Rich Mingin (PLUG) on 26 May 2016 20:45:22 -0700

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Re: [PLUG] Backing up recovery partitions to a USB device, making bootable

SSDs work very well in desktops as well. Nobody cares about shock resistance in a desktop, but every other pro and con applies.

On Thu, May 26, 2016 at 6:07 PM, Greg Helledy <> wrote:
I think this is the problem, the USB stick isn't set up for an EFI boot.

Time goes on and things get more complicated and work less well.  I'm not only forced to buy Windows if I want a laptop, but have no convenient way to back it up such that I can actually use it if I need it.  And I believe that I'll need a working Windows install if I have a hardware failure within a year and I want to try to get warranty support.

Thinking about it last night, I decided to substitute money for pouring more effort into this and bought myself a replacement SSD.  I will remove the one that's in there, put the new one in, and install my OS onto a clean drive.  If any hardware fails within the next year, I'll swap them back before calling Dell.  When the warranty's up in a year, I can sell the SSD, or experiment with it as a way to speed up a desktop (move the OS to the SSD).

Thanks for the ideas, everyone, I just can't waste more time on trying to make a backup image (of the OS I paid for).

On 5/26/2016 10:52 AM, wrote:
So I've been lurking as I'm busy, but I wanted to mention that most recent
recovery partitions are EFI based. If you want that USB backup to be
bootable, you should clone the entire hard disk, at the very least you need
an image of the UEFI ESP, the unformatted following partition (type MSR,
size=128MB), and the two recovery partitions. One is MS's standard WinRE
environment (~450MB), the other mostly just holds the stock image file.
Depending on how Dell implemented their recovery environment, it may not
function correctly without copying those partitions back to the target disk
first, and creating the main NTFS partition on the host. A lot of recovery
environments look for the NTFS partition that's supposed to hold Windows,
and if they don't find it, will throw an error. Stupid and bad design, but
it is what it is.

I personally make a non-booting backup of the recovery partitions, and pair
it with a USB with gparted live, clonezilla, or both.

I also have an external hard disk set up specifically for Clonezilla work,
it has CZ on a tiny partition at the front and then a massive FAT32
partition for holding the backup files. Clonezilla segments backups by
default, so the 4GB limit is no problem.

TL;DR: This is likely more complicated than you think, but should be
manageable with planning.

Greg Helledy
GRA, Incorporated
P:  +1 215-884-7500
F:  +1 215-884-1385
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