Image restore broken in Windows 10 1709 “Fall Creators Update” (and Hack Solution)

(I found a hack to get this image to restore- I added it at the bottom)

This bit me pretty bad this week- if you use the older version of windows backup and take an image snapshot of your windows 10 pc- the latest version of windows will make the image, but this image WILL NOT restore correctly. The restore operation will fail with a message about the volume shadow copy service- specifically:

The system image restore failed.

Error details: A Volume Shadow Copy Service component encountered an unexpected error. Check the Application event log for more information.

I attempted to make a system restore drive using an older version of windows 10 to see if that would allow it to restore my 1709 based image- but this *also* failed. So the problem appears to be with the image and not with the image restore process/sofware.

I’ve also read that this only affects UEFI based systems- if you run on MBR it should still be able to restore the drive.

This makes me wonder if the image would be able to restore if I had only taken an image of the main data drive and not included the EFI/boot partition(s) in the image? (Update below covers this)

I can link to the *many* discussions online about this but simply google 1709 image restore and you will see them. I also chatted with a tech at the microsoft store and he said they are well aware of the issue, and trying to escalate it to get it resolved, but no luck so far.

This really is about the worst thing you can have go wrong- as in my case, my system died and I tried to restore from an image I had taken some days prior. And when it failed… this means I will have to fully load up windows with all the ensuing updates (taking a big part of a day), and then try to remember what applications I had installed, reinstall all those, and then copy over all my individual user files from a backup drive. And hope nothing is missed or timestamps messed up in the copy, etc etc. a HUGE headache that is winding up costing me nearly a week of productivity, when this image restore would have just had me back up in running in a few hours instead. Pretty much the worst thing to have go wrong with an OS, and Microsoft doesn’t even seem to understand yet that it’s broken.

Since my original post, I tried a bunch of things that would simply not work, but finally found something that did: Use Macrium Reflect to restore the data drive from the windows backup image. I initially tried restoring all the partitions from the windows restore using Macrium, but this never would work- I finally would up using a default windows install with all the updates, and then just replace the c drive partition with the one from the windows backup. Steps roughly are:

  1. Install windows and run all the updates
  2. Install macrium reflect- take a snapshot of this install for “just in case”
  3. Open Disk Management, and Action, Attach VHD
  4. Navigate to where the VHDX files from your windows image backup are. Select the one with the windows files- usually just the “biggest” vhdx file.
  5. Use Macrium to do a image backup of this partition, and save the MCIMG file as the new macrium version of the original vhdx backup file. Use an external drive.
  6. Create a system restore drive from macrium.
  7. Boot this restore disk, then locate the macrium image on external drive and use it as the source.
  8. *pay attention* – drag the main windows drive partition from the source to the same spot on the destination drive. We want to only overwrite the windows drive (c: usually) and none of the other partitions.

After this, I rebooted and it needed another reboot and finally showed the login screen. I won’t go over how many other iterations I tried of this before finding the right one, but let’s just say that’s a lot of ways to make this *not* work. Namely, don’t bother trying to restore all the partitions from the windows restore- I did this and it just didn’t work. Seems like it would, and maybe it would for you, but not here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *