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I've created a full system image using the built-in Win7 utility, it was from a 300GB drive but there is only about 50GB of data.

I then swapped disks in my notebook, the new one being 80GB SSD and now when I boot to the system restore applet, go through all of the settings (finding the backed up image on a network share, confirming that I'm willing to repartition my disk etc.), I get this:

The system image restore failed.

No disk that can be used for recovering the system disk can be found. [Details]

Is this because I'm trying to restore to a smaller disk? (Even though the data should fit without any problems, there being only 50GB of it.)

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Did you ever come right with this? –  Robert MacLean Apr 7 '11 at 10:18
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3 Answers 3

Since you did an 'image backup' of the drive it's going to expect the same size or larger to fit onto, regardless of the actual data size.

In prior versions of Windows the equivalent (ASR backups) gives the same trouble -- you need the same size physical disk or larger to restore.

What does it say when you click "[Details]"? It may explain further options for you.

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The details dialog is very long, listing possible 3 problems: 1) disk is excluded (it's not), 2) USB assigned as a system disk (USB is not involved at all) and 3), invalid disk (which might be my case but the disk itself is fine and Windows has drivers for it). The error code is 0x80042412 which has something to so with USB again. I've actually found a XML file in the backup folder where the disk size is specified. I might try to mess up with that. –  Borek Jan 20 '10 at 22:33
    
Good luck with editing the XML, I've tried the same thing with the ASR.sif under 2003 a few times over the years, and it never works; perhaps you'll have better luck with the Win 7 XML, but unfortunately I have little hope for that, you're probably just going to need to go get a drive that's the same size or larger. :( PS: not all drives of a certain capacity are the 'same size', so either aim for the exact same make/model, or a different model of a larger capacity. –  Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Jan 20 '10 at 22:44
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The physical disk size does not seem to be the issue, at least not any more. It is the partition size that matters.

I just installed a clean copy of Windows 7 onto a 256 GB disk, but deliberately created a C partition of 40 GB during install. Afterwards I updated the system, installed drivers etc, and then made a backup with the built-in utility. Then shut down the machine and replaced the 256 GB HD with an empty 64 GB one. Booted with the Windows 7 rescue CD, and it just restored everything fine. The resulting C drive was 40 GB again.

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Before I try to mess up with an XML file that describes the disks' and partitions' sizes of the backed up machine, I'm giving Acronis True Image a go.

Thus far, I've downloaded the trial version, installed it to get access to the "Bootable Media Rescue Builder", created Acronis recovery CD, loaded it on the notebook which I'm trying to restore on and so far, it allowed me to pick just the .vhd file of the backup (Windows Restore, on the contrary, requires the path to a folder where the backup resides and will take many more files into consideration than just the .vhd file) and it seems to be doing the restore into partitions that I've newly created.

It's looking promising, I'll report back how it will have gone.

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Nice - I had heard that they had added more VHD-specific stuff to the latest version(s), so if it does that for ya based on the image you already made, then that's another slick feature in an already handy product. :) –  Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Jan 21 '10 at 3:32
    
Hmm, it did the restore over night but when I try to boot, I get the infamous "bootmgr is missing" error. Tried a few obvious fixes but no joy yet. –  Borek Jan 21 '10 at 7:35
    
Crappy, you might be able to do a "repair my computer" by booting from your Windows disk. –  Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Jan 21 '10 at 21:43
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