Windows – Restore Image Lifesaver

Restoring Windows from a previous System Image is normally a piece of cake !

But when most new small size pocket Laptops, which are designed for maximum energy savings and ultra light weight. There are basic components lacking like a DVD drive for example.

As well the introduction of USB 3.0 and SSD drives makes that a set of specific drivers are needed to get you connected to the location of where you saved the System Image.

So here we go, let’s say you saved it to server in your network.

I imagine that you already took your precautions by creating a bootable USB stick to start Windows repair console from.

And made a copy of the drivers when the system was still running ?

A perfect tool for this is Double Driver Backup Portable version.


Once you copied all needed files and drivers to the USB stick you are ready to go.

The procedure looks like this :

Once you are in the System Recovery Console


Select to restore a previous image option.


The problem is that the drivers to connect to special disks or network adapters are not loaded by default.

Even if you click the LOAD DRIVERS in most cases it will not work ?! The screen will stay blank.

Solution :

Loading drivers – using the Command line prompt

In case you don’t have the drivers on the disk, you can download the drivers to an USB disk.

And use the command line tools to load them.

1. Load Drivers

If your network adapter is not included with Windows you need to load the driver using drvload cmd.

Go back in the recovery console to the Command Prompt option.


Type : Drvload Path\driver.inf

Specify the path or use the ‘cd’ command to move to the folder where the .inf is located.

(For HP you can find it in C:\swsetup\ if you want to reimage an existing drive.)


The same goes for USB 3.0 Host Controller and Hub drivers, or SATA controller drivers.

Here are the Intel drivers and the ones from HP

When the drivers are installed, you may need to wake the HDD up by physically disconnecting HDD power and USB the plugging back in.

In case you don’t have a USB 3.0 driver available, you can try to disable it in the BIOS setting and make sure you have the USB Legacy.

An other option I read on the internet was this :

When it ask for the driver hit cancel, you should be brought back to the welcome screen. Now unplug the USB stick and plug it into a different USB port. Then select install again. You should be good after that.

2. Next Initialize WinPE.

To initialize the WinPE type this command :

Start /w wpeinit

3. Check the connection details

After loading the network drivers you can check the connection settings.

Using ipconfig if you have a DHCP server around you should have gotten a correct IP address.

If you want to assign a static address use the netsh command

“netsh interface ipv4 set address name = “<idx>” source=static address=<staticIP> mask=<SubnetMask> gateway=<DefaultGateway>”

If you need to get the INDEX (IDX) of the Interface use this command.

netsh interface ipv4 show interfaces


4. Make a mapping to the drive

Use the Net Use command to map the drive to where the Image is residing on your network.

Example :

Net use \\server\d$ (enter)

next => Domain\user name + password


Remember that you always have to use a UNC path if you are restoring from a network share.

Only when restoring from an USB drive you can use a drive letter.

4. Use the WBAdmin command line tool to restore.

Once you have connection you need to use the WBADMIN command to restore the image.

5. Next check for available backup / Image versions

wbadmin get versions -backuptarget:\\server\share –Machine:HP_PC

If you add the –Machine Parameter you get the versions listed for that PC Name.


6. Restoring the Image Backup

Recover All Volumes – use SYSRECOVERY command

For this cmd you must have the Version Identifier for the next step. So copy it from the previous cmd window (step 5).

Note this basically wipes the drive so be careful when you use the next command.

wbadmin start sysrecovery –backuptarget:\\server\share -machine:HP_PCversion:01/07/2015-11:45 -recreatedisks –restoreallvolumes -quiet

Set back and relax, the image restore process can take a while.

7. Last resort in case of Corrupt Images :

In case this all does not work you can simply get hold of the VHD drives within the Image folders.

Map them as virtual drives and make a new backup from this virtual drives.


The first is to use the Disk Management UI:



  1. Open the Start menu
  2. Right click on Computer and select Manage
  3. Expand Storage and click on Disk Management
  4. Click on the Action menu and select Attach VHD
  5. Enter the Location and name of you virtual hard disk (there is a browse button you can use)
  6. Click OK


To unmount the virtual hard disk you just need to right click on Disk entry for the virtual hard disk and select Detach VHD.

The other option is to use diskpart.  To do this you will need to:

  1. Open up an administrative command prompt.
  2. Run diskpart
  3. Type in SELECT VDISK FILE=insert your VHD file path and name here
  4. Type in ATTACH VDISK

When you are done you can unmount the VHD using the DETACH VDISK command using diskpart.


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