Techie Tuesday: Automatic System Restore
Note: These steps require Macrium Reflect v6.3 or later. To upgrade to the latest release take the ‘Other Tasks’ > ‘Check for updates’ menu option.
This post describes the steps involved to setup a ‘one-click’ system restore. Using Macrium Reflect you can automatically and easily return a Windows PC to a previously imaged system recovery point.
- System restore is completed without any user interaction during the restore process.
- Using Rapid Delta Restore (RDR) recovery is fast!
- BitLocker encrypted drives can be restored without requiring re-encryption after restore.
- The restore can be password protected to prevent accidental or unauthorised recovery.
Add the Macrium recovery boot menu
The first step is to add the Macrium boot menu. Take ‘Other Tasks’ > ‘Add Recovery Boot Menu’ in Macrium reflect and follow the instructions here: Adding a boot menu option for system Image recovery.
Adding a boot menu is optional but will enable simple one-click restore when the PC starts.
Without a boot menu you can still automatically restore by booting into optical rescue media or an external USB drive.
Create an image of drive C:
Start Macrium Reflect, select ‘Image this partition only…’ for drive C.
Choose a location that will be accessible when the recovery media boots, this could be a spare partition on an internal drive or an external USB disk or flash drive.
In this example we’ll choose drive ‘F:\’, an internal partition.
Prepare the auto restore XML file
Once the image completes we can prepare the xml file to automatically restore the image. To do this we need to step through the restore wizard but we aren’t going to start the restore.
Start Macrium Reflect, click the ‘Restore’ tab, select the image created above and click the ‘Restore Image’ link.
In the Wizard that opens, click through to the final wizard page and press the Ctrl+Shift+S keys together.
In the save dialog that opens, save the file ‘macrium_restore.xml’ to the root of any local drive that is accessible when Windows PE starts,
In this example we’re saving to the root of the same drive that contains the image file, drive ‘F:\’.
Note: Do not save to drive C: as this drive be overwritten during the restore process.
Password protect the restore
The auto restore can be password protected for security. Instead of Ctrl+Shift+S press Ctrl+Shift+P and a Password dialog is displayed:
After entering a password you’ll be prompted with the ‘Save As’ dialog as shown above.
This password must be entered to start the restore process.
Finally, Open Windows Explorer, navigate to ‘macrium_restore.xml’ and make the file read-only, This ensures that the restore can be repeated. If the file is not read-only it will be deleted as soon as the restore starts.Right click on ‘Macrium_Restore.xml’, select ‘Properties’, click ‘Read-only’ and click ‘OK’:
That’s it! Now whenever you take the Macrium System Recovery boot menu option your system will be automatically restored using the image created above.