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Is the Windows Recovery Environment all that is required to reinstall Windows 10?

2018-07-06, 10:52 AM

I am just getting to know my T580 and I have a question about the recovery environment. This is the tool that is accessed by pressing the F11 key in the Startup Interrupt Menu.

 

I would like to know, in the event that everything else is destroyed (e.g. by filling all other pattitions with zeroes and then deleting the partitions), would the recovery environment reinstall Windows as it was when I took the ThinkPad out of the box ?

 

If yes, how does it do this? Does the recovery partition contain everything necessary to do this, or are downloads and/or USB media required?

 

Also, how does the firmware know where to find the recovery environment? I presume it boots the partition on the first disk that has the expected GUID (i.e. it has DE94BBA4-06D1-4D40-A16A-BFD50179D6AC). Is that right ?

 

If so, then I would assume that I only need to back up that one partition (it's 1000M, with 451M used and 586M free), and would be able to repartition a new disk with one partition of the appropriate size and GUID, and restore the backup into it. Then reboot through the startup interrupt menu and press F11 to reinstall Windows.

 

Do I have that correct ?

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Re: Is the Windows Recovery Environment all that is required to reinstall Windows 10?

2018-07-06, 14:56 PM

 wrote:
...

Do I have that correct ?


Short answer: no.  These machines use Push-button Reset.  There's that ~1GB recovery partition but it only contains the recovery tools.  The actual recovery "image" is included in the files in C:.  If you smoked C: you would not be able to recover the Windows installation.

 

Best way to ensure recovery in the event of a major disaster is to make recovery media and archive it.  "Recovery drive" in the Windows tool bar search box.

 

[edit to add]  The way PBR works, you get the current state of the OS (not including your apps and data) when you make media.   If you've allowed updates during OOBE or after Windows is up, that's what you get.

 

Other alternatives:

 

Lenovo preload - which will likely be the latest, and not necessarily the one shipped:  https://support.lenovo.com/us/en/solutions/ht103653?LinkTrack=Solr

 

MS clean media - also the latest: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10

 

Z.


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The fine print: I do not work for, nor do I speak for Lenovo. Unsolicited private messages will be ignored - questions and answers belong in the forum so that others may contribute and benefit. ... GeezBlog

 

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Re: Is the Windows Recovery Environment all that is required to reinstall Windows 10?

2018-07-06, 16:18 PM

Ok, thanks.

 

I have a 14GiB backup of the whole of the disk, made with Clonezilla, safely stored on my backup server. I have not tried to restore this but I might, just for the experience of doing so.

 

I hoped that the recovery partition might have been all that was needed (although I doubted it) because a backup of that is only 402MB.  I really wanted to avoid having to boot into windows just to back it up. But I might just do that, just so it's done. I also read about this method in the online manual.

 

I'll also use the media download facility that you linked to. I think that's probably the best idea of all, but it's a big download. Only it isn't working at the moment (system maintenance until the 9th might be why). Do you know if that is just an image that can be written onto a USB stick?  The instructions talk about using this "Lenovo USB Recovery Creator" in Windows. Can the image just be written to the USB stick on a Linux machine (using "cat" or "dd" for example) ? I guess I'll find out when I try it.

 

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Re: Is the Windows Recovery Environment all that is required to reinstall Windows 10?

2018-07-06, 16:47 PM

IIRC the DDRS thing is a tool that downloads a pile of files and then uses them to build media.  It might be possible to archive the downloaded files (I have) and run the tool later, but to me it makes more sense to run the thing to completion and then archive the result.

 

I take a belt & suspenders (& duct tape, bailing wire...) approach and keep my user-made recovery media, the DDRS-created media, and MS media on my big backup drives.  Since the saved files are all EFI-bootable it's as simple as copying the files to a FAT32 flash drive to make bootable media.

 

FWIW,

Z.


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Re: Is the Windows Recovery Environment all that is required to reinstall Windows 10?

2018-07-06, 22:31 PM

I make Clonezilla backups minimum once a month, and in-between that after doing major changes.  I have two drives on my T470, one with Linux and one with Windows;  I make separate image backups of each and store them on an external hard drive. They have saved me in the past.

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Re: Is the Windows Recovery Environment all that is required to reinstall Windows 10?

2018-07-06, 23:26 PM

Backups of an in-use machine are a little different topic, but I hear you.  I tend to put a live Linux on a 2nd drive along with Acronis and other tools.  The primary Windows drive gets backed up to the secondary drive regularly, and both get backed up to an external drive from time to time.  In a pinch, the #2 drive can restore to a totally pooched or replaced #1 drive.

 

The main daily driver - a whitebox desktop - automatically backs up once a week.  Probably should be once a day....

 

Z.


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The fine print: I do not work for, nor do I speak for Lenovo. Unsolicited private messages will be ignored - questions and answers belong in the forum so that others may contribute and benefit. ... GeezBlog

 

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  • Message 7 of 9

Re: Is the Windows Recovery Environment all that is required to reinstall Windows 10?

2018-07-09, 19:45 PM
@zoltanthegypsy just want to ask... this DDRS thing. Does it actually work? I've been stuck on a 99% download for 3 days now, have 12Gb downloaded.

I see a other posts of similar experiences but no answers or solutions.
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Re: Is the Windows Recovery Environment all that is required to reinstall Windows 10?

2018-07-09, 22:24 PM

 wrote:
@zoltanthegypsy just want to ask... this DDRS thing. Does it actually work? I've been stuck on a 99% download for 3 days now, have 12Gb downloaded.

I see a other posts of similar experiences but no answers or solutions.

I've used it several times without issues - once I get logged in via the USB Recovery Creator.

 

I have seen  multiple reports of members not being able to log via the creation tool to actually get the files and experienced the same thing myself.  Usually it's the server being down for some reason, and typically it gets sorted in a day or two.

 

I've just now tested the login portion of the process and it's currently working. Can't say what's amiss with your download :(

 

Z.


The large print: please read the Community Participation Rules before posting. Include as much information as possible: model, machine type, operating system, and a descriptive subject line. Do not include personal information: serial number, telephone number, email address, etc.


The fine print: I do not work for, nor do I speak for Lenovo. Unsolicited private messages will be ignored - questions and answers belong in the forum so that others may contribute and benefit. ... GeezBlog

 

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  • Message 9 of 9

Re: Is the Windows Recovery Environment all that is required to reinstall Windows 10?

2018-10-03, 6:58 AM

The large print: please read the Community Participation Rules before posting. Include as much information as possible: model, machine type, operating system, and a descriptive subject line. Do not include personal information: serial number, telephone number, email address, etc.


The fine print: I do not work for, nor do I speak for Lenovo. Unsolicited private messages will be ignored - questions and answers belong in the forum so that others may contribute and benefit. ... GeezBlog

 

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