How to Restore Windows System State

Windows System State can be backed up using the Attix5 Server Edition, not Desktop and Laptop, and only on Windows Server class operating system. For Windows 2008 and later, System State uses the Windows Server Backup feature of Windows.


Earlier versions of Windows Server use NTBackup for System State. This article does not cover System State using NTBackup as these versions Windows are no longer supported by Microsoft.

Should you require more detail on System State using NTBackup, please see the Windows Plugin User Manual.

Steps to Restore System State

Should you need to restore system state, you should first build a Windows machine of the same operating system version as your backed up machine.

When this has completed, install the Attix5 Server Edition backup client and reconnect to your BackupVault backup account.

You now need to restore the WindowsImageBackup folder for the machine as a file restore. Ideally this should be restored to the original location, so a volume with the same drive letter as the backed up machine.

For example, if the path E:\WindowsImageBackup is present in the restore, make sure you have an E:\ volume present so that you can restore to the original file location.

After the restore process completes, navigate to the WindowsImageBackup directory and then into the ComputerName folder. So if your folder is on E:\ and your server is called Server1, you should be in E:\WindowsImageBackup\Server1.

You will find a file called restore.txt which contains information on how to complete the restore process.

For example:

To restore:

- run combine.bat to assemble VHD

- rename the "RenamedFolder" folder to "Backup 2015-07-17 124151"

- run

    "wbadmin start systemstaterecovery -version:07/17/2015-12:41 -backupTarget:E:"


The first step of this is to run the combine.bat file. It is recommended to do so as an Administrator from command prompt.

Combine.bat reassembles VHD and VHDX files that were split apart for efficiency purposes during the System State Backup.

When the combine.bat completes, rename the RenamedFolder as instructed in the restore.txt file to return the folder to its original name, for example “RenamedFolder” becomes “Backup 2015-07-17 124151”.

At this point the System State restore can now be run.

Note: If your original host was an Active Directory Domain Controller, additional steps are required – see below for details.

Running The Restore

To run the restore, open a command prompt window as Administrator and run the restore command from the restore.txt file, for example:

wbadmin start systemstaterecovery –version:07/17/2015-12:41 –backupTarget:E:

You will be asked to confirm if you want to start the recovery operation, and if you want to continue as the backup is from a different machine from the current one. Answer Y when prompted to both questions.

When the restore completes, you will be prompted to restart – do so and the machine will restart with the restored system state.

Additional Steps for Active Directory Domain Controller Restore

Before restoring system state to a domain controller, the machine on which you will be restoring needs to be able to function as a domain controller.

After restoring data to disk, running the combine.bat and renaming the RenamedFolder to its original name, launch the Add Roles and Features wizard.

You will need to add Active Directory Domain Services and DNS Server. This may require running the wizard more than once, depending on the version of Windows in use.

When ADDS is installed, run the command DCPROMO from command prompt to launch the Active Directory Domain Services Installation Wizard.

You can now work through the wizard, entering any details as these will be overwritten when the system state restore runs.

Take note of the Directory Services Restore Mode Administrator Password as this will be needed when restoring.

You will need to restart to complete the installation.

After restarting, in the start menu go to Administrative Tools and then System Configuration.

Find the Boot page, tick the Safe Boot box and choose Active Directory repair.

 enabled Active Directory Repair

Click OK and restart as prompted.

Boot into Safe Mode to use DSRM, using the Administrator user and entering the Directory Services Restore Mode Administrator Password.

You can now follow the instructions for “Running the Restore” above.

When completed, re-open System Configuration and un-tick the Safe Boot option.


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