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How can I restore my system from WIM files?

How can I restore my system from WIM files? base.WIM file is located at my 4th partation of my harddisk.

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marked as duplicate by random Mar 4 '12 at 3:52

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4 Answers 4

Manufacturers like HP and Dell setup and configure the Operating System as they need to by adding in OEM information,logos,software etc.

They start with an answer file created with the "Windows System Image Manager" in the "Windows AIK" this allows them to do an unattended installation and add OEM information to the installation.

They then add in the software they want you to use/buy and sysprep the system. This removes UID's etc. and sets the system to boot to OOBE so you get to start the system into the windows introduction and create a user.

After it has been syspreped they use "imagex" to create a .wim of the system. This is the recommended way to clone the drive as it leave out unnecessary files making the image smaller.(Pagefile,Hibernate File, Temp Files...)

I have not looked into detail on these recovery systems that HP,Dell etc use but unless they are for some reason writing new software for it which is unlikely... They are using Diskpart and ImageX behind the scenes of the GUI they have for the End User.

So I am going to say you can restore your system by using Imagex to expand the wim to your main drive. Because they named it Base it may just be windows only and they have other images that get unpacked after the restoration.(These would contain bloatware more than likely)

What you would need to do is download and install the WAIK here then create a Windows PE ISO using the tools included adding imagex to the ISO. You could then boot off of that disk and use imagex to expand the wim file you might have to format the partition first before you expand to it.

Read here for details on how to do this... here is a video tutorial as well. You should spend some time researching this so you don't mess up your partitions.

Personally I would recommend you trying to get your hands on a re-installation disk and starting fresh without any bloatware/oem garbage.

Edit: If you accidentally destroyed the software to restore the WIM files easily i.e. the user friendly GUI. I would suggest you backup the information you have like the base.wim to another system and just use diskpart to create the 100MB system partition and the rest as the C: partition then use imagex to expand the base.wim to c:\ and bcdboot to create the boot information... this is in the guide I linked.

Just stumbled across this video it may not be up forever because its a sample for the CBT but it explains using wim files in an easy to understand format. http://www.cbtnuggets.com/series?id=650

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Sounds like you have a restore partition on the hard drive, as far as I know you have to use the software that created these custom wim files to restore them.

Edit your question to include the Make and specific model of your PC for a more specific answer or solution to your problem

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WIM files are "Windows Imaging Format" files. The format was created by Microsoft for installing Windows Vista/Server 2008 and newer. They can be customized for the purposes of deploying a pre-configured systems by integrating drivers, software, and updates. The Wikipedia article on WIM has a decent overview of the format. Unfortunately, I'm not familiar enough with WIM deployment to give the OP any useful information on what he or she needs to do to restore the system, or if anything else is required. –  afrazier Jan 27 '11 at 18:32
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Many OEMs like HP create their own wim files, they are customized for their restore purposes and specific hardware and stored on the hard drive, they are not one contiguous wim file and no one has posted a method to reconstruct them to restore the PC, you must use the software that created them to restore the PC. –  Moab Jan 27 '11 at 21:35

This question mainly concerns when you dont have the software that made it. Method needed to restore from .wim files with tools other than the ones came on hp. Or need to know where to download and how to use the tools that used to recover from this file type. still have factory images but they are in this .wim format that no tool seems to be able to use. And no, HP is of no help - resistant if anything. Computer is HP m8247c for which HP does not supply recovery disks. They offer no method to recreate the factory load from these without a recovery disk or software they say was on main partition. Computer came originally with Vista. Images are still on recovery partition as .wim files. F11 never worked and other mentioned tools were not on HD.

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If you have a server running Windows Deployment Services (which requires .wim images), you can boot from it through network PXE booting. –  paradroid Mar 30 '11 at 23:13
    
What freeware programs can be used in conjunction with a boot disk - preferably not DOS, but if that's all thats available - to restore the main partition to the factory original from the .wim image files on the recovery partition?? Needs to be done on this machine which has no internet connection. –  Dzugash Mar 30 '11 at 23:49
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You should be able to extract the files using the free trial of PowerISO. I'd make another partition at the end of the drive and extract the files there, before attempting to install Windows from them, or extract them to a USB flash drive. You'll have to ask someone else on how to install from the extracted files, as I have not tried that for many years. I have installed Windows 7/2008 R2 from USB flash drives though, which is very easy. I'm not sure of the procedure would be the same for you though. –  paradroid Mar 31 '11 at 0:48

You could try importing the wim file into Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2010 then create a stand-alone media disk to install on your machine. You'll want an install disk to import all of the files along with the wim if you do try this. You can also test this using a virtual machine product, virtual pc, etc.

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