Bare-metal restore is a form of complete disk-image recovery that restores a system to a computer with an empty “bare-metal” disk drive – a disk drive without OS or applications.
Advantages of Bare-Metal Restore
Fast – you avoid a lengthy system configuration process, driver rollout and application installation. If you have a system image, you can reinstall and reconfigure in minutes.
Easy – you don’t need to build your computer’s setup brick-by-brick. Instead, you get the entire house in one easy recovery!
Safe – if your computer is infected by a virus or ransomware, recovering the clean image will get rid of potential sources or the results of infection.
Caveats of Bare-Metal Restore
If you try to recover an entire disk image to a new system that has dissimilar hardware, it may fail to boot. Why is this?
When you install an operating system, the installer analyzes your hardware and configures the OS accordingly by installing the appropriate drivers. When the operating system boots, it only loads the drivers needed for your exact hardware. For some devices, such as graphic cards or sound devices, changing the hardware is not an issue. You can reinstall the drivers when the system loads. However, when it comes to the CPU, motherboard or HDD controller, the driver must match because the system needs these drivers to boot. These devices are boot-critical and the system will not boot without the proper drivers. Consequently, if you create an image on one machine and try to recover it to another system with dissimilar boot-critical devices, the boot may fail since the drivers do not match.
Fortunately, this can be easily fixed by using dissimilar hardware restore technology – Acronis Universal Restore. Available with Acronis Backup products, it can reconfigure your OS without booting by changing settings and injecting and activating drivers to ensure the system boots. This technology lets you restore a disk-image to any dissimilar hardware – even virtual or cloud!
How It Works
After recovering your disk-image as-is, Acronis Universal Restore analyzes the new hardware platform and tunes the Windows or Linux settings to match the new requirements.
Acronis Universal Restore analyzes the change in CPU type and number, and changes the settings of the operating system to match. This ensures that the operating system can utilize multiple CPUs and/or a different number of cores.
Acronis Universal Restore analyzes each machine type and changes the HAL setting of the OS. This is especially important if your new system has a different number of CPUs or is a different CPU brand.
Boot-Critical Hardware Drivers
Acronis Universal Restore analyzes the target hardware and injects all the drivers that are required to boot the operating system. These include SATA, SAS, SAN HBA, SCSI and RAID drivers. This is the most critical part of the process. If Acronis Universal Restore cannot find the appropriate drivers in Windows, you are prompted to provide standard Microsoft drivers. In Linux, it activates the driver modules that are already part of your Linux kernel. Also, Acronis Universal Restore disables all boot-critical hardware drivers that are not needed on the new machine to eliminate compatibility issues.
To ensure network connectivity, Acronis Universal Restore injects and activates any required network drivers. On Windows, it disables and removes the configuration of the old network adapters so you don’t need to delete hidden or missing devices when configuring the network.
UEFI-BIOS and MBR-GPT conversions
Many modern computers use the UEFI method of booting the operating system, while virtual servers and older machines predominantly use BIOS. For many UEFI systems, your hard disk is divided with a newer GPT partition layout, the BIOS systems require the old MBR partitioning style. Acronis Universal Restore automatically adjusts the partition layout, boot loader settings and boot configuration. It detects your system’s ability of booting on the target machine’s BIOS or UEFI platform and chooses the appropriate method automatically – no interaction from your side is required. This allows you to restore the image of the original BIOS machine to the UEFI platform as well as the image of the original MBR disk to the GPT, or vice versa.
Bare-metal restore, paired with Acronis Universal Restore, is the fastest method to recover your entire PC or servers to the same or dissimilar hardware. This drastically reduces your RTO and downtime costs, meaning that implementation of a bare-metal restore solution yields a positive ROI after a single recovery.