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How to Perform a Bare-Metal Backup and Recovery (With Video)


Windows Forum Admin
Staff member
Premium Supporter
Jul 22, 2005

Section 1: Performing a Bare-Metal Backup
Hello, this is Mike from Windows 7 Forums. In this video, I'm going to show you how to create a Paragon backup and restore image of a hard drive, using bare-metal backup and restore.

What is a Bare-Metal Backup/Restore and Why Is it Useful?
Bare-metal backup and restore is superior to any other type of backup and restore, because when you are performing both the backup and restore the operating system is not on. The computer's resources are completely dedicated to backing up your system or restoring your system.

Key to Any Backup: Backup Media is Installed
Now what we're looking at here, is the Computer Management Microsoft Management Console (MMC). And under that management console, we have a list of the disks on our system. The first disk, is our primary operating system. It contains the system reserve partition, and it also contains the C: drive, and all of our files. As you can see, it is a boot partion and a primary partition.
Now we've also installed a 20GB hard drive. This could be a removable hard drive, it could be a physical hard drive on the system, or it could be an external serial ATA drive (eSATA). It could even be a 1394 Firewire Drive. It doesn't even matter what kind of drive it is, nonetheless it is unallocated, it has no files on it, and it contains nothing: absolutely nothing.

2 Ways to Format and Partition a Drive:
So there are two ways we can go about this. We can go to the Computer Management console in Windows, and we can format this drive, and create a new simple volume. But let's just say we don't do that. Maybe we don't know how to do that, or we don't want to do that. We don't want to use Windows.

Loading Up Paragon Backup and Recovery:
We're going to go straight to Paragon. Paragon is a commercial application which allows you to backup and recover your operating system files, and entire drives. There is no need to actually run the Paragon software on your system. As a matter of fact, you can create a burnable DVD which allows you to create bare-metal backup and restores. That is what we are about to do in this presentation.

We will begin the process of doing a bare-metal backup. I will show you how to do this now. What we're going to do is restart the computer. We are then going to boot from the DVD that we have burned, which was supplied by Paragon.

We are now in the process of booting our system. Every BIOS is different, and every motherboard is different. But usuaully, in order to access the boot menu, we hit F12 or ESC. Most motherboards today require F12, while some of them require ESC. In VMWare, the virtualization service we're using to do this demonstration, we have to hit ESC to boot from CD, and that is what we're about to do now.

Now, as you can see, we have successfully accessed the boot menu, and what we'll do is hit CD-ROM. We have the CD-ROM/DVD-ROM in the drive, and we'll see a familiar loading screen. We'll see a familiar loading screen. Now, we're not exactly loading Windows in this instance: we're loading the Paragon WindowsPE loader, which is based on Microsoft technology, making it, in my opinion, somewhat superior to the Acronis backup, which is another commercial. And we'll see the very similar and familiar Windows Vista boot-up screen. I can assure you that we are not booting up into Windows Vista: we are in fact booting up into Paragon.
And the reason why we use Paragon as opposed to Windows Backup is because it tends to be quite a bit more reliable.
And right now, we're initializing hardware. That hardware initialization process is detecting all of the drives on your system: anything that it can find to use as a backup source, or a source of information for recovery purposes. And once again, we have a license agreeement to to agree to. Accept.

Preparing the Backup:
And now, we are at the main menu here. Of course we would like to do a backup, but we can't do that, and the reason why, is becaue we have an unformatted drive; a raw drive with no partition, and it needs to be formatted.

So we go to the Full Scale Drive Backup Pro. And here we once again see a somewhat familiar screen, where we have drive 0, which contains all of our pertinent information: Windows, the files in Windows, etc. And then, we have our unallocated disk, with nothing on it: twenty gigabytes.

Disk Duplication Possible:
What we want to do here now, is click on the unallocated portion of the disk, and create a partition. Now, just say we didn't want to do that, and we wanted to create an exact duplicate of this disk. We in fact could do that, by copying the hard disk itself. We would copy Drive 0 to Drive 1, and it would create an exact copy of that disk, which could be swapped out, the boot order could be changed, and you could basically have two copies of the same operating system running on the same hardware.

But, that's not what we want to do because it's a big waste of space, and we can probably get out 20 gigabyte drive here with Windows on it down to an 8 gigabyte archive file that we can restore at any time, and that's what we're planning on doing here.
So we go to the unallocated portion of the new disk and we create the partition. We'll let it be a primary partition, NTFS, and we'll call it backup. We apply these changes immediately. This is a step that has to be taken. And the drive is automatically quick formatted as well, so you don't have to worry about it. It's actually, now, ready for files to be backed up on it.

Now here's what we're going to do: We're going to exit out of the full suite here, and just go to the backup wizard. We initialize the backup wizard. We select, again, basic hard drive 0. This is the drive that we want to back up. It's a twenty gigabyte drive, and the estimated archive size is 8.1 gigabytes. You can try to tinker around with some of the options, to change the backup size, etc. and so on, but these are pretty much the optimal settings. Trying to create a one hundred percent compressed backup will result in a very long backup time, and it's probably not really worth it. You might as well just go with the default settings.

Multiple Backup Souces:
Now we have several ways we can back up the data. We can save it to FTP (File Transfer Protocol) online. We can save it to a local or a network drive, or we can save it to a CD/DVD. What we're going to do right here is just save to our local drive; our new drive we're just installed. And here it is on the list: and the only reason it's on the list is because we've just formatted it. And again, the estimated archive size is 8.1 gigabytes. We can change the archive name to anything we want, so let's call it "My Windows 7 Backup", and that will be the folder that it places this backup in.

We won't really leave any comments, I suppose we could put "Test bare metal backup". And we'll go to backup now. And, of course here is a summary, blah blah blah, so on and so forth. Who cares, it works: Next.

Conclusion for Part 1:
And what's going is that the data is being written, it's being done very quickly, and the main benefit of what we're doing here is that Windows, again, is not turned on: it is turned off. We're booting directly directly from CD or DVD, and we are getting ane exact copy of everything we need. There are no files that are in use that may not be backed up properly, and it is a complete and utter backup.
Well speed up things in a bit so that we can get to the nitty gritty in one second.

Section 2: Performing a Bare-Metal Restore

Welcome back. We have successfully conducted a bare metal backup of our hard drive, which was part one of our series here. And in part two, we will go over a couple things.
  • First of all, I'll show you that, obviously, we've completed the backup as we can see here.
  • Secondly, I'll show you where the files are located in Windows.
  • And thirdly, I'll show you where we can restore that backup with a bare-metal restore.
Of course, Windows is now loading. We come to our demonstration account and enter our password. And now we'll show you here exactly what we're looking for. And, if I didn't know any better, I would say that we do have a Backup drive, and in accordance with our last video, it does have backup files in place.

Now, following this, we're going to go over when your whole computr crashes and you don't know what to do, but you still have good old backup drive available. We'll go through that step now and conduct a bare metal restore.

We are now in a situation where we are prepared to do a bare metal restore. In this scenario, our primary drive has failed. We go into Paragon Back and Restore WindowsPE, as discussed in part one of this demonstration, and we see very clearly that the hard drive is gone. We have nothing on the drive, and maybe we have even replaced the drive with a new 20 GB drive. But we know that we have nothing to worry about because we made a bare-metal backup of our software, and it is there, still. The only problem is : We have unallocated disk that we can no longer boot from. We have lost all our files, and there are zero bytes on this drive. We now need to get that drive operational again, and we need to be able to boot into Windows again.

So here's what we need to do:
  • Once again, we are in Paragon.
  • We have booted from the DVD Media.
  • We go to Full Scale Drive Backup Pro.
  • What we want to do is create another partition.
  • We close the dialogue box.
So now we have a hard drive again, it does have a partition on it, and it can have files on it, but it has no Windows on it, and that is where we have a problem.

So we exit out and go to Restore. We enter the Restore wizard. We need to find our archive. Remember, we stored the archive in "My Windows 7 Backup". We have the .PBF file here "Test Bare-Metal Backup", and we will click Next. "Please click the items to restore": We want to restore everything, because we lost everything.

We want to restore it back to Disk 0 where it belongs, definately not Disk 1, because thats the restore media. We want to restore this to the drive with nothing on it.

We have several options here: We can copy the data and resize the data proportionally, and we can perform a surface test. But, if we are in an emergency sitaution here, we just want to see if we can get this thing up and running again.

And yes, we do want to apply these changes right now physically.

So as you see, the restore process is about to begin. It has begun already. The file is being opened, and the backup files are being processed. And slowly but surely, we will get to a point where we have restored our entire drive.

The great news here is that our bare metal recovery has, in fact, restored correctly. And to verify that, we are going to finish, restart our computer, and we're going to hope the computer boots.

It looks like we've had some great success. Windows has loaded again. We have all of our files, and we have fully recovered the drive.

A couple of things to mention are that you didn't really have to create a new partition when you went to do the restore: You could have restored it to an empty drive.

You may want to resize the partition if the restore doesn't go properly, and use the sector verification option for additional thorough restoration.

But overall, we've got it working.

Thanks for watching this demonstration: We have demonstrated how to do a bare metal backup and a bare metal restore.

Remember, with the Paragon WindowsPE CD Image that is given to you when you buy the Paragon Backup and Restore software, you can perform bare-metal backup and restores with ease. It is a lot better than using the Windows Backup, unfortunately, which still lacks many essential features, and doesn't get the job done as well other applications do.

I look forward to speaking to you again and giving you more information. Hopefully this has been useful to you.

"Visit Windows7Forums.com for more information from the Internet's #1 Windows 7 Community. Windows 7 and related Microsoft technologies are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation. Windows7Forums.com has not received a paid endorsement to demonstrate Paragon Backup for bare metal restores, but does recommend the product!"