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I have a new system image installed on my notebook disk that I would like to save for later restoring. I can only use Windows functions after initialising that Windows installation which I don't want to do. The backup should be the same as when the notebook was sold. So I can only boot from a USB stick to create a disk image to the network.

I cannot open the notebook and read the disk directly. The service centre would have to do that.

There may be a recovery partition on the disk but I'm not going to keep it in normal use later. I don't need to carry it around all day, it's enough if I have that original image at home on the NAS. There's no recovery DVD.

So what options do I have? I basically need to create an image from a local disk to the network, booting from USB. And of course the image must be restorable, so I think it would be the easiest solution if it was compatible with the Windows restore function, which I can already use when booting from USB.

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Why not use a Linux LiveCD/USB to image the drive (using dd or similar)? You can backup to the network, to an external HDD, whatever. – Karan Nov 22 '12 at 18:37
dd uses a bit much disk space, doesn't it? I'm not familiar with full-disk images (including partitions and the MBR) on Windows or Linux. I only know Windows 7's integrated backup, but that won't save a copy unless Windows is installed and running, which is not the case in a clean pre-setup OEM image. – ygoe Nov 22 '12 at 22:31

I can only boot from a USB stick to create a disk image to the network.

Or store the disk image on the same USB stick. Assuming it is large enough.
If the USB stick is not large enough you can replace that with a USB harddisk.
(Boot from that USB HDD the same was as you would boot from the pen drive.)

And of course the image must be restorable.

If you can create the image then you can restore it. Both a large USB pendrive and an USB HDD would work here. In addition if you just want to restore the original boot volume you can create the image and store it on the same drive as you are restoring it from. (This will not work for full disk restores unless you have multiple drives).

I have not answered the original question yet, but part of that depends on your network. I got a USB pendrve which boots into DOS and loads network drivers. But you would need to find the right DOS network drivers for the card in your notebook.

If you do locate those: (example for a Dell E6500)


device=himem.sys /testmem:off
device=protman.dos /i:\E6500

Autoexec.bat netbind

Directory E6500, containing things like:

19-Jun-09  06:35 PM            59,360 e1000.dos
03-May-99  05:50 PM            39,748
03-May-99  05:50 PM            18,356
09-Nov-00  03:15 PM               506 net.cfg
03-May-99  05:50 PM            78,749 netx.exe
19-Jun-09  06:35 PM               753 oemsetup.inf
07-Jul-10  12:53 PM               712 protocol.ini
19-Jun-09  06:33 PM            46,567
03-Oct-03  10:29 AM            21,696 PROTMAN.DOS
03-Oct-03  10:29 AM            13,770 PROTMAN.EXE
03-Oct-03  11:07 AM             5,781 DIS_PKT.DOS
19-Oct-09  11:14 AM               712 protocol.ini.werkend voor E6400 en E6500
              14 File(s)        287,866 bytes

I would not mind being more helpful, but half of this is stuff I have not used in many years, and large parts of it have been forgotten.

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