WARNING: This should work in theory but I have not fully tested it - please inform me if something here doesn't make sense or if you've tried doing this before and had different results.
How To: Backup and Restore the Asus Recovery Partition (or any Other Partition*):
*To backup a partition on the disk of any computer, simply substitute the desired partition for the recovery partition whenever its mentioned here and disregard any special instructions (i.e. making the partition hidden).
Often people want to reclaim the 2 gigs taken up by the Asus recovery partition but don't want to lose the ability to restore quickly (read: not using the included CD) to the factory condition if something should go wrong later on. People often regret deleting the partition after they've already done it. Also, if you plan to resell your computer, you might consider recreating the recovery partition so that the buyer receives the computer exactly as you did, complete with the recovery partition. This guide allows you to store this recovery partition on an external medium should you ever feel the need to recreate it.
Note 1: Below the first set of directions is an experimental set which does not require an external drive and can use a CDR instead.
Note 2: This guide is more for fun than anything else since its hardly worth the effort to go through this guide to reclaim under 2 gigs of space. However it also works for any other partition as well so I hope it can be of at least some.
This really isn't all that difficult and is fairly intuitive but the question comes up enough to warrant this how-to, I think. This guide is intended for an intermediate/advanced to advanced user.
- CD Burner
- Medium to store backup partition (i.e. an external HD) - Req. approx 2gb of free space
First download the most recent version of the Gparted LiveCD. This is usually listed at the top of the linked list. Second, burn the .iso to a disc. Important: This is a "disc image" meaning that you do not burn the file itself. Instead, there will be an option in nearly all burning apps which says something to the effect of "Write disc from .iso".
Plug in (and turn on) the hard drive you plan to store the partition on - this can be an external USB HD, an eSATA HD, a large thumb-drive ( ) or a modular bay HD.
Once burned insert the Gparted CD in the drive and restart. When the Asus symbol comes up, immediately press F2 to enter the BIOS. In the BIOS, navigate to the page where the boot order is specified and move the CD drive to the top, then save, exit and reboot (F10).
The Gparted CD should boot. Select the automatic option and wait for the CD to load. Answer the simple question along the way (English? U.S. keyboard?). The GUI (graphical user interface) should eventually appear. If it does not (some graphics cards give the program issues), select the option to force the VESA driver (this was necessary in my W3J).
You should now be looking at a illustration of all partitions on your main hard drive. The first one is the RECOVERY partition and it's approximately 1.86gb and should be flagged as "hidden". Right click this partition and select copy. On the upper right corner of the program, click the button with the symbol of a disk and /dev/XXX on it and scroll to and select the disk you wish to store the recovery partition on. This disk needs to have around 2 gigs of unallocated space. If the disk has unused space but has no unallocated space, use the resize tool to create the 2 gigs (note: this can take 1+ hour). Once enough room is available, paste the RECOVERY partition into the unallocated space. If you would like, flag this partition as hidden so it cannot be used as regular storage. Go back to the main hard drive and delete the recovery partition. Now use the resize tool to extend the main partition over the unallocated space left from the recovery partition, gaining you a total of just under 2 gigs.
To restore the partition, first make sure about 2 gigs of space are free on your hard drive. Take the same steps to load GParted and plug in the drive with the stored partition on it. Using the resize/move tool, shrink whatever partition has the extra space on it in order to clear out two unallocated gigs in the front of the drive (again, this could take a while). From the disk with the stored recovery partition on it, select the recovery partition and copy it. Move to the main disk and paste it in the front of the drive. Once moved, flag the recovery drive as hidden. Now boot back into the BIOS and restore the boot order to the original (generally HD first, then CD, then removable, then network) Done! Wasn't that easy?
Once Gparted has loaded for the first time, copy the recovery partition somewhere that is not hidden - it doesn't matter to what disk. Once in Windows, Linux, etc., burn ALL the contents (including the hidden files) to a blank disc. You may now boot back into GParted and delete the partition storing the unhidden recovery partition. Should you wish to recreate the recovery partition, copy the contents of the CDR to a the hard drive. Create a new, blank 2 gig-partition in the front of the disk and then copy the contents of the CDR (now on the HD) to the partition. You may now enter GParted, hide the first partition and hopefully, you're as good as new.
Again, anyone who goes through these instructions is mildly crazy but they were sort of fun to make. Lemme know how this works out for anyone who tries it.