Rebuilding the Windows Operating System


You can rebuild the Windows operating system in the event of a disaster.

Before You Begin

  • Install Microsoft .NET Framework 4 on the client computer. This is not required if the client computer has Windows 2003 or Windows XP.

  • On a Windows 2003 Server, restore to the same platform that you used for performing the backup. For example, You cannot do a full system restore on an x64 platform if you are using a 32-bit Agent for backup.

  • For a non-authoritative restore of Windows cluster, note the following:

    • If you are restoring a cluster node running SQL or Exchange servers, see the Microsoft disaster recovery documentation for restoring SQL and Exchange servers before restoring the node.

    • When you are recovering primary node, turn off all cluster nodes except the primary node to be recovered.

  • Windows operating system must be installed on the same directory as that of the original computer; otherwise, full system restores will not work. For computers that have been upgraded to Windows Vista and later, the operating system must be installed on the WINNT directory.

  • Make sure that the computer has the same fully qualified network name as the original. Match the general hardware configuration (i.e., IDE, SCSI) and the local disk drive to the original computer.

  • The destination host name or the server name must be same as the source server name.

  • Make sure the disks drives can accommodate the quantity of data being restored.

  • The CommCell Console requires 256 colors to run. When you open the CommCell Console on a rebuilt computer, you may need to install the correct video driver to increase the color depth of the client computer or run the console from another computer.

About This Task

If the operating system of your client is corrupted, you need to re-build the operating system.

During the rebuild you will be prompted for the following system information. Since the computer will be down during the operating system rebuild, you may not be able to access necessary information about the system. It is important to record such information before a disaster occurs.

System Information

How to Get It

Windows Operating System

Use Windows installation discs, CD, required service packs and hotfixes to install the Windows operating system.

Windows File System Agent

Use Windows File System Agent installation disk to install the Windows File System Agent.


Use the Disk Management utility to record the volumes and sizes of the hard drives in the system, which are needed to recreate the disk configuration in case of hard drive failure. Hard drives must be configured before restoring System State or file system data.

Computer name

Use the same computer name and avoid changing other configuration settings.

Network Interface Card configuration and settings

  1. Click Start | Programs | Accessories | System Information.

  2. In the System Information dialog box, click Components | Network |Adapter.

  3. Note down the Network Adapter and Drivers information.

TCP/IP Settings

On the command prompt give following commands:

  • hostname - Note down the fully qualified network name

  • ipconfig - Note down the IP address, Subnet mask, TCP/IP domain name for the network, IP address of the domain name server (DNS) settings.

Video settings

Note down the video settings if the resolution and color depth are important.

Domain information

Note down the domain in which this computer resides.

Domain password

Note down this information if you are restoring a domain controller.

Local admin password

Note down this information to log on to the computer once it is restored.


  1. Rebuild the system hardware if necessary.

  2. Configure hardware devices such as disk arrays and ensure connectivity to all drives.

  3. Using the instructions provided with the software, install Windows operating system and include any previously installed service packs and hotfixes.


    • Do not install IIS Services. These services will be restored automatically during the restore.

    • Do not include the server in the domain. Keep it in the workgroup.

  4. Format and partition the hard drives to match their previous configurations.

    Note: When recreating partitions, you can browse the backup data to determine the previous size of the partitions. When you browse the backup set, each drive letter will have its size noted in the browse window.

  5. If the client was installed with a fully qualified domain name, perform the following tasks. Otherwise, skip to the next step.

    • Change the computer name to the fully qualified domain name to avoid a naming resolution conflict when the client is restored.

    • Add the IP address and the fully qualified domain name and a short name of the Client, MediaAgent and CommServe server to the host file of the client in the following format:

      <ip address> <fully qualified domain name> <short name>

      Until the DNS server is restored, there is no domain name resolution and the client will be unable to communicate with the CommServe server and MediaAgent computers unless this information is added to the host file.

      Similarly, add the CommServe server, MediaAgent and client names and their IP addresses to the host file of the MediaAgent, and CommServe server when restoring a Domain Name Server.

  6. Enable and configure TCP/IP support.

  7. Configure the Network Interface Card(s).

    Ensure that the Network Interface Card used is the first card listed in the network binding order when restoring a client with multiple Network Interface Cards.

  8. Run the following command to verify network communications between the client computer and the CommServe server:

    ping <CommServe name> 
  9. Run the following command to verify network communications between the client computer and the MediaAgent:

    ping <MediaAgent name>
  10.  Install the Windows File System Agent all applicable updates on the default install partition of the client computer.

    Note: If you are restoring the domain controller, restart the computer in Directory Services Restore Mode (DSRM) after installing the Windows File System Agent. After the full system restore operation completes, restart the computer in normal mode.

  11. Disable backup jobs on the client.

    1. From the CommCell Browser, right-click the <Client> and select Properties.

    2. Click the Activity Control tab.

  12. Clear the Enable Backup check box and then click OK. This will disable backup jobs for the client and any scheduled backup jobs for the client will not start during the full system restore.