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Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials Client Restore Does Not Work

Posted on 2016-08-08
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Last Modified: 2016-08-25
My Client Restore feature is not working on my 2012 R2 Essentials server.

When I try to create a "computer recovery key" I get the message "The bootable USB flash drive could not be created." "After you fix the issue, try again."

I have another server set up in a test environment and it creates the key.

I tried using that key to do a client restore on the working server, but the restore fails.

I have also tried to do a client restore using the boot from LAN on the client PC. But it fails saying that it can't find the server. I know that is connected to the server because the PC was on the server and I simply turned it off, replaced the hard drive and turned it on again.

The server appears to be doing all the client backups OK. But I can't get restore to work.

I have been unable to find anything in the error logs that would point to the problem. (I have also rebooted the server)

Does anyone have a possible solution? I don't know anything else to try.
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Question by:jet0654
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Expert Comment

by:Davis McCarn
ID: 41748579
The only hit I got on your error turned out to be a bad sector on the server's hard disk drive.  Look in the event viewer under system for disk and/or NTFS errors.
If you are familiar with SMART, get the free trial of http://www.hdtune.com 's pro version and use it to check the hard drive.
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by:Davis McCarn
ID: 41766869
I appreciate being asked to help resolve this question; but, again, even though my answer was a big step in the right direction, the asker never came back which is a shame.
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by:jet0654
ID: 41766985
Sorry, please accept my apology.

I tried SMART as you suggested, but it found no errors on the hard drive.
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by:jet0654
ID: 41767022
I have been working on a work around solution to the problem. I am backing up the 13 client computers to an external hard drive. This will allow me at least to restore a client PC if the hard drive crashes. The clients are saving their personal documents and files in their personal folder on the server. So I should be able to restore their PC using the external hard drive backup while all their documents and files are still available on the server.

I am suspecting that the problem may be caused by my updating all the client PC's from Windows 7 to Windows 10. To get the PC's on the server after updating to 10 I had to remove them and add them back to the server. They were all backed up to the server again but I wonder if something is not set up correctly after the update to Windows 10.

The main reason I wanted to make sure that I had a good backup for each client PC is that if one crashed I would not have a way to get it restored to Windows 10 without installing a new copy of Windows 10. I could not reinstall Windows 7 and upgrade to 10 since July 29 has passed.
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by:Davis McCarn
ID: 41767432
Once a PC has booted 10 once, it got its license from a Microsoft server and you can reinstall 10 forever.  It will automatically activate when it boots up. So there is no need to start with 7, ever again.

As to the Client restore problem, did you find this:
http://www.mcbsys.com/blog/2014/01/set-up-client-restore-on-server-2012-r2-essentials/
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Author Comment

by:jet0654
ID: 41768609
One question on reinstalling 10.  If I replace a hard drive in a PC, can I reinstall using the  Windows 10 ISO file that I downloaded?

Yes, I have installed Windows PE. When I try to boot to PE from the LAN, the PC does not find the server.

I am getting some fairly consistent errors in the event log. I don't know if they are related.

One for example is Event ID 91, Source: CertificateAuthority:  Could not connect to the Active Directory. Active Directory Certificate Services will retry when processing requires Active Directory access.
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Davis McCarn earned 500 total points
ID: 41768653
One very nice "feature" of the Windows 10 installation files is that, each time there is a major update (Most notably November 2015 and July 2016), those updates are already included in the ISO image or flash drive.  If you haven't already done so, create a new ISO as it will include the anniversary update.

You might want to scan this: https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/sbs/feed/
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Author Comment

by:jet0654
ID: 41770551
I am working on testing restore from Client Computer backup.

I also downloaded the latest Windows 10 installation files.

Thanks for the information about the blog post.

Will update on my progress.
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Author Comment

by:jet0654
ID: 41770573
I finally got a client restore to complete successfully.

I restored over the network and finally got a successful restore.

One major thing you must do is install the LAN driver for the PC you are restoring.

Thank you Davis for you help and patience!
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