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I just bought a new laptop with Windows 8 preloaded but without an actual Windows disk. I would obliterate the whole thing, but I need to use Visual Studio for one of my classes and the most recent version doesn't play well with wine (appdb).

I don't need to clone my whole harddrive, in fact I've already dd'd the recovery partition (which is all I really need). I just want to make a backup of my actual partition table so I can restore the recovery partition to the same place Windows originally put it.

EDIT: Additionally, does anyone know where Windows 8 actually stores it's bootloader so I can make a backup of that as well?

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This seems out of place. I understand you want to install Linux or Unix, but you are asking about extracting Windows and NTFS/FAT partitions. – Tim Aug 21 '13 at 16:53
I assume windows uses a UEFI application stored on the ESP (EFI SYSTEM PARTITION) as boot loader. Check your UEFI setup which application the Windows 8 boot entry loads or check the applications on the ESP. – Marco Aug 21 '13 at 17:13
up vote 4 down vote accepted

you can back up your partition table, if it is a msdos label disk with sfdisk

sfdisk -d /dev/sda > sda.partition

replace /dev/sda with your actual disk name when you boot into a livecd.

if it is a gpt table, you can use

parted /dev/sda print > sda.gpt.partion

there are other ways.

depending on whether you are using mbr or uefi, the boot sector/partition is different. for mbr, it is just the first sector of the disk of 512 bytes that you can save with dd.

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Thanks a ton for your help, I've used linux plenty of times before but the hits and misses with various people attempting to dual boot these systems has made me all kinds of wary. Thanks again, it's super appreciated! – BCqrstoO Aug 23 '13 at 7:23

Assuming you use a GPT partition table, then you can use the tool sgdisk to backup your GPT header and partition table:

sgdisk --backup=<file> <device>

To restore the backup use:

sgdisk --load-backup=<file> <device>

To simply list the partition table use:

gdisk -l <device>
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