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Old 07-11-2012, 08:02 PM   #1
cyberia
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Lightbulb SOLVED - Windows 7 System Image Recovery: can't see external hard drive

I have two identical Dell XPS 15z laptops. I am trying to do a System Image Recovery from one laptop to the other. The problem: when Windows 7 restarts to do the recovery, it does not see the system image on the external USB drive.

I think it does not see the external drive, period. I tried backing up and restoring the same laptop (to eliminate the possibility that "cross-recovery" is not supported), and it's a no go either.

I am following this procedure: How to Do a System Image Recovery in Windows 7. The part where it fails is #5 and #6 of "STEP TWO".


EDIT: SOLUTION - The built-in Recovery tool in Windows does not support USB 3 by default. USB 3 drivers need to be loaded. See the discussion below for a link to additional information.
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Last edited by cyberia; 07-12-2012 at 01:15 AM. Reason: Solution notes
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Old 07-11-2012, 08:32 PM   #2
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Two questions: Is the image at the root of the external drive (X:\MyImage)? Is (X:\MyImage) visible in Windows Explorer and Disk Management?
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Old 07-11-2012, 09:39 PM   #3
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Try turning off (or on) AHCI in the bios.
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Old 07-11-2012, 10:04 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bubbaleone View Post
Two questions: Is the image at the root of the external drive (X:\MyImage)? Is (X:\MyImage) visible in Windows Explorer and Disk Management?
The external drive in Windows is know as E:\. The image (VHD file) is located in E:\WindowsImageBackup\XPS15Z\Backup 2012-07-11 011433 and is visible in both Windows Explorer and Disk Management.
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Old 07-11-2012, 10:26 PM   #5
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I'd try using the shortest path possible; move the image to the WindowsImageBackup directory, and if WinRE still doesn't see it move it directly to E:\.
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Old 07-11-2012, 10:48 PM   #6
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Try turning off (or on) AHCI in the bios.
Didn't make a difference.
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Old 07-11-2012, 11:47 PM   #7
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I'd try using the shortest path possible; move the image to the WindowsImageBackup directory, and if WinRE still doesn't see it move it directly to E.
Still no go. Is there a way, in the WinRE environment (if that's what it's called) to check if the external drive is even recognized/drivers are loaded?
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Old 07-12-2012, 12:46 AM   #8
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Still no go. Is there a way, in the WinRE environment (if that's what it's called) to check if the external drive is even recognized/drivers are loaded?
While in WinRE (Windows Recovery Environment) open a Command Prompt and run the following commands:

mountvol --->(This command will show you all available drives, including your external disk)

dir X: --->(Replace X: with one drive letter at a time, from the letters that the mountvol command showed you, until you see the "WindowsImageBackup" folder on the screen. Let's assume it's E:\WindowsImageBackup, and then type:

dir E:\WindowsImageBackup /s --->(This command will show you the contents of the WindowsImageBackup folder)


.

Last edited by Bubbaleone; 07-12-2012 at 01:00 AM.
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Old 07-12-2012, 01:11 AM   #9
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Got it! My suspicion was accurate: the external drive was NOT recognized by WinPE. That's because why would Microsoft bother to include USB 3 support by default.

This discussion provided the solution.
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Old 07-12-2012, 07:25 AM   #10
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I dont get why the usb 2.0 driver wouldnt be enough. Sure it would be slower, but it should at least be there.
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Old 07-12-2012, 08:24 AM   #11
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I dont get why the usb 2.0 driver wouldnt be enough. Sure it would be slower, but it should at least be there.
Not an expert in the area at all, but my guess is: The USB 3.0 controller hardware on this laptop is sufficiently different that a generic USB 2.0 driver does not work with it.
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Old 07-12-2012, 08:53 AM   #12
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Got it! My suspicion was accurate: the external drive was NOT recognized by WinPE. That's because why would Microsoft bother to include USB 3 support by default.

This discussion provided the solution.
USB 3 came out after 7 / the WinPE edition that is on your boot DVD / USB stick / Recovery partition.

It is pretty simple to inject the drivers in to WinPE and rebuild it if you want.
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Old 07-12-2012, 10:32 AM   #13
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USB 3 came out after 7 / the WinPE edition that is on your boot DVD / USB stick / Recovery partition.
That I can understand. But why wouldn't they inject the drivers into the Recovery mechanism that is accessible from the Control Panel within Windows 7? I mean the built-in one, launched from within Windows which does not require an external boot media. Or at least display a warning on the "Choose an advanced recovery method" screen if the computer has USB 3 hardware? Or better yet, display it on the "Create a system image" screen?

I know, wishful thinking. But it certaintly does not make sense to allow users to make backups onto a media/device from which they can't restore without jumping through extra hoops, while providing no guidance / advanced warning.
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Old 07-12-2012, 10:50 AM   #14
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That I can understand. But why wouldn't they inject the drivers into the Recovery mechanism that is accessible from the Control Panel within Windows 7? I mean the built-in one, launched from within Windows which does not require an external boot media. Or at least display a warning on the "Choose an advanced recovery method" screen if the computer has USB 3 hardware? Or better yet, display it on the "Create a system image" screen?

I know, wishful thinking. But it certaintly does not make sense to allow users to make backups onto a media/device from which they can't restore without jumping through extra hoops, while providing no guidance / advanced warning.
I get you, from what I understand the Windows "create recovery cd" button just burns an .iso that is buried in the Windows folder. Injecting the drivers requires the Windows AIK which MS makes 1.2 gig for some reason. You would mount the image, use the PEIMG install stuff with the drivers .inf. This is obviously beyond a lot of non techies though. 2008 has the same issue by the way. The recovery CD wouldn't detect the drive controllers etc. I cheated and set up PXE booting for the images and injected the drivers though.
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