Bare-metal restore is a technique in the field of data recovery and restoration where the backed up data is available in a form which allows one to restore a computer system from “bare metal”, i.e. without any requirements as to previously installed software or operating system.
Typically, the backed up data includes the necessary operating system, applications and data components to rebuild or restore the backed up system to an entirely separate piece of hardware. In some configurations, the hardware receiving the restore needs to have an identical configuration to the hardware that was the source of the backup, although virtualization techniques and careful planning can enable a bare-metal restore to a hardware configuration different from the original.
Disk imaging applications enable bare-metal restores by storing copies (images) of the entire contents of hard disks to networked or other external storage, and then writing those images to other physical disks. The disk image application itself can include an entire operating system, bootable from a live CD or network file server, which contains all the required application code to create and restore the disk images.