Baremetal restore from WHS with no working network driver.

One of our notebooks suffered catastrophic hard drive failure and I needed to do a bare metal restore from Windows Home Server. Thankfully I haven’t fully decommissioned it yet since I haven’t yet found a suitable backup replacement. After a quick trip to my suppliers, who swapped the drive out in less time than it took to drive to them, I popped in the recovery cd and followed the prompts until it got to the driver section. Of course, to prevent things from being too easy, it couldn’t find a network driver. This is apparently not that uncommon since the PE environment is a basic one and can’t support all drivers. No problem, I mount the backup image via the WHS console on a second PC and copy the “Windows Home Server Drivers for Restore” folder onto a USB stick. Pop the USB into the notebook and press scan, still doesn’t find it. I google a bit and find that this is again not that uncommon an issue.

To cut a long story short, the easy answer was to go to my vendors website and download the drivers for the network card. I then extracted the zip and copied the entire contents across to the USB stick. Popped it back in the notebook, scanned for drivers and problem solved. Don’t worry about hunting for the specific driver files, just copy the entire folder over and the restore cd will sort everything out and choose the correct one.

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