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Windows 7 Quick Restore using Boot from VHD

In Windows 7 Microsoft have significantly improved on the built in Backup and Restore capability.

One of the great new features is the ability to create a System Image (and recovery disk) from the Backup Console. This basically creates a snapshot of your partitions and stores them on an external hard drive or DVD, the idea being that should you wish to either restore your entire system to an original state or recover from a system failure you can quickly restore the entire partition.

What you may NOT know about the System Image backup is that is actually creates a VHD file of each of your partitions. The VHD is located under a folder called Backup <Date> in the WindowsImageBackup folder on your removable media.

The other great new feature with the Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 Bootloader is that it has the capability to boot from VHD, this means that if you need to quickly access something in your backup image you can just boot from the VHD and access it.

To configure the Boot from VHD option, copy the VHD file to a local hard drive and rename it to something short like Win7.vhd (as the backup name is a long name). For the purposes of this blog lets place the file in C:\VHD.

Open a command windows and execute the following commands :

  • bcdedit /copy {current} /d “Windows 7 Backup Image”

where “Windows 7 Backup Image” is the name you wish to see from your boot menu


  • bcdedit /set <GUID> device vhd=[C:]\vhd\Win7.vhd

where <GUID> is the GUID generated in the previous command

  • bcdedit /set <GUID> osdevice vhd=[C:]\vhd\Win7.vhd

and presto. Reboot you machine and you should be prompted with a boot menu that has the additional boot option in it to boot the VHD.

If you are doing this for a Windows Server 2008 (or 2008 R2) image then you may want to add the following as well :

  • bcdedit /set <GUID> hypervisorlaunchtype auto

this will ensure that you are able to use the Hyper-V functionality in Windows Server 2008.