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Error code 0x80070057; "the parameter is incorrect" when restoring a Win7 system image

June 9, 2012

Win7 has a nice backup/restore feature using system images (ala Norton Ghost) that allows you to recover from a damaged HDD or go back to a clean installation. Unfortunately it seems that some restore scenarios were not tested thoroughly and you may end up getting cryptic errors while restoring images and as a result a poor experience

In this post I provide a solution to the “Error code 0x80070057; “the parameter is incorrect” error when restoring an image.

We’ve all been there: spent hours installing Windows, installing software, configuring it, etc. Finally the machine is exactly the way you want it and is working as a charm. Fast forward several months or a few years and you might have to replace your system hard drive (or SSD) because of a failure or because you want a faster/larger unit.

Using system images allows you easily replace your old/damaged system disk with a new one without having to reinstall anything. Just create an image once your box is in the state you want it (a walkthrough is provided here) and when needed just restore the image. The whole process takes a few hours although your YMMV depending on the system disk size.

Sadly restoring may not work…

My particular case

A few years ago I installed a 80GB SSD in my laptop and a few months ago I realized I needed more space so I ordered a larger 120GB SSD to replace the old one. Not wanting to reinstall everything (this is a development box) I decided to use system image to make the disk switch painless.

Things went like this

1. Plugged an external USB HDD with plenty of disk space

2. Started the system image creation process (see link above) and asked Windows to put the image in the USB HDD

3. Went for a coffee

4. Turned off the laptop and switched SSD’s

5. Plugged a USB stick with the Win7 installation media and started the restore system image process (again see the link above). As a side-note you can read about installing Win7 from a USB stick here. Using a USB stick makes the installation much faster and does not require an optical drive which my laptop doesn’t have.

6. After adding the USB stick to the list of disks to exclude from the restore process I was ready to start and so I did and after a few seconds what happened? I got this cryptic error

Error code 0x80070057; "the parameter is incorrect"

Looking for an answer

At this point I started doing the usual: search the internet. Unfortunately there were no clear answers anywhere.

After some reading and a few failed retries my thoughts led me to the usual issues that are caused by drive enumeration when installing and configuring boot-loaders like GRUB.

I suspected Windows was mapping the disks like this

  • C: Win7 USB stick. This is were I booted from.
  • D: New disk
  • E: USB HDD where the system images were.

and the restore process was not smart enough to figure out that it had to restore the image to D: and it was instead trying to restore it to C: which was failing possibly because of not being large enough for the image.

The solution

So somehow I had to make sure that the new disk would be seen by Windows as the C: drive or at least as the first existing drive.

So what do you do? Simple: Right before clicking Finish in the restore wizard you just have to unplug the Win7 USB stick and voila! Windows will remap the drives and will pickup D: as the restore target disk and the process will go smoothly after that.



From → Windows

  1. quixoticduck permalink

    This solution doesn’t seem to be working for me. 😦

  2. tokie bonilla permalink

    totally works!! this post saved my life 🙂

  3. netman permalink

    Cool, works a treat. Many Thanks.

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