Avoiding System Image Backup or Restore Failures
Despite all of the detail available here in this guide or elsewhere on the web, it’s possible that you’ll have at least one complication in the process of a Windows 7 system image restore. In our experiences with the Windows 7 Backup and Restore tool, we’ve learned several important lessons to avoid a failed backup/restore because of one critical error:
The system image restore failed. 0x80042403
This is the most basic of image restore failures, and also one of the easiest to overcome. The error message “The system image restore failed. 0x80042403” will usually generate a large dialog box with several suggestions to resolve the problem, but Microsoft’s syntax leaves even the most experienced technician confused. The solution is really quite simple: the destination drive is of a lower capacity than the image’s source drive. You will either need to provide a larger destination drive, or shrink the volume partitions prior to creating the restore image.
For example, on a new Dell Vostro computer system there were two partitions on a 500GB hard drive: one 10GB restore partition and another 490GB system partition. The goal was to create a system image and restore it onto a 60GB Solid State Drive. Even though the source disk contained only 30GB of data total (which would also become the size of the system image), each partition on the source disk needed to be resized using the Shrink Volume function. Keep in mind that each partition you shrink must maintain up to 1GB of free remaing space, so the do not shrink up to the full allowed amount.
The system image restore failed. No disk that can be used for recovering the system disk can be found.
This error message offered several possible solutions, suggesting that the external drive may have been seen ahead of the destination drive or that there is a problem with the system image. After several hours or troubleshooting and re-creating backup images, it was discovered that the Windows 7 system image was remembering the partition size of the source disk. On this particular system, the original source disk was a 320GB hard drive, and the destination was a 128GB Solid State Drive. This is where some careful planning and attention to detail come into play.
You may recall my advice earlier in this article (you read the whole article, right?), in which I suggest that to use the Shrink Volume features available in the Windows 7 Disk Management tool (inside Computer Management) and reduce the size of all primary drive partitions down to their smallest size possible. In this particular instance, I was able to reduce the 320GB hard drive partition size down to approximately 9.2GB, but decided on 10GB since it allowed some room for unexpected growth. The restore-to drive (a 128GB SSD) must equal or exceed capacity of the original drive partition (now resized down to 10GB) used to create a Windows 7 system image, and the partition can always be expanded using the Extend Volume feature.
This time around, the system image restore process was successful. After the system automatically restarted, I was able to access the Windows Disk Manager tool and increase my partition size from 10GB to the full amount possible (119.14GB). To open Windows Disk Manager, either right-click on the My Computer icon and choose Manage, or click the Start button → Control Panel → System and Security → Administrative Tools and then select Computer Management. If you’re prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation. In the left pane, under Storage, click Disk Management and then choose the current volume. Right-click and choose Extend Volume.
Error: The parameter is incorrect. 0x80070057
Many of the errors you might encounter will be outside the scope of this guide. For example, if you receive “The system image restore failed. Error details: The parameter is incorrect. 0x80070057” during the Windows 7 system image restore process, there are several problems that might cause the issue. For example, RAID arrays created on an Intel ICH chipset record data to the MBR of the joined drives, and Windows 7 Backup and Restore may not recognize this data when it creates a system image. Another example is if software was installed to a partition that resides off of the primary disk.