screen of death (BSOD) occurs while Windows is loading or running. If this option is not set and Windows generates a BSOD, there will be no time to note the BSOD error codes.
    Display boot drivers as they load Set this option to show which drivers are being loaded as Windows loads. Once Windows is loading and running without issue this option can be reverted using the Windows MSCONFIG utility. You can use the Pause/Break key to freeze the list as it scrolls past, use space to un-pause.
    Enable boot logging Set this option to log drivers being loaded by Windows as it loads. The resulting log file ‘ntblog.txt’ can be found in the windows folder. Once Windows is loading and running without issue this option can be reverted using the Windows MSCONFIG utility.
    Disable CPU Driver Set this option to disable CPU drivers. This may be useful if you see BSOD’s in the selected HAL drivers or system lockup on entering standby or shutdown.
    Set Hardware Abstraction Layer Set this option to choose which Hardware Abstraction Layer is to be used in the selected Windows operating system. The recommended HAL for this machine is the one initially selected. If you have the incorrect HAL configured, your Windows installation is unstable and can cause random BSOD’s or lock ups after Windows boots. In particular, if you are redeploying from or to Virtual Box with an advanced programmable interrupt controller (APIC) unchecked (the default) or very old physical hardware, set a new HAL.
    Allow Windows to detect Hardware Abstraction Layer Set this option to allow Windows to determine the best Hardware Abstraction Layer to use at boot time. This is a Vista and later only option.

     

    Enable SATA AHCI Set this option to enable support for generic SATA AHCI hardware. You will typically also need to enable an option in your BIOS for your mass storage hardware to operate in this mode. This is a Vista and later only option.

     

  9. Review the actions to be be performed and click Finish to apply them to the target operating system.A log file ReDeploy.log saves to the drive containing the redeployed operating system.After clicking Finish to inject drivers and apply your settings you see a confirmation dialog, and you can reboot your OS which should now be compatible with your new hardware.

Note: Check there is a tick in the checkbox against Check for unsupported devices each time the rescue media loads before burning the Windows PE rescue CD, so that you can add additional drivers when you boot on new hardware.


Download a 30-day Trial of Macrium Reflect for Home or Business use.

Techie Tuesday: Imaging disks with bad sectors

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A disk with bad sectors is permanently damaged and, if the bad sectors are in use by the file system, it is very likely that data in the damaged area is unrecoverable. This can signify that your hard drive is coming to the end of its life. It is possible, however, to manage the situation and create an Image for restoring or mounting and copying files and folders. See this Wikipedia article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bad_sector for more information.

If a bad sector is encountered during image creation then you receive this error in your backup log:

Backup aborted! Unable to read from disk – Error Code 23 – Data error (cyclic redundancy check).
This is considered a fatal condition because data cannot be read and the image aborts.

Run chkdsk on the problem drive to reallocate file system clusters to undamaged disk sectors:

  1. Open a command prompt with elevated privileges. See Running an elevated command prompt for help with this.
    • Run chkdsk c: /r from a command prompt, replacing c: with the appropriate drive letter.

      The /r switch is important and causes the entire file system to be checked for bad sectors. This requires a reboot to complete and may take some time.
      This operation maps out any bad sectors in use by the file system.
  2. Immediately create an Image of your drive. This ensures all file system clusters are located on good sectors.
    It’s important to realize that you have lost data if clusters are relocated, as the data contained in them is unrecoverable. Consider replacing your disk.
  3. If you receive Error Code 23 in your log after running chkdsk, run chkdsk repeatedly until an image is created without error.
  4. if you are running Windows Vista or later, after restoring an Image to a new disk, run chkdsk c: /b to re-evaluate all the bad clusters restored on your drive.
    If you are running Windows XP, Boot into the Windows PE rescue CD and run chkdsk c: /b to re-evaluate all the bad clusters restored on your drive.

Set Macrium Reflect to ignore bad sectors when creating an image

If running chkdsk is unsuccessful, force Macrium Reflect to continue on Error 23.

  1. Select Other tasks > Edit defaults > Advanced.
  2. Select Ignore bad sectors.
  3. Click OK.

If the option ‘Log each bad cluster detail’ selected then each sectors will be reported in the Image log, e.g:

Read Error: Bad sector found in cluster 2353222
Read Error: Bad sector found in cluster 2353223

Otherwise a summary of bad clusters will be reported at the end.

Bad Sectors: 112 Clusters located in bad sectors. Data may be lost


Download a 30-day Trial of Macrium Reflect for Home or Business use.

Techie Tuesday: Alternative Locations For Backups

TechieTuesday

All backup wizards in Macrium Reflect allow you to select Alternative Locations to use for the backup destination. Should the primary backup location not be available, each location will be checked in sequence until an available one is found.

Alternative locations can also be used to provide backup rotations, for example, keeping an offsite backup,  or as a fail safe for temporary unavailability of the primary backup destination.

  1. Click Alternative Locations
  2. The Backup Locations dialog is shown.
  3. Select a folder and click Add to list
  4. Repeat for each folder to be used as an alternative location
  5. Change the order of locations by selecting a folder in the list and click Up or Down
  6.  Remove a folder by selecting it and clicking Remove
  7. Click OK when done

Download a 30-day Trial of Macrium Reflect for Home or Business use.

Techie Tuesday: Updating rescue media to include additional hardware drivers

TechieTuesdayWhile you have valid rescue media, it is possible that further down the line you add hardware to your computer without updating the rescue media.  Macrium Reflect provides a way of loading drivers for these pieces of hardware when in Windows PE.

Select the Restore > View Unsupported Devices menu option, the following dialog will be shown:

a list of devices which are currently unsupported will be shown.  Drivers can be loaded using two methods:

  • Select a device from the list and click the Locate Driver.  Browse and select a driver INF file in the dialog that is displayed.  Macrium Reflect will try and load the driver and report the result back.
  • Select a base folder using the ellipsis button and then click Scan.  Macrium Reflect will traverse the folder structure looking for driver INF files for all devices in the list.  After the scan, a dialog will be displayed showing which devices had drivers loaded.

Notes on Driver Packages

After downloading a driver package, unzip to a folder that Macrium Reflect has access to.  All files within the driver package should be extracted including .CAT and .DLL files.

When loading drivers Macrium Reflect will check for device support in INF files and if found will attempt to load the driver.  It is important that all the files that the driver package consist of should be present in the same folder as the INF file.  There will definitely need to be the .SYS file for the driver.  The driver package may also consist of .CAT and .DLL files, these need to be present in the same folder as well in order to load successfully.

Drivers must ideally match the architecture of your Windows PE installation. It should be noted that Windows 7 drivers may appear to have been added to Windows PE 4.0/5.0 successfully but will only sometimes work.

Techie Tuesday: Troubleshooting USB rescue media

TechieTuesday

Our Techie Tuesday post today covers USB based rescue media and the advantages over CD/DVD based media. This could include: quicker boot times, devices such as tables and some laptops don’t include a CD drive, so USB booting is the only option, and image files can be stored on the rescue media.

However it’s worth bearing in mind that there are a few technical details that can make creating USB boot media more complex than CD media.

Device types

USB media exist in two types.

  • “Removable media”. This is the type Windows assigns to USB flash sticks and similar. They can only contain one partition; this is a Windows limitation.
  • “Fixed media”. This is the Windows name for a USB attached hard disk or SSD. They can be partitioned with the same flexibility as an internal hard disk enabling multiple filesystems to co-exist on the same device.

Filesystems

There are two common filesystems supported by Windows systems

  • FAT(32). The FAT filesystem is older and compatible with non-Windows operating systems. USB sticks are commonly pre-formatted FAT. However, Windows systems will only format FAT systems to a maximum of 32GB and files are limited to 4GB.
  • NTFS. This is the native filesystem for Windows XP and later. Most USB external harddisks are formatted NTFS.

Less commonly, USB devices are formatted exFAT. However, exFAT is not suitable for booting.

Boot Mechanisms

Computers boot can boot using one or both of the following mechanisms.

  • MBR/BIOS. This will boot from either the primary FAT or NTFS partition that has been set active
  • uEFI. This will boot from a FAT partition only.

Most modern computers can boot either method. However, some tablets and computers with secure boot enabled may only be capable of uEFI booting. Older computers will only boot MBR/BIOS. uEFI booting requires a FAT filesystem.

When creating new partitions, the Macrium rescue wizard will always format it FAT32 to maximise compatibility. However, unless the uEFI multiboot option is checked, if a suitable NTFS partition is found, the boot files will be placed then resulting in a MBR only booting device.

If you need a uEFI booting memory stick, due to the FAT filesystem requirement and its 32 GB limitation, we suggest you use a 32 GB flash memory stick or smaller (or use one that is pre-formatted FAT). Otherwise the space beyond 32GB will be unusable. This is not an issue for USB disks as these can support multiple partitions.

The USB rescue creation process

Please note: This process is NON destructive, no volumes will be overwritten or removed during USB media creation.

In most cases, once a USB device has been selected, the process to make it bootable is completely automatic. However, for various scenarios, you may receive either a warning that the device may not boot with some systems or it is impossible to make it bootable in its current configuration. In most cases, manual steps can be taken to overcome these limitations; these are listed in later sections of this article.

  • Follow the steps on Creating Rescue Media
  • When you get to the final screen as shown below:Select ‘USB Device’ as indicated in Red and click Finish.

To read the full set of errors, please visit our knowledge base.

Techie Tuesday: Re-deploying Windows to new hardware

TechieTuesday

Welcome to Techie Tuesday! This week, we discuss Macrium ReDeploy which overcomes issues with Windows boot processes to run a Windows installation on new hardware.

Maybe you have a hardware fail or a planned upgrade, are moving between physical and virtual machines or changing a non-raid to a raid installation. Various aspects of the Windows boot process can cause a boot failure after significant changes to the hardware, ReDeploy can overcome these!

Discovering hardware and association with matching device drivers is time consuming and must be undertaken while windows is being installed. It is skipped during a normal Windows boot making the boot delay acceptable.

Early in the boot process, the boot loader loads the Windows kernel (the core of the operating system) and the critical drivers required to get Windows up and running. If the new hardware configuration requires a new driver to read the disk containing the operating system then Windows will fail to boot.

When the kernel and critical drivers are loaded, the kernel starts. The kernel and its associated hardware abstraction layer (HAL) need to match the motherboard for best enabling. Drivers are optionally loaded to handle specific central processing unit (CPU) features. For a stable system, the driver needs to match the hardware, in this example, the CPU model.

ReDeploy detects changes to critical system features, locates relevant drivers and injects them into your Windows operating system so it boots.

ReDeploy makes the complex process of getting an off-line Windows operating system running, as easy and intuitive as possible. It does not, however, install the complete driver set for the new hardware. You can complete the driver installation for devices such as network and graphics adapters when your windows installation boots on your new hardware.

For a full step by step guide please click here.