Windows Server 2012 Essentials includes a feature called Client Restore, that allows the user to perform a bare metal restore of their client computer that was backed up to Windows Server 2012 Essentials. There are two ways to get the Client Restore image, one is via the Essentials Dashboard where the user gets to create the Client restore image into a USB Flash drive. He can then boot the failed client into the flash drive that contains the client restore image and recover his system. The other option is to download the Client recovery ISO from the Microsoft Download site and burn it on to a DVD or a USB Flash Drive and use that to boot the failed client system and perform the restore.
What we have done in Dell is unique, we have customized the Client Restore Image that is part of the OS media and have added the language packs into it. This gives an added advantage to the user and when they create the Client Restore image from the Essentials Dashboard the Client Restore image will be a multilingual image. Once the user boots the client restore image he will be shown a screen asking which language he want to run the restore wizard and based on the language chosen the restore wizard will load in that language.
Below are detailed steps on how to create a Client Restore USB Flash Drive and how to us it t on a client system to perform a restore of the client system.
1. Open the Essential Dashboard and navigate to “Devices”, under the Device task section click on “Customize Computer Backup and File history settings”
2. Click on the Tools tab and then click the “Create key” button under Computer recovery
3. In the Create a bootable USB Flash drive Insert a formatted USB Flash Drive into the Server, preferably a 1GB or greater drive and click Next
4. In the Prepare the USB Flash drive screen, select the USB Flash drive that you connected from the dropdown list.
5. Once the correct Flash drive is selected, check the below box that says “I understand…” and click the Next button.
6. The next screen will start to prepare the flash drive and this operation will take some time, so please wait.
7. You will see the message “Bootable USB Flash drive was created successfully”, this means the Client recovery key has been copied to the Flash drive.
8. Navigate to the USB Flash drive and see if the below files have been copied successfully.
This now complete the process of creating the Client recovery key on a USB Flash Drive. Next we will see how to boot a client system with this key and restore it to a working backup.
9. Connect the USB Flash Drive into a client system and boot into the BIOS to set the Removable media as the first boot device or press the F11 Key at POST on a Dell system to load the BIOS Boot manager.
10. In the Boot manager screen, select the USB Flash Device (Seen as Removable Media) and press Enter.
11. Wait for the “Windows Boot manager” screen to load, here select the restore image that you want to boot into. Either x86 or x64 based on the OS type already installed on the system.
12. Wait till the system boots into the Recovery Image, this will take some time.
13. Once you boot into the recovery image, the first screen you will see is the Language selection screen. Here select the language of your choice.
Note: Once a language is selected you cannot change to a different language. If you need to change, restart and boot back into the recovery image again.
14. System will start to initialize the restore media and will open the System restore wizard.
15. Choose your region and keyboard settings and click Contiune.
16. Click Continue to proceed further.
17. Click next in the “Full System Restore Wizard” screen
18. The next screen list all the Windows Server 2012 Essentials server that are available in your network. From the drop down, choose the server that holds your client backup and click Next.
19. Enter your username and password and click Next
20. Once your username and password is validated you will be asked to select your computer that you want to restore, choose the computer from the list and click Next.
21. The next screen shows all the successful backup available for the selected computer, choose the backup that you want to restore and click next.
22. This screen allows you to do a full restore or select a volumes that you want to restore, choose the option you need and click next.
23. This screen shows the volumes that you had selected, confirm and click next to start the restore operation.
24. Full system restore has started, this operation will take some time depending on the size of the restore image.
25. System restore is complete, you can now click on finish and the client computer will reboot and boot back into the restored OS image.
26. If for some reason the system fails to restore this backup, then reboot back into the restore media and choose another backup from the list and proceed.