Mounting a Windows Server 2012 backup

Today my laptop took three power-ons to get to the login screen. In between it either spontaneously powered off or showed the streaky window of death.

I freaked out at the thought of losing all my data again, so I borrowed my flatmate’s Seagate Freeagent drive (1.5TB, external power supply) and used Windows Server Backup to make a bare-metal recovery backup.

Writing the backup with Windows Server backup was pretty easy. Took about two hours to write 107GB over USB. Enough time to see Tottenham beat Sherriff at football.

Reading the backup was harder. When you click to mount the drive…


You get this scary error:


“The disk image isn’t initialized, contains partitions that aren’t recognizable, or contains volumes that haven’t been assigned drive letters. Please use the Disk Management snap-in to make sure that the disk, partitions, and volumes are in a usable state.”

Is my backup borked?

No, it’s just that Windows Server 2012 is too lazy to assign a driver letter for you.

Don’t bother searching for ‘Disk Management’ in the Start screen. It’s not listed there.

Bernardo Arocho of BJTechNews explained in Youtube short that you can run Disk Management from the WIN+X menu or by running diskmgmt.msc:


In Disk Management, the blue disk is the one that lacks a drive letter.


Right click on the disk and choose ‘change drive letter’ to open another dialog:


Click add to open another dialog:


This is the useful part. For me, the tool has chosen the first free drive letter (D:). Check and change if necessary. I just clicked OK to accept it.

Now the drive is visible in Explorer. Success!


But why can’t it just work?


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