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26 Feb 2019

The Macrium Rescue Environment

If you lose your Windows operating system or need to restore your system, you can start your PC using Macrium Reflect rescue media on CD, DVD, or USB stick. This makes creating rescue media the first thing you need to do with Macrium Reflect. It contains a bootable, lightweight version of Windows and a full version of Macrium Reflect.

This lightweight, non-persistent, version of Windows is called the Windows Preinstallation Environment (also known as Windows PE or WinPE). A variant of this to enable Windows system recovery is called the Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE) typically supplied with Windows 7 and later operating systems. For Windows XP, Vista and systems without WinRE, Reflect will download the Windows Pre-installation directly from Microsoft.

You have the option of restoring to a new system or virtual machine using Macrium ReDeploy to reconfigure your Windows installation for the new hardware.

Windows PE Hardware Support

The Macrium Rescue Environment needs to include support for your hardware such as USB ports, network interfaces, and in particular for your storage device if, for example, you use RAID disks. The default Windows PE environment supports a good selection of hardware, and you can add support for further devices.

When Macrium Reflect creates a rescue CD or USB, it analyses your system hardware and tries to locate drivers for unsupported devices by looking on your system. If it can’t find appropriate drivers, Macrium Reflect prompts you to provide drivers. You can provide drivers by finding driver packages on the local hard drive, looking for driver CDs supplied with the system, or downloading drivers from the web. After you provide these additional drivers, Macrium Reflect adds them to the Windows PE environment.

CD, DVD and USB rescue media

You can boot your computer into Windows PE from a CD, DVD, USB stick or USB attached external hard disk. For convenience or automated restores to your system disk, you can add Windows PE to a boot menu that’s displayed when your system first starts. Although, do not rely upon this local copy as a rescue mechanism because it could be lost if you suffered hard disk failure or corruption leaving you without a method for rescuing your system.

Macrium Reflect creates custom Windows PE systems for each installation type by downloading the required components from Microsoft.

Improved in version 7.2

One of the updated features in Macrium Reflect 7.2 is the new Rescue Media Builder that includes the option for Windows RE. Selecting WinRE avoids the large download from Microsoft and also offers WiFi support (support absent in WinPE).

We have added a Rescue Media Builder (RMBuilder) application with support for Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE) as well as the existing PE environments supported by Reflect 7.1 and earlier. WinRE supports WiFi and is available on most Windows installs without any further downloads.

What happened before?- When you boot into WinPE some devices connected via WiFi will not work as WinPE does not support drivers for them.

What’s new?- WinRE supports wifi networks so you will be able to access your backups even if a wifi connection to your storage is your only choice.

How to create boot media

The Macrium Rescue Media Builder provides a simple interface to allow for quick rescue media generation by selecting where the rescue media will be generated and then clicking a ‘Build’ button.

All options for the rescue media will be suitably defaulted based on existing rescue media builds and a scan of the operating system environment.

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