Hotfix 16: Full System Recovery from USB media

Article:TECH30022  |  Created: 2007-05-18  |  Updated: 2007-05-21  |  Article URL
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Article Type
Technical Solution


How can I do a Full System Recovery without a CD/DVD-ROM drive in the system?


This Hotfix applies to Recovery Solution 6.2.2332 (6.2 SP1).

As a USB media (thumb drive, keychange disk, USB pen, or flash drive) can be used to boot the protected computer, Full System Recovery from USB media is an obvious option to perform Full System Recovery, particularly for recovery of protected computers which do not have a CD- or DVD-ROM drive.

Unlike Full System Recovery from CD- or DVD-ROM, using the USB media for the same purpose requires specific preparation steps to be manually performed by the user.

Note: The Include All User Data option is not supported for Full System Recovery from USB. Only basic operating systems (Mini-operating system) image can be restored from USB media.

Requirements for Full System Recovery from USB media

  1. The USB media must be bootable (most USB flash drives and hard disk drives are compatible).
  2. The BIOS on target computer must support booting from a USB device.
  3. The USB drive must be properly formatted as bootable FAT16 partition before it can be used as Full System Recovery media.
  4. Full System Recovery floppy content and source Mini-OS files (Full System Recovery image content) must be copied to the USB drive and specially modified.
  5. The selected snapshot size plus the size of Full System Recovery floppy files cannot exceed 2 GB (FAT16 partition limitation).

Applying the Full System Recovery from USB media hotfix

This hotfix is in the form of ndmlogon.dll and rndm_dr.exe. The ndmlogon.dll file should be applied to the client computer with the Recovery Agent 6.2.2332 installed:

  1. Stop the Recovery Agent Service on the client computer.
  2. Browse to %Program Files%\Altiris\eXpress\Client Recovery Agent directory.
  3. Replace the old ndmlogon.dll with the new one from the attachment.
  4. Restart the Recovery Agent Service on the client computer.

Full System Recovery Data creation from USB media

To create special FSR floppy image that must be used with USB thumb devices, Recovery Solution Administrator must start FSR Wizard task from Altiris Console and in the main FSR Wizard dialog select Create Boot Floppy Disk option. For information on creating a bootable Full System Recovery floppy, see Full System Recovery Disk Creation step 11 in the Recovery Solution Reference Guide.

Create the Full System Recovery source files for USB Media

For Full System Recovery from USB media, the temporary Full System Recovery image source is necessary. CAB files are created by Full System Recovery Wizard at run time. The files are created in the Full System Recovery image location subfolder (for more information see Full System Recovery Setup) when the ISO image is compiled.

Configure the Full System Recovery Wizard with the following options and run the image creation process (for details, see Full System Recovery Disk Creation).

  1. Choose the required snapshot.
  2. Select CD 650 MB for FSR Media Capacity.
  3. Clear the Include all user data on CD-ROM checkbox.
  4. Set the Don't delete source files after the ISO files creation check box in the Advanced settings dialog of Full System Recovery Wizard to keep the source files after the Full System Recovery image is created.
  5. Click Start.

The Full System Recovery source files can also be obtained from the .iso image file using a third-party ISO extraction utility (UltraISO*, Nero Burner ROM*, and so on).

Format the bootable USB media

Altiris Recovery Solution does not format the USB media. The following freeware tools can be used to format the USB media:
  1. For HP Drive Key or DiskOnKey USB Device, use Windows-based format utility found at
  2. Use the FlashBoot utility ( This utility supports formatting of both USB hard drives and memory sticks, performing all the steps that are required to make it bootable.
  3. Format the USB media manually (for example, see Both methods let you create a bootable USB media with the boot operating system (Free DOS*, MS-DOS*, Caldera DOS*, and so on).

Full System Recovery USB Media Creation

  1. All files, except system, must be copied from FSR Floppy image into root folder of USB media. The following files are required:
    • autoexec.bat
    • config.sys
    • display.sys
    • ega.cpi
    • pclean.exe
    • readme.txt
    • restore.dat 
    • strings.ini
    • vdisk.sys
  2. Download the rndm_dr.exe from the attachments.
  3. Copy the downloaded rndm_dr.exe into root folder of USB media.

  4. Modify and save the AutoExec.bat, Config.sys, and Restore.dat files (for example, using Notepad* application) in the USB media root folder.
    1. AutoExec.bat: Remove all references to mscdex.exe, Nwcache.exe, and hard-coded paths. The file must look as follows:
      @echo off
      mode con codepage prepare=((437)ega.cpi)
      mode con codepage select=437
    2. Config.sys: Remove all references to oakcdrom.sys driver. The file must look as follows:
      DEVICE=Vdisk.sys 4096 512 128 /E:8 /X
    3. Restore.dat. Adding "USBFSR=1" line. The file must look as follows:
  5. Full System Recovery Mini-OS source file (the files that were saved by checking Don’t delete source files after the ISO files creation in Advanced options dialog above) must be copied into root folder of USB media without any modifications:

  6. Finally, the USB drive content should look similar to the contents of the USB drive F on the picture (Free-DOS was used in this example; MS-DOS or Caldera DOS can be used as well)

    The content of root folder can be slightly different, depending on system files from operating system that was used during USB media formatting (for example, the System Volume Information folder on the screenshot above). If the FlashBoot utility is used, the utility provides all operating systems, so it will be possible to choose desired one from FlashBoot User Interface.

To run Full System Recovery using USB media, turn the protected computer (which needs to be recovered) off. Insert the USB media into the slot and turn the computer on. The computer BIOS must be configured to boot from the USB device. A confirmation prompt with a countdown appears. To boot from Full System Recovery USB media and begin the recovery, press any key.

Full System Recovery from USB media process is the same as the original Full System Recovery from CD- or DVD-ROM. The only step that is omitted is the 30-second timeout at start-up when Full System Recovery prompts the user to press any key to initiate Full System Recovery, since the USB bootable media is not formatted by the Recovery Console Full System Recovery Wizard.

More information on Full System Recovery is available in the Recovery Solution Reference Guide.

Attachments (562 kBytes)
rndm_dr.EXE (154 kBytes)

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