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x509

Recovery USB program never shows main recovery menu.

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So earlier today, I had a laptop go completely south, well past the Equator, I might say.  My only hope is a Retrospect recovery.  So I followed the instructions starting on p. 316 of the Retrospect 16 manual, and I ended up with a recovery program on a USB drive.  (The manual is out of date about the media creation process.  Read carefully p. 316-317, and look at the screen shots.)

I used the newly created USB Recovery Media to boot up the problem laptop.  All I got was a Welcome screen with a checkbox at the bottom left.  20 minutes after I checked that box, I still don't see this window:

image.png.40dd8db4425ec622bb2a0ce9631261d0.png

 

So what do I do?  I really need this laptop working again.

start rant:  I feel like I have again been made an involuntary, unpaid member of Retrospect's Quality Assurance team.  end rant.

x509

 

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The recovery disk should have been created *before* your laptop went south, not after (in the same way that a new OEM PC will often throw up a "Now create a recovery disk" after first configuration). It's probable that your recovery disk, built using your borked system, will only boot as far as your borked system would...

While the manual does "strongly recommend" you create the disk "as soon as possible", they could be more explicit about doing it before it might be needed.

I think you'll need to find another method -- perhaps pull the disk, mount it and reformat on another PC, full restore to it there and then put it back in the laptop? But I'm a Mac guy, so will defer to those more knowledgable...

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x509,

Here's why and how to submit a Support Case for a Retrospect enhancement, in this case to the Retrospect Windows User's Guide—which needs it.  IMHO the enhancement should go beyond the UG; Retrospect should detect any first-time use of a Windows "backup server" or "client" machine and throw up a "Now create a recovery disk" message per Nigel Smith's first sentence immediately above.

You've been a Forums member since early 2010, and you didn't know you needed to create a Disaster Recovery Disk in advance?:rolleyes:  Even I knew that, and I administrate Retrospect Mac—which doesn't have a Disaster Recovery Disk.  (in the interests of truth, I backed up a work-provided Windows 95 machine at home from 2001-2004; however that was using Retrospect Mac 6—which didn't have a DRD feature AFAICT from reading its User's Guide—at the latest.)

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I had assumed since all my systems are running Win 64 Pro on Intel CPUs, that one recovery disk would be suitable for all my systems.  Apparently not. 

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1 hour ago, x509 said:

I had assumed since all my systems are running Win 64 Pro on Intel CPUs, that one recovery disk would be suitable for all my systems.  Apparently not. 

Welcome to the wonderful world of different Windows drivers, x509, which is why Retrospect "inc." markets the Dissimilar Hardware Restore Add-On.

P.S.: As to x509's second-paragraph complaint directly below, IMHO he'd do well to read pages 328-337 of the Retrospect Windows 16 UG.

Edited by DavidHertzberg
P.S. suggesting what pages of the UG discuss the DHR Add-On

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David,

I want to restore a system to itself.  How is that "dissimilar" hardware, except by a tortured reading of the English language?  If  you are right, how am I supposed to create a recovery media on a client?  More, that approach is hardly scaleable.

I'm going to file a support case with Retrospect.  The media creation process did not run smoothly.   I had to COPY file copype.cmd file from a subdirectory of the Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit into the main directory for the Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit.  Then the media creation process proceeded automatically.  So I'm wondering if the media creation process somehow left off some additional programs, and if I could manually add those programs to the recovery media.

I just filed a support case.

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On the recovery disk and Windows one size does fit all, with the exception of bit size.  You need a recovery disk for 64-bit and one for 32-bit if you have such systems.

The much, much larger issue you have here is that your laptop won't boot the disk, which should take only a few minutes.  Ten minutes is too long.  Your laptop is likely dead, unless you can prove otherwise by booting from a recovery partition or a Windows installation image.

If this is Windows 10 you can download a bootable image from Microsoft, burn it to a thumb drive and boot off that.  You may need to dink around with the BIOS to get it to boot, but usually that's unnecessary.  If it boots and installs Windows then you should first run MEMTEST which is also a free download from Microsoft, and every diagnostics program available from the laptop maker and figure out why it went south.

Once you're absolutely positive that your hardware situation is stable, then you should be able to also boot from the recovery CD and restore a backup.  You don't need to worry about the dissimilar hardware stuff since this is going back on the original source system.

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The laptop does boot a Windows image, specifically the update for release 1809.  And I can go through various trouble-shooting options so that I can get a command prompt.  I ran bootrec  /rebuildBCD, which detected 0 windows partitions.  In fact, there are two, since I multi-boot between my "production" installation and a scratch partition which I use for test installs, tryouts, etc.

In that cmd window, I can do dir for drives C and D.  Only those drives contain data, and the two Windows partitions are not detected.  That has me concerned.   Of course, once I get this recovery media issue straightened out, i'll just restore the System Reserved partition, plus the two Windows partitions.

I submitted a bug report to Retrospect this morning, and even though I did not buy ASM, I got a quick and helpful response from Robin Mayoff, which I do appreciate.  His comment was that there was a probable problem with the Media Recovery drive.  I still need to work through the issues with Robin.

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So, since you can boot from a Windows image...

Boot from a Windows installer. Reformat you drive to how you had it before. Reinstall Windows, update drivers, etc, etc. Create Retrospect Recovery disk. Boot from newly created RS Recovery, restore with Retrospect.

Windows image is a basic system -- I'd thought that the RS Recovery you tried to create is a "bootable clone" of *your* system, complete with your hardware's drivers etc (hence the need for a "dissimilar hardware" add-on), though I'll defer to mbennett's experience.

Either way, you should create a Recovery Disk *before* you need it, and check that it works! That used to be a standard part of the "new computer experience", both PC and Mac, though in these days of internet booting and fast downloads of images/drivers/etc it seems to have fallen by the wayside (and I include myself amongst those who seldom bother anymore...).

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19 hours ago, Nigel Smith said:

So, since you can boot from a Windows image...

Boot from a Windows installer. Reformat you drive to how you had it before. Reinstall Windows, update drivers, etc, etc. Create Retrospect Recovery disk. Boot from newly created RS Recovery, restore with Retrospect.

[/quote]

The last thing I want to do is reformat my laptop's SSD, because then I have to do a full reload of Windows and applications.  Probably two days worth of work.

19 hours ago, Nigel Smith said:

Windows image is a basic system -- I'd thought that the RS Recovery you tried to create is a "bootable clone" of *your* system, complete with your hardware's drivers etc (hence the need for a "dissimilar hardware" add-on), though I'll defer to mbennett's experience.

Either way, you should create a Recovery Disk *before* you need it, and check that it works! That used to be a standard part of the "new computer experience", both PC and Mac, though in these days of internet booting and fast downloads of images/drivers/etc it seems to have fallen by the wayside (and I include myself amongst those who seldom bother anymore...).

Nigel, David, and everyone else.

I figured out the issues, mostly, and I'm gobsmacked.  (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/gobsmacked )

Just for grins, I booted up my desktop system using that recovery media.  It all worked as far as I took the process, because I don't need to recovery anything to the desktop system.  It all worked because that Welcome screen had NEXT and FINISH buttons at the very bottom of the Welcome window.  On my laptop, that same Welcome window is too tall to fit in the laptop display.  It's a fixed size and cannot be dragged up, so as to show the bottom of the window.  😱

So the issue is that Retrospect made that Welcome window too tall. Truly a Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot moment.  So I replied to the support thread about my recovery media issue to explain this situation.  That reply was late in the day, so I guess I'll need to wait for a day or two to get a response. 

I am just astounded that a silly issue like screen height is preventing me from doing a full restore. 

 

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Awesome -- hopefully a tale that'll get less frustrating and more amusing to you with repeated telling...

Can you "keypress" your way past the dialog? I don't know how consistent Windows dialogs are compared to Macs, but you might be able to e.g. tab-return to "press" the next button. Does an external monitor work in recovery mode -- maybe try the one from your desktop?

The last thing I want to do is reformat my laptop's SSD, because then I have to do a full reload of Windows and applications.  Probably two days worth of work.

Wouldn't that all be done by the Retrospect restore? Honest question -- we only back up User folders here, partly to save on time/storage but mainly because we treat a "full restore" as an opportunity to clear out years of accumulated cruft in system/application folders by re-installing from scratch.

I know this is all by-the-by now the actual problem has become apparent, but it's good to know the limits of a backup system *before* you run into them!

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On 10/4/2019 at 1:56 AM, Nigel Smith said:

Awesome -- hopefully a tale that'll get less frustrating and more amusing to you with repeated telling...

Can you "keypress" your way past the dialog? I don't know how consistent Windows dialogs are compared to Macs, but you might be able to e.g. tab-return to "press" the next button. Does an external monitor work in recovery mode -- maybe try the one from your desktop.

[/QUOTE]

 

Thanks.  I tried that, but apparently Win PE (which is what the Recovery Media is based on), supports very few, if any shortcut keys.  I did a search for Win PE shortcut keys but nothing came up.  No kidding!

Quote

Wouldn't that all be done by the Retrospect restore? Honest question -- we only back up User folders here, partly to save on time/storage but mainly because we treat a "full restore" as an opportunity to clear out years of accumulated cruft in system/application folders by re-installing from scratch.

Not sure what you mean here, since I need to restore my Windows installation partition and probably also the System Reserved partition.

 

I know this is all by-the-by now the actual problem has become apparent, but it's good to know the limits of a backup system *before* you run into them!

Agreed.

I have to say that Retrospect support has been quick and helpful.  I got a quick response from Robin Mayoff and then when I replied with my issue about window size, I got a quick and very helpful response from a support engineer.  His recommendation was to update my laptop's BIOS, which I did, but the window size problem remains.

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