Full PC Restore from Windows Home Server Vail with a USB Flash Drive

The August Preview of Windows Home Server Vail is the gift that keeps on giving.

In this release, there is now a feature that enables you to plug a USB thumb drive into your server and create a bootable drive that contains the necessary software to perform a full system restore of a client PC.

The nice thing about the process is that the thumb drive is created for both 32 and 64 bit PCs meaning that you only need one thumb drive to restore any PCs in your house.  Steps to perform a restore after the creation of the flash drive are largely unchanged from past releases or even WHS v1.

I performed a test restore of my netbook and I’ve included screenshots below of the restore process and the creation of the restore thumb drive.

Windows Home Server “Vail” August Preview–Screenshot Galleries

 

 

 

Windows Home Server Vail now with Mac OS Support

Screen shot 2010-08-14 at 1.21.21 AMWith the exception of having Windows Media Center on the same PC as Windows Home Server, having Mac OS Support has been a top feature request of mine since the announcement of Windows Home Server back in 2007.

Today, this request has been fulfilled. In the August Preview release of Windows Home Server Vail, the Client Connector for Mac OS has been included.

From what I can tell, there is going to be support for backing up a Mac OS client to Windows Home Server by means of Time Machine. (Backup has not yet been implemented in this release.)

Just like its Windows counterpart, there is a Launchpad component that enables users to manage backups, access Remote Web Access and shared folders on the server.

What’s not clear yet is if there will be any method for accessing the Windows Home Server Vail Dashboard on a Mac OS client. Another thing not yet clear is how restores of Mac clients will work. I’m confident that in time we will find out the answers to these questions.

If you are a Windows Home Server Vail beta user and have Mac clients, I highly encourage you to download the August Preview and test the Mac OS Client Connector.

Windows Home Server “Vail” August Preview now available

GreenVailLogo

Today Microsoft has released an updated preview build of Windows Home Server “Vail.”

This build has some very welcome changes and some cool new features. Among these changes and new features are the following:

  • Ability to enable or disable Add-ins at will from within the Dashboard
  • Improvements to the Getting Started tasks
  • New color scheme for the Dashboard, Remote Web Access, and Connect Computer website
  • Client Connector for Mac OS (Yes, you read that right, Mac OS!)
  • Alert Viewer now allows for alerts to be organized based on computer name or severity
  • Server Folders and Hard Drives now includes a summary tab
  • There is now the ability to create a bootable USB flash drive that can be used to restore a client computer
  • Official support for Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1 Betas

However, there are some issues and changes in this build that need to be mentioned up front.

  • For users of a previous release of Vail, you will have to migrate data off of your test server to another PC or external storage device before reinstallation as Drive Extender has undergone more changes making DE drives from previous releases incompatible with the August preview.
  • There is a QFE available along with this build that addresses an issue where saving files to a Vail server may fail when a large amount of data is present on the server. It is advised that this QFE be installed immediately after installing Vail.
  • Storage Check and Repair is broken in this release, as under certain conditions, there may be data loss.
  • If a hard drive goes missing from the storage pool and you attempt to remove that missing hard drive from the storage pool, the removal wizard may inadvertently remove the wrong files from your server.

For the build number curious amongst us, this is build 7657 and is available from Microsoft Connect today. The CRC and SHA1 hashes for the ISO have been posted below along with steps to check the integrity of the downloaded ISO.

Hashes for today’s release:

Volume label: GR0SHSxFRE_EN_DVD

CRC: 0x7D6C61AD

SHA1: 0x051BBC9A1EEF7BEFD9DADD5584EEEB0C81F07AF2

To run MSCDCRC against an ISO file that you have downloaded follow these steps.

  1. Download MSCDCRC to the same folder that you downloaded the Vail ISO to. (Click here to download MSCDCRC)
  2. Open a Command Prompt window and navigate to the folder from Step 1
  3. Type "MSCDCRC InstallDVD.iso" (without quotes)
  4. The integrity check will take a few moments to complete. After the check is complete compare the CRC and SHA hashes to the hashes posted below
  5. If the hashes match then you have successfully downloaded the ISO