6. Restore the Disk Image
No backup solution is complete until you KNOW that you can successfully restore your images. Until you know that you can restore your files, your new image isn’t worth a pitcher of warm spit. That’s right – spit.
Make sure your motherboard bios is set to boot first from CD/DVD, and reboot your computer with the Linux Rescue CD in the drive. Within a few seconds, the Restore Wizard should start.
The CD/DVD should eject automatically, allowing you to place any other discs into the drive. Browse to the location of your disk image that you plan to restore. Note: if you are restoring from multiple CDs/DVDs, you must place the last disc in the drive first since the final part contains the image index.
Once you have chosen the disk image, select the partition that you want to RESTORE:
Next, choose the appropriate partition to OVERWRITE:
Select the partition type. If it is your primary boot partition, choose ACTIVE.
You can also choose whether or not to verify the image integrity, but you can safely skip this step if you did it previously.
We’re almost done. One of the last steps is to choose whether or not to overwrite the Master Boot Record (MBR). This contains a listing of the operating systems currently booting on your PC. Most of the time, you can choose to replace with the MBR that’s included in the backup image (the recommended option). If you’ve installed an additional OS since creating the image, don’t replace the MBR.
Take one final scrutinizing look over your restoration settings, and click Finish to begin the restore. Watch helplessly as all your files are erased… and hopefully restored with the files in your image!
Once again, this process may take several minutes. Go grab that third cup of coffee!
Hey, it looks like my image restored successfully. Yay! All that’s left is to reboot.
If your system comes back to life, congratulations! You now have a system image/restore solution for FREE. If you computer exploded or drank all the pomegranate juice in your refrigerator, I offer my condolences. Read over the instructions again, and better luck next time. You DID have all your data backed up, right?
7. Final Thoughts
I like Macrium Reflect a lot. It’s the simplest and fastest way that I’ve found so far to “ghost” Windows for free. As an ancillary benefit, it also supports EXT file systems, meaning that it can create images of dual-boot Linux installations (such as Ubuntu) from within Windows if you desire!
Though there are limitations to the FREE Edition of Macrium Reflect, it still offers quite a lot of value. Specifically, the commercial version offers features such as:
- Incremental and differential disk imaging
- Password protection and encryption
- Windows PE 2.0 Rescue CD with RAID support
- License for Business and Commercial usage.
If all you need is a simple way to create and restore disk images, the free edition works with aplomb. Highly recommended.
Good luck, and happy backups!
— Brian Bondari —