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Messed up...

Discussion in 'General Linux' started by PcBuilderEd, Aug 6, 2017.

  1. PcBuilderEd

    PcBuilderEd New Member

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    OK fellas I'm in a sensitive place...
    I went to create a bootable USB to make a dual boot setup. Using Linux Live I tried to make a USB and accidentally clicked on the recovery drive... So I have a formatted recovery drive with FAT... I reformatted it to NTFS but what do I need to do now, is that a recovery drive or a restore point? Please be very specific here. Even what menus to go under.... I have a recovery drive (USB as a backup) but would rather not use that.


     
  2. PcBuilderEd

    PcBuilderEd New Member

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    Oh I its Windows 10 btw
     
  3. Steve

    Steve New Member

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    You have a couple of options. In either case, I cannot give exact clicks. You will have to do some work on your end.

    So what you just did: you reformatted the partition on disk 0 (say /dev/sda has sda1 sda2 sda3 and sda4 - sda1 is your "boot" partition for Windows, sda2 is your "OS" partition for windows, 3 is/was your recovery partition - exactly what they are, I cannot say), copied data onto it necessary for a live Linux environment, reformatted it back to NTFS.

    1) use a data recovery program, namely testdisk (comes installed on various live CDs). You MIGHT be able to search for and recover the partition. HIGHLY doubtful that it'll have success, as when you chose that partition to write your Live USB to, it reformatted the filesystem, copied around 1GB of data onto it, and overwrote existing data that still remained on the physical sectors on it. It most likely has little-to-no success probability without a ton of errors.
    2) Hakuna matata! The recovery partition is nothing more than a "uh-oh" when a Windows OS fails to boot - and gives you a chance to go back and reload the OS from factory defaults to the hard drive. Bloat-ware and all. You MIGHT be able to find a way to go through Microsoft and get a legitimate, physical copy (or ISO) of the install disk rather than a recovery partition. It's been a while since I've looked into it. After all, if your hard drive totally bombs on you, you have no way to install a new OS. You're really outta-luck. But the "Recovery" partition isn't actually necessary for normal operation of Windows.
     
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  4. atanere

    atanere Moderator
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    Hi @PcBuilderEd, and welcome to the forums!

    I've had too many beers tonight, and I have to work tomorrow, so I'm not going to give you too much here tonight. But the short, simple answer to start is: take a deep breath and don't do anything until you figure out what you've already done.

    If you picked the wrong drive, or the wrong partition, any Linux will be very unforgiving about that. When you say you "formatted" the recovery drive... TWICE... first with FAT, then with NTFS... if that is actually what you did, then you no longer have a recovery drive (actually probably a partition) to restore your Windows system. If you want that recovery partition restored, then your only option I can see (through my beer goggles) is that you will have to use your recovery USB and totally restore your Windows. If you think you need to do that, be sure to back up anything on your Windows drive because it will be erased too!

    Your Windows 10 will have UEFI firmware (not the old style BIOS firmware). When you choose a Linux to install, you also need to be sure that it is UEFI compatible. Many are these days, but not all. And there are other issues related to this... UEFI settings, such as, Secure Boot, Fast Boot, and UEFI mode or Legacy Mode (sometimes referred to by other names). If you haven't considered these things (and more!), you're not ready to dual-boot with Linux yet. But may folks here will help you, so just be patient and take it a little more slowly, and tell us more about your computer, which Linux you want to run, and stuff like that.

    And do you really even need to dual boot? VirtualBox is a free program that you can install on Windows that will let you install any (or MANY) version of Linux in a "virtual machine." It will also not mess up your boot processes. I highly recommend this for beginners, or just running Linux off of a live DVD or USB (again, so you don't mess up your boot processes). You have a number of options.... after you fix your recovery drive/partition.

    Cheers!
     
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  5. PcBuilderEd

    PcBuilderEd New Member

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    Cool thanks for the answers guys. The computer an HP Pavilion DV6, from 2011. I'm not panicking actually lol... SO it sounds like the recovery drive isn't a hard drive at all but a separate partition of the main? Its listed as an :E drive where the main hard drive is a :C. I haven't been able to access the original from the factory (Windows 7) since I upgraded to Windows 10. This was actually why I was moving to Linux, Windows 10 is alright but Id rather have something more efficient, I would go back to Win 7 if I could, but after the month of Win 10 I thought I couldn't access that anyway?

    So the main question is: Is it possible to just create a recovery for Win 10 on that :E drive (or partition) and call it good?


    PS-I was doing a tutorial on how to make a dual boot and it was saying that since its a Windonws 7 machine originally the UEFI doesn't use Secure Boot, and I disabled fast boot. Ive used a USB boot for Linux MInt for a bit and its fine, but was hoping for a more permanent solution, but after al this ill reconsider a virtual box. I was actually just doing this to create a USB for Mint 18.2 (ive used 18.1) and selected the recovery drive instead of the USB so it would have happened even if I was just making a Live boot drive. Thanks for your help fellas.
     
    #5 PcBuilderEd, Aug 6, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2017
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  6. wizardfromoz

    wizardfromoz Active Member

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    @PcBuilderEd

    Hi - mate are these the sort of specs for that unit?

    HP Pavilion dv6-6169us - 15.6" - Core i5 2430M - 6 GB RAM - 750 GB HDD

    If so, you have more than enough "grunt" and more than enough space to install any Linux you choose. VM or not. Full install will give you the best performance, rather than having to allocate RAM for the VM. Both options have their pros and cons.

    If you read this link here

    https://www.lifewire.com/how-to-open-disk-management-2626080

    ... you could provide us with a Windows Snipping Tool screenshot of how you are set up.

    That begs the question - are you able to access your Windows 10?

    Also, your Linux Mint Live stick will include on it GParted - the Gnome Partition Editor. You can find it under Menu by beginning to type it. In GParted, go to Device-Attempt Data Rescue and see if that helps. I cannot be certain that it applies to other than Linux, as I have not had to use it. I work from a totally Linux environment and have done so for 3 years.

    Cheers

    Wizard
     
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  7. PcBuilderEd

    PcBuilderEd New Member

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    Thanks again for the constructive responses fellas. Here is a snippit of my Storage and System. The real goal here for me is to get the Recovery drive working. Windows appears to be stable and working. I haven't shut down the computer yet (sleep mode). I am hoping to get a functioning recovery internal drive as a first line of defense, with the second line being the USB recovery drive. Ultimately I would like to have a dual boot but that's a few steps ahead at this stage.:D Drive Partition Snip.PNG HP Snip.PNG
     
    #7 PcBuilderEd, Aug 6, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2017
  8. Steve

    Steve New Member

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    Yep, so as you thought, the "RECOVERY" "drive" is nothing more than a 14.36 GB partition sitting on your ~700GB drive. As I mentioned at first, when you have a problem and Window's only solution is to completely re-install the OS and start from scratch, your computer would actually boot into a some-what "live" envirotnment, access the base install image from the "RECOVERY" partition, erase everything on your C:\, and re-apply the compressed factory image onto it.

    So, do you need "RECOVERY"? No, not at all. It is simply the "factory reset" option.

    IF you indeed are wanting that recovery partition back, you MIGHT be able to restore everything from your recovery drive onto your original drive. I say "might" because the recovery USB drive may just contain the C:\ and not the "RECOVERY" partition. And if you go this route, you can easily clone your drive before you do it, restore from your USB drive, then restore from your clone you just made before using your recovery USB drive. A lot of work to do it, and like I said, it might not even have the correct partition. Alternatively, you might be able to actually just dig into that USB drive and see if you are able to pull out the recovery image.
     
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  9. PcBuilderEd

    PcBuilderEd New Member

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    OK so maybe I should state a goal or something here. I'm assuming the Windows 7 (factory) is gone after I upgraded to Windows 10. I tried to go back to it but when I checked the recovery partition it didn't show, so I have been going on the notion that Windows 10 was what was on the recovery drive (partition). I have almost nothing on my hard drive, and nothing that can not be easily redownloaded. My goal was to simply have the recovery drive (partition) available in case of emergency or serious virus, etc. So if I can get a bootable version of Windows on it I'm happy. It doesn't need to be a current image or the specific one I had previously. Could I smply create a "recovery" in windows and have it installed on the reformatted partition?
     
  10. wizardfromoz

    wizardfromoz Active Member

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    @PcBuilderEd:

    Hi mate, I am not current in Windows (particularly 10), so cannot best advise on

    ... but I wonder whether Windows Restore might go as far as restoring the whole unit to a previous point? Have you tried that?

    Below is some information I have just completed providing an holistic overview that includes the Linux side. For reference to Ubuntu just substitute Linux Mint. Hope it helps.

    @PcBuilderEd:

    That screenshot came up a treat, if it was from the Snipping Tool, that was one of the gadgets I liked when I was still using Win 7. Very clear and ta (pron. “tar”, Aussie for thanks).

    It also shows clearly one hurdle that needs to be overcome if you wish to install Linux (but a VM under Windows is fine). That is the Four Partition Rule (hereafter, I will call that FPR).

    Wizard’s Glossary


    Four Partition Rule (FPR) – is summarised in the quote below from Wikipedia (copyright restricts me from providing more).

    Wizard’s Recommended Reading


    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Master_boot_record

    and

    https://askubuntu.com/questions/149...4-primary-partitions-how-can-i-install-ubuntu

    Briefly fleshing out the FPR in practical terms:


    • A lot of people whom like to bag M$ and Bill Gates lay the blame for the MBR restrictions at their/his feet (& so you see references all the time to MSDOS-MBR), but in fact it was “Big Blue” (IBM) whom introduced it in 1983.

    • What it means is that under MBR, you can have up to four (4) Primary partitions, or else three (3) Primary and one (1) Extended. Within the Extended you can then have a large number of Logical partitions, each of them housing a Linux OS and its associated extras such as Swap, Home.
    You can see, now, why I asked for your screenshot.

    And further, in the linked article for askubuntu.com , you can see that that thread’s OP (Original Poster) had similar circumstances. That article was the first I read from a Google search using

    windows linux dual boot four partitions

    It is six (6) years old, but as best I can tell, still relevant. It is also very similar to how I would have worded it (the solution). Glad I googled first and did not try to reinvent the wheel.

    Another of the limitations on the MBR is 2TiB (TB but slightly bigger) of addressable storage space. So if you have a WD or Seagate or other external HDD, portable or powered, and it is bought as 3TB or 4TB, it would have to be partitioned to less than 2TiB to use.

    GPT (the GUID Partition Table) has no such limitation (in practical terms), and supports up to 128 partitions under Windows, and even more under Linux (not well known).

    I’ll leave you to digest all of this, and if you wish to go further with installing Linux, I will look forward to it.


    BTW – on your Recovery Drive, and even the small HP Tools partition -

    Steven Shiau’s Clonezilla can be used to image disk to disk, partition to partition, disk to partition, &c and is free and cross-platform. You can read about it here

    http://clonezilla.org/

    Cheers

    Wizard
     
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  11. atanere

    atanere Moderator
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    Your screenshot shows your Recovery (E: drive) as 100% free space, so you definitely erased any hope there.

    At this point, I'd like to know more about your Recovery USB stick. Did you create it while it was still a Windows 7 system? Or after Windows 10 was installed? Sadly, I find most people do not make recovery DVD/USB backups when they get a new computer... but if you made this USB with Windows 7, that that is what it should restore for you (at the cost of erasing the whole hard drive).

    My personal experience with Recovery disks is that it will restore the computer to its like-new condition... including recreating the recovery partition on the hard drive. But this is done with the proper choice between "System recovery" and "Factory Reset" options, and you just have to read carefully their descriptions to choose the right one. (Not "System Restore" which is a rather simple Windows Registry fix.) I can't promise that your experience will match mine, but it sounds like the option that you're wanting. From a fresh restore to Win7, then you could proceed on with your Linux choices to dual boot.

    If your Recovery USB was made with Windows 10, however, then that is a different game and I have not played with that... it may only restore 10, or there is some (small) chance that it saved the original recovery info from 7. M$ wanted everyone to switch to 10, so the thought of them saving Win7 for you seems slim.

    A possible option is to contact HP and see if they will provide a Recovery DVD/USB for that model. There would likely be a charge for that, if they will even still do it after all these years.
     
  12. PcBuilderEd

    PcBuilderEd New Member

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    Recovery Drive Snippit.PNG This is a snippet of the Recovery USB. I am almost certain it is windows 10. It was made with windows 10 and I tried to restore windows 7 but it deleted the recovery. That and that windows now controls my wireless switch (I shut it off but it stays connected) was it, that's one of the reasons I want to go to Linux primarily, but with a windows option in case I have a compatibility problem. As long as there is a copy of Windows on the recovery partition, Windows 10 or windows 7, I'm perfectly good. Can I transfer those files into the current recovery? Im assumming there is more to it than that....
     
    #12 PcBuilderEd, Aug 8, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2017
  13. PcBuilderEd

    PcBuilderEd New Member

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    Great Post btw Wizard. I wasn't able to follow some of the things in there but I think I got the major points. So am I going to have problems with partitions if I install a dual boot for Linux?
     
  14. wizardfromoz

    wizardfromoz Active Member

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    Hi Ed (I hope it's Ed), just a brief holding Post for now. My comments between yours

    Ask any questions of us, Mate and we will try to answer. Only fools rush in where angels fear to tread.

    Later, and 'Nite all from DownUnder

    Wizard
     
  15. PcBuilderEd

    PcBuilderEd New Member

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    Sorry fellas I got lost there, is there a way to get a recovery partition then for Windows back and operable? I would be more comfortable with Linux if I had a fully working Windows side, complete with recovery E: drive. It sounds like Wizard what your are talking about would delete that in favor of a new partition for the Linux?
     
    #15 PcBuilderEd, Aug 9, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2017
  16. wizardfromoz

    wizardfromoz Active Member

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    Yes and no. Let me explain

    You may recall I initially said that the HP Tools partition could be used, small though it is, because additional space could be gathered and allocated by shrinking Windows. All you need to do is free up one partition. atanere observed that your Recovery partition was “100% free”, it actually has about 50MB used if you work out the math, that is likely an overhead resultant from the format and reformat between FAT32 and NTFS. Doesn’t matter.

    You can perform that exercise (shrinking Windows) using Disk Management (just as you have already provided us with a screenshot of your partitions). I would do that at your earliest opportunity, it will not affect your Windows, as long as you leave at least 7 – 10GB for operational purposes and whatever you desire for growth of Windows. Last I did it was 2 years ago, with a Toshiba Satellite laptop shipped with Windows 8.1, and it limited me to a 50% shrink. But on a 1TB drive, that still left me with 500GB for Linux.

    On the recovery of the recovery, if you get me?:

    Testdisk v7.0-1 ships with LM 18.2. If you still have the USB for 18.1 it will have one on it, perhaps the same. Some recovery disks available might have a slightly more recent version, but anything in the 7’s is recent enough to do the trick, if it can.

    From now to the weekend, I can run a couple of tests and let you know the outcome, but other than that I would endorse what the others have said above.

    Back tomorrow my time

    Wizard
     
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  17. atanere

    atanere Moderator
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    Do you have another computer (or phone) so that you can get back on here if you get stuck and your laptop won't boot? If the computer you are working on is your only way online, then you should be extra careful about which steps you decide to try out. Working with partitions and operating systems can be very hazardous. This warning extends to everything I'm going to tell you below!

    My guess to your quoted question is: no, I don't think you can get a usable Windows recovery into your Recovery (E: drive) partition. I have been proved wrong many times before (ask my wife!) so you need not be too discouraged by my guess. You can try to copy all the files and folders from your USB into the Recovery (E: drive) partition... but the only way to use them, and hopefully initiate a system recovery, is to boot on that partition. With UEFI, this may be possible, but I have doubts about it being able to navigate into other partitions to find those files. You might want to try this.

    At this point, do you think you will need the HP_TOOLS and the SYSTEM partitions that remain on your hard drive? You will note they do not have drive letters... that helps to protect them from accidental damage or deleting, but they can be deleted. Your original RECOVERY partition may have been protected in that manner too... I have seen that many times. But if it was protected, you got around it, and when you formatted it, then Windows assigned a drive letter and made it usable to you. If you had made a Recovery USB or DVD set with your original Windows 7, it would likely have restored all of these things for you, but that doesn't matter now... it's just a reminder for your next new computer.

    We can spend a lot of time trying different things, but let me just give my suggestion for what I think is the quickest and simplest resolution to get you dual-booting. Get a beverage... this turned out longer than I intended. Sorry.

    1. Back up anything important you want to keep.

    2. Boot on and use the USB recovery stick to do a fresh install of Windows. You have not tested it, so you don't even know if it works. I think it is good to know it is dependable, and to know that it is indeed a fresh install. Maybe you have something else... maybe it is a "image" of the system when you made it... that would be different, and it might have programs you've installed and keep your settings. You should know what this USB is and what it does... it is your future Windows recovery, the only thing you've got... you should label it and keep it safe. If the installation asks, I would tell it to use the entire hard drive, which should eliminate the HP_TOOLS and SYSTEM partitions, but it might not. Or you could use Windows Disk Management to delete them at this step, if you want them gone. The HP programs that would call on these partitions will probably be gone after the format anyway (unless it is an image).

    3. After the full Windows install, I would use Disk Management, as Wizard suggested, to shrink the Windows partition as much as it will allow, or to the size that you want to keep it. Do not format the "unallocated space" that will be created after the shrink... but note how big it is in GB. If the HP_TOOLS and SYSTEM partitions are still there, I'd probably just leave them alone. They are small and not worth much effort, but you could again delete them at this step (preferably before the shrink).

    4. Check UEFI settings. Disable Secure Boot and Fast Boot (hybrid boot). Check your boot order (UEFI before Legacy if you see that option, DVD or USB before hard drives). Every UEFI seems to play with wording a little, calling things by different names, so ask if you have any confusion. Linux Mint should work with UEFI, but not Secure Boot.

    5. This is probably important: After checking UEFI, go back into Windows. Check this link and follow the steps to turn off Fast Boot in the Power Settings of Windows 10. This makes sure that Windows does not try to put the computer into "hibernation" when you shut it down (which is a problem if you try to load Linux next, instead of Windows, because Windows is still actually running in a hibernated state).

    6. Boot on your live Linux Mint media (DVD or USB) and run the installer. Things are a little tricky here and you have to pay attention. I'm not familiar with every option from the top of my head, but I can restore Windows to a computer and then Mint to give you an exact play-by-play if you struggle with this. There is an option to "Install Mint beside Windows" that might be a good choice if you didn't shrink the partition in Step #2. Instead, I would choose "Custom partitioning" or "Do something else" (I forgot how it describes this option... but you get the idea). This is where you can choose that "unallocated space" you created as the place to install Linux. You have to recognize it (why I said to note how big in GB that it was). Double click on that unallocated partition and you'll get partitioning options. People usually create a SWAP partition first that matches RAM size... so 8GB for you. Then you create another partition and tell it what type of file system (usually Ext4 is good), and you have to give it a "mount point." For a new user, "/" is a good mount point. Make sure the bootloader is set to install to /dev/sda on your computer (it probably says MBR, which is okay, but probably not quite accurate).

    7. Answer a few more questions along the way. Don't forget the passwords you enter! I do not recommend encrypting anything unless you have a serious need (more chance for problems). Linux Mint can install in about 20-30 minutes if you go quickly, but I really suggest going slowly and reading carefully, so maybe 30-45 minutes or so. If all goes well, you will reboot when the install is finished and come to the GRUB bootloader screen where you can choose either Linux or Windows. Linux will be the default, but you have 10 seconds to choose Windows. If you don't get the GRUB bootloader, then you may have to hit some F-key to bring up your UEFI boot options (sometimes have to use this to boot a USB or DVD too).

    Now... if you really want a quick resolution: Skip to Step #6, and choose "Use entire disk" at the partitioning step. That will erase everything on the hard drive, including HP_TOOLS and SYSTEM partitions. That will kiss Windows goodbye as well and your laptop would be Linux only. But if you trust your Recovery USB, you could use it later to restore Windows again in the future. It's just hard for me to trust something I haven't tested.

    Whew... that was fun! But @wizardfromoz has lots of knowledge and good ideas, so maybe he will give you better advice and options to choose from. And @Steve, and others here as well. Looking forward to seeing how you decide to go, but I'm pretty sure you'll be running Linux in no time. :D

    Cheers!
     
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  18. atanere

    atanere Moderator
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    And now, to strike off in a similar, yet different direction. I tend to use the word "recovery" in the stricter sense... that option that was provided by the manufacturer. That is obviously no longer a solution. Your USB may provide a "recovery" of Windows 10, but you don't yet know what you will get with it, unless you do choose to install it.

    Maybe the answer you want is an "image," and this may be the Wizard's focus, but I'll let him speak for himself on this. An "image" is a bit-for-bit copy of your entire Windows partition, warts and all. That "image" is a often a single compressed file that may be stored on your hard drive (such as inside the Recovery (E: drive) partition, if it will fit), or on a large USB, or it may be able to span across a multiple-DVD set. The sticky point still, unless someone corrects me, is that you cannot boot on that image stored on the hard drive... you would still need a boot USB or DVD that would access the image and restore it back to the C: partition. So if your Recovery USB is usable for a fresh install, you don't necessarily need an image unless you like the idea of saving your whole Windows 7-converted-to-Windows 10 setup. You may be saving a lot of junk that way.

    Some folks like images, but I'm not a fan myself. That's okay... some folks like Fords, but I like Chevy. We can all like different things and still get along. One of the more popular (free) imaging programs (also called cloning) is CloneZilla. Maybe this is the route you want to take, or maybe another similar program. But consider this: if you make an image file to be your recovery, you won't know if it will work or not, and you won't know even really "how" to restore it... unless you do it, one or more times. And if you have failures, depending on what they are, you may not "recover" anything at all. So I still recommend hanging on to that Recovery USB stick.

    This is a good time to be bold and learn some stuff you probably have never tinkered with.... partitions, booting, bootloaders, UEFI settings, and so on.... and Linux. If you want some extra security above and beyond the Recovery USB, then go ahead and make an image file before you start making serious changes.

    I don't know much about Windows 10... I upgraded to it 3 times in the free upgrade period, but I removed it each time. But I have read that you may can use your Win 7 product key to activate 10. See this for one such description. Your Win 7 key is probably on a label on the bottom of the laptop. So, if this is true (or if it remains true), then you will have yet another option to return to Windows 10, if you need to.

    OK, before I drag on and on again.... :D

    Cheers!
     
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  19. wizardfromoz

    wizardfromoz Active Member

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    Seriously big "likes" for #17 and #18, if there was a Super-Like I'd press the button.

    Two qualifications here:

    1. From #17, about the Linux -

    If you are still planning to make use of Linux Mint 18.2 'Sonya'. I would try it without Swap to start with, sounds radical, doesn't it? During the Linux install, the installer for most Debian-based Distros (including LM) is Ubiquity, developed by Ubuntu. If you simply set up your root (/) partition) and then go through to the install stage, LM (and others) will prompt you with a message saying that you have not setup Swap and do you want to go ahead or else return to the Disk Partitioning tool. Choose continue.

    If you fell obliged to install Swap, then choose, say 2GB as a size, and place it at the end of the drive, that is, with zero bytes after it, you'll see what I mean if or when you come to it.

    I run 62 Linux Distros - 37 on the Acer All-in-One in the Garage, 22 on the Toshiba Satellite lappie currently in the Laundry but returning to the Study soon, and 3 on the wife's laptop in the Study.

    I have 2GB on the wife's laptop, which is a Compaq Presario C300 with only a 60GB HDD and 512MB RAM. On the Acer I have an 8GB Swap partition, turned off. I installed it for Justin (Just In Case) on the first Distro on /dev/sda1, and have not used it since. On the Toshiba, I reduced that to 4GB when I installed its first Linux on /dev/sda1, again for Justin ... haven't used it since.

    Both of "my" computers have 8 GB RAM. I'll detail this more in an upcoming HowTo or Tute.

    2. From #18, about Clonezilla - atanere is referring to what is described as a low-level imaging or cloning, that is done sector by sector, warts and all. That can take a long time, with Clonezilla, hours in fact, although for 14GB not so long.

    If you read the webpages he and I referred to, you will see there are also options for only reproducing used blocks, and also for compression, eg 1GB down to 400MB. These are other options.

    3, On your current dilemma -

    WHAT I’VE DONE

    1. Took a (yellow) 16GB Cruzer stick that housed PCLOS (PcLinuxOS) .iso, now installed, and followed these steps to make it close to factory default

    2. Overwrote all data using the dd command <sudo dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sdb bs=1024> … this writes zeroes over the entire disk/medium. Don’t be in a hurry for this. dd burns an iso in 5 – 10 minutes dependent on size of the iso, but for this process, it over an hour and a half. Output as follows:
    Code:
    Mint18MATE chris # dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sdb bs=1024
    
    dd: error writing '/dev/sdb': No space left on device
    
    15264769+0 records in
    
    15264768+0 records out
    
    15631122432 bytes (16 GB, 15 GiB) copied, 5734.46 s, 2.7 MB/s

    1. (ignore the error above, purely to do with the bit size I chose of 1024, and contiguity). At the end of the process, I had a “clean” USB stick. I formatted it to FAT 32 and then wrote onto it, from my HDD, various System folders and System files, and a couple of Linux .iso’s for good measure.

    2. I then formatted the drive again, to FAT 32, erasing the contents, and then straight away formatted it to NTFS. I felt this was the closest I could do to duplicate the OP’s efforts, given I don’t have Windows.

    3. I then tried first Testdisk (have to install it first from the Repositories) – no joy, and then GParted, also no joy.
    So having gone the extra yards, all I can conclude is that, as atanere has already opined … the usual avenues for data recovery are unsuccessful, and the Recovery Partition contents are lost, at least, within my knowledge.

    Cheers for this evening

    Wiz
     
    PcBuilderEd and atanere like this.
  20. atanere

    atanere Moderator
    Gold Supporter

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    Thanks for your kind words, Wiz! :)

    I agree with your thoughts about skipping the swap partition, at least in cases where plenty of real RAM is available. The OP has 8 GB, and I'd think that swap would seldom be needed.

    I played around today and put a hard drive where my mouth is... I took an HP desktop running PCLinuxOS alone (a full hard drive install) and I used Windows Recovery DVD's on it. They did, in fact, restore it to it's factory-new store-bought state, with a protected SYSTEM partition (no drive letter), with a restored Factory Image (recovery) partition (this does have a D: drive letter, so it is more susceptible to damage, deleting, or malware), and then the large C: Windows partition. All went well.

    Then, after shrinking the Windows partition as small as it would go (about 30 GB), I booted on Linux Mint 18.2 and let it do an "Install alongside Windows 7" option. I usually manually partition, so this was the main part of the experiment for me. What it did for me today was to claim all of the unallocated space created earlier by the shrink (almost 700 GB) and automatically did the partitioning using all of the space as "/" except for 8GB swap partition at the end of the drive. This really is a nice option for a new user who might be confused by the partitioning process. Everything else as normal... configure user, time zone, and all the standard stuff.

    This was a BIOS based computer though, not UEFI. So things might go differently in a UEFI system. I did take some detailed notes on the whole project, but will save that wall of text unless someone wants it.

    Cheers all
     

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