Image restore on Win10 tablet


I think I need further assistance in restoring an image on my Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Tablet.

I have a Server that is up and running on a different location and works quite well with my domain and so on… I think it’s currently not necessary to go in detail of the server setup.

I already downloaded the “Restore CD” image and made a bootable UEFI USB stick with the tool Rufus. Rufus told me that it detected an “Hybrid ISO Image” and I chose the “ISO Image write mode” (other options were ISO ESP or DD Image Mode).

The USB stick preparation seemed to work and I was able to boot the urBackup image from the stick on my tablet. As far as good.

Then I noticed that the build in WIFI adapter seemed to be not detected.

I tried two additions USB WIFI adapters that both also not worked. (an old Netgear WN111v2 and an Chinese 802.11n USB plug) So no WIFI connection possible here.

Then I tried an USB 3.0 to Ethernet adapter. The adapter is obviously powered since the activity LED is blinking but still no IP is detected in the network connection screen.

So what are the options?

Maybe one of the three WIFI adapters or the Ethernet adapter can be somehow started. Maybe with additional drivers or something?

I can access .vhdz files on my urBackup server. Maybe I can copy the files to a USB stick and directly restore the images with the “urBackup Restore CD” image?

Regarding the documentation the tool:
C:\Program Files\UrBackupServer\assemble_disk_image.bat
is the way to go. I tried this tool and opened multipe vhdz files.
1.) Image_C (fails with “VHD file is not large enough. Want to write fill 512 but size is 0” and “Error writing MBR”
2.) Image_C and Image_SYSVOL (fails with “NTFS magic wrong” and the same two above)
3.) Image_C and Image_SYSVOL and Image_ESP (fails with "Volume (…SYSVOL file path) has the same partition number as the volume (…ESP file path). Please make sure you only select volumes from one device.
So currently I have failed converting the vhdz files to vhd files. At least I can mount the image and access the files. But that’s not what I want to do.

I have a full working USB Win10 ToGo version that can be booted from USB and makes it possible to fully write the internal SSD.

Maybe there are some Windows10 Tools that can handle the .vhdz files? Or better, maybe there is a Win10 app that can connect to the urBackup server and restore an image?

I hope someone can help since my only option would be to install a clean Win10 and manually copy the backed up files over this image.

Thank you very much.


I found an other potential crazy option:
Use a VirtualBox and start the urBackup CD in a VM. (done)
Connect to the server over the VirtualBox virtual network device. (done)
Restore the urBackup image to a VirtualBox .vhd file. (fails)
The urBackup tool sais:
“Restore partition not available.”
O.o Of course, that’s what I want the tool to do for me: Restoring the partitions. What if the system disk fails. Then you won’t have any partitions on your new disk.

Completely untested but here is an image build using Debian bullseye (5.10.y Linux kernel)

Thank you!

I will give it a try.

Currently I am testing an other solution:

I used my Win10 To Go bootable USB stick and installed VirtualBox on it.
This USB windows has all the network drivers I need so VirtualBox can connect to the internet.
Then I mounted two drives:
1.) The urBackup CD iso
2.) My physical (!!!) SSD
This can be done with
C:\VirtualBoxDrives>“C:\Program Files\Oracle\VirtualBox\VBoxManage.exe”
internalcommands createrawvmdk
-filename C:\VirtualBoxDrives\raw-0.vmdk
-rawdisk \.\PHYSICALDRIVE0

Then I started the virtual machine and I got a network device, I was able to connect over the internet to my remote server and I also was able to see and start the restore to the real physical SSD outside of the VM.

Then, after a hour the throwback. Yes, it seems to work but the internet upstream of my remote place is so slow. ~2MBit/s.
So it seems that this setup works and I already reached 1% of the restore, but I had to notice that internet restore speed is way slower than the backup speed.

I think I just have to take the tablet and do the restore directly at my server’s place where the data can be transfered directly over the LAN.

But for me it seems to be a huge breakthrough that this setup basically works. With Win10 you can install nearly every driver you get and due to the virtualization the urBackup sees just a standard virtual network device that just works. :slight_smile:

I’m not done with this and we will see if the restore really finishes completely. But what I see right now is promissing.

BTW: I still don’t unterstand why it is not possible to restore in a VirtualBox .vhd disk container? As written in the original post, I get an error message that the “Restore partition not available.” Strange, and empty real physical disk seems to work.

For me, if this solutions really runs through, this would be the ultimative restore solution with the Win10 To Go and VirtualBox.

Here is how to restore manually:

VBox always worked when I tested it. Assemble_disk_images may not work because it doesn’t understand GPT partitioning.

A tool to restore from Windows would be great. Someone’ll have to make a GUI :wink: When it works the Linux restore is easy to use…

I found a solution that is ideal for my needs.

In short, it’s a Win10 To Go USB drive that runs a VM with the urBackup CD that accesses the physical destination disk directly.

Here is a step by step instruction as far as I am remembering:

1.) Build your Win10 To Go stick.

You can use an USB flash drive or an USB HDD but I recommend using a USB 3.0 device at least.

I downloaded the latest ISO from Microsoft. If you are using Win then you should fake you browser ID. Otherwise you won’t see the real ISO downloads and just the downloader tool which is useless.

Then you have to get the latest version of Rufus. It’s a tool to make bootable USB devices and more.

*) Start Rufus

*) Load the Win10 ISO

*) Choose USB Flash or USB HDD (don’t forget the hidden checkbox for USB HDD. Otherwise you won’t see the device.)

*) Select “Windows To Go”

*) GPD for real UEFI or MBR for BIOS (fake UEFI)

*) “Start” Rufus processing.

2.) Prepare the Win10 To Go

Shut down you PC and boot from your USB device. It can take it’s time until you see your desktop. Install the updates and all tools you would like to have. Also install all drivers for your devices and connect to your network/internet. I recommend installing at least a partitioning tool like MiniTool Partition Manager.

Install VirtualBox.

Download the latest urBackup CD ISO file.

Now it’s a good time to make a full reboot and don’t forget to boot again from your USB device.

3.) Prepare the disk

Now it’s time to prepare your physical disk, that shall be image restored. Open your partitioning software or use the windows Computer Management to remove all partitions from your physical C drive. Be careful to really select the correct disk and partitions.

This step is really needed. You have to remove the partitions, otherwise the restore won’t work. Maybe Windows somehow ignores the disk if no partition is on it and the VirtualBox can access the disk then exclusively? I am not sure, but it fails later if you forget this step.

I would do another reboot now. Just to be sure.

4.) Prepare the virtual machine

First open a command window with administration privileges.

Use “wmic diskdrive list brief” to list all partitions with their names. Note that one that you want to restore.

Then adapt the following command to create a .vmdk file, that links to your physical disk.

"C:\Program Files\Oracle\VirtualBox\VBoxManage.exe" internalcommands createrawvmdk -filename "D:\Laptop_physical.vmdk" -rawdisk \\.\PHYSICALDRIVE2

Be careful to not write the .vmdk in any subdirectory. It seems that this command has a strange bug and it has some troubles with some directory pathes. Just write it directly to the root of any disk, to be sure.

When you have your .vmdk you are ready to open up VirtualBox, and again as Administrator. That’s important since you can’t directly access disks without Admin privilegs.

Now create a Virtual Machine and select manual setup. We don’t need to create a virtual disk image since we will map the .vmdk physical drive later. Additionally, we add the urBackup CD ISO file as virtual CD/DVD drive. No other changes are needed.

5.) Now start the virtual machine

Boot form the urBackup CD ISO.

You should have network and internet access over NAT and you should be able to easily find your backups and start the restore. If you don’t see your LAN server then I guess you have to play arround with the network virtualisation settings in the VirtualBox VM settings. I tested with an internet server and it worked with the default settings.

When you are asked you should see just one disk to restore to. That’s a virtualization of your physical disk. The urBackup tool is able to write directly through the VM on the real disk and is able to restore the image 1:1. You can also start the Task Manager on the host, to see your network and your disk speed which is quite interesting.

If the restore process has finished you are asked if you want to prepare your disk for another computer. I’m not sure if this function will work since the tool runs just in the virtualized box and can’t see what machine it is running on. It only sees the physical disk as is.

6.) Boot the restored system

But you now should be able to close the VM. Shut down the machine. Remove the USB device and turn on the machine as normal.

That’s it. In future you don’t have to redo all the steps. You just have to remove the partitions, create and link in a new .vmdk and start the VM.

Why so complicated?

*) Windows To Go is cool and can do everything a normal Windows10 can do?

*) You can use every Windows driver you can get to use all your WIFI or Ethernet cards.

*) Windows Storage Spaces support.

*) Access Bitlocker partitions

*) … you tell me …

Windows To Go is also deprecated since version 1903 & the ability to create it is highly likely to vanish without notice with some feature update…

So not that useful for someone who wants a future proof method.

Just saying.

That’s true. Windows To Go is deprecated. That’s a fact.

However, for me a deprecated working solution values way higher than having no solution. This is why I would highly disagree regards your valuation of usefulness of this solution.

We will see how Win10ToGo will continue. I personally do not believe that Microsoft will intentionally roll out updates that will destroy Win10ToGo partitions. There are several other “deactivated” Win features that still can be used, although they can replace expensive Server variants. And creating such a USB To Go device is even more comfortable with the Rufus tool than the old official toolchain form Microsoft, back in the day they supported this thing.

So in the end, yes there is no official support for this. But you can also use DOS or Win 3.11 if you like and it will work although there is no official support. I will continue using it as long as it works. If an update destroys my partition then I restore it with an image backup I have made before. Even if you freeze the current version of Win10 and you won’t install any feature update in the future, it is still much more useful than other Linux based live iso disks that can’t handle some device drivers and can’t mount storage spaces drives, bitlocker, ReFS … and even if these things work, I would give my trust to a deprecated Microsoft solution over a reverse engineered Unix based implementation of these win features. I have to remember the first Linux NTFS implementations back in the days, that destroyed so much data.

Don’t understand me wrong. I like Linux. But in my opinion, if you are in a Win world then you better use Win for accessing drives. Even if that means that you may have to use an outdated version in the future (which is currently not the case).

More concerned by Microsoft moving the goal-posts with things like updates to ReFS where older OS versions can’t read the current version (happened several times already) than about anything being potentially “wiped out”, I suspect a time is coming where you won’t be able to update WTG to account for such changes. Hence concerns how future proof it is.

If you’re happy with using WTG & it works for you, great, but I leave those concerns for anyone wondering how viable it is & might remain to consider.