UEFI / GPT points to be aware of

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UEFI / GPT points to be aware of

Postby rustleg » Thu Jul 14, 2016 11:02 am

I'm setting up a new laptop for my friend. It will come with no OS pre-installed - he's bought Windows 10 Home (retail rather than OEM). I'm considering using UEFI with GPT disks as this seems the modern thing now, but I only have experience with BIOS/MBR. He has no interest in multi-booting so lack of BIBM is not an issue.

I was wondering what gotcha's I should bear in mind when installing and then imaging? Also any recommendations?

I've searched the IFW manual for mention of GPT but, possibly due to ignorance, nothing sticks out that I need to be aware of although there are a number of options in various places but they don't mean anything to me.
Russell
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Re: UEFI / GPT points to be aware of

Postby TeraByte Support(PP) » Thu Jul 14, 2016 12:54 pm

It's not really that different from MBR imaging. I usually just back up the Windows partition along with the GPT specific partitions so they're all together -- this is often just a case of backing up the entire drive. If you have a large drive that you split into multiple partitions then you'd probably want to back up the "data" partitions separately. So, for example, if you just installed Windows 10 and updated it, you would back up the entire disk to get everything. For normal "Windows-only" backups you can back up just the Windows partition and restore just the Windows partition when needed. Just be aware that the other partitions are required -- so have a backup of them.

For the boot media, if you use Secure Boot or UEFI-only booting then you'll need to use TBWinRE/PE or IFL.
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Re: UEFI / GPT points to be aware of

Postby rustleg » Thu Jul 14, 2016 1:55 pm

Thanks for the reply.

> It's not really that different from MBR imaging. I usually just back up the
> Windows partition along with the GPT specific partitions so they're all
> together -- this is often just a case of backing up the entire drive. If
> you have a large drive that you split into multiple partitions then you'd
> probably want to back up the "data" partitions separately.

This will be a 250GB SSD. I plan about 100GB for C and the rest for data. My usual practice is to keep data off C, so data is backed up daily from the separate data partition via file backup software but C say only once a month or so via IFW. (However this friend's previous laptop I set up 5 years ago with Windows 7 had IFW and he only ever did one more image). I can't remember if I was able to set up links so that normal file saves went to the data drive, but my friend seems to have managed to keep the data off C.

> So,
> for example, if you just installed Windows 10 and updated it, you would
> back up the entire disk to get everything. For normal
> "Windows-only" backups you can back up just the Windows partition
> and restore just the Windows partition when needed. Just be aware that the
> other partitions are required -- so have a backup of them.

I don't really understand this comment "the other partitions are required". Yes I would be expecting to restore just the Windows partition. Why would I want an IFW backup of the data partition? I would expect when restoring at a later date that I use an image of C (and any other "GPT specific partitions" whatever they are) but leave the latest data partition alone. Is this not possible?

> For the boot media, if you use Secure Boot or UEFI-only booting then you'll
> need to use TBWinRE/PE or IFL.

Ok I will have to read up on this.
Russell
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Re: UEFI / GPT points to be aware of

Postby TeraByte Support(PP) » Thu Jul 14, 2016 3:43 pm

rustleg wrote:
> I don't really understand this comment "the other partitions are required".
> Yes I would be expecting to restore just the Windows partition. Why would I want an
> IFW backup of the data partition? I would expect when restoring at a later date that
> I use an image of C (and any other "GPT specific partitions" whatever they
> are) but leave the latest data partition alone. Is this not possible?

A normal Windows installation on a GPT disk will have the following partitions:
-Recovery
-EFI system
-Microsoft reserved
-Windows

These are the ones I usually back up together since Windows needs them. They are also usually quite small. The EFI system and Microsoft reserved partitions are required on the disk. The Recovery partition is WinRE, which is recommended to keep intact.

There's not an issue with just backing up and restoring the Windows partition separately from the others. Just be aware that if you have to restore to a different disk that you'll need the other partitions for a normal functional system. If you restore just the Windows partition to a new/blank disk you can do repairs to get it booting, though.

As an example, if you install Windows and setup a data partition (assumed empty), you could create a base/clean image of the disk that includes everything (this is just for ease of returning to this point at a future date). After this, you could just back up the Windows partition if that's all you need. Ultimately, it depends on what works best for the user.
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Re: UEFI / GPT points to be aware of

Postby rustleg » Thu Jul 14, 2016 10:21 pm

TeraByte Support(PP) wrote:

> ...
> A normal Windows installation on a GPT disk will have the following partitions:
> -Recovery
> -EFI system
> -Microsoft reserved
> -Windows
>
> These are the ones I usually back up together since Windows needs them. They are also
> usually quite small. The EFI system and Microsoft reserved partitions are required on
> the disk. The Recovery partition is WinRE, which is recommended to keep intact.
>
> There's not an issue with just backing up and restoring the Windows partition
> separately from the others. Just be aware that if you have to restore to a different
> disk that you'll need the other partitions for a normal functional system. If you
> restore just the Windows partition to a new/blank disk you can do repairs to get it
> booting, though.

Backup up the 4 you mentioned every time seems most sensible. Partly because Windows 10 will occasionally replace the whole system with an upgrade and who's to say they won't fiddle with the others besides the Windows partition?

> As an example, if you install Windows and setup a data partition (assumed empty), you
> could create a base/clean image of the disk that includes everything (this is just
> for ease of returning to this point at a future date). After this, you could just
> back up the Windows partition if that's all you need. Ultimately, it depends on what
> works best for the user.

If I imaged all partitions including a clean empty data partition, could I later select all the non-data partitions of the image to do a restore but leaving the latest state of the data partition alone? It looks that way from page 88 of the IFW manual (point 5 in the section "Using Image for Windows to Restore an Image").

Based on my initial reading of your manual, my ideal scenario for this user would be to set up TBWinRE and take advantage of secure boot. Then I'd give him 2 sets of brief instructions. One for use of IFW to back up all except the separate data partition. The second instructions would be how to restore from a backup - the restore screen would show 5 partitions and I'd tell him to untick the data partition but leave the rest ticked. Hopefully these 2 procedures are fairly simple without any technical knowledge required. The backups will be on a separate external drive to avoid using up space on the data partition within the SSD as it's only 250GB. The laptop he's buying is being customised and it could have had a second non-SSD hard drive, but we chose to leave this out in order to run cool and quiet.

Actually there'd be a third set of brief instructions covering backing up the data to the external drive on an incremental basis using file backup software. He does this now on his existing laptop by clicking an icon I set up for him on the desktop. I've tried to make his backup procedures very easy so that he does it habitually. This would be in addition to continuous online backup (a secondary purpose is guarding against crypto malware).
Russell
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