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It’s blog post titles like the above that make me really want to re-evaluate my career choice, sell up and bugger off round the world on a 2 year trip using only smoke signals to communicate to the rest of the world…

Anyway – to the issue in question!

I’m basically going to tell you how you can restore a SBS 2011 Essentials Backup on an external USB, to a VM running on Server 2012 Hyper-V, but more importantly, where you might get tripped up along the way, choosing the seemingly obvious path.

Some of you may have small business customers using SBS 2011Essentials (or standard), and if you’re a small shop like us, you may have hit upon the idea of a Hyper-V loan server, to use in times of disaster when the clients’ physical servers fall over.  Restoring a BMR backup to a loan Hyper-V server is a really neat, easy way to support lots of differing hardware.  At least when it goes according to plan…

This latest incident has had me stumped for days – especially as I performed the same recovery a few months ago, (and have since later learnt that I happened to use the solution by chance accidentally during the initial incident).  Basically, the long and short of it, and insane stumbling block, is that you need to use Server 2008 R2 64bit DVD media for the recovery, NOT the SBS 2011 Essentials DVD media, despite them being based on the same recovery environment.  It may be a bug, or an evil trick left behind, but you would never know from the errors you encounter. (Technically SBS 2011 Essentials isn’t licensed to be run as a VM, though SBS 2011 Std is with the Premium add-on, and all versions of 2012 are OK).

So:

1. Create a new HyperV VM for the server to be restored from backup – do not install an OS, and configure networking as per suitable for your hardware (use of Virtual Switch recommended).

2. Important – by default the VHDX file will by dynamic and not big enough – immediately edit the disk, and expand to size bigger than the whole when server restored.  If you do not do this, you will encounter the somewhat unrelated error:
“No disk that can be used for recovering the system disk can be found”
when attempting the actual recovery.  Solution found here:
http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_7-system/no-disk-that-can-be-used-for-recovering-the-system/e855ee43-186d-4200-a032-23d214d3d524

3. Plug the backup drive into the Host Hyper-V server.  Ensure you remove any drive letters, and then mark it as offline in the Host server’s disk management console.

4. In the VM’s settings, now got to the SCSI controller, and highlight hard drive in the box, before clicking add, to attach the USB drive to the new VM.

3. In the VM’s settings, set the CD to be at the top of the boot order, in order to boot from the DVD media.

6. Insert the Server 2008 R2 Std 64 bit media into the Host’s DVD drive.  Do not use the SBS 2011 Essentials DVD media.  Also, despite it being a Hyper-V 2012 host, the Server 2012 media will not work for the restore to the VM.

6. Connect to the VM, then power it on, tapping the space bar to ensure the bare/blank VM boots from the DVD media, then after entering setup, and choosing regional options, choose to repair the computer, then restore from image.

*** See below for what happens when you use incorrect media, if you like to hear of others’ pain.  Hopefully it may be of some use for others Googling this issue.

7. Your backup image should now have been picked up by the Recovery Wizard – select latest, and choose to wipe/format all disks and perform full recovery.

8. Wait for the blue bars to go past, reboot, and away you go…

restoreaway

***  This point is where the DVD media makes the difference. Should you have been foolishly attempting to use the correct SBS 2011 Essentials media , you would now have been spending hours/days tearing your hair out, wondering why you were not able to see the USB backup drive.   You might have Googled the various 0x00^&*%^&* errors and messages you were now encountering, coming across other seemingly useful articles like this:
http://www.backupassist.com/blog/support/how-to-restore-a-server-2008-image-backup-to-a-new-hyper-v-vm-from-nas/

http://blogs.technet.com/b/askcore/archive/2009/02/04/windows-server-backup-2008-restore-from-network-location.aspx

After going mad wondering why I couldn’t see the drive, some other articles told me that USB pass through wasn’t possible when the VM was booted from DVD media (possibly directed at older versions of Hyper-V in reality).  These articles led me down the path of attaching the USB drive to the host server, creating a backup share with full permissions from the USB drive, and attempting to connect to the Backup share via a UNC path  \\Hyper-Vhost\Backup  and also trying IP address of server.

Now I was getting the likes of:
“The Network path was not found”
leading me to believe I was on the right path at least…although the incorrect path at the same time, as it were.

networkpath

This had me replacing the NIC adapter in the VM with the Hyper-V legacy NIC driver, to allow comms to the Hyper-V host from the VM.

Finally I was getting to a Windows Credential prompt, indicating I was successfully finding the backup media – but for the life of me I couldn’t get them to take, now  encountering the enlightening error:

“An internal error occurred while enumerating backup sets”
Promising articles I found included
http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/windowsserver/en-US/d89d653a-3b80-43d4-945f-1478f8bcd39b/an-internal-error-occurred-while-enumerating-backup-sets

Posts suggesting backup corruption (this would have been very bad at this point) were investigated, until I finally altered the path to include the \\Hyper-Vhost\Backup\WindowsImageBackup folder itself.

Bingo – my credentials were accepted!!  But wait – I’m straight back to the backup image selection box, without the image selected, and with no error!!

It was at some point here that I remembered – on my original successful attempt performing a similar restore some months earlier, I had used Server 2008 R2 64bit media, as I didn’t have the Essentials media to hand.

I re-attached the USB drive directly to the VM, and started again, booting from the Server 2008 R2 64bit media. Whilst visually nearly identical this time the results were the opposite.  The image popped up straight away, as attached to the local machine.  I selected it, and apart from the VHDX size error detailed in step 2., everything went perfectly.

foundtheimage

Afterwards, I replicated the results with some other SBS 2011 Essentials DVD media, so can say for definite that this is the issue.  I hope this helps some other poor soul…

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