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I have a HP Pavilion dm1, a light-weight laptop with no optical drive.

It has a recovery partition from which I can restore the installed Windows 7 Home edition. It seems to be a special folder; I do not get access to it from within Windows 7.

Is there any way for me to back up this partition (through the network, or onto a USB device) so I can restore it in case the hard drive fails?

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The easiest solution is to create recovery media using the built-in recovery media creation tool. Type recovery media into the start menu and you will get an option for Recovery Media Creation. Run this program. It will give you the option to create recovery media using blank DVDs or a USB flash drive. In your case, since the dm1 has no DVD drive, you will want to use a flash drive. Unfortunately, this can only be done once per computer, so make sure that you do it right and don't lose the flash drive.

HP recovery media

If the need to reinstall your computer with the default image arises, you will boot off of the USB flash drive and be guided through the reimaging process. Your computer will then be exactly how it was when you first received it.

You may also be interested in using the built-in Windows Backup to run regular backups. These backups create full disk images, and can be used to restore your computer to the exact state it was in when the backup was made, even if you have to restore to a completely new disk.

In case you ever want to do a clean re-install, you should also back up the C:\swsetup folder. This is where all of the drivers for your computer are stored. Many of them are available online, but a few may be difficult to find, such as the WLAN driver on some Pavillion models.

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Thanks, I wasn't aware of this being installed on my system! However, it refuses to run because it can't find an optical drive - duh. But maybe I can trick it into accepting a virtual one, I'll do a bit of playing around. Thanks also for the swsetup tip, will keep that in mind! – Pekka 웃 Apr 25 '11 at 9:45
The program doesn't even open without an optical drive? That's absurd! And you told it to use a flash drive, not the DVD drive? Talk about poorly designed software. Hopefully you'll figure out a way; feel free to edit my post to include whatever workaround you found for the lack of disk drive. – nhinkle Apr 25 '11 at 9:46
@nhikle yeah, I will if I find something! It's indeed absurd: It's a pre-installed program on a device that has no DVD drive, but it refuses to take me even to the first step because there is no DVD drive. – Pekka 웃 Apr 25 '11 at 9:47
pop in an external cd drive? . and HAH, i knew there was a recovery disk generator. I just didn't know what it would be called on a HP rig ;p – Journeyman Geek Apr 25 '11 at 11:16
@Pekka did this ever end up working? – nhinkle May 3 '11 at 4:05

Its a hidden partition, and you can, i believe, flip the hidden flag with many partition editing tools such as gparted. You can then backup the entire disk as per normal, presumably

The only real way to do it, without doing that, i suspect is either to make recovery disks from some tool which HP provides within the windows install (the restore also restores the recovery disk), or to just use DD on the whole disk from a livecd

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Thanks. The Laptop came without any tools, so there doesn't seem to be a way to create DVD images. I may resort to mirror the drive and store the image somewhere, as you suggest. – Pekka 웃 Apr 25 '11 at 7:56

It may be too late for you, but others may benefit. Within the first 30 days of getting your HP computer, you can call HP customer support and receive all the recovery media for free. That includes the OS and program and drivers discs. After the 30 days, there is a small fee.

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I'd suggest that you buy a USB standalone hard drive. You can use that for regular data backups as well as images of your hard disk after doing as Jouneyman Geek suggests.

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Thanks, I do already have that! The question is how to get hold of the partition in order to back it up. There seems to be no obvious way to do this. – Pekka 웃 Apr 25 '11 at 7:55

Use a live Linux CD/USB to get at the hidden partition - you can make a copy onto a USB hard drive or simply toggle the hidden flag within gparted (this ships with Ubuntu - not sure about other distros)

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