Windows: Restore a System Image to smaller disk


I’ve stumbled upon this error when fixing my GF’s computer. Nowadays almost all servers on work environment are virtualized, so you can change the hardware atributes freely. But at home the story is different: you only have a handfull of hardware, and that’s it! No chance to mess around with terabytes of free space.

To make things clear: the builtin System Image tool of Windows (Vista/7/8,server2008/R2) will not restore to a smaller disk. It will always require a destination disk of the same size or bigger. Well, when you need to restore a system image it means something is really wrong with your PC, right? And this is a pretty dumb requirement, as most of the time the first part of a computer to die is the Hard Disk.

What leads me to my final situation: a dead hard-disk and a useless system imagem. I installed everything a few months ago on a 500gb HDD. Yesterday it started giving me bad sectors, so I picked up an older 320gb HDD I had unused, changed it, and tried to restore. Only to find this ridiculous requirement. Now I’m forced to install it all over again. And I won’t trust MS builtin tools for backup anymore. And I was thinking that Windows finally was “good enough” with the 8th version….

More links on the subject: windows 8 the system image restore failed disk too small. Some people listed work-arounds for Windows 2008 server. Not worth to a desktop.

cya! And take your backups with something else!


About mauriciorpp

Hi, I am Piccolo - but not the one from Dragon Ball. I'm from a highly competitive and fast-paced world too, the IT industry, and this space will be used to share some challenges I face daily on my career. As you will see, I don't do brawls but I need to be a fighter! Stay tuned.
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2 Responses to Windows: Restore a System Image to smaller disk

  1. Lewis says:

    I’m from NZ and we use an Australian product a lot here, by the name of ShadowProtect. It’s ideal for what you’re trying to do and has an option to do a hardware independent restore to a smaller drive 😉

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