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Messing around I managed to wipe out one of my machines. Fortunately, I have rock solid backups with Windows Home Server, which I highly recommend. When disaster strikes, all you need to do is pop in the WHS Restore CD, follow the prompts, and you’re computer comes magically back to life. It truly is that easy.

Having restored machines before, I was on autopilot when I started the restore and was surprised to see that the Restore CD reported that I didn’t have a network card. Oh right, the machine I was restoring has an Intel network card that requires a driver that’s not part of the normal Windows install. No big deal, I opened up my latest backup for the machine and copied the “Windows Home Server Drivers for Restore” directory to a USB key. After telling the Restore to scan my USB key, it didn’t find the network drivers. Without network drivers, you don’t get a restore. I got a different USB key and copied the directory to it. A rescan still didn’t report the network drivers.

I looked at the drivers on the USB key and they were definitely there. There was no way that WHS could fail me! It always worked before. After years of struggling with backups and finally finding a great solution, I was about to panic.

A little bit of web surfing later, I had the DOH! moment. The machine I was restoring had an x64 operating system on it. The Restore CD is a 32-bit version and obviously can’t load the x64 drivers. Downloading the Intel network drivers, I threw the 32-bit drivers onto the USB key and rescanned. If you’re not sure what to put on the USB drive, copy everything from your vendor over. The Restore CD recursively searches for the right .CAT and .INF files so you don’t have to pick through the vendor’s files.

Thirty minutes later, my machine was back exactly where it was at the last backup. Windows Home Server completely rocks! If you aren’t using it, how can you sleep at night?

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