Virtual Disk File Format

Microsoft thought for the introduction of the many new and exciting options with every refashion of Windows OS it launches. With Windows seven, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows 10, (and Windows Server 2008), it introduced a superb means that of the backup and storing the necessary data and files within the variety of Virtual disk that created a straight away backup of files while not the use of any external disk. Maintaining a backup of files on the basics of capturing the image of files and storing it in a virtual form instead of using another physical machine is done by the help of a Virtual Machine. In another word, Virtually storing of the data or files and keeping its image file with you.

A Virtual Machine or Virtual Disk is a software that emulates the functionality of a physical hard disk by creating images of data stored in it. For the different device, a virtual disk appearance behaves like an actual physical device. The benefits of those virtual onerous disks air, host machine will co-exist with many in operation systems, several window partitions are done, no want for extra hardware because the virtual disc is accessed inside the host system, simply detached from the host machine.

There are different types of file formats supported by different virtual machines as VHD, VHDX, VMDK and VDI. The difference is that all the format are developed by the different company and every format has different storage capacity for storing the data within them. Everyone always gets confused by file format supported by their virtual machine or why they are different.
Virtual hard disk (VHD) is file format extension that represents a virtual hard disc. It usually pretends to be a hard disk of a virtual machine. The format was thought by Connectix referred to as Microsoft Virtual laptop since Connectrix was taken by Microsoft in 2003. Virtual hard disk permits multiple operation systems to run on one host machine. There's the power to directly modify a virtual machine's hard disk from a bunch server supports several applications, as well as moving files between a VHD and also the host classification system, Patching, Image Management, Anti-virus, Recovery, and Backup. The creation of VHD file simply depends upon its use. If you want to create a VHD file for your virtual machine, you can use the disk management by creating a new .vhd file by using the available disk space on the computer and then save it to the location that you specify. Or if you want to take system backup, you can use Backup and Restore tool.

Hyper-V Hard disk (VHDX)
 is file format extension that describes the Virtual file format. The X was else to the present specification in order that there's no confusion with the older VHD format. One amongst the largest examples of VHDX, when put next with VHD Format, is that the storage capabilityBefore Windows Server 2012, Virtual arduous disks had a pair of TB limit, however, currently VHDX files have a sixty-four TB capability. the benefits of VHDX are not restricted to improved capability however conjointly VHDX files were designed to figure with today's trendy hardware. The VHDX format conjointly provides protection against file corruption associated with power failures by unendingly keeping track of updates on the information, a feature not on the market with the VHD format. However, VHDX file is often utilized by Windows 8+ and Windows Server 2012+, owing to terrible giant file format it cannot be utilized by Windows visual percept.
Virtual Machine Disk(VMDK)
 is a file format extension that acts as containers for the virtual hard disk specified for VMware digital computer or VirtualBox. It stores the content of VMware virtual machine. VMDK is file format specification employed by VMware virtual machine files. One amongst its main examples is that using this file format, files are simply moved between the server. The maximum VMDK size is generally 2TB for most applications, but in September 2013, VMware vSphere 5.5 introduced 62TB VMDK capacity. Because it is now an open format VMDK is now supported by VirtualBox (part of the Oracle VM suite), Parallels Desktop Version 10, Sun xVM etc.

Virtual Disk Image(VDI)
 file format extension associated with the specification for VirtualBox that stores data in files like .vdi. used by Oracle VM VirtualBox, an open-source desktop virtualization program can be mounted as a hard disk on Mac, Windows, and Unix platforms, allows users to run programs written for different operating systems in a high-speed virtual environment. This technique to form an image of a virtual machine’s disk to be later used for disk backup, restoration or repeating to a new virtual machine. The VDI captures all info on the first disk, usually excluding the software system files and therefore the virtual machine itself. 


Virtualization could be applied to applications, servers, storage, and networks and is that the single handiest thanks to cut back IT expenses whereas boosting potency and lightsomeness for all size businesses. The Advantages of those virtual arduous disks square measure, host machine will co-exist with many operative systems, several window partitions are often done, no want for extra hardware because the virtual disk is accessed by the host system, simply detached from the host machine. Even one thing as straightly by disk partitioning as a result of you're taking one drive and partition it to form 2 separate hard drives.

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Manual Methods To Recover Contacts From Outlook Express

The contacts are stored in Outlook express in DBX file. It is a free email client which comes distributed with internet explorer 6. The data such as contacts, emails, notes etc. are stored in DBX files. The Outlook express allows users to check emails using both IMAP and POP connection type. Like other email clients, the contacts in Outlook express get lost due to various reasons. But Outlook express lost contacts can be recovered manually which is an advantage of this utility.

The contacts when get deleted from Outlook express they usually move to the deleted items folder. This is the folder from where deleted contacts can get back. But what if contacts are deleted from this folder too. This happens when contacts are deleted long time ago or are deleted by pressing Shift + Del key combination. The question now arises is how contacts deleted from deleted items folder can now be recovered.

The contacts are stored locally in a WAB( windows address book) file in DBX file. If you have backed up your contacts in.WAB file then they can easily be recovered using manual methods.

Steps to recover Outlook express address book manually:

1. First, enable "show hidden files and folders".

2. Open windows explorer to C:\ Documents and settings folder.

3. Then using CTRL + F open a search window.

4.Now in top most search bar type.WAB and press search option.

5. The files with.WAB extension will be available here like name.wab, contacts.wab etc.

6. Take a copy of the contacts folder and place it on the desktop. Rename this folder and open it by double click to check whether it contains deleted or missing contacts.

7. Now open Outlook express and the select tool then move to address book( WAB) from the address book menu.

8. Now here click the backup copy of address book of Outlook express.

9. Finally, click on open and then click OK.

To save time and perform quick recovery windows address book recovery software can also be used. These software recover contacts from corrupted WAB file. The deleted contacts from WAB file can be recovered smoothly without data loss. These software recover contacts in VCF(VCard file ) formats. But before deciding upon any software carefully examine all its features and functionality. You can get to know about the features and functionality through related online help manual of the tool. It would be better if the tool has demo free version available because it would help to know features better before making a purchase.

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KACE SMA - Custom Inventory for Timeservers

If you ever tried to check if all your (Windows) clients are synchronizing to your preferred timeserver - here is how:

  1. Create a new Custom Inventory ( ShellCommandTextReturn(cmd /c w32tm /query /source) )
  2. Have fun :)


Output with no time synchronization:

Default Output domainclient: 

Of course you can now use the advanced search / create smart labels based on this inventory field:
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Understanding UEFI images on KACE Deployment Appliance

The basics of Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) is that it replaces the BIOS firmware interface of the system. A better understanding of where the Microsoft Operating System (OS) has progressed may be useful in understanding the difference with imaging with the KACE Deployment Appliance.

The early OS was a simple disk partition that contained all the windows and boot information on a single drive usually referred to as C: drive. This partition was formatted with the NTFS style format. Recently with the Windows 7 OS, there was a change to split the boot files onto a separate hidden folder on a different partition than the Windows OS. When the system is booted into Windows, the boot partition does not get an assigned letter and Windows shows as C: drive. In the KACE appliance, when this type of system is booted into the KACE Boot Environment (KBE), we observe C: and D: partitions. Both of these are using the NTFS style format.

The next change takes the two partition OS, and changes the Boot partition from the NTFS to FAT32 style format. Along with the change of the format, the actual files are changed too. Instead of the hidden \boot folder, we now see an \efi folder which contains the boot data files.


Booting UEFI system to the KACE Boot Environment (KBE)


When booted into a KBE, we can view information about these drives such as the format and size by going to Recovery|Command Prompt and entering into the DISKPART utility. Commands of 'list disk' and 'list volume' will give us information on each partition which can be used to create the needed partition tasks for the image being captured.

The different image types of Legacy and UEFI require the boot environment to also be booted into the same mode as the image. A legacy KBE will capture the legacy image of C: and D: NTFS formatted partitions, but will not work to capture UEFI images. Verifying the mode which the KBE is booted can be completed by going to the Recovery|Command prompt and navigating to y:\hta\amd64\kdetectefi.exe program. This will respond back with the mode the KBE is booted.

When reviewing the partitions, if there are other partitions noted (RETools), it’s possible that the image is not a fresh install but an OEM image. OEM images are known to cause all kinds of issues and it's recommended to use a fresh install when creating images to capture. It is also recommended to use a virtual appliance for the image.  The advantage is that a complete snapshot can be created and returned to pre-sysprep point for changes or if the sysprep fails.

Capturing UEFI image to the KACE Deployment Appliance


The image will need to complete sysprep in Windows and then booted into the KBE. It is recommended to use the KACE sysprep creator and executioner files placed on the desktop to complete the sysprep process. This will automatically place a copy of the unattend.xml file in the \windows\panther and \windows\system32\sysprep directories prior to running the sysprep command (sysprep /oobe /generalize /shutdown /unattend=unattend.xml).

The sysprep executioner file will check for common issues that cause sysprep to error, then if all have checkmarks will allow the option to run the command. Once the system has completed shutdown, boot into the KBE and verify that sysprep completed with no errors. The log file is located at \windows\system32\sysprep\panther\setuperr.log file and can be navigated by going to Recovery|Command Prompt and navigating manually. If the file size is 0B in size there are no errors. If it's not 0B in size, use a 'notepad setuperr.log' command to see what errors are observed. Return to the pre-sysprep image and correct the issue.  Then repeat the sysprep executioner until no errors exist in the log.

After the sysprep has been verified as clean, the KBE will not locate the FAT32 boot directory because it contains no label. Go to Recovery|Command Prompt and enter DISKPART utility and complete the 'list volume' command to identify which volume is the FAT32 UEFI boot partition. Assign the boot partition the letter S with the commands 'select volume X' (X=actual volume number) and 'assign letter="S"'. Exit DISKPART and return to the main menu of the KBE.  Now, when capturing the image, there will be both the S and C partitions available to capture.


Deploying UEFI image from the KACE Deployment Appliance


Accessing the image after it completes capture is under Deployments|System Images.  Clicking on the name allows to add the required tasks to create and format the partitions for the C: and S: partitions to be installed on the target system.

There are only two tasks needed, the preinstallation task Create UEFI Partitions, which creates the C: and S: partition and format's them as FAT32 and NTFS. The second task is Apply UEFI Partitions; this sets the system to know where to look for the boot information on the FAT32 (S: partition) Drive.

When deploying captured images, it’s a good practice to test with the plain image without adding any other post installation tasks which could affect the image performance. Once it’s been shown the base image works as expected, continue with adding any needed post tasks.


Reference Links System Image Best Practices Capturing and Deploying Multiple Partitions for Windows 7 and Later OEM Images

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Tricks To Do BKF Recovery

There are so many users who back up their data using the NTBackup Tool in Windows XP, then clean install/upgrade to Windows 7 or Windows Vista and later realize that Windows 7/Vista do not include the NTBackup Tool to restore data from the .BKF archive. If you have critical data contained in a NTBackup file (.BKF) and want to Open BKF File, then this blog post is really help you.

I am mentioning 2 methods to Open BKF File even it is corrupted.

Method 1 (Recommended): Use third party application to recover BKF file in any version, Use Free trial version to recover data. You can download it from here:       
It is easy and fast recovery process, will take only few minutes.

Method 2: Using Windows XP’s NTBackup Tool to restore data

Windows XP’s NTBackup executable runs just fine in Windows Vista and Windows 7, provide  supporting DLLs (given below) are available in the same folder where NTBackup.exe is present. The two DLL files are:

  • ntmsapi.dll
  • vssapi.dll

If you run NTBackup.exe without these two modules, these errors would pop-up.

The program can’t start because NTMSAPI.dll is missing from your computer. Try reinstalling the program to fix this problem.
The ordinal 3 could not be located in the dynamic link library VSSAPI.DLL.

After searching the web, I came across the NTBackup files which were packaged within a .cab file meant for use as Bart PE Plugin.

Restoring a .BKF File Using NTBackup

1. Download from Plugins by STSanford.

2. Extract the files inside the cabinet file to a folder of your choice.

3. Run the file NTBackup.exe from the folder.

4. NTBackup will indicate that Removable Storage service (removed in Windows Vista & Windows 7). Never mind! This is only required for tape backups. Click OK.

5. In the Welcome to Backup or Restore Wizard page, click Next

6. Select Restore files and settings, and click Next

7. Click Browse. Locate the .BKF file that you want to restore, and click OK.

8. Expand the catalog, select the files/folders you want to restore, and click Next.

9. Click the Advanced button

10. Select Alternate location from the dropdown, and mention the destination path.

Configure the restore options accordingly.

Click Next, and then click Finish.

Whew! You’ve now restored the contents of NTBackup .BKF file in Windows 7.

This procedure should work in Windows Vista, as well.


If you are unable to perform such operation and face some difficulty, I would strongly recommend you to download the Free trial version of this application. User can perform all operation in Free version rather than to save data. Good thing is that you can see your recovered data in Free version, If you are completely assure to see your recover data then go for a full version license at very reasonable price. Download Free Trial Version from this link:

BKF Repair Tool Free Download

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