This page describes how to Restore/Recover Windows 7 from USB. Discussion (suggestions/changes) on forum thread: http://forum.eeeuser.com/viewtopic.php?pid=729833
“Reducing impact on the environment” is what Asus calls it. Asus has started releasing eee's without windows installation media. They do, however, have a “hidden” partition with Recovery images.
How do they expect us to re-install? In normal operation, the BIOS contains a “hotkey” option (F9) that triggers a boot of that hidden partition which contains a limited version of Windows (WinPE) that has only one option: “Restore image to disk.” That option reformats (erases) the first partition on the hard disk and copies the contents of the image file there.
Make sure to backup that recovery partition (or make a “Windows Backup: Recovery System Image”) before you do anything like re-partitioning or re-formating the entire disk! Otherwise you will have no way to get windows re-installed without mailing your eee back to Asus (if it's still under warranty; one post online suggested they will re-image for a fee if out of warranty), or buying a new copy of Windows.
This process uses a bootable USB Flash stick and external USB storage (that holds the recovery image). You could recover from an image on one partition of the internal disk to another, but storing the image externally frees up space (10GB) on the main disk or provides a backup in case the main disk dies.
Recovery can either be from a Windows Backup “System Image” (i.e. backup of the entire computer) or the Original Asus “recovery” image.
Note: As the image deployment tools are windows based, these disk partitioning instructions also use windows tools (i.e. diskpart). It may be possible to create them, however, with linux. [if tested & working, please add partition & image deployment commands for Ubuntu]
First, boot the Windows 7 Recovery DVD. In a command prompt [add instructions how to get to this]:
x:\windows\system32> diskpart > list disk > select disk 0 > clean > create partition primary size=45000 > format fs=ntfs label="Windows" > active > assign letter=c x:\windows\system32> format c: /FS:NTFS /V:win7 /q
Recreate bootsector (if linux dual booting, leave MBR to linux). For XP, use ”/nt52”
x:\windows\system32> bootsect.exe /nt60 C: /mbr x:\windows\system32> bootsect.exe /nt60 C:
Run the “Repair” startup option to create boot info files.
Reboot the computer. If the boot process is stuck, try using the Recovery DVD to “repair” the boot options a second time.
The Boot Booster partition is small (~8-17MB) hidden partition where the BIOS can store some information to shorten boot times. This diskpart command creates a partition that the BIOS will recognize:
create partition primary size=17 align=1024 id=ef attribute set hidden
Similarly, to set this with Ubuntu (assumes the second partition is to be the boot booster):
$ sudo sfdisk --change-id /dev/sda 2 ef $ sudo sfdisk --print-id /dev/sda 2
I prefer to keep the restore image on a separate drive. So there are currently only instructions on backing up (not recreating) this partition.
The stock eee's have a 10GB partition that would be created with this diskpart command:
create partition primary size=10240 id=1b format fs=ntfs label="winre" attribute set hidden
Using linux, (e.g. Ubuntu or Parted Magic), the following would “save” that partition to a file that could later be “restored” to a partition that was the same size:
# Copy $ sudo dd if=/dev/sda3 of=part-10240MiB-fat32-winRE-orig # Restore $ sudo dd if=part-10240MiB-fat32-winRE-orig of=/dev/sda3
I don't have instructions on how to build a new recovery installer into that partition. However one could be made with WinPE (or the version WinRE or Windows Recovery Environment) and the original (or new) recovery images. [Please update with instructions].
If you have made a Windows Backup “System Image” on external USB storage, you can restore from that by booting the Windows 7 Recovery DVD and selecting the “Recover from System Image” option from the menu.
To get the imagex.exe tool, we mount the Recovery WinPE image, from the hidden partition, and copy the tool from there. You will need access to the “Sources\boot.wim” file on the Recovery partition. I can't recall if the Windows Recovery DVD can see that partition, as I made the partition visible when I first explored. If it cannot, then you can access it by booting Ubuntu or Parted Magic and copying the “boot.wim” file to a regular partition on the disk or to an external USB disk. Then, boot the Windows 7 Recovery DVD and open a command prompt:
### E: is hidden partition, C: is the main windows partition, and F: is the Multiboot USB E:\Sources> dism.exe /Get-WimInfo /WimFile:boot.wim E:\Sources> dism.exe /Get-WimInfo /WimFile:boot.wim /Index:1 E:\Sources> mkdir C:\temp E:\SOURCES> dism.exe /Mount-Wim /WimFile:E:\SOURCES\boot.wim /index:1 /MountDir:c:\temp ### If you gen an error, "incorrect function", try mounting to another drive E:\Sources> copy c:\temp\Windows\System32\imagex.exe f:\
Alternatively, the imagex.exe tool is available as a part of the Windows AIK. Download the 1.7GB file http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?displaylang=en&FamilyID=696dd665-9f76-4177-a811-39c26d3b3b34, install it, and copy the tool to the Multiboot drive:
# From Command prompt (Start>"cmd") > copy C:\Program files\Windows AIK\Tools\x86\imagex.exe f:\
Check the recovery image files, then deploy them. From the Windows 7 Recovery DVD command prompt, move to the location of the image files (and where “F” is the multiboot drive adn “E” is the recovery partition):
> E: > E:\recovery\windowsre > f:\imagex.exe /info EN1201N_WW_W7HP_32H_01.05.wim # two parts, no compression
On my eee1201n, there are two parts (uncompressed), and the deployment is started using the name of the first file:
> f:\imagex.exe /ref *.wim /apply EN1201N_WW_W7HP_32H_01.05.wim 1 c:
Ubuntu recommends that you install Windows 7 first, and then install Ubuntu. The windows 7 installer doesn't create a menu option for booting linux, but Ubuntu does make one for Windows.
Download Ubuntu's install CD iso and add it to the Multiboot USB tool. See http://wiki.eeeuser.com/multiboot_usb
The only change necessary from the disk partition described for a Windows 7 install is to create a partition for Ubuntu (and optionally a Swap partition). Then when running the Ubuntu installer, make sure to choose “Manually select partitions” and assign ”/” and “Swap” to those two partitions you created.