The Automated System Recovery (ASR) feature in Windows Server 2003 lets you recover from an unbootable system or a corrupted Registry without having to completely reinstall the operating system.
However, ASR requires both a backup set and a floppy disk with a couple of critical files. The latter is roughly the equivalent of the rescue disk in older versions of Windows. But unlike the older versions of Windows, ASR can recreate a lost or corrupted floppy from the backup set.
The files you are after, Asr.sif and Asrpnp.sif, are buried deep in the backup set, but once you get to them the process of creating the floppy disk is easy.
From start, go to all programs, accessories, system tools and backup. This will start the Backup and Restore wizard.
Select Advanced Mode and choose Restore Wizard (Advanced). When the wizard starts, click next.
On the What to Restore page, select the media that contains the ASR backup from the list by checking the appropriate check box.
Expand the ASR backup set that corresponds to the ASR floppy you want to create.
Expand the second instance of the drive letter that contains the system files, expand Windows_Folder and then expand the Repair folder.
On the right pane, select Asr.sif and Asrpnp.sif by checking the boxes next to them. Then click next. This takes you to the
On the Where To Restore page, click Single Folder in the Restore Files box, type A:\ in the Folder Name box and click next.
You will then see several pages of options before you get to finish. The options are just that, optional; they don't affect putting the files on the floppy. When you click finish, the files will be transferred to the floppy and you're ready to use it in the ASR restore.
Remember that ASR needs these files in the root directory of the floppy to function properly.
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Rick Cook has been writing about mass storage since the days when the term meant an 80 KB
floppy disk. The computers he learned on used ferrite cores and magnetic drums. For the last 20
years, Cook has been a freelance writer specializing in storage and other computer
This was first published in August 2005