Alrighty then, here’s my predicament:
Last week I started getting little messages from my computer that one of the hard drives in my RAID array was failing (I have 2 250GB drives in a RAID 0 array). It didn’t look like I would be able to save it, so since I’m running Vista Ultimate, I used their Complete PC Backup and Restore feature to back up my entire hard drive onto an external USB drive; programs, settings, files – the whole shebang. I ended up with a .vhd file of almost 180 GB.
I settled the issue with my hard drive, built another RAID array, reinstalled Vista, yada, yada, yada, and went to restore the whole shebang. But Vista said, “Backup file? What backup file? I don’t see no backup file.”
Now, you gotta understand what’s in the backup file that I stand to lose. Not just your typical personal stuff like irreplaceable documents, photos, videos, my iTunes library (including the applications I bought for my iTouch), financial info, several GBs of Disney park music I’ve collected over the past year and was in the process of burning to CD, but also hundreds of buckaroonies worth of downloaded software that I don’t have physical disks for. “Well, why didn’t you back that stuff up?” you may ask. “Shut up,” I may answer. “I did back that stuff up, but now I can’t access it.”
I did some research on the problem, and found scads of people saying how wonderful Complete PC Backup and Restore is, and how easy it is to use, and I began feeling like an abject failure because I couldn’t do it. Then I started reading comments by people who were having the same problem as I was, so I perked up.
A couple of the options suggested:
Download and install Microsoft Virtual Server 2005, which has a feature called “Vhdmount” which, when coupled with a certain registry hack written by a MS engineer, allows you to mount the .vhd file as a virtual drive, from which you can access whatever files you want. I couldn’t make it work.
Use a program called WinImage, which also allows you to access and extract individual files with a .vhd file. It crashes on me every time I try to use it. There’s also an option for restoring a virtual hard drive to a physical drive; I get an unexplained error when I attempt this.
Download and install Microsoft Virtual PC, install a virtual machine, and mount the .vhd file as a secondary drive, from which you can extract whatever files you may want. Unless I’m doing something wrong (which is very probable), the maximum secondary drive capacity is 127 GB, and as I mentioned, mine is larger than that.
So that’s my need for a CD. Best-case scenario is a complete restoration from the backup file, but if that’s not going to be possible, I’d like to be able to pull certain files and folders out and salvage as much of my shit as I can.
So, Loyal Reader…any suggestions?