1.    07 Mar 2016 #1
    Join Date : Mar 2016
    Posts : 3
    Windows 10

    Win 10 recovery USB disk


    I am trying to create a recovery USB drive from which I can install Windows 10 fresh, if needed. Or quickly restore system images in case of a drive issue. There are a couple of things I am not clear about.

    Background:

    I have an ASUS laptop that came with Windows 8.1, UEFI (upgraded to Windows 10 at the moment). Initially, I created a Windows 8.1 recovery USB and reinstalled Win 8.1 using it. From what I understand, the 100MB EFI partition is normally the first one. On restoration, the following was created

    305 MB Win 8.1 system partition
    100 MB EFI
    C drive
    Manufacturer recovery partition

    When it upgraded to Win 10, it ended up with the following partition structure

    305 MB Win 8.1 system partition
    100 MB EFI
    C drive
    450 MB system partition (I believe this is Win 10 system partition)
    Manufacturer recovery partition

    Questions:

    The trouble is, now when I create a Windows 10 recovery USB drive, it really creates just a rescue drive (< 1GB in size) even though the 'copy system files' option is selected. I believe a recovery USB drive needs at least a 16GB drive. Not sure what is happening here?!!!

    Also, is there a way to make Win 8.1 recovery create the system partition adjacent to the C drive so it can resize it to 450 MB during the upgrade? Or maybe create a 500MB partition beforehand that Win 8.1 uses during recovery and later is upgraded to Win 10? Can I create the partitions beforehand using GParted Live USB and expect the Windows recovery process to use them?

    Yes, 305MB is a small amount. Would be nice if the entire drive was used in a neat structure instead of leaving unused partitions.
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  2.    07 Mar 2016 #2
    Join Date : Dec 2015
    Posts : 6,446
    Windows10

    Firstly, the first partition is no longer needed, nor is the last oem 8.1recovery partition (as you have created an 8.1 usb recovery drive).

    Creating a usb recovery drive is a good idea but sometimes problematic on tablets.

    For a normal pc, I would advise a clean install, but on a tablet this can be problematic as tablets often use special drivers not the standard MS iso. Fortunately, you upgraded, so you will have the drivers you need.

    This is where a recovery usb is good of course.

    Now you have upgraded, I strongly recommend you export your 3rd party drivers using link below (works for windows 10 as well). Then if you ever have to clean install, using MS standard iso, you can sort out the 'missing drivers'.

    http://woshub.com/how-to-export-driv...indows-8-1-u1/

    As you are having issues creating a recovery drive, then I very strongly recommend (do this anyway) you install Macrium Reflect Free and create an image backup to a 32+GB external usb flash drive, or SD card. It only takes about 10-15 mins typically.

    You will need to create a usb recovery drive, but there is a neat option to create a dual boot to Macrium option which is very handy on a tablet, where booting from a usb drive is often more complicated than on a normal pc.

    Recovering this way is very quick (10-15 mins), and you do not need to reinstall or mess around with activation).
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  3.    12 Mar 2016 #3
    Join Date : Mar 2016
    Posts : 3
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter

    Thanks for the inputs. I used the woshub link to backup the 3rd party drivers for use in the event of a clean install.

    The device is a laptop actually, not a tablet. (ASUS TP300LA). I am not keen on options that use up disk space for recovery as I use Windows only very occasionally. Want to keep it in a usable / recoverable state for the rare occasion there is some Windows only software I am looking to try out. I am looking to use the entire freed up space to install Linux.

    If I delete the 305MB Win 8.1 partition, is it possible to shift partitions forward without breaking Win 10? i.e. the start of the 100MB EFI partition to where the 305MB partition started and expand the C drive to the left by 305MB? Does Windows need to be told that the partitions have moved, or can it identify them by labels of some sort anyway?

    When I booted up with GParted, it showed another partition - a 128MB Microsoft reserved partition. It doesn't show up on Windows Disk Management. Will Win 10 break if this partition is moved?
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  4.    12 Mar 2016 #4
    Join Date : Jul 2015
    Posts : 9,552
    Windows 10 Pro

    The only two partitions Windows 10 needs to function is the EFI system partition and the OS partition. You can move those around as long as they stay on the same physical disk and don't have to change anything in Windows or the boot files in the EFI system partition.
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  5.    13 Mar 2016 #5
    Join Date : Dec 2015
    Posts : 6,446
    Windows10

    Quote Originally Posted by cheesiechimp View Post
    Thanks for the inputs. I used the woshub link to backup the 3rd party drivers for use in the event of a clean install.

    The device is a laptop actually, not a tablet. (ASUS TP300LA). I am not keen on options that use up disk space for recovery as I use Windows only very occasionally. Want to keep it in a usable / recoverable state for the rare occasion there is some Windows only software I am looking to try out. I am looking to use the entire freed up space to install Linux.

    If I delete the 305MB Win 8.1 partition, is it possible to shift partitions forward without breaking Win 10? i.e. the start of the 100MB EFI partition to where the 305MB partition started and expand the C drive to the left by 305MB? Does Windows need to be told that the partitions have moved, or can it identify them by labels of some sort anyway?

    When I booted up with GParted, it showed another partition - a 128MB Microsoft reserved partition. It doesn't show up on Windows Disk Management. Will Win 10 break if this partition is moved?

    Post an image of your partitions, so we can advise appropriately.
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  6.    14 Mar 2016 #6
    Join Date : Mar 2016
    Posts : 3
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter

    Here we go. I had a spare drive, so I stuck that in and installed Win 8.1 from the recovery USB. Here's the partition layout.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	TP300LA.PNG 
Views:	1 
Size:	25.1 KB 
ID:	69453
    Fig 1. Win8.1 partition layout

    Then upgraded it to Win 10.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	ASUS-TP300LA-Win10-partitions.PNG 
Views:	1 
Size:	32.6 KB 
ID:	69460
    Fig 2. Win 10 partition layout

    /dev/sda1 | Basic data partition | ntfs | Windows RE tools | 305.00 MB
    /dev/sda2 | EFI System partition | fat32 | SYSTEM | 100 MB
    /dev/sda3 | Microsoft reserved partition | unknown | 128 MB
    /dev/sda4 | Basic data partition | ntfs | Windows | 881.75 GB
    /dev/sda5 | | ntfs | | 450 MB
    /dev/sda6 | Basic data partition | ntfs | Recovery Image | 11.54 GB
    Read by GParted

    GParted reported that the microsoft reserved partition doesn't have an entry in the partition table. Possibly why the partition is hidden away from the Disk Management interface.

    It's obvious that the Recovery Image partition can be removed straight away. Ideally, it would be nice to get rid of /dev/sda1 if that was Win 8.1 only. Reduce /dev/sda4 to < 100 GB. Shift /dev/sda5 adjacent to it. That would bring the entire Win installation to about initial 100GB. Leaving the rest for a Linux installation.

    Is this achievable? Need some insights from the Windows experts.

    Thanks for responding, folks.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

 


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