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IT Shop, Image MS Surface?

Posted on 2015-01-23
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Last Modified: 2015-01-29
I have a question, I run an IT shop and basically when a client has a problem with their machine that is beyond the ability to clean or repair and requires a full format/reinstall of the OS we usually pull the HD out of the machines and create a image for backup purposes and to also pull the data off the machine. We usually use Symantec Ghost or DriveImageXML to do this. Now this process has worked great for us over the years but we are starting to see a rise in machines like a Surface come through the shop that are infected with some form of Malware. Most of the time we can clean the machine without a problem but I did recently have a machine come through that required me to manually pull all the data off the machine and refresh the machine with a clean install of Win8. It was a tedious process to go through the machine and make sure all the data was off. In the back of my mind I always worry that I may miss something and that is why I like to have an image handy.

My question to you is how are you/other people handling this situation. Are you manually copying the data? Are you using WDS to create an image? I have to admit I haven't messed with WDS to much except more on a corporate level. If someone has a better idea I would love to hear your thoughts.

Thanks for the input!!
-Mike
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Question by:BAYCCS
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6 Comments
 
LVL 14

Expert Comment

by:Andy M
ID: 40566753
On Windows 8 you can create a system image recovery using windows itself.

Go to Control Panel > File History and at the bottom of the left-hand navigation pane you have the option to create a System Image Backup - this can be saved to a USB device/network share and allows you to restore the system to it's current state.
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Assisted Solution

by:rindi
rindi earned 500 total points
ID: 40566886
Besides that, there should be a recovery partition from which you would restore the system to factory defaults. Windows 8.x also has an option in the control panel, "Recovery", then "Create Recovery drive". Then you can select to copy the recovery partition. You then need a USB stick that is only a little larger than that recovery partition is.

With this recovery stick you can the boot the PC from it and restore it to factory defaults that way. Every PC owner that buys a new PC should do that as one of the first things. I'm not sure though how the SSD's of a surface are. On some tablets you can't exchange them as they are soldered to the mainboard. So it is possible that if the disk fails you won't be able to repair the PC.

With the surface RT there probably isn't much you can do except backing up, but that is probably done automatically anyway to m$'s OneDrive as most users with such a device will probably also be using an m$ user account.
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by:BAYCCS
ID: 40566921
@Andy - I have thought about that as an option. I haven't tried this yet but can you extract data from that windows image? Does it create the image as a VHD like Windows Backup did?

@Rindi - I am not really worried about the actual recovery partition or Windows media. I have all the recovery media for every system including the Surface. I am just more worried about creating an image of the customer machine for backup purposes. Basically if they forgot to remove/copy something off the drive or missed something.
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LVL 88

Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 40566995
That part had already been answered by the other expert. But of course you could also use a 3rd party tool, like Paragon's backup and recovery. There's a free version for personal use. You can mount the image files and extract data when needed (that is also possible with Windows backup, but my experiences with Windows backup aren't as good, it doesn't do compression, and it is harder to use).
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LVL 14

Expert Comment

by:Andy M
ID: 40570324
I don't believe you can access the image to extract specific files if memory serves though I can't remember the file type it uses to create the image.
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LVL 88

Accepted Solution

by:
rindi earned 500 total points
ID: 40570330
Windows 8.x uses the vhdx file format, which is which is a new version of vhd file which Windows 7 used. It gives some new features like support for large 4k sector USB disks, which VHD didn't support yet. Both can be mounted within diskmanagement and files extracted that way.
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