Posted by: tranquilpc | December 29, 2007

Restoring a PC

Well WHS does seem to be such a gift !  Expanding my storage and sharing those media files – just so easily.

But perhaps one of the most powerful, yet simple services is the backup system.  I’ve had many many calls and emails from our customers who have used the  backup / restore feature….. some due to HDD failure, dropped notebooks, theft etc

One client (I recall) actually bought a Tranquil Home Server, as his HDD in his notebook was failing (SMART reports), and he wanted to ‘backup’ the notebook, as soon as he could get it to power up, then immediately replaced the HDD with a bigger (new) one, and restored it all back – seems an expensive way to restore a PC, but then he does now have total peace of mind for the future… and lots of other gadgets on the Home Server.

Testing, selling, advising – it’s one thing to do all of these stages, to assure ourselves that products really are right. But to have to restore your own PC (due to severe problem) ?  Oh, that’s getting very real.

A catalogue of problems.  My wife’s notebook (Sony VAIO) suddenly decided to ‘go slow’ I mean really slow….. >15 minutes to get to the logon screen !! Then once Windows opened everything was super super slow ….. Hardware / Software /Malware … not really sure.  Normally a swift ‘Windows System Restore’ does the trick, but not this time … (the oldest restore point was only the previous day, and that made no difference.)

Time to test WHS Restore for REAL ? (oh and let’s use a bigger HDD drive at the same time ?)

So within just a few minutes the 100GB HDD was exchanged for a new 160GB (She would like a bigger HDD). Now to restoring.

Booting the Sony from the Tranquil WHS Restore invoked a lot of confidence, finding the Server, and the backup PC name with ease.  ** Just a note here for those restoring to a NEW HDD – you will need to run the ‘Disk Manager’ to create (a) new partition(s) for WHS to restore to.  I actually had a small problem here.  My wife had left a SD card (photos) inserted (not easy to see) – so that confused me a little – so a small tip for you – remove any other storage devices !

Then on to the restore itself – absolutely fantastic … it just restored approx. 90GB of data – including all of the OS partition and applications.  It took approx. 2.5 hours for the whole process.

Ran a few quick tests, and all seemed well.  Then I installed a new Virus checker, and it found 2x Trojans (shame that OneCare did not take care of those, in the first place).  Now it seems we have the ‘go slow’ culprit !

Now my wife is happy again 🙂

In summary – the WHS Restore service is extremely simple to use, whether you need it to assist replacing a small HDD, recovering from a severe HDD failure, or like me.. just wanting to restore due to an ‘unknown’ issue, it does it, with ease and confidence.

(PS – just a small note, if you change the size of your HDD, Windows may well need to be re-activated).



  1. This entry leaves me somewhat confused as a thread moderator over in the MS/WHS Forum says WHS will not restore the OS to a new HDD. Can this be related to whether that new disk is formated as bootable? Will look forward one of you experts replying on this.

    ANS : the Tranquil recovery key system ‘takes’ an image of the OS, and also restores the OS back again (if needed) This is used for USER OS backup. We also have a USB key based factory recovery system, this can restore NEW HDDs to WHS factory setting.

    Here’s another WHS quandry. As is expertly noted elsewhere on this blog, WHS is specified for “Mom & Dad”, with no monitor or keyboard needed. What does “Mom and Dad” do when the monitorless WHS is automatically internet updated then rebooted but sits, waiting for a manual “CTRL-ALT-DEL” security entry to start up again?

    ANS : The server NEVER requires login (ie ALT-CTRL-DEL) – the headless design is OK

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