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I have a brand new Lenovo ThinkPad with Windows 10 and an NVMe SSD drive. It has not even been booted into Windows yet. I inserted an Arch Linux USB stick and booted the machine up for the first time.

I will eventually be installing Arch on it. Before doing that, I would like to copy the existing Microsoft recovery partition to a USB drive. My goal is to retain whatever is required in order to potentially install Windows at some later date.

I suppose most people would accomplish this from Windows using instructions such as these:

HP PCs - Creating and Using a Microsoft Recovery USB Drive (Windows 10) | HP® Customer Support https://support.hp.com/my-en/document/c04641788

My question is, can I simply copy (such as with dd) the needed partition(s) to a USB stick from the Linux command line now (and if needed later, reverse the process)? Or are there any "gotchas" that will force me to boot into Windows?

One reason I don't want to boot into Windows is that it will force me to go through a (probably) 30 minute setup process that I have no interest in doing.

Has anyone done what I'm trying to do?

Here are the existing partitions:

root@archiso ~ # lsblk
NAME        MAJ:MIN RM   SIZE RO TYPE MOUNTPOINT
nvme0n1     259:0    0 238.5G  0 disk 
├─nvme0n1p1 259:5    0   260M  0 part 
├─nvme0n1p2 259:6    0    16M  0 part 
├─nvme0n1p3 259:7    0 237.2G  0 part 
└─nvme0n1p4 259:8    0  1000M  0 part 

root@archiso ~ # blkid
/dev/nvme0n1p1: LABEL="SYSTEM" UUID="12A4-1FBE" TYPE="vfat" PARTLABEL="EFI system partition" PARTUUID="7ae4c49d-da43-4142-95b4-f82810bc19da"
/dev/nvme0n1p3: LABEL="Windows" UUID="96FEA931FEA90A97" TYPE="ntfs" PARTLABEL="Basic data partition" PARTUUID="aa490a1d-0886-4a5b-9ef0-613da74597a8"
/dev/nvme0n1p4: LABEL="WinRE_DRV" UUID="4462A99062A986F0" TYPE="ntfs" PARTLABEL="Basic data partition" PARTUUID="44468e59-0f3e-4bf8-81c0-06e1cb899bf9"
/dev/nvme0n1: PTUUID="2fee5c63-0a1c-405e-af9f-954a75cd3cfe" PTTYPE="gpt"
/dev/nvme0n1p2: PARTLABEL="Microsoft reserved partition" PARTUUID="c148d59d-f5b2-4155-bfc2-0449c9a3afbc"

I used an 8GB USB stick (/dev/sdb) and ran the following commands:

mount /dev/sdb1 /mnt
dd if=/dev/nvme0n1p1 bs=64K conv=sync of=/mnt/nvme0n1p1_Windows_EFI_system_partition.img
dd if=/dev/nvme0n1p2 bs=64K conv=sync of=/mnt/nvme0n1p2_Microsoft_reserved_partition.img
dd if=/dev/nvme0n1p4 bs=64K conv=sync of=/mnt/nvme0n1p4_WinRE_DRV_Basic_data_partition.img
sync

I don't know what each of the partitions is for. I just copied everything except the 237.2 GB "Basic data partition".

Is it safe to wipe the NVMe drive now, install BTRFS on it and then proceed to install Arch? Or should I boot into Windows and make a Recovery USB Drive the official way?

  • I'm doing both methods (ddand Windows official). The dd method took 2-3 minutes. Very easy. The Windows method has been going for close to 2 hours and it is only half way done. Very frustrating. :-( – MountainX Oct 19 '17 at 3:26

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