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How to create custom recovery partition


DSP8000
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Hi guys,

Recently I did couple of BartPE CD's for system recovery, virus removal, data recovery...

I'm just wondering if there's any info on how to create custom hidden recovery partition, similar to the ones that HP, TOSHIBA, DELL, Compaq are using. I use this feature at work quite a bit and works well. I find it very useful for quick and easy setup & recovery.

My goal is to create custom recovery partition with XP SP2 including drivers for Graphic Card, LAN, Sound Card ... then by pressing F11(or any assigned button) during boot to start automated system recovery/reinstall/win repair.

Any info is greatly appreciated.

DSP8000

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the idea is interesting, and certainly already used. From my IBM T42 I know that IBM used some Windows PE there. It all works by having a special boot loader in the MBR that checks for the 'access IBM' key to be pressed. If the key is pressed, it unhides the service partition by setting the partition type to FAT32 and boots it. If the key is not pressed, the service partition is hidden from windows by setting it to partition type 0x12 and afterwards the first partition is booted.

The downside i see here is, that you have to rely on tools of the vendor which you can only guess how they work. The way it works with IBM hardware seems to be well-known, how it works on other hardware, one can only guess or search the web.

Possibly if there is a designated key for some sort of rescue system on your laptop, the overall setup could be similar.

I'm really wondering if one couldnt modify some open source boot loader (GRUB for example), to be self-contained with a configuration that has only two options:

Wait for a special keycode and if that key is pressed, unhide (for example) the last partition on the drive and boot it.

If the timeout is hit, boot the partition marked active.

source:

http://thinkwiki.org/wiki/Rescue_and_Recovery

edit: so for embedding a configuration into grub, there is already a feature of it called 'preset menu'

http://www.gnu.org/software/grub/manual/gr...tml#Preset-Menu

The only thing GRUB can't do at the moment seems to be the Hotkey thing.

Edited by bj-kaiser
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Acronis True Image is the solution.

Press F6 and you are booted from hiddden recovery partion and you can restore the partition image.

Its gr8 software.

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I'm really wondering if one couldnt modify some open source boot loader (GRUB for example), to be self-contained with a configuration that has only two options:

Wait for a special keycode and if that key is pressed, unhide (for example) the last partition on the drive and boot it.

If the timeout is hit, boot the partition marked active.

Yes, it is possible with Grub/grub4dos, but the wkole point should be that one should be able to do everything in the MBR, i.e. in 512 bytes

Here is a tutorial to do it the "IBM" way.

http://www.911cd.net/forums//index.php?showtopic=18480

Check these Open Source MBR, fitting in 512 bytes and it should be possible to use them this way:

http://www.boot-land.net/forums/OS-BS-ride...mbldr-t334.html

http://www.boot-land.net/forums/MBR-Boot-Manager-t1105.html

jaclaz

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Thank you guys for the good info. Looks like I'll be doing some reading before I start the project. I found some info already, but this is by doing it the Microsoft way, thru WAIK & OEM installation kit. The only problem is, I haven't got the OEM kit. I've dowloaded the WAIK yesterday & I found this

I've got a copy of Acronis true image the latest version, our manager at work gave us a free copy last week or so. I'll check it out for sure.

Is there any advantage using Acronis over Ghost? I know Ghost is well known as a defacto application for cloning/imaging/recovery but is it able to do what I want? Anyone with good experiences?

I'm just wondering how is done by the big companies, because they must be %100 sure that their recovery solution is reliable & user friendly(average joe & technicians).

Probably the easiest way to do it is by creating "technician machine" with all of the drivers, applications, updates then to create hidden recovery partition with Acronis.

There must be some sort of automated way of creating recovery partitions. Imagine if HP has to do it by hand for every single new model PC or notebook :wacko:

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I'm really wondering if one couldnt modify some open source boot loader (GRUB for example), to be self-contained with a configuration that has only two options:

Wait for a special keycode and if that key is pressed, unhide (for example) the last partition on the drive and boot it.

If the timeout is hit, boot the partition marked active.

Yes, it is possible with Grub/grub4dos, but the wkole point should be that one should be able to do everything in the MBR, i.e. in 512 bytes

...

Check these Open Source MBR, fitting in 512 bytes and it should be possible to use them this way:

http://www.boot-land.net/forums/OS-BS-ride...mbldr-t334.html

http://www.boot-land.net/forums/MBR-Boot-Manager-t1105.html

:thumbup

mbldr is what I have been searching for. Now I just need to find out the scancode of the 'Access IBM' key.But that should be to find somewhere on the web.

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i have a similar idea. creating a mantaince mode. for defraging, cleanup and anti spyware, virus scaning. basic like all this mode is about is. Cleanup your windows with the utilities you have installed.

I'v got one question is there about we can do something like this?

picture my idea. i see good ideas here.........................

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Can someone explain step by step how to do this with bartPE ? Somehow I'm getting confused. I know how to create/modify/customize bartPE CD's but I'm not sure how to do it with HDD.

This is the part where I'm getting confused:

1. How to put the XP installation files on the final bartPE

2. How to start the whole recovery from bartPE

Tnx. for any help

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Can someone explain step by step how to do this with bartPE ? Somehow I'm getting confused. I know how to create/modify/customize bartPE CD's but I'm not sure how to do it with HDD.

This is the part where I'm getting confused:

1. How to put the XP installation files on the final bartPE

2. How to start the whole recovery from bartPE

Tnx. for any help

Well, it all depends on WHAT you want to do.

Basically you should already know how to copy a BartPE install on HD, on it's own partition.

Generally this partition is the FIRST one on HD (and Active).

Then you customize your BartPE install, with .cmd scripts, third party cloning or imaging utilities (if used).

Then you hide that partition and make the second one Active.

To this you install normally your XP or whatever.

Then you unhide the BartPE one and either copy to it the XP install files or an image of the second partition.

This is where you need to provide a "switching" way, like the MBR code proposed, to either:

- hide first partition and make second active (normal operation mode)

- unhide first partition and make it active (recovery mode)

The actions that the Recovery partition will perform are up to you, generally speaking there are four possible choices that you can take when "building" that partition:

1) Use just a Recovery Console

2) Start a (normal or unattended) setup with WINNT32 (and it's various options)

3) Start a setup to use the Repair option

4) Start a third party tool to re-image (restore) the previously saved image of the second partition

To which you add that some of them are not mutually exclusive, so that you can combine more than one of the above and choose one on-the-fly.

In other words, the object of this thread is to "refine" the way a recovery partition "looks" (or does not look, as it is hidden ;)) so, you should first thing get it working as "visible", and only once everything works as expected, hide it and provide a way for the "switching".

Start from here:

http://www.911cd.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=9895

http://www.911cd.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=11150

http://www.911cd.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=11166

http://www.911cd.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=11226

http://www.911cd.net/forums//index.php?showtopic=18031

For the record, and to keep things as together as possible, there is another "512 byte only" MBR capable of "switching", PARTITA, referenced here:

http://www.msfn.org/board/index.php?showtopic=47773

and here are some more elder threads relating to the same matters:

http://www.msfn.org/board/index.php?showtopic=86662

http://www.msfn.org/board/index.php?showtopic=84411

(and links therein)

jaclaz

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