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System recovery partition

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#26
worldy

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Thanx a lot :thumbup
Well i am going towards ghost and manual customisation (getting my hand dirty) towards System recovery, i will be using ghost (I am not sure), will be adding a Function key towards that for recovery console. This is going to be done on a fresh / running Windows XP system.
Next phase will be to create, ISO image of Windows XP installation, which automatically runs off the CD/DVD and install Both Windows Xp and the recovery system( this way i dont have to create recovery system every time after windows installation on a new system).

p.s.: If some one has already done so, or is in knowledge of links and how-to's, please guide to wards that for a quickie. Thanx

Thanx a lot Oleg_II and other folks.

Not argueing, just my opinion.

I have a few partitions: one primary with my system and three logical on extended partition. My system and my data are on different partions. And I don't care about losing system as soon as I can restore it with nearly all programs and settings from a prepared image in 5 minutes or install it again with Unattended in only 30 minutes ;)

In fact I often restore the system partition from "ideal" image on purpose just to be sure there is no viruses and broken things on my system. As I said it takes only 5 minutes with DeployCenter from clicking on the shortcut in Start menu to reloading in restored Windows. It doesn't hurt because all personal data and even most program settings are on the other partition. Nothing changes, only the system is renewed/revived again.

(I don't even install antivirus software because of this but it's my personal opinion too.)

And of course I make regular backups of my sensitive data to CD or CD-RW using DeployCenter too: I make the image of the entire second partition with all my documents and photoes directly to CD. It takes a bit longer with high compression and image verification options enabled but not more then 15 minutes for 2Gb of data (documents, photoes, archieves).

I don't use Windows versions of DeployCenter and PartitionMagic (and I rarelly use PM at all). Both create boot floppy disks that can be used in VFE or from multiboot CD. So there is no MBR changes I'm not aware of. I admit that VFE change my MBR but only when I run it and this is a temporary change because it backups MBR before running and restores from backup after running (you can watch it yourself). And VFE is not installed in the system - no settings in Registry, no files in system folders, only a few files are placed anywhere on hard drive and a shortcut in the menu.

PS I aslo have a few different images with different Windows: Windows 98SE, Windows 2000 Professional "standard" (with IE and stuff) and W2k HFSLIPed and reduced. Not more then 5 minutes, no phisical boot disks involved and I'm in the OS of my choice ;)

Well, a boot disk image with imaging software is involved in fact :rolleyes:
And I forgot to mention that I use NTFS on all partitions as this file system is stable and reliable in my opinion.


Cool info about system revival, hey tell me, what all make u do so? how come u did this?

But i am discussing about System re-installation, when even Windows dont even boo up, then how come will i get to those programs in "Start Menu"? That is why i am opting for automatic system recovery, (In the start, through some function key and all).


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#27
jaclaz

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What about using a linux boot manager and have the rescue partition on a linux fs so that a virus can't corrupt/infect it.

I think you got this wrong, if I were a virus and wanted to destroy data on your disk I wouldn't care being able to READ actual data (i.e. no need to have a filesystem driver), I would just write "random" values to your hard disk through RAW write access.

Also use an sd card to hold the partition with the MBR since they have a write protect switch.


Yes, this is done in a number of embedded systems, nice idea :) ,but probably won't work with Win2k/XP, as they usually need Write access to the MBR, but I am not really sure about this :blink: , maybe they need this only during installation to write, besides MBR code, the Disk Signature.

The idea of having "expendable" data in the first 1 or 2 Gbyte helps also because it takes time to wipe or write values to a hard disk and there is a possibility of "pulling the plug"....

jaclaz

#28
Oleg_II

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worldy :hello:

1. I'd recommend DeployCenter over Ghost (I like it pursonally and the instructions for running from Windows is for DeployCenter, it will be different for Ghost). But in DOS booting functionality is nearly the same. You choose.

2. For the purposes you specified it's better to use something like WinPE, BartPE, WinBuilder - there is a separate Forum for that. And there are instructions how to automate all operations you asked for: partitioning and installing Windows from these boot CD (that includes installing recovery partion too).

As for using DeployCenter for this purpose (partitioning and formatting) I can give you these two tips:

Tip 1:
You can make simple customized script that partitions a new hard drive into one primary partiton and one extended with a few logical on it. It's complitelly automatic. Remember I said that DeployCenter has some functionality of PartitionMagic? But I'm not sure Ghost can do this.

Tip 2:
- first make three partitions of needed size with needed formatting and file systems on a hard disk;
- make ONE! image of ALL THREE just made partitions to CD with imaging software like DeployCenter or Ghost with high compression;
- when you buy a new disk (doesn't metter how big it is) just restore your empty partitions image on it - it will take seconds and then you'll get three partitions already formatted and ready to go and probably some undefined space on hard disk that you will aquire later from installed Windows.

3. I can run recovery process not only ckicking the shortcut in Start menu but choosing in booting menu. If Windows doesn't boot it will probably at least show booting menu and you can run recovering operations from it choosing "Recover my System" item (remember my instructions about editing BOOT.INI and saving MBR in a file on system disk?).
Or you will have to boot from a rescue floppy disk or CD that is better to prepare in advance with your imaging software on it.

Edited by Oleg_II, 16 October 2006 - 12:50 PM.

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#29
Innocent Devil

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So inorder to have a recovery partition, i hav to reserve one of the precious 4 primary partitions ???

i usually install/ reinstall OSes randomly and more than 3 oses (XP, Vista, Linux, Mac OS X)

So i need 3 primary partitions (the rest one is for extended)
means i cant create a rescue partition ???
"The level of security that Vista is trying to achieve to protect video and audio is more extreme than anything the US government has ever considered necessary for protecting its most sensitive classified data."

Read Full Article @ [A Cost Analysis of Windows Vista Content Protection]

Don't be lame [Linux is NOT Windows]

#30
Oleg_II

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Innocent Devil
Well, yes. At least you need some place to save your images.
But if you use the method I described with Virtual Floppy Evironment you don't need a primary partion, you can save your images on any partition within extended one.
And if you use it on your own computer like I do you don't even need to make this partion hidden. Just create a folder say "Restore" for images and use the rest of the place as you wish :)

Edited by Oleg_II, 17 October 2006 - 08:47 AM.

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#31
jaclaz

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So i need 3 primary partitions (the rest one is for extended)
means i cant create a rescue partition ???


Please note that, PROVIDED you are willing to have a SMALL FAT16 partition you can have:
1) DOS 6.22 installed in that Primary partition
2) Windows 95/98/ME installed in a logical volume inside extended partition (YES, it can be done, it's a bit tricky, but it can be done)
3) ANY number of NT based OS, NT/2K/XP/2003 (installing in not primary partition is possible and easy)
4) ANY number of Linux based OS (installing in not primary partitionis is default)
5) BeOS on another primary partition
6) You still have a "spare" Entry in partition table.

If you don't need/want Dos 6.22 the "small" Priamry partition can be FAT32.

The above can be done with a simple bootmanager, like the standard NTLDR, or Grub4DOS that has more features.

Cannot say about MacOS X, but since it is Linux/Unix based it should be possible also.

jaclaz

#32
worldy

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......The above can be done with a simple bootmanager, like the standard NTLDR, or Grub4DOS that has more features.
...


how to do with ntLdr?

worldy :hello:
....
3. I can run recovery process not only ckicking the shortcut in Start menu but choosing in booting menu. If Windows doesn't boot it will probably at least show booting menu and you can run recovering operations from it choosing "Recover my System" item (remember my instructions about editing BOOT.INI and saving MBR in a file on system disk?. )
......


First Bold: No, it wont, thats for sure, if windows cant boot (because ntldr is missing or boot.ini is corrupted, you NEED to have Windows XP recovery cd to give command for repairing MBR, the command is "fixmbr ", which repair MBR.

Second Bold: yes, ican edit boot.ini with ease, what all files i need to do this (complete file listing please, i will download them myself), if possible can give links for downloading.

Second thing, how can i save MBR in a file? and a small question (out of context), can i make another partition bootable (whether primary or extended)?

#33
jaclaz

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how to do with ntLdr?

You simply install NT/2K/XP/2003 in the Logical Volume inside the extended partition, the arcpath in boot.ini will already be correct, otherwise you can easily fix it manually, read here:
http://www.msfn.org/...showtopic=43610
http://www.msfn.org/...showtopic=68193
http://www.msfn.org/...showtopic=33030
and given links.

No, it wont, thats for sure, if windows cant boot (because ntldr is missing or boot.ini is corrupted, you NEED to have Windows XP recovery cd to give command for repairing MBR, the command is "fixmbr ", which repair MBR.

But you can always boot the system with a boot floppy and fix the MBR from within the booted windows install.
One of the posts above referenced has a link on how to make a boot floppy to start a NT/2K/XP/2003 system with corrupted boo.ini/NTLDR/NTDETECT.COM.

Second thing, how can i save MBR in a file?

There are several programs, freeware, for DOS and for Win32, the one I use is DSFI/DSFO part of the DSFOK package:
http://members.ozema...eezip/freeware/
that has the options to do more than just the MBR, but MBRFIX, see links on my page:
http://home.graffiti...z:graffiti.net/
or Roger Layton's MBRWizard will do as well:
http://mbrwizard.tripod.com/

can i make another partition bootable (whether primary or extended)?

About Primary partitions, YES, you just set it as Active (checking that there is no other Active partition), i.e. you write hex value 80 in the proper location of the partition table, this can be done with any hex editor or with specialized programs.
The one I use under Win32 is Beeblebrox:
http://students.cs.byu.edu/~codyb/

About Logical Volumes inside Extended partition, THE "EXTENDED" PARTITION IS NOT A PARTITION, it is a "CONTAINER" for one or more Logical Volumes, see this:
http://www.ranish.com/part/primer.htm

The short answer is NO, but the long one ;) is YES, but you need to manually arrange some parameters with a Hex editor, read this:
http://www.goodells.net/multiboot/
or use a Grub4Dos:
http://www.911cd.net...o...c=17144&hl=
(search on 911cd board for "Grub4dos", you will find many useful hints and tips)

jaclaz

#34
Oleg_II

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worldy
You are right: if NTLDR is missing you won't have booting choice. If you don't want to depend on NTLDR you will need to learn about boot managers and use them. I don't like them so in this situation I'll load from recovery CD or a DOS floppy and either fix or just restore the partition.
That's the limitation. But using boot managers that write into MBR also won't guarantee against corruption (and may cause other difficulties in future too). That is probably the reason why laptop manufactorers not only install recovery partition but provide a set of recovery CD.

Minimum set of files you need to use this method:

- pqvf.vfd - a floppy disk image with DeployCenter (could be 1.4 or 2.8MB image), created when installing DeployCenter on Windows (it's basically a DOS disk with DeployCenter executable and a couple of helpers);
- VFINSTNT.EXE - VBE Installer for Windows NT/2000 (inside installation folder).
- VFLOPPY.SYS - VBE First phase loader (inside installation folder).
- VFLPPYLD.SYS - VBE Second phase loader and disk I/O redirector (inside installation folder).

All four files go in one folder anywhere on your computer (I place it in %PROGRAMFILES%). That's for running from Windows.
You also need a special MBR copy and edit BOOT.INI as I described before if you want to use the menu during startup.
Use pqvf.vfd as a boot image also to create your recovery CD.
Download DeployToolkit_manual.pdf for instructions and samples of scripts if you want to automate restoration progress ("press one button and completely restore" solution).

For copying MBR I use the same tools as jaclaz posted: MBRFIX and MBRWizard (there is a Windows GUI working for booth tools at the same time, don't remember where I got it but I see a lot of links with jaclaz's name about some GUI ;)

Loading from boot floppy or CD with DeployCenter you can make bootable other primary partition.
That is why I like this program - it can help in different situations :)


PS There is one way not to depend on NTLDR but your computer will boot twice before you enter the system. The solution is not too elegant but anyway: place a CMD file into "All Users\Start Menu\Programs\Startup" that will instruct VFINSTNT.EXE to run without immediate reboot (run recovery process next boot). This file will be executed each time you enter the system and each time you boot you will boot into recovery process image first, cancell it and reboot into system.

Edited by Oleg_II, 18 October 2006 - 12:07 PM.

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#35
jim0615

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What about using a linux boot manager and have the rescue partition on a linux fs so that a virus can't corrupt/infect it.


I think you got this wrong, if I were a virus and wanted to destroy data on your disk I wouldn't care being able to READ actual data (i.e. no need to have a filesystem driver), I would just write "random" values to your hard disk through RAW write access.

jaclaz


Most viruses today do not destroy your data but rather take over your pc to use it to send spam or otherwise make the author some money.

#36
ozone_pilot

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You can use Acronis Trueimage it will make a hidden partiton and you can access it by pressing F11 at boot to recover any selected partiton, also acronis is giving away Trueimage 7 for free i know its older version but it works


Register now and receive Acronis True Image 7.0 for Free!

http://www.acronis.com/mag/vnu-ati7

Filling in the form will get you an e-mail with a link to a page with your account password to the site. Going to the link will get you a serial number via e-mail. You can then log-in to your account and download the software.



uh, it's only crippled 15 day trial software

#37
tguy

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I like the idea of creating and hiding a partition to copy the recovery image to and then using something like WinPE to do the recovery however a couple of things come to mind:

1) Not everyone has access to WinPE
2) Using a F(x) hotkey is something that is programmed into the BIOS of a computer chip so unless the functionality is already included this scenario needs to be modified a little bit to include the use of a boot partition manager to access the recovery partition.

#38
jaclaz

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I like the idea of creating and hiding a partition to copy the recovery image to and then using something like WinPE to do the recovery however a couple of things come to mind:

1) Not everyone has access to WinPE
2) Using a F(x) hotkey is something that is programmed into the BIOS of a computer chip so unless the functionality is already included this scenario needs to be modified a little bit to include the use of a boot partition manager to access the recovery partition.


Well, WinPE 2.0 is available to everyone, and there is still BartPE or Winbuilder.

FYI, there is a IBM suitable bootmanager that has been referenced here:
http://www.911cd.net...showtopic=18480

And grub4dos allows for using in grldr.mbr a "hot key", F10 should work everywhere, whilst F11 and F12 might not work on some systems, depeding on it's BIOS.

jaclaz

#39
devil270975

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try here

http://www.msfn.org/...830#entry761830

Lee.

#40
Oleg_II

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I don't use hot keys but Grub4DOS menu ;0

As for recovery partition I prefer hidden system folder and give system rights to backup images so that a user can't delete them even he finds this hidden folder :)
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#41
fly

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If the machine is a Dell, you can use the Dell utility partition to do this, then you just have to press F12 and select it... (I breezed through this thread, sorry if it was mentioned)

#42
jaclaz

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If the machine is a Dell, you can use the Dell utility partition to do this, then you just have to press F12 and select it... (I breezed through this thread, sorry if it was mentioned)


Yep :), but that is a "peculiarity" of DELL Bioses, the idea of the thread was to use the MBR or a bootloader/bootmanager (independently from any BIOS make/brand/code).

More (GOOD) info on the DELL partition utility is here:
http://www.goodells....ility/index.htm

The BIOS has code that "intercept" the F12 and "recognizes" setting it active, the "DE" partition.

jaclaz

#43
fly

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If the machine is a Dell, you can use the Dell utility partition to do this, then you just have to press F12 and select it... (I breezed through this thread, sorry if it was mentioned)


Yep :), but that is a "peculiarity" of DELL Bioses, the idea of the thread was to use the MBR or a bootloader/bootmanager (independently from any BIOS make/brand/code).

More (GOOD) info on the DELL partition utility is here:
http://www.goodells....ility/index.htm

The BIOS has code that "intercept" the F12 and "recognizes" setting it active, the "DE" partition.

jaclaz

Yeah, I used just that site to learn how to setup a Dell utility partition to boot and reinstall an OS. I'll save all that for another thread tho...

#44
jaclaz

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Similar thread updated with new info:
Newish option, Terabyte MBR Utility can istall MBR's that allow for pressing a Fn key to select a "recovery" partition:
http://www.msfn.org/...e....html&st=26

jaclaz