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ADSM/TSM Network Backup for Windows: Restoring an Entire Hard Drive

This page explains how to restore a whole hard drive with ADSM for Microsoft Windows.

Note added March, 2009: We have seen several cases where people have restored files from one Windows PC to another Windows PC (both of which use NTFS file systems) and then they can not access the restored files or folders on the new PC, even if they are logged in on an administrator account. Our Windows guru says the problem is small but important difference between the administrator accounts on the two PCs.

This IBM Support page, How to take ownership of a file or a folder in Windows XP, explains how to fix this. While the page is specific for Windows XP, it also applies to Vista.

Advance Preparation

In order to restore an entire hard drive, you will need to do some planning, first -- before you lose it. Gather the following items:

  1. Your operating system's original install CD. Make sure you have the license code with it or it will be useless.
  2. Make a Startup Floppy Disk on this computer. Keep this floppy disk with the operating system CD.
  3. Write down your computer's TCP/IP settings. An easy way to get these is to open a DOS window and enter either ipconfig or winipcfg.
  4. A CD-R or Zip disk containing:
    1. The full install file for the ADSM/TSM client program that you use to back up this computer.
    2. The full install file for your favorite web browser; it may come in handy. (The version of Microsoft Internet Explorer that comes with windows is often not useable out of the box, because you must sign up for MSN Internet service first, and also these browsers are obsolete and filled with unpatched security holes.)
    3. A copy of your file dsm.opt, usually found in the folder C:\Program Files\Tivoli\TSM\baclient
  5. Your disk partitioning information. Open a DOS window and type fdisk. Write down the partition drive letters and sizes on paper.
Keep this "emergency restore kit" in a safe place. If this is a laptop computer, do not keep it in the laptop carrying case, since the most common reason for full restores on laptops is theft of the computer.
The Disaster -- Or The Happy Day
  We hope it never occurs. It could be destruction of the computer due to fire, flood, theft, or swarms of locusts. It could be a hard drive failure. It could be a cyber-virus that wipes everything out, or a biological virus that makes it unsafe to get near it. It might not even be a disaster -- it could be the happy event of upgrading to a newer, faster computer.  
Decide Which Restore Strategy You Want To Employ
  There are two approaches to restoration:
  1. REINSTALL software from new or original installation materials, and restore only data files and documents. This is probably the preferred method for restoring to a new computer, whether it is to replace a stolen one, or on the happier occasion of upgrading to a new computer.

    This gives you an opportunity to update to newer versions of the Operating System and other application software. This can be much easier if you are restoring to a new computer that came with the Operating System preinstalled along with drivers for that particular machine. This would definitely be the preferred procedure if you are restoring because you have upgraded to a newer, faster, larger computer.

    With this restore method, you will not restore the Windows Registry. As a result, you will need to reinstall all application software that you had before.

    Because your new computer's hard drive is probably much larger than the old, you may have enough space to restore everything from your old computer to a subdirectory on your new computer, so that you don't need to worry about leaving behind anything you might need later. This eliminates the the principal risk of the Reinstall method of restoring, which is that you might forget and leave something behind that you later wanted.

  2. A TOTAL RESTORE of everything like it was before, including all installed software, all device drivers, and the Windows Registry. This will restore you to the same version of the Operating System and the same version of all installed software that you had before. This approach may be preferable if you are restoring to the same computer or one of the same model, such as to recover from a hard drive failure or a virus. With this approach, you will not need to reinstall any application software -- it will all still be installed from before your hard drive crashed.

    This approach will be difficult or it may not work at all, if the computer you are restoring to is a different model from the one you backed up from, due to differences in the drivers configured into the operating system. For instance, if your laptop is stolen and the replacement laptop is a newer model or from a different manufacturer, you will have a difficult time with any total restore method. The Total Restore method is particularly not recommended if you are upgrading to a newer, faster machine.

    This method, the Total Restore method, requires the exact same version of Windows installation CD that was originally used so if you have lost this CD, you cannot use this method. You must use the Reinstall method instead.

Method 1: Reinstall

This procedure installs a new operating system and application software, and then restores your data and document files. This is probably the method you'll use if you're moving from one computer to another computer.

  1. Install the operating system and all desired application software. This may have already been done for you; for instance, new computers typically come from the factory with the OS and much of the other software preinstalled.

  2. Configure TCP/IP as it was before, from the settings you wrote down. UIC's DNS addresses are,, and Reboot. To make sure TCP/IP works, open a DOS window and enter: ping
    It should find and ping the ADSM server several times successfully.

  3. IMPORTANT: If your old computer still exists and if you will be keeping it for your own use or giving it away to a lucky colleague, you must make sure that its IP address is officially changed to something else. If two computers exist in the whole world with the same IP address, they can both malfunction! (Ask your department's REACH representative to make the change; an official change in IP address is necessary because many campus services won't work from unregistered machines and unregistered machines are assumed to be rogue machines and are therefore likely to have their Internet connections cut off.) This warning does not apply if you use DHCP.

  4. Install the ADSM/Tivoli client program, as per the instructions in ADSM . With this method, it need not be the exact same release as you had before.

  5. Locate the dsm.opt file where you saved it, such as on your CD or Zip disk that you created before, and copy it into the baclient folder.

  6. If you had been using Password Generate, where your client program remembers your password and changes it each time, you will need to set a new ADSM password. See the section on Passwords in the install page.

  7. Open the Tivoli Storage Manager client program. You can use either the GUI or Command Line client program, though you will probably find the GUI version easier to use for this type of restore.

  8. Click Restore. (NOT Retrieve!)

  9. You will be presented with a menu. Click the boxed +sign to expand each level. Start with "File Level", which will open you up into a directory tree of all your backed-up files that you can navigate by clicking on the boxed +just like in Windows Explorer.

  10. Check the gray boxes next to the directories that contain your data and documentation files. Typically these will be named "My (something)" but you may have data files elsewhere as well. It is not necessary to try to remember everything, because you have 30 days to go back and get things you forgot. Now click Restore, and when it asks where to restore to, leave the default Original Location checked. It will now start restoring files. If it tries to restore a file that already exists, it will ask you to decide which version you want. You probably want the restored one.

    ALTERNATE STEP: Do this if your new hard drive has enough empty space to hold your entire old hard drive, and you want to restore the whole thing. Check the gray box next to the entire drive that you want to restore. Click Restore. In the Select destination for restored objects window, click the Following location and Restore complete path radio buttons. In the blank space next to Select, type C:\oldpc or whatever folder you want to use to store files from your old computer or drive. Click Restore and it should begin restoring files. Note that this alternate step is not the "total restore" discussed in Method 2, because even though you are restoring all your files, you are still not restoring the Windows Registry. You will still need to reinstall all application programs.

  11. If it says "waiting for files" it is waiting to mount a tape. This can take from 3 minutes to an hour, and it does not mean anything is wrong. If you are restoring a large number of files, expect it to take several hours.

  12. After it restores files from your C: drive, go on to restore any data and document files from D:, E:, etc.
Method 2: Total Restore

This restore procedure is a total restore of the computer you backed up to ADSM to exactly the state it was in when was last backed up before it was stolen, its hard drive failed, or whatever other disaster happened to it. The Operating System and all other software will be installed and configured exactly as they were before. You must have the original Windows Installation CD in order to use this method. While you can use this method to restore your system to a different computer, it might be difficult or impossible to do if the new computer is significantly different from the old one.

  1. You will have a blank, empty hard drive. Boot the startup disk to a DOS A:\ prompt, and run fdisk to partition the drive like it was before. Each partition should be at least as big as it was before, or the restored data might not all fit. Typically, your new hard drive will be larger than your old one, so you can take this as an opportunity to enlarge any partitions that were getting full. This is NOT the time to combine partitions, or change the partitioning in any other way except to make them larger than they were before.

  2. Your hard drive might have had something else on it before.
    At the A:\ prompt, enter format c:
    to reformat your hard drive. This is to avoid having Windows Install try to perform an upgrade installation procedure. You may have to run format and fdisk several times to get a previously-used hard drive partitioned the way you want it.

  3. Install a bare bones Windows system from the Windows install CD, with TCP/IP This is a temporary system just to run the restore, so don't sweat the details, select decorator wallpaper, etc. which would be a waste of time. This system will be overwritten with what you are about to restore, so just make it work. If you lost your Windows CD and you have to borrow one from somebody else, at least make sure it is the same version of Windows. (E.g. Windows 98 SE)

  4. Configure TCP/IP as it was before, from the settings you wrote down. UIC's DNS addresses are,, and Reboot. To make sure TCP/IP works, open a DOS window and enter: ping
    It should find and ping the ADSM server several times successfully.

  5. IMPORTANT: If your old computer still exists, and you will be keeping it for your own use or giving it away to a lucky colleague, you must arrange with your department's REACH person to change its IP address to something else. If two computers exist in the whole world with the same IP address, they will both malfunction! This warning does not apply if you use DHCP.

  6. Download and install the ADSM/Tivoli client program, as per the instructions in ADSM for Windows: Installation.

  7. Locate file dsm.opt where you saved it, such as on the CD or zip disk you saved before, and copy it into the baclient folder.

  8. Determine your NEW computer's name. It may or may not be the same as your old computer's name. (Note that your computer may have a different name even if a new hard drive was installed in an old machine.) Do this by opening Windows Explorer, and:

    Windows 95, 98, Me: Right-click on Network Neighborhood and select Properties. Your computer name can be found under the Identification tab.
    Windows NT, 2000, XP: Right-click on My Computer and select Properties. Your computer name can be found under the Computer Name tab.

    Write this down. We will determine your OLD computer's name in a later step.

  9. If you had been using Password Generate, where your client program remembers your password and changes it each time, you will need to set a new ADSM password. See the section on Passwords, earlier in this document.

  10. Close all other programs and windows, and open the Tivoli Storage Manager Backup Client Command Line. The GUI client cannot be used.

    1. Determine your old computer's name and make sure that the server has files available for restore:
      tsm> query filespace
      (It may at this point ask for a userid and password. Press Enter for the userid and then type your ADSM password when prompted.)
      It may show you several filespaces. You should be able to tell them apart from the "Last backup" dates.

    2. Type the following command (all on one line). Replace "myold" and "mynew" in this command with your actual old and new computer names which you just determined.
      tsm> restore -replace=all -subdir=yes \\myold\c$\* \\mynew\c$\

    This will take several hours, during which you'll see the names of the files fly past as they are restored. If things stop for several minutes, don't worry; it's just mounting the next tape.
  11. WHEN IT FINISHES, DO NOT SHUT DOWN YET. Your system is in an unstable state, and the shutdown process will further destabilize it, especially if it is Windows 95. Do not run any programs, open or close any windows, or do anything else except for the following steps:
  12. Now comes the tough part -- switching the registry back to the one which you restored, replacing the registry of the temporary bare bones Windows system. It's very much like pulling the tablecloth out from under the setting without breaking the glassware. This differs by OS.

    Windows NT, 2000, XP: The Windows System State Data has been restored for you, overwriting it for the bare-bones restore system. No further action is necessary on your part, other than a full reboot.

    Reboot into a Protected Mode Command Line session by:

    1. Power down and wait 10 seconds (Restart is not sufficient.)
    2. Power it on.
    3. At the moment it first beeps, press F8. You must be quick about this. It is OK to basically pound on the F8 key. WHATEVER YOU DO, YOU MUST NOT LET WINDOWS RESTART FULLY, ESPECIALLY NOT WINDOWS 95, or it will wipe out the registry you just restored and your computer may not start or run at all.
    4. Select Safe mode command prompt only

  13. At the C:\> prompt, type:

    Windows 95: The backup registry files which you just restored are called C:\Windows\system.da0and user.da0. Our task here is to switch these backup Registry files, with the real production Registry files, which are called system.dat and user.dat. At the C:\> prompt, type each of the following commands, following each one with the Enter key.

    cd c:\windows
    attrib -r -h -s system.dat
    attrib -r -h -s system.da0   
    <--those are zeros, not Os
    attrib -r -h -s user.dat
    attrib -r -h -s user.da0
    rename system.dat system.daa
    rename user.dat user.daa
    copy system.da0 system.dat
    copy user.da0 user.dat

    Now you should shut down and restart Windows 95.

    Windows 98, Me: The backup registry files which you just restored from ADSM are stored as files like C:\Windows\sysbckup\rb*.cab.
    cd c:\windows\command
    scanreg /restore
    Select the previous registry you want to restore, and then press Enter. The one you want will have a date prior to the loss of your computer or drive, and a properly working registry has the word "Started" next to the date.

    When you receive notification that you restored a properly working registry, press ENTER to restart your computer.

    Windows NT, 2000, XP: You need not do anything else. The System State Data has been restored for you, and will take effect on the next reboot.

  14. All Versions: This step cannot be performed without your original Windows CD.

    Now comes another hard part. The registry and system you just restored from ADSM was configured with device drivers for your old computer, and now it will wake up and discover it is running on a new computer. Microsoft Windows does not take kindly to this type of change, and you may lose access to some devices, such as printers, CD drives, and so on.

    Expect to go through numerous reboot cycles about like this:

    1. Reboot
    2. "Windows has discovered new hardware..."
    3. Install new drivers for new hardware; go to Step a again.

    This is not an infinite loop; you will make progress, although it may take several iterations.

    You can get into trouble with exhausting the supply of interrupts during this process. If that becomes the case, right-click on My Computer, click on Properties, and select the Device Manager tab. (Called Hardware in Windows XP.) You may see duplicates in several classes of devices, some or all of which may have the round yellow exclamation point by them meaning they are not working. Starting with the least vital devices, Remove all of the instances of that device, and then click Refresh, which will make Windows go find the right device and the right device driver. Work your way on through all device classes that have inoperative devices marked.

  15. Once you get the C: drive restored and you get Windows working properly again with its new device drivers, you can restore additional drives D:, E:, etc., using either the Command Line client as above, or the GUI client.
ADSM/TSM Previous:  MS Windows: Restore Files Next:  ADSM Personal Workstation FAQ

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