System Restore Beta Chat Transcript (May 19, 2006)

Chat Topic: Live Chat on System Restore!
Date: Friday, May 19, 2006



Wendy [MSFT] (Moderator):
Thank you for joining today’s chat with the System Restore Team.  We will begin the chat in 5 minutes.  Feel free to start queuing up questions!



Wendy [MSFT] (Moderator):
Welcome to today’s chat with the System Restore Team.  We will try to answer as many questions as we can today. Participants should type their questions, select the “Ask the experts” check box, and click “Send.” Those posts will go into a private queue, from which our experts will draft answers and repost questions in the upper window with their answers. (To confirm: if you selected the “Ask the experts” check box when you posted, you don’t need to resubmit.  

 

I’ll let the experts introduce themselves now.



Wendy [MSFT] (Moderator):
Hi Everyone!  My name is Wendy and I just recently joined the Longhorn/Windows Vista team.  Previously I was part of the R2 and MSN 9.0 Beta Teams.  My job is to see that you BTs get what you need to have the best beta experience ever and we’ve got some great things brewing!  Looking forward to seeing lots of great questions from you!



Amit [MSFT] (Expert):
Hi All! I am the test lead for System Restore and other backup and restore features in Vista.

Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
Hi folks. I’m Dan Stevenson, lead program manager for storage management and backup/restore on the Windows file and storage team.

Folkert Bosl  [MSFT] (Expert):
I’m Folkert Bosl, a PSS Escalation Engineer. I will support SR in the future.

SR testers  [MSFT] (Expert):
Joe Couvillion I am one of the tester for System Restore

Sandeep I am one of the tester for System Restore

Andy Sweet [MSFT] (Expert):
Hi my name is Andy Sweet, and I am a user assistance writer for Windows Vista; we’re in the process of writing the help files for end users that will ship on the box.

 

Eduardo [MSFT] (Expert):
Hello All, I’m Eduardo Laureano, Program Manager for System Restore. I’ve presented the Live Meeting on Tuesday and will be very happy to answer all our questions related to the presentation or any other System Restore question. Thanks for chatting with us!!

Patrick E [MSFT] (Expert):
Hi Everyone, My name is Patrick Elliott, and I just recently joined the Longhorn/Windows Vista test team — my job is to look over some of the great bugs you guys are filing!

Paul Trunley [MSFT] (Expert):
Hi I’m Paul Trunley a developer working on System Restore

 

Jaime Ondrusek (Expert):
Howdy, I’m Jaime Ondrusek, a tech writer in Windows Server User Assistance. I’ll be working with Dan, Eduardo, and others to get you the documentation you’re asking for. This chat will help me know what to write about!

Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Is there any plans to make it possible to backup restore data to recordable DVDs instead of keeping it on HDD ?
A: Great question. The restore data (shadow copy data) is actually a set of blocks and a bitmap (to place them back in the right place), so it would be hard to offload just that part to a DVD. The better solution would be to have System Restore let you roll back system state sitting on a CompletePC Backup image (on DVD or hard disk) — we don’t have that for Vista, but we’re thinking about it for the future.

Amit [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Is it possible to revert the system drive to a specific snapshot from Windows RE? Any API available now?
A: Yes. System Restore is available from WinRE. You can insert the installation CD and choose System Recovery in the lower left hand corner. That should show you a menu that has a link to System Restore.

Standard SR APIs are available (you cannot create/delete a restore points from WinRE).

Paul Trunley [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: ok when i restore the system to a previous point  i will loose all  windows update and office update?
A: Yes, next time you update you’ll get all the updates after the restore point.

Folkert Bosl  [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: What’s new in System Restore?
A: Also the functionality we’ve seen in XP does not differ from what we now have in Vista, also the approach is different.

Instead of using a Filesystem Filter driver that keeps track of the changes made to System files, SR does take advantage of the use of VSS turning it into a more reliable, efficient and robust tool.

 

As you can imagine that was a lot of work for our Developers…

Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: How does your team deal with the grim reality that most people who use Vista on the planet will do it via 500 million or so OEM pre-installed desktops with no significant support mechanisms  and no installable media?
A: Another good question. Most of the OEMs are going to install Windows RE on a recovery partition. That means you can boot into it via F8, and the auto-failover will also work (if a boot failure is detected, it kicks off Startup Repair).

 

The OEMs also have the option of providing a recovery CD (with WinRE and/or their own tools), in the event of a disk failure.

Paul Trunley [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Can I set restore back further? What’s the default?
A: You can restore back to any restore point, older restore points will get deleted as disk space is needed.  There is no fixed maximum age of a restore point.

SR testers  [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Which errors can System Restore fix, which not?
A: System Restore fixes problems by replacing files, so the problem has to be caused by file or registery changes, or changes in other system databases, like COM, WMI, etc

Wendy [MSFT] (Moderator):
For those just joining us, today’s chat is about the System Restore.  To post a question, please type your question, select the “Ask the experts” check box, and click “Send.” That way, we can track which questions we still need to answer.



Eduardo [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: What’s new in System Restore?
A: Well, a lot, I’m glad you ask. We completely redesigned System Restore to cover a lot more recovery scenarios. The main new scenario is the restore in offline mode from Windows Recovery Environment. In terms of infrastructure we leveraged the Volume Shadow copy Service which enables us to be more efficient, reliable and robust. Any specifics you’d like to know about?

Folkert Bosl  [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: How does System REstore in Vista differ than what’s in XP?
A: Also it looks like we doing the same thing like in XP, the approach is totally different. We now use VSS.

The file-system filter component is not longer needed.

One big advantage is, that we now can rollback from WinRE.

Amit [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Could there be an option to use system resotre from the f8 menu? If you cant boot into XP or safe mode it would be very useful.
A: Yes, almost. It available through the WinRE option.

Amit [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: err not xp but vista
A: Answered #7

Paul Trunley [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Will Restore enable burning an image of the system in a certain state (say just after install of “necessary” programs like Office and WLM) so that we can “resture” using our disks?
A: There is a feature in Vista that is similar (CompletePC Backup), it allows you to put a complete image of your system onto a disk/DVD.  However, when restoring it will restore ALL files, including user documents.

Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Most OEMs will not provide media that will boot to Vista Win RE and right now F8 doesn’t access Win RE most of the time I try.  How are most people who have Vista going to be able to access that repair environment?
A: Yes, but most OEMs will provide WinRE on a recovery partition. You can’t get into it via F8 because you’re selfhosting (thanks). The best way to get it right now is via the install media.

 

It would be nice for the user to be able to create their own recovery CD, but for now, we rely on the OEMs and System Builders to provide it. Also, enterprise customers will be able to create their own recovery CDs based on WinRE.

SR testers  [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: After being infected with a small virus in XP, my virus scanner detected a restore point as “being infected”. How will Vista deal with this situation?
A: System Restore is not designed to fix virus problems

Patrick E [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: maybe I’m blind or dumb 😛 … but what is Win RE and PE?
A: Windows RE — Windows Recovery Environment —  Windows PE — Windows Preinstallation Environment 🙂

Amit [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Could there be an option to use system resotre from the f8 menu? If you cant boot into Vista or safe mode it would be very useful.
A: Yes, Answered before (WinRE). You can run SR from Safe Mode.

Eduardo [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Where can I get more information about Windows RE?
A: Charlie, I’ve passed this feedback to the Windows Recovery Environment team about posting their documentation online for Beta testers and OEMs. His team is actively working on it and will have it up soon.

Paul Trunley [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: If I use a application Restore point which was created when I install that application to restore , does it restore the setting modified by that specific application or all the changed setting after the restore point created?
A: It will restore all settings and system files to the values before the restore point was created, not just the changes made by that specific application

Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: What will the new restore capabilities bring to a system administrator in a business environment?  An end to re-imaging broke boxes?  Central management?  Or … ???
A: System Restore itself is pretty much a per-PC solution. The new CompletePC Backup feature lets you make an image backup and restore. Central management is not something we’re providing in Vista, though.

Folkert Bosl  [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Is it possible to to set a “just installed” restore point and can i update this with specific or personalized settings?
A: Hmm, I don’t know if I do understand the questions correctly.

 

–> Is it possible to to set a “just installed” restore point.

This is automatically done whenever a program or driver or update is installed. Certainly you can create one manually if you don’t trust those. These automatically created restorepoints do have automatically created names. You cannot change those.

 

–> can i update this with specific or personalized settings.

If you create one manually you can give it a name. Not more, not less.

Wendy [MSFT] (Moderator):
For those just joining us, today’s chat is about the System Restore.  To post a question, please type your question, select the “Ask the experts” check box, and click “Send.” That way, we can track which questions we still need to answer.



Patrick E [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Can Win PE be used as a repair environment?
A: Win PE is the core of the Windows Recovery Environment, other ISVs have, however built other recovery/repair tools on top of Win PE as well

Folkert Bosl  [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: A vote for Gary’s question, “Can you set a Forever restore point?”
A: No.



Eduardo [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: How efficient is system restore in Vista when it comes to how much drive space it consumes by “monitoring” the hd’s?
A: System

Andy Sweet [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Is there any plans to make it possible to backup restore data to recordable DVDs instead of keeping it on HDD ?
A: If you’re talking about burning a restore point to media, Dan already caught this: for now, we rely on the OEMs and System Builders to provide it. Also, enterprise customers will be able to create their own recovery CDs based on WinRE. 



Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: What about a volume with Bitlocker enabled
A: It works fine. The volume shadow copy infrastructure sits on top of BitLocker, so you can restore a BitLocker volume fine. You just need to unlock it first (WinRE will prompt you).

SR testers  [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: What about a volume with Bitlocker enabled
A: Bitlocker enabled volumes would need to be manually unlocked for restore.

Amit [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: The issue has to do with loss of restore points by booting into another OS and then returning to Vista. I do not think  backporting the Windows Vista infrastructure to Windows XP is a valid/complete  solution.  Ciontinued…
A: The VSS driver on XP is not compatible with the Vista driver. The XP driver deletes the Vista restore points.

Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):