Trying to backup a fresh installation for future use if I want to re-install again


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mpooley
mpooley
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I think i might have mucked up. I'm not sure?
I did the fresh  install onto a 500gb usb drive.
Got a few basics working.
re-booted to the boot manager where there are two windows O/s 's to choose from now. and chose my current windows o/s
Made a backup of the fresh install.

It's only just occurred to me that the usb has not got a boot partition, It's just 1 single partition.

If i ever want to overwrite my current windows drive with this image I wont have a boot partition will I?
so it won't work as is?
is there anything I can do to to correct this please?
 would be grateful for any help here

thanks

Mike
jphughan
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Windows doesn't support being booted from a disk attached via USB, at least not out of the box.  How did you get a fresh install booting from USB?

But yes, if you performed a fresh install that resulted in a dual boot setup, your second Windows install disk won't necessarily have everything necessary to be booted separately.  As you see, you have a single Windows Boot Manager interface that lists both OS choices.  That's because there's only one instance of Windows Boot Manager on your system, which will turn around and load whichever Windows partition you select.  The reason this is done is to make it easier to manage dual boot systems, since this way you have a single instance with multiple choices rather than having to deal with having your actual motherboard boot from a completely different device if you want to switch environments (which would especially be a chore on motherboards that don't offer a one-time boot menu).  But the drawback to this design is that your secondary environment isn't set up to be independently bootable.

If you want to achieve that AND run a dual boot setup for a while, I would try performing a fresh install while you don't have any other Windows disk connected so that you get a self-contained environment on that secondary disk, then reconnect your main Windows disk, at which point you may be able to use a tool like EasyBCD to add your secondary Windows environment as an option in your primary Windows disk's Windows Boot Manager instance.  In that case you'll be able to boot the secondary disk either way.

But based on your final questions, I'm not sure what you're trying to achieve here.  Are you trying to run a long-term dual boot setup, or are you trying to set up a new Windows environment to replace your existing one?  Those are two very different goals.  It sounds like you want a dual boot setup, but then I'm wondering why you're asking about overwriting your current drive with this new one.

Edited 12 February 2020 6:44 PM by jphughan
mpooley
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Thanks
Yes I was trying to build a new windows while still being able to have a working system.
It takes a long time to get all of my programs up and running in a new setup so I was foolishly trying what I thought would be the easy way.
The reason I didn't  remove the original drive is the it's NVMe drive and it's buried deep under in my motherboard.

I have done just what you suggested in the past when I had twin 2.5inch caddies and I could just slot a new one in.

Wish I had kept it that way to be honest it was a lot simpler. I don't really notice much difference in speed form the SSD I had before.

So you're saying I got to re-install again.  I thought as much but it was worth asking.
I thought maybe there was a way I could graft on a boot sector in front of the OS but I'm not knowledgable about that sort of thing.

BTW I found it very easy to install to a usb attached drive. it was quite simple really.

Mike
jphughan
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If your system is set up to boot in UEFI mode, Microsoft's recommendation is to have the EFI partition, then MSR partition, then OS partition.  You can have the WinRE partition either before all of that or after all of that (used to be before by default, but nowadays it's after since successive Windows 10 releases sometimes want a larger WinRE partition and it's easier to resize when it's after your Windows partition), but those 3 partitions are supposed to be in that order.  So "retrofitting" that setup would involve live repartitioning tools, which might be more trouble than they're worth.

One option you could try is looking into whether your motherboard's BIOS allows the NVMe slot to be disabled so that the SSD installed there will be ignored without you having to physically remove it.  In that case you could have both drives installed internally without ever having your system (or Windows) see both of them at the same time.

I've managed to install Windows onto a disk attached via USB, but not boot that way.  To my knowledge the only scenario where full Windows (as opposed to WinPE/RE) allows itself to be booted from a USB disk is when it's set up as a Windows To Go environment, but that requires special preparation and enterprise licensing.  I remember somebody here at one point saying they'd found a tool that could make a normal Windows environment USB-bootable, and upon examination it seemed to be turning that normal Windows installation into a Windows To Go installation, but the legality of that setup would be murky at best, and of course that wouldn't be an out-of-the-box setup.  If something has changed with newer releases of Windows that now allows them to be booted via USB out of the box, that's news to me....

Edited 12 February 2020 10:31 PM by jphughan
mpooley
mpooley
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That's odd! I can't remember the exact events but as far as I can remember I just pointed to that disk to install to and off it went with no problems whatsoever.
I wish it hadn't worked now!
I'll look into the EFI to see if I can disable the NVMe

thanks

GO

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