This post is intended to clarify Microsoft's support position on system state backups and restores and comes in response to a recent question from a partner. We recommend the following best practices for implementing system state restores:
· The restore should be performed offline – that is, when the computer is booted into the Windows Recovery Environment or Windows PE and not the operating system being restored. This is because online restores are inherently fragile due to the need to move large numbers of binaries while the operating system is running.
· The boot and system volumes should be backed up and restored in addition to any files reported by system state VSS writers.
Microsoft does not provide developer or IT professional technical support for implementing online system state restores on Windows (all releases). Nor do we provide guidance or support for restoring a subset of system state. (See http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb968830(VS.85).aspx ) ISVs can choose to implement these scenarios, but they do so at their own risk.