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  1. #1
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    Create recovery, restore or system image for Asus X401A1 Notebook

    I purchased two Asus X401A1 Notebooks. They didn't come with any restore disks. I'm looking for a way to restore if I ever lose the hard drive. I use a Windows Home Server V1 to backup all my computers. When I add the Asus Notebook and configure backup the WHS lists the following drives:

    (Recovery) 600 MB
    (Restore) 20 GB
    C: (OS) 119.24 GB
    D: (Data) 118.79 GB

    I understand drive C: and drive D: but do not understand the (recovery) and (restore). I have been in contact with Asus about how to backup everything and they emailed me a file and a process. The file is called AsFixWFR.exe and the following is some of the process:

    How to create a system backup image in windows 8
    This section will show you how to create a Windows 8 system backup image to be able to use to restore the contents of your ASUS computer back to the state it was in when the system image was created if your HDD or computer ever stops working.

    You must prepare these resources before you backup your computer:
    1. ASUS Patch file, AsFixWFR.exe. It will resize the recovery partition.
    2. Enough hard disk space. You can choose your system backup image to save to local disk or external hard disk. Make sure your local disk or external hard disk is enough space to save your system backup image.
    3. An empty CD/DVD. Use this empty CD/DVD to do repair disc.

    I do not understand the part that says it will resize the recovery partition. I have also included screen shot of disk manager.


    Screenshot (1).png

  2. #2
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    Just choose a 3rd party Imaging app and create a full system Image. There are several that are discussed repeatedly in the Maintenance forum, so no need to rehash all that here. Using an Imaging app to accomplish this task will allow you to create an Image of your system at the exact time you create the Image. This Image file will include ALL the customizations you have added, all updates that have been installed, and all apps you have installed. Most of us take more time to set an OS up the way we want it than the original installation time. Restoring to the factory Image leaves you a totally reinstalled PC as it was when it left the factory. It DOES NOT include everything you have done with it. An Image you create includes everything, factory OS, Customizations, Updates and apps you have installed.

    The first 2 partitions contain (I believe) Recovery Tools to assist with a Factory Restore, and a Restore partition that actually contains the Restore Image from the factory.

    Personally, I use Acronis True Image 2013. Others discuss Macrium Reflect or EaseUS ToDo, or Gost, or several others I can't think of just now.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Medico View Post

    The first 2 partitions contain (I believe) Recovery Tools to assist with a Factory Restore, and a Restore partition that actually contains the Restore Image from the factory.
    Thanks for reply. It doesn't seem you are sure about first two partitions. If you look at my screen capture it shows a (EFI System Partition) at 300MB. I'm educating myself on new technology but isn't EFI the new way bios is done?

  4. #4
    WS Lounge VIP mrjimphelps's Avatar
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    If you do an "image" backup, it should make an exact copy of everything that's on the hard drive. I'm pretty sure that all of your partitions and everything else will be preserved in the image. If you have everything set up the way you like it, then an image backup will recreate everything that you now have exactly the way it is now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mrjimphelps View Post
    If you do an "image" backup, it should make an exact copy of everything that's on the hard drive.
    Well, everything that the imaging application believes is relevant, anyway. One would certainly hope that no reputable vendor would place important data anywhere on the disk that a normal imaging application would NOT consider to be relevant, but it has happened in the past (especially in areas which such a vendor might believe to be 'off limits' to direct user involvement, and a special 'recovery' partition might conceivably qualify as such).

    I tend to prefer to take an image of a new system's activated 'boot' partition, verify that it's usable, and then delete any 'special' partitions the vendor has included (yes, I may then need to create a 'system' partition of my own and populate its BCD, but then *I* know that there's nothing unusual there), thus ensuring that no such shenanigans will ever pop up to bite me in the future. Failing that, however, I'd use the vendor's special backup application (as the OP describes) just to make sure the backup included EVERYTHING the vendor expected it to.

    God only knows whether EUFI introduces additional complications, though. I'll cross that bridge when I have to.

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    I would image all partitions and after verifying the image for integrity, would delete both Recovery partitions. It seems that the EFI system partition contains the boot loaders for the installed operating systems, so that partition cannot be deleted. You can always keep this original image intact and restore it whenever you want to go back to factory condition.

  7. #7
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    My whole point was that the built in Image will only restore to factory, whereas the 3rd party Imaging app will Image the entire system AFTER the OP makes all his changes. It does not matter what the 2 unknown partitions are. I did give my best educated guess as to what they are. I am fairly certain the Restore Partition includes the factory Image. I believe the Recovery partition includes various tools to assist with system recovery. Since the PC is not sitting in front of me I can not be absolutely certain of those 2 partitions, but based on my knowledge of various manufacturers setups my "best guess" seems very appropriate.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
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  8. #8
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    The EFI partition contains your boot loader and BCD Store. The presence of an EFI partition means that the rest of the disk is GPT. The EFI partition must remain where it is. Deleting that partition will make the system unbootable, as Windows cannot boot from GPT without the EFI partition (which is formatted FAT32).

    The 600MB Recovery partition contains system tools, like RAM diagnostics, disk drive tools, other hardware tools, etc. and the launcher for a factory restore. The 20GB Recovery partition contains the image files used to return the machine to its "as new" condition. There may also be an option to "refresh" the operating system while leaving user apps and settings intact. Some OEM's have this option, others do not offer it. I can't say whether yours does or not.

    And you know what C and D are.

    I use TeraByte's Image for Windows, which has various options for imaging, including making an image of the entire hard drive, every byte included, whether "hidden" or not. Most other imaging apps likely offer the same option, but I've never used any other than TeraByte.
    Create a fresh drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Savvy?"—Captain Jack Sparrow "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bbearren View Post
    I use TeraByte's Image for Windows, which has various options for imaging, including making an image of the entire hard drive, every byte included, whether "hidden" or not. Most other imaging apps likely offer the same option, but I've never used any other than TeraByte.
    Yes, other imaging applications offer the same option but AFAIK none use this option as their DEFAULT behavior, which was my reason for responding to Jim's comment as I did. Furthermore, I don't know of any that access hidden areas on the disk such as the Host Protected Area (I would hope that no vendor would either, but once you get into mechanisms that the vendor may consider private and off-limits to users, such as their proprietary recovery mechanisms, one just can't be sure). It is for these reasons that I take steps to eliminate such private mechanisms up front and ensure that a normal image recovery will work.

  10. #10
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by - bill View Post
    Furthermore, I don't know of any that access hidden areas on the disk such as the Host Protected Area (I would hope that no vendor would either, but once you get into mechanisms that the vendor may consider private and off-limits to users, such as their proprietary recovery mechanisms, one just can't be sure). It is for these reasons that I take steps to eliminate such private mechanisms up front and ensure that a normal image recovery will work.
    The OEM recovery partition/tools come in handy if one wishes to pass down a desktop or laptop to a family member or friend, or donate to charity. After insuring that one has copies of all data, the factory restore option can be used to format the disk and reinstall the factory image.

    This is only the second OEM desktop I've owned - I built all the rest - but for this desktop, and for my laptops, the first thing I do is make a full drive image, which includes any hidden/recovery partition. Once that's accomplished, I personalize them.
    Create a fresh drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Savvy?"—Captain Jack Sparrow "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by bbearren View Post
    The OEM recovery partition/tools come in handy if one wishes to pass down a desktop or laptop to a family member or friend, or donate to charity. After insuring that one has copies of all data, the factory restore option can be used to format the disk and reinstall the factory image.
    One can accomplish the same goals if one takes an initial image as I described and wipes the disk before restoring it (something which the factory reinstallation may or may not do, depending upon how it was set up).

    the first thing I do is make a full drive image, which includes any hidden/recovery partition
    Areas like the Host Protected Area aren't part of any partition, nor are they even addressable by the normal raw disk access functions (that's why they're called 'protected', though the protection is not absolute if you know how to address them). There's really nothing to prevent an OEM who assumes that the user will use the OEM's proprietary recovery mechanisms from making use of such areas in an effort to 'harden' its recovery facilities against inadvertent corruption, but simply imaging the 'entire' disk (even byte-by-byte) using a normal imaging facility would not preserve its recoverability in such a case.

    I guess I just trust a well-established imaging utility more than whatever recovery hodge-podge an OEM may have concocted: the former if nothing else gets a great deal more exercise in the field to flush out bugs.

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    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    In my case I guess I trust my system better than the OEM system to make my PC sellable. I set up a separate partition for my data. I have the OS and apps on the C Drive and data on a D Drive. In this way I can format the D Drive, then overwrite the entire data drive with a wiping app such as that included in CCleaner to completely obliterate the dta that was on the D Drive. If I wish I can also uninstall apps I installed on the C Drive and take it back to a basic OS without the OEM garbage. I feel comfortable that this cleans things nicely on a PC I am getting rid of.
    Last edited by Medico; 2013-03-06 at 05:55.
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  13. #13
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by - bill View Post
    I guess I just trust a well-established imaging utility more than whatever recovery hodge-podge an OEM may have concocted: the former if nothing else gets a great deal more exercise in the field to flush out bugs.
    Once I get a Windows system setup the way I want it, it bears no resemblance to its original form. And I can recover my systems reliably, should the need arise. I've been using drive imaging for more than a decade as my primary backup regimen, and it has never failed me.
    Create a fresh drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Savvy?"—Captain Jack Sparrow "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bbearren View Post
    Once I get a Windows system setup the way I want it, it bears no resemblance to its original form. And I can recover my systems reliably, should the need arise. I've been using drive imaging for more than a decade as my primary backup regimen, and it has never failed me.
    It has finally dawned on me that you may not understand the point I've been trying to make. It was very specifically that 1) taking a normal (not byte-by-byte) image of a drive might not be sufficient to be able to use its proprietary 'recovery partition' mechanism after restoring that image if said 'recovery partition' had other than normal file system content (because the normal imaging process would preserve only what it understood to be required in a normally-organized partition and the PC vendor might not have considered the possibility that the recovery partition itself might be backed up and restored using third-party products) and 2) that even if the imaging application took a byte-by-byte image of the disk that still might not be sufficient to be able to use its proprietary 'recovery partition' mechanism after restoring that image if said mechanism used, e.g., the disk's Host Protected Area in some way (since the image would not contain that).

    The problem with proprietary recovery mechanisms is that they never tell you exactly how they work internally nor necessarily are they designed to work in a standard manner (because the PC vendor may assume that the user or other applications should not touch them, just use them). By contrast, setting up your own recovery mechanism (as you, I, and Medico have chosen to do) based upon standard imaging products (which ARE designed to work in a standard manner with standard content) should be resilient to whatever other standard activities one performs with no need to hope that the PC vendor has done its recovery job taking all such other standard activities (including those operating on the recovery mechanism itself) into account.
    Last edited by - bill; 2013-03-06 at 17:56.

  15. #15
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by - bill View Post
    It was very specifically that 1) taking a normal (not byte-by-byte) image of a drive might not be sufficient to be able to use its proprietary 'recovery partition' mechanism after restoring that image if said 'recovery partition' had other than normal file system content (because the normal imaging process would preserve only what it understood to be required in a normally-organized partition and the PC vendor might not have considered the possibility that the recovery partition itself might be backed up and restored using third-party products)
    The only imaging software I've ever used (or will use) is from TeraByte. I use both Image for Windows and Image for DOS. Byte-by-byte is what they do. If the entire drive is selected, Image for Windows

    "Automatically recognizes and backs up used area of FAT16, FAT32, NTFS, HFS+, Ext2, Ext3, Ext4, ReiserFS, and XFS partitions. Partitions with other file system types can be backed up in their entirety. Supports all standard partitions in an MBR, EMBR, or GPT."

    As for Image for DOS,

    "As its name implies, Image for DOS runs under a DOS environment, but it can backup or restore any partition, including those of Windows or Linux."

    IFW and IFD read the target byte-by-byte. It doesn't really matter what file system contains those bytes - they still get read. If it is a file system unsupported by IFW/IFD, the entire partition, including free space, gets read byte-by-byte and turned into an image. If it's in a partition, it's in the image.

    I have no concern RE the Host Protected Area. I can always get back to where I want to be.
    Last edited by bbearren; 2013-03-06 at 18:45.
    Create a fresh drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Savvy?"—Captain Jack Sparrow "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware.
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