Step-by-Step guide to move Recovery Partition to USB and reclaim up 6+ GB without 3rd party software

Discussion in 'Dell' started by 8inches, Mar 15, 2014.

  1. 8inches

    8inches Scribbler - Standard Member

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    Previously, I started a post of http://forum.tabletpcreview.com/del...-moving-recovery-partition-usb-works-not.html trying to seek out the facts from many conflicting information. I believe I have done enough research to give a walkthrough.

    Acknowledgements - The following members had provided me their experience and inspirations. Thank you!
    St Lamar, dprice7, baxter, laaf2005

    Background
    I own a 32GB Dell Venue 8 Pro. Out of the box, I get just a little over 10GB of free space. The #1 reason is due to the Recovery Partitions installed by Dell. Here is a snapshot:

    Code:
    1.00 GB (Recovery Partition)
    500MB (EFI System Partition)
    22.00 GB (OS)
    5.51GB (Recovery Partition)
    
    Note that there are 2 Recovery Partitions. And there is in fact a 128MB Reserved Partition between EFI and OS partitions. But it is a Windows thing and should not be touched.

    The 1st Recovery Partition (some of you reported to being 500MB) is WINRETOOLS. Which I believe is the Recovery Environment. One that gives you tile menus of Refresh, Reset, Restore, Boot, etc.

    The 2nd Recovery Partition is the actual system image that comes with your V8P that can be used to build factory image.

    What you need
    • micro USB to USB A female adapter (a.k.a OTG cable)
    • 1 (prefer 2) 8GB USB drive

    That's it. No 3rd party software needed.

    Moving Recovery Partition
    NOTE: Do not trust Dell's Recovery. Do not use Dell's Recovery and Backup software to move Recovery Partition because you will ended up with a USB that boots up and asks for power to be plugged in. I don't understand how this could get past QC.


    The proper way of moving Recovery Partition is use Windows's "Create a recovery drive".

    1. Open the search box and type "recovery drive" and click on Create a recovery drive.
    2. Leave the check box checked to copy recovery partition to USB.
    3. Click Next
    4. It will format the USB drive and make it bootable and copy the recovery partition over. The process will take a while depending on your USB drive. Allow at least 15 minutes
    5. In the end, you have an option to delete the recovery partition. Don't do it until you do some sanity test.


    To verify your USB drive
    1. Leave the USB connected and shutdown your V8P
    2. Wait until the V8P is completely shutdown
    3. press the power button, you will see the screen blink a little, immediately press "Vol -" once
    4. You will enter BIOS, go to Boot you make "Boot Option #1" your USB drive
    5. Touch ESC and save
    6. You can now boot into USB
    7. Choose US (Keyboard Layout)
    8. Choose Troubleshoot
    9. Choose "Reset your PC"
    10. Choose "Windows 8.1", there is a short wait and you will see some options

    You should now have good feeling that the USB works.

    Now, make another Recovery USB following the same steps above. In the end, choose "remove recovery partition". Congratulations. You now have 5.5GB more.

    Reset to factory default
    If you now want to reset your V8P to factory condition, you can boot back into USB and continue where you left off after "Reset your PC"

    After you touch "Windows 8.1", there is a short wait and you will see

    Hit "Next"

    You will be asked:

    I choose "No". (Note that you will only be asked once, if I later "cancel" and restart, it will not ask me again)

    Now you will be given the options of

    The two options all ended up the same. But the option 2 is slower as it attempts to erase your personal file with random data. You may want to use it if you have been using your V8P and now want to sell it.

    After you confirmed with 1st option, it will take about 20 minutes and V8P will reboot and you will be presented with initial setup. Your V8P is now good as new but the recovery partition will not be restored. That's what the USB drive is for!

    What about the 1GB Recovery Partition?
    I'm glad you asked! This partition is no longer needed since you can do it with the USB drive (in fact, it only uses 200MB). So I nuked it too! Here is the procedure:

    1. Search for Command Prompt
    2. Run as Administrator
    3. Bring up the keyboard and enter "diskpart"
    4. "select disk 0"
    5. "list partition"
    6. verify that the Recovery Partition is partition 1
    7. "select partition 1"
    8. "delete partition override"
    9. "exit" - your recovery partition is now gone
    10. enter Disk Management (file manager -> computer (on top) -> Manage)
    11. The first partition is now freed.
    12. Create a simple volume (I choose cluster size of 4096, more on this later)

    Now you get a 1GB or 500MB D: for your use.


    What to do with this D:?
    What I did is I turned off hibernate (powercfg /h off) and then made this partition for my Windows pagefile.sys. You can find the instructions in the web. If I have time, I will write some more details on this. I don't know of any way to merge this partition to system partition since there are several partitions in between.

    After all this, I have 17.0GB free on my C: This is even after I installed all the recommended updates.

    Now I want to challenge you guys out there to free up more than 20GB on a 32GB V8P!


    Are there other ways to backup?
    Yes, Microsoft provides another way to backup your partitions. It backs up your current drive status including the system partitions but not the 5.5GB Recovery Partition.

    You can access the tool from Control Panel, then "File History". Toward the bottom left, you will see "System Image Backup". Launch it. It will backup your partitions (excluding the 5.5GB Recovery Partition).

    You can save the backup to a microSD card if you want. For me, the tool says I need 11GB but it only used 6GB or so because it compresses the files. However, I suspect it will refuse to save to an 8GB microSD card.

    Note that the drive you used for back up must not be FAT32 as files > 4GB will be created. Since the recovery USB is FAT32, I think this eliminates the possibility of using the same drive.

    The advantage of System Image Backup is it will backup your current state, i.e. your installed Windows with applications, documents and also your Metro apps (you can keep your version). The disadvantage is it will take up more space and it is not factory image.
    To restore, you can use the 8GB USB drive (or your can use the same "Create a recovery drive" tool on a 256MB USB drive and choose not to copy recovery partition).

    Instead of "Reset your PC", choose "Advanced options" and "System Image Recovery". I have not tried this System Image Recovery before so I cannot say it works or not. (Edit: laaf2005 confirmed that it works, see his post in Page 3). If you have a spare 16GB microSD, I suggest that you do it anyway. Backup image will be saved under a single directory, and you can backup the directory to your other HDDs and free up your 16GB microSD. Also, since microSD is used for restore, you can replace the USB boot drive with power.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 16, 2015
  2. benny90

    benny90 Scribbler - Standard Member

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    Very cool, seems to be an easier to follow guide to the others that I have seen, nice work!
     
  3. dwx

    dwx Scribbler - Standard Member

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    Is there a way to restore the recovery partition in case I want to sell the device later on?

    I do have a working cable to plug the V8P in while a USB is plugged in, wonder if that would work as well with the Dell utility.
     
  4. baxter

    baxter Scribbler - Standard Member

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    My compliments, Binches. This is an excellent, coherent and very comprehensive writeup.
     
  5. St. Lamar

    St. Lamar Scribbler - Standard Member

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    8inches, great writeup!
     
  6. 8inches

    8inches Scribbler - Standard Member

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    Not with this method. But I believe this method here will do it:

    http://forum.tabletpcreview.com/del...ng-factory-backup-image-dell-venue-8-pro.html

    However, since the 5.5GB recovery partition is just a partition. I believe it can also be backed up using many partition backup tool while Windows is running. And then when you need to restore, you can shrink the Windows partition and restore the recovery partition. The same applies to the 1.0GB WINRETOOLS partition.

    In addition, Windows also support backup and restore partitions as "System Image". However, it does not backup the 5.5GB Recovery Partition.
     
  7. St. Lamar

    St. Lamar Scribbler - Standard Member

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    Hi, dwx. I'm not sure about the default system image created using Windows NOT including all the partitions. I'm going to reformat my external hard drive and create the system image backup again. Then I'll mount it on my desktop PC and report back what I find out by examining it in Disk Management. Somebody will need to check that I'm still breathing by the time the format finishes. :p
     
  8. johnnyman

    johnnyman Scribbler - Standard Member

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    very nice guide!thx for that!!after i move the recovery partition i freed about 5GB of space!now i have:

    1. 500MB efi partition
    2. 40MB oem partition
    3. 490MB recovery partition.

    which one of these i can delete?
     
  9. 8inches

    8inches Scribbler - Standard Member

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    The last one. In diskpart, it should show up as WINRETOOLS.

    I'm surprised that there are so many different sizes. 490MB is kind of small.
     
  10. 8inches

    8inches Scribbler - Standard Member

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    Come to think of it, if you can make the Recovery Partition visible under Windows (e.g. the USB boot drive can definitely see it, you can even browse it), it maybe possible to simply backup recovery partition using copy. I no longer have the recovery partition. I doubt it is bootable. If my guess is right, restoring it could be as simple as: shrink Windows, create partition, copy file back in, and mark the partition as recovery partition.

    I no longer have the recovery partition and I am too lazy to try it myself now that I have "settled in" my V8P.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2014

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