Create Rescue Media Outside of Reflect?


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hurricane51
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I'm creating a disaster restore guide for a few "clients" and I'm trying to foresee problems in advance. One of these is what happens if they lose or somehow ruin the Rescue Drive. Are they dead in the water? Ot is there a generic way to load the RE environment to get them going?
capair45
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hurricane51 - 23 August 2020 5:38 AM
I'm creating a disaster restore guide for a few "clients" and I'm trying to foresee problems in advance. One of these is what happens if they lose or somehow ruin the Rescue Drive. Are they dead in the water? Ot is there a generic way to load the RE environment to get them going?

I'll throw this your way until someone else offers more detailed advice.

1.  I always create 2 rescue media USB sticks and keep one locked away with MR image disks I rotate through.
2.  I recently discovered that I could boot my desktop with rescue media created on my laptop.  I had been using this media unknowingly for quite some time and only noticed it when I saw the license key displayed on the rescue media screen was different than the license key for Reflect on the desktop.

I'm sure there's a more helpful solution and someone should be along soon with that.


Windows 10 Home (21H1)  Build 19043.1237
Macrium Reflect 8.0.6161
Windows Defender
Malwarebytes Premium 4.4.6


dbminter
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I see there are 2 things you could do.

1.) you could add a boot menu option to run Reflect in the Windows boot menu.  However, if the drive with that option on it won't start Windows for whatever reason, you're just as bad in the water as if you didn't have Rescue Media on a flash drive or optical disc to begin with.

2.) the Rescue Media builder lets you create ISO files.  You could create some ISO files before hand and store them somewhere else.  Then, you can use any of various utilities that do this to burn the ISO to a flash drive.  And you should, of course, test that this particular program you use to burn the ISO's to flash drives creates bootable Rescue Media.  Of course, if Windows won't start on a machine you're trying to restore on, you'll need to use a different PC to do this.  Which means you're probably just as better off using a PC with Reflect already installed on it and just run the Rescue Media builder on that.  However, the option to have the ISO, if you're using WinRE, means you can generate Rescue Media that is tailor made to the PC the ISO was created on at the time.

hurricane51
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Yeah, that's about what I figured. These are users (family and friends, the worst kind of clients) that I support remotely, so I guess I'll have them make a duplicate and put one in a place that they won't forget (Ha!). Thanks for the reply.
dbminter
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You are probably just better off having duplicate copy/copies of the Rescue Media flash drives.  That way, if you store the copies, you can give them out to whoever needs them should they damage/lose theirs.  You can make new copies on new flash drives after replacing your family and friends' old ones so you'll always have one on hand to help them out should they need it.

capair45
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hurricane51 - 23 August 2020 1:12 PM
Yeah, that's about what I figured. These are users (family and friends, the worst kind of clients) that I support remotely, so I guess I'll have them make a duplicate and put one in a place that they won't forget (Ha!). Thanks for the reply.


Also, you can store additional files on your rescue media and they won't interfere with the boot process.  For example, a copy of the Reflect installer, the ISO file, or a text file with your license key on it (credit to dbminter for these file suggestions).  I have all these files on a 16GB SanDisk USB stick.


Windows 10 Home (21H1)  Build 19043.1237
Macrium Reflect 8.0.6161
Windows Defender
Malwarebytes Premium 4.4.6


Edited 23 August 2020 1:28 PM by capair45
dbminter
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If you're going to use the ISO to flash drive suggestion, be aware that the application that copies the ISO to the flash will overwrite everything on the flash drive each time.  When you use Reflect's Rescue Media builder, it only overwrites the files it adds to the flash drive.  So, you can do things like store ISO files, the installer files, WinPE files, and a text file with your license key on it on the Rescue Media flash drive and not have to worry about the Rescue Media builder wiping them.

Rootman
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I create the rescue ISO file.  I have all my USB thumb drives and USB HDDs with a cool utility called Easy2Boot .  I have it setup with a 32 GB NTFS 1st partition that has Easy2Boot on it.  I then have a 32 GB FAT32 partition that I have AGFM, a boot utility that is available at the Easy2Boot.com as well.

You can put most any bootable ISO file in the Easy2Boot _ISO folder and it will boot to it.Choose the 1st   partition and it will boot via MBR, choose the second partition and it can boot via EFI.  It takes a little bit of setting up but it allows me to boot to several different ISO file.  I create ISO files and name them as to what computer it boots too. TOo tell the truth for most SATA disk computers they should be able to boot to most any of the ISOs just fine.

I've got a lot of other ISOs on the Esy2Boot drive and can boot to a whole host of stuff.  Utilities, Linux distros and about 7 Macrium ISOs.

You could take a copy of the ISO and if your customer looses all their copies it wouldn't be too hard to create another Easy2Boot drive using something like Team Viewer and then send them the ISO file.  Or just overnight them a drive you can create easily from your site.  .
jphughan
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I wrote exactly this sort of guide for a client. I created a folder that contained a Rescue Media ISO file and a copy of Rufus, and my instructions detailed how to use Rufus to create a bootable flash drive from that ISO. And then I noted that as an absolute last resort, Reflect could be downloaded and installed on any other PC in order to create Rescue Media, although I did call out the caveat that in this case, you might need to provide additional drivers manually.

There are also manual build instructions for Rescue Media that involve some Diskpart commands to properly partition a flash drive, then you just copy the contents of the mounted ISO to the flash drive. That works too, but I figured Rufus was easier than Diskpart for this client.
Edited 23 August 2020 2:25 PM by jphughan
hurricane51
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Thanks for all the comments. I think I'll take the simple solution, and that's to have a duplicate rescue drive that's stored in a different place. I'll have to keep them both updated, but that's a small price to pay. The other solutions offered are really good, though. I provide them with a couple of other drives with various files, but I don't think I included a license text file. 

Thanks again!
GO

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