Hardware-related questions about Complete PC Restore

We’ve seen a lot of questions about restoring Complete PC Restore images to different hardware. Here are some answers to the common questions.

Q. Can you restore a Complete PC Backup image to a smaller drive if the amount of space used in the initial backup is smaller than the smaller disk?

A. The backup can be restored only if: 

  • At least the same number of hard drives are present, and 
  • Each disk is at least as big as the disk it replaces.

Here are some examples to illustrate this:

Working examples

During backup                                 During restore
1x100GB drive                                 1x100GB drive
1x100GB drive                                 1x200GB drive
1x100GB drive                                 1x200GB drive, 1x80GB drive
1x100GB drive, 1x200GB drive         1x100GB drive, 1x200GB drive
1x100GB drive, 1x200GB drive         2x200GB drive

Non-working examples

During backup                                  During restore
1x100GB drive                                  0 drives*
1x100GB drive                                  1x80GB drive
1x100GB drive                                  1x80GB drive, 1x40GB drive
1x100GB drive, 1x200GB drive          1x500GB drive
1x100GB drive, 1x200GB drive          1x100GB drive, 1x160GB drive
1x100GB drive, 1x200GB drive          1x500GB drive, 1x80GB drive

*possibly due to no drivers loaded in Windows Recovery Environment (RE)

Q. Are they any limitations on restoring from PATA to SATA drives, or other physical drive requirements?
A. No, there are no limitations with regard to the interface as long as the drivers are there.

Q. Why doesn’t Windows Recovery Environment (RE) recognize the external USB hard drives that were present during the backup?
A. If Windows RE does not have the driver for the hard drive, then the drive won’t be recognized. To load the driver, you can use Drvload.exe, located in X:windowssystem32 in Windows RE. Drvload.exe needs to be run on the .inf file of the driver. (You can find more information about Drvload.exe here.) In Windows Vista SP1, we are adding the option to load drivers from Complete PC Restore to simplify this procedure.

Q. Can you restore a 32-bit backup to a 64-bit system and vice versa?
A. Restoring a 32-bit backup to a 64-bit system would cause your computer run the OS as 32-bit, of course. An attempt to restore a 64-bit backup to a 32-bit machine will fail, as would be expected.

Q. How do I know that my Complete PC Backup image is burned correctly to CD or DVD?
A. To guarantee your backup media was burned properly, Complete PC Backup always verifies the data written to the media. If Complete PC Backup doesn’t ask you to insert media with the same number, the disc is readable on that machine and that drive.