Friday, August 26, 2022

VMware Workstation - Windows 10 Restore to VM Fails - Incorrect Guest OS



When I back up a customer's system I use Backup and Restore (Windows 7) that's built into Windows 10 to make a vhdx copy of the current partition layout. This affords me the ability to back up a single file to either a network share or an external hard drive in little time. The server versions of Windows allow you to use the same application however you can store more than one backup at a time. That's to say the Pro versions of Windows 7, 8.1, and 10 will only allow you to store one image at a time. Tomorrow it'll overwrite the previous backup, etc.

I can then keep an untouched full backup of the customers system for 30 days or so.

In this weird instance the physical machine here is an Acer Veriton. What makes this interesting is that UEFI was enabled and secure boot was disabled on this system when I got my hands on it. I'm guessing at one point or another it did have secure boot enabled from the factory (possibly a Windows 8 machine upgraded to 10?) and someone disabled it. It's running Windows 10 Pro 21H2.

Usually what I'll do with a customer machine is run Windows Backup and Restore (Windows 7) and tell it to just image the C:\ drive. The option is called "Include a system image of drives". Once the backup completes you're left with a vhdx image of the C:\ drive that you can easily restore if a hard drive fails, etc. The only caveat here is that if the drive was a 512gb drive then you can only restore to a 512gb or larger drive.

Now a restore should be straightforward and uneventful. In the case of virtualizing a machine you would create a new VM, choose Windows 10 x64, create a new HDD and either match the HDD size to the original or make it larger, and boot to the Windows ISO. Go through the Windows restore process as detailed in this post and reboot. That should be the end of it to virtualize or restore a machine.


Circle back to the UEFI setting. When creating a new VMware machine you have the ability to choose the firmware type. The options are:
  • BIOS
  • UEFI with or without Secure Boot
Normally you'd choose UEFI without Secure Boot and go. With this particular Acer I came across the following issue when doing the restore:

I double checked that the guest OS was Windows 10 x64 using UEFI with Secure Boot disabled and for the life of me I kept getting the above error right before the restore starts.
  • I tried UEFI with Secure Boot enabled. No change.
  • I tried BIOS, no change.


As a last ditch effort I changed the VMware's Guest OS properties to "Windows 7 x64" and selected "UEFI with Secure Boot off". No clue what the difference is in VMware but I was able to restore the vhdx to this VM without an issue and did not receive the above error.

Also I should include that this is VMware Workstation 16.2.4 build-20089737. There's other bullshit issues with this application that have yet to be fixed. I'll save that for another post.


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