Just in case anyone is wondering, bare metal restores from a Windows Home Server 2011 backup to a Windows 7 machine seems to work just fine.

For me at least.

The story goes this way.  My youngest kid’s Acer laptop hard drive died recently.  He was quite bummed naturally, but I was quite happy that his computer had at least been backed up to my WHS 2011 machine the night before.  After a call with the Acer service techs, they opted to send a new HD to replace the dead one.

A half dozen screws later, out came the dead Hitachi drive, in went the Western Digital replacement drive, and back in went the screws.  I plugged an Ethernet cable into the computer, threw in the WHS 2011 Restore Disk, watched it boot up, and…  no driver for the LAN card.  I was really not surprised and I simply pulled out the driver disk for the machine, copied the LAN driver over to a USB drive, stuck it in the laptop, and pointed the restore program to the USB drive.

The LAN driver was loaded; about two hours and ~100 GBs later; the machine had been restored completely to the day before the original HD died.

This was absolutely much easier than

  • reloading Windows.
  • downloading and reinstalling all the OS updates
  • reinstalling all the programs that had been on the computer
  • copying back hopefully *all* the data from some other backup program

Dang, it simply does not get any easier than a WHS 2011 Bare Metal Restore!