Win8.1 restorability when making a LM dual boot

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Dirkoir
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Win8.1 restorability when making a LM dual boot

Post by Dirkoir » Sun Sep 07, 2014 4:44 pm

Hello, gurus:

I am trying to use the http://forums.linuxmint.com/viewtopic.p ... 58#p919758 tutorial for installing LM as a dual boot with Win8.1. I have this issue: Making Win8.1 restorable.

This seems to be no trivial matter. A lot of people (myself included) have found Win8.1 refusing to make a System Image Backup, and threads like http://forums.linuxmint.com/viewtopic.p ... 62#p872262 suggest that a recovery drive, even if successfully made, won't be of much help after the dual installation (a successfully made System Image Backup might be no better, for all I know). Also, backup-and-recovery schemes for Windows done on Windows might happily destroy one's Linux installations, I could imagine. Hence, maybe we have a better way on the Linux side? This issue seems to require some serious thought and testing. The best method would probably be one which would allow to restore the Win8.1 partition only, not touching anything else.

So, how to really make a restorable backup of one's Win8.1 installation before one messes with partitions and boot loaders and possibly breaks the Win8.1 installation (or for any other later emergencies)?

:?
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gold_finger
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Re: Win8.1 restorability when making a LM dual boot

Post by gold_finger » Sun Sep 07, 2014 11:48 pm

There is a link near bottom of tutorial for creating a USB recovery drive for the Windows OS. Here it is again: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/wind ... very-drive.

Your provided link refers to something called a "Reset/Refresh feature". I don't have Win 8, so don't know what that is -- but sounds like some kind of snapshot feature, not an OS recovery medium -- which is what above link is for.

Have seen other people make reference to using something called Macrium Reflect to make backup images of partitions -- you may want to look into something like that as an alternative to that Reset/Refresh feature if that doesn't work once Linux is installed.
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Dirkoir
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Re: Win8.1 restorability when making a LM dual boot

Post by Dirkoir » Tue Sep 09, 2014 7:16 pm

Thank you for the answer, gold_finger. I have seen threads in this forum full of praise of your advice. ;-)

As for "Reset/Refresh", M$ changes its vocabulary with ever new release of Windows. If my memory serves me from when I did a lot of reading and a test boot with my recently created "recovery drive" (the thing your link refers to) a few days ago, "Reset" refers to a factory reset as far as I could figure out. Refresh may be more of a rollback or such. In other words, I do think that thread did confirm what I already had plenty of reason to suspect, namely:

Such a factory reset has two problems:
  1. Restoring Windows to a known healthy version is probably impossible after partitions have been modified (to make a dual boot possible). My past research into this matter some years ago (for XP, admittedly) revealed that Windows only works when its partition and certain other partitions are unchanged from when the recovery image was created. Which would mean that the advice given of making a recovery drive at the beginning of the tutorial may very well give us a false sense of security. As soon as we change the partitions and install Linux on the side, the recovery drive probably becomes useless. Unless:
  2. If successful, such a recovery probably will destroy all one's hard work of configuring a nice Linux system which dual boots on the same drive, since M$'s restore features are intended for Windows-only users who are too non-technical to make any changes to partitions to begin with. It will probably repartition the drive or at the very least overwrite the MBR/EFI/boot-stuff for the exclusive boot of Windows. (the latter could probably be fixed, I suppose)
Another ominous thing I came across: references to the making of a recovery drive being possible only once (another fine anti-piracy feature by M$, I suppose).

Hence my search for input from people who have successfully recovered their Windows installation from an image without destroying everything else on the drive. Unfortunately, there are probably not many such people, and they are hard to find. In both, Linux and Windows forums, the resident gurus are likely to know one but not the other system and not likely to have spent much time in the never never land between. ;-p Still, he who doesn't ask gets no answers...

I also read about Macrium Reflect and some others (AOMEI Backupper, DriveClone), but with free Windows software there is always a malware risk, and the descriptions I have seen naturally never referred to double boot situations and such. Us double-booters and VMers are pretty alone out there, it seems. Also, being apparently Windows-World tools, these tools may also run roughshod over any non-Win OS that's installed on the same drive. I am really trying to get away from Windows. I just need to keep it around as a secondary citizen in case it becomes absolutely needed.
Last edited by Dirkoir on Fri Sep 12, 2014 4:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Win8.1 restorability when making a LM dual boot

Post by gold_finger » Tue Sep 09, 2014 9:10 pm

I'm not really up-to-date on MS vocabulary, so I'll just describe what I'm talking about and what that link in the tutorial is for.

In the "good old days", when buying a computer you not only got the hardware but also got original copies of the software that was installed to it -- eg. MS Windows, MS Office, drivers, etc. They came on CDs/DVDs along with the computer so if something went wrong, you could reinstall the OS and other original software to get computer running again.

Somewhere along the line I suppose that corporations decided that the extra +/- $0.05 cost of those CDs was just too much for them to bare. (Being sarcastic here.) They shifted the cost and burden of making those restore CDs to us (the buyers). Now they all seem to have some kind of utility built-in that you are supposed to run when you first start using the computer to make those restore CDs yourself. You have to buy the blank CDs/DVDs/USBs and you have to waste a few hours making them. When your done wasting your time doing that, you're supposed to now have a means of installing the OS and other initial software on to the computer if a re-install becomes necessary.

This is what the link in the tutorial is for -- creating a USB restore disk for the Win 8 OS. It is not meant for making a clone of what's on the drive or for backing up what's there. It's just to give you the ability to re-install and/or repair the OS. Backing up data and/or cloning drives is something else and everybody has there own methods for doing that.

I'm aware that many systems come with a restore partition. I don't have a computer with a Windows restore partition, so not exactly sure how that works. But I think the problems you are pointing out have more to do with trying to use that vs. trying to use a created restore medium like DVDs/USBs. I think (but do not know) that restoring computer through the restore partition requires hitting a special key on boot that starts the restore process using that partition to do it. Maybe that process requires that partitions have not changed on the computer and may fail if you've installed Linux or otherwise changed the partitioning -- but I'm just guessing.

I only have one computer that can run windows. It is a 4-yr old laptop that came with Windows 7. I made the restore DVDs when I first got the computer. I wiped out Windows on the original 320GB drive and replaced it with Linux. I took an old 80GB drive, put it in and installed Windows 7 on to that so I can use it once a year for TurboTax. The restore DVDs had no problem installing the OS despite the fact that I installed to an 80GB drive vs. the original 320GB drive, but that's all they did -- install a bare OS. (So, from what I can tell, an install medium live DVDs/USBs does not "require" you to have a specific drive/partition setup in order to install.) I don't have Win 8, but that link in tutorial is for making that kind of OS restore disk -- nothing more.


If you prefer to keep everything as it is on your drive, including data, added software, settings, etc. your best bet is to use cloning software to make a full clone of the drive. Plenty of people do that and I see no reason why that wouldn't work with Windows 8. After you've got both Windows and Mint working, you can clone the whole drive and it will give you an exact replica of both working systems. I don't use that method myself, but many others do and can give you good advice on how to go about it.
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Mark Phelps
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Re: Win8.1 restorability when making a LM dual boot

Post by Mark Phelps » Wed Sep 10, 2014 10:47 am

The best way of making a Windows restore capability is to use the FREE version of Macrium Reflect (in Windows) and image off your Windows install to an external drive. Then, use the MR feature to create and burn the Linux Boot CD. With these, you can then "restore" the current Windows install any time you want in the future. Plus, you no longer have any need for the Recovery partition.

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Pierre
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Re: Win8.1 restorability when making a LM dual boot

Post by Pierre » Wed Sep 10, 2014 11:08 am

the reset feature of win_8 is slightly different to the reset feature on win_8.1 :(
- it resets the O/S to a clean, known, environment.
( like the one , that the remote IT people, like to work with )
any other < installed > programs are removed - completely.
- a small file is placed on the desktop, that shows just what programs were removed.
you can then use this information, to re-install any / all of them.

interestingly enough, the Norton Antivirus is not removed in the procedure,
and further more, if you use a competitor's Antivirus, then that is removed, and the Norton Antivirus is re-instated.
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SeriesOfTubes
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Re: Win8.1 restorability when making a LM dual boot

Post by SeriesOfTubes » Wed Sep 10, 2014 6:33 pm

There is a command line program in linux called "dd" that can be used to clone disks and make disk images. Double check the hard drive you type is the correct one before hitting enter.

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Re: Win8.1 restorability when making a LM dual boot

Post by Derek_S » Wed Sep 10, 2014 7:12 pm

Hello Dirkoir - Both gold_finger and Mark Phelps mentioned the backup solution that I am currently using - backup images created by Macrium Reflect. I have successfully used these backup images to restore my Windows partitions on several occasions and have never had a problem. Three things that I recommend:

1.) Before creating a backup image, make absolutely sure that you have no virus/malware problems. And run " sfc /scannow " from an elevated Command Prompt (as Administrator) to ensure that you have no missing or corrupted system files. There's no sense creating a backup image that will cause you problems later on.

2.) If you need to resize Windows C:\ partition to make the room for your Linux Mint installation, then create your backup image after you have resized Windows C:\, and before you install Linux Mint. Do not resize Windows C:\ after you've created your backup image. Making Windows C:\ larger probably won't cause any problem if you need to restore a backup image. Making Windows C:\ smaller might create a problem. I've never experimented with this, nor do I care to.

3.) I did two separate backups. The first was all my Windows system partitions excluding the Recovery partition (I already have that on USB flash drive). The second was a backup image of my EFI system partition only. This way, if I ever encounter boot problems with Windows, all I have to do is restore this single partition.

Please note: Macrium Reflect can only work with NTFS and FAT partitions. You'll need to use some other software to create backup images of your Linux Mint partitions.
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