Windows Home Server "Unknown network error has occurred during PC Restore" Problem

This week I had to restore my son’s PC due to a game he had installed that rendered Windows 7 in a state it was unable to reboot or recover from.

Fortunately we have a Windows Home Server, so I was not worried. All it would take was to restore to the previous backup – automatically made the day before.

Well, it turned out it wasn’t so easy.

Windows Home Server stores drivers with the backup but the restore program is a 32bit program and this machine had a 64bit version of Windows 7.

After adding 32bit drivers for the wireless network card, I tried to restore the PC, but the restore program was unable to find the server with the wireless network card and was unable to detect the on-board Ethernet card.

I downloaded 32bit drivers for the on-board Ethernet card, grabbed a long Ethernet cable and tried again. Now the restore program was able to find the server and start the restore.

The problem was that, after a while, the restore would end with an Unknown network error has occurred during PC Restore error.

After a few tries, I figured out that the error occurred about the time the the router assigned IP lease expired – 1 hour. After extending the lease time, the restore was able to complete.

I still find Windows Home Server great, but it could be better if:

  • Client PCs could boot directly from the server through a network boot.
    I’m not sure if this is possible, but it would be a very nice thing to have.
  • The restore program should have a 64bit version and be able to use the 64bit drivers of the client PC.
    Or, alternatively, ask for 32bit drivers when the connector is installed in the client PC.
  • Improved network support.
    I still don’t know what the real problems were, because I eventually was able to restore the PC and I’m not a networking expert.

Comprehensive instructions on what to do when networking is not working with the restore CD environment by Olaf, can be found here. It doesn’t mention the lease problem, though.

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