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Windows 7: Using a custom image on recovery partition.

22 Apr 2015   #1

Win 7 Starter SP1 32bit
Using a custom image on recovery partition.

Hello, I look after a older relatives netbook, when they clutter the machine to a snails pace I simply do a factory reset, for the first couple of times it wasn't too much effort, but the last attempt took a few days of windows updates to be "ship shape" again.

I was wondering could I update the factory reset on the recovery partition (on the internal HDD) with a image of windows that is totally up to date (when the image was taken)

I have 2 partitions in windows, (one HDD) but only care about backing up the O/S part (C:\)
Looking a disk management I have 4 partitions, the two already mentioned a 8.5GB Recovery partition and a 100MB Active recovery partition.

Is it as simple as backing up via windows action centre, include a system image, Formatting the 8.5GB partition, expanding it to fit the backup (about 20GB when I checked) and writing the backup to the expanded recovery part.

I've read a few things but am unsure. I can't seem to fathom how to write to the recovery or even if I'm thinking the right way.
Please don't think I know what I'm doing.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Apr 2015   #2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit

I've never heard of anyone even attempting to modify the factory recovery partition.

The traditional solution to your situation would be to use an imaging program such as Macrium or Aomei to make a "snapshot" of one or more partitions. When things become "unship-shape", you restore that image, which puts the machine back to the state it was in as of the moment the image was made, NOT to a factory state.

This would have the advantage of being relatively up to date regarding Windows Updates. If you make an image March 1 and restore it on April 25, you'd only have about 7 weeks worth of updates to get after the restoration.

You could do that by making a relatively small partition on the drive (say 50 or 60 GB, depending on the occupied space on C) that would be used for the sole purpose of storing the image files.

The image file you make would have to include C as well as any other partition containing boot files--typically the "system reserved" partition.

The disadvantage of this method, as well as the factory recovery method, is that neither will bail you out if the hard drive suffers a complete failure. If that were to happen, you'd would not be able to restore anything.

For that reason, the superior method is to have a second discrete hard drive (probably external) on which to store the image files.

There may be a way to modify the factory recovery partition, but I'd guess it would be much more complex than using a relatively simply imaging application.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Apr 2015   #3
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8

As Ignatz says, imaging is what you want. Please do this:

1. Attach an external disk to the netbook

2. Open an elevated command prompt. Go to Start > All Programs > Accessories > right click on Command Prompt > run as admin

3. Paste this command into a Wordpad or Notepad and replace the 'X' with the drive letter of your external disk (find it in Computer)

wbadmin start backup -backupTarget:X: -include:C: -AllCritical -quiet

4. Copy/paste the modified command into the command prompt window and wait until it is done.

If you like to watch videos, in the first half of this video I explain the process.

5. The day you want to restore the image, follow this tutorial:

System Image Recovery
My System SpecsSystem Spec

22 Apr 2015   #4

Win 7 Starter SP1 32bit

Total HDD failure isn't a concern, when that happens it will be time for a new machine for her, all I care about is a quick turn around from cluttered to tidy.

It surprises me that you can't update the factory reset, surely that's just an image too.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Using a custom image on recovery partition.

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