Recovery partition for Desktops

Posted on 2011-10-29
Last Modified: 2012-06-21
I sometimes build desktop pc's for customers and I would like the ability to create a hard to mees up recovery partition on the hard drive and a recovery interface method for it much like dell and HP does.

This way customer can always restore to out of the box condition. Is there any easy way for me to implement this? Does someone make a system that can be used by the small guys of pc building?
Question by:ATL74
    LVL 70

    Accepted Solution

    It's trivial to simply set up a partition to store an Image of the as-configured OS ... and then you can "restore" the PC by simply restoring that image.    That's what I do for all of the systems I build.

    You can use any good imaging utility to do this -- Acronis, Ghost, Image for DOS, Boot-It,  DriveImage XML, etc.    This doesn't make recovery quite as trivial as booting to a recovery partititon ... but you could provide a simple instruction page that "walked them through" the process.

    You could use Acronis True Image Home as the imaging product and set up a "Secure Zone" for the restore image -- this would come very close to the "one click recovery" you'd apparently like to see ... but would also require that every PC have a license for this.
    LVL 46

    Assisted Solution

    As you are going to ship the software with PCs to your customers you need flexible licensing plus minimal intervention to restore process from user side.
    Have a look on PSR tool:
    You do not need to install this software on PC to create the image and backup capsule. Just boot it from WinPE master CD of PSR and then in one click create all you need.
    LVL 91

    Assisted Solution

    i believe this is what you are looking for  :

    To begin with, you'll need:
    • A functional PC,
    • A blank hard disk, (that is intended to receive the recovery partition),
    • Your DVD of Windows 7 (or iso file to extract the content).
    Preparation of hard disk

    The disk drive must be partitioned into two. Consider a partition of about 3.5GO, at beginning of the disk, so that this partition can contain all the files from the DVD and one for the system partition.
    Copying files

    Once the partitions of 3 to 4 GB are created, simply just copy the entire DVD on this partition, and make this partition bootable.
    Prepare of the partition to make it bootable

    Open the command prompt and run this :

    cd /boot  

    bootsect /nt60 X:
    (x being your partition)

    A message "boot code was successfully updated on all targeted volumes" should appear.
     Then check that the partition is marked "active" in disk management.
    If necessary, right click on the partition and mark partition as "active".

    Now mount the HDD in the PC and boot. •The PC will automatically launch the installer from the partition and add an entry "Windows setup" in the entries in bcd. (so no need to use third party software to edit the boot entries)
     •Everything is done automatically!
    •You now have a PC with a recovery partition that lets you reinstall new Windows 7 in case of problems.

    LVL 70

    Assisted Solution

    The "recovery partition" created by the process above is simply an automated way to re-run the Windows 7 installer => it does NOT include drivers; updates; or any additional software that is part of the "original factory build" that the author is looking for here.

    While it's a nice way to have a "diskless" recovery capability, the functionality is no more than simply havig a Windows 7 DVD.

    Author Comment

    I am looking to do it much like delland HP does so when you restore all drivers, os, and programs are like they were the day the machine was purchased.
    LVL 70

    Assisted Solution

    The closest you'll likely get to that is to simply image the "factory config" and make it as simple as possible to restore that image.    The Acronis "Secure Zone" (as I suggested above), or the Paragon System Recovery (suggested by noxcho) come very close to what you're looking for.    ANY good imaging utility can create the image you need -- and you simply need to create a partition the right size to contain that image.    The variable is just what needs to be done to restore it -- that process varies a good bit with different packages => you may want to try a few before deciding what you want to use for your clients.

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