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The original Surface Pro still holds its own in the 2-in-1 world

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  • 2 Post By jhoff80
  1. jhoff80's Avatar
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       #1  
    For what it's worth, I hadn't noticed until I was inspired to look for something on Twitter, but Microsoft now lists official instructions to move your Surface RT's recovery partition to a USB drive:
    Increase Surface storage space | USB recovery drive for Surface

    For those of us with the 32GB model, it's pretty helpful because you get around 3.5GB of space back. Basically there's a wizard in Windows RT that will create a new recovery drive, copy the recovery files to it, and then give you the option to delete the recovery partition.

    This does mean that you won't be able to refresh or reset without having your USB drive, but if you're already hitting the limits of your drive space, it's probably pretty useful.
    Last edited by jhoff80; 12-18-2012 at 01:07 PM.
    toddpart and Vallos like this.
  2. Sam Sabri's Avatar
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    #2  
    Great find. Thanks for sharing. I'll be doing this tonight!
  3. rebornempowered's Avatar
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    #3  
    Did this a few weeks ago. It is great that Microsoft gave us the option to do this.
  4. johninsj's Avatar
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    #4  
    did this right after the two hour "out of the box" windows + store update yesterday. Critical for a 32gb machine, IMHO. ****, they should have just tossed in a 4gb USB stick with recovery already on it. That's what, about 5 cents cost? Microsoft sure knows how to deliver the ultimate in painful OOTB experiences.
  5. dkp23's Avatar
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    #5  
    What if i wanted to reinstall or refresh and deleted the partition and also lost my usb, is there a way to get it back?
  6. jhoff80's Avatar
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       #6  
    Unfortunately no. I mean, maybe if you called Microsoft they'd be able to help you out, but I'd say that if you're prone to losing stuff like that, don't risk this.
  7. erasure25's Avatar
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    #7  
    I would say keep a copy of the backup USB stick on your PC as well (assuming you have a PC with ample storage).
  8. johninsj's Avatar
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    #8  
    Quote Originally Posted by dkp23 View Post
    What if i wanted to reinstall or refresh and deleted the partition and also lost my usb, is there a way to get it back?
    You can make several USB sticks before you delete the partition. Heck, you could image the USB stick and burn that to a DVD.

    Or copy it to a desktop...
  9. stephen_az's Avatar
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    #9  
    Quote Originally Posted by johninsj View Post
    did this right after the two hour "out of the box" windows + store update yesterday. Critical for a 32gb machine, IMHO. ****, they should have just tossed in a 4gb USB stick with recovery already on it. That's what, about 5 cents cost? Microsoft sure knows how to deliver the ultimate in painful OOTB experiences.
    Like all tech companies, they put the active role in your hands. If it is on the drive you can do a system refresh any time. If it is on a USB stick, you can only do it when you are carrying the drive. You are also on your own if you lose the USB drive. You assume a risk by deleting whereas they assume a risk by giving it to you on a USB stick from the start. It is that simple. It is also a fair business practice....
  10. stephen_az's Avatar
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    #10  
    Quote Originally Posted by johninsj View Post
    You can make several USB sticks before you delete the partition. Heck, you could image the USB stick and burn that to a DVD.

    Or copy it to a desktop...
    You can certainly make a duplicate of the USB and might possibly be able to make a DVD. The process though is intended to create a bootable drive so there is no guarantee that copying to a desktop would allow you to recreate a drive that would work correctly with the ARM bootloader. Unless you have done it and can confirm it works, with instructions, that is a really irresponsible recommendation to make.
  11. stephen_az's Avatar
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    #11  
    Quote Originally Posted by dkp23 View Post
    What if i wanted to reinstall or refresh and deleted the partition and also lost my usb, is there a way to get it back?
    Once it is gone it is gone. You could make a backup USB drive at the start which provides some security but it is on the device for a reason. You assume the risk is you delete and lose. Microsoft might send you a replacement (they have done that with other OSs if you provide a valid serial number or disk ID) but they might also require you to send it back to them to reimage. Personally, the aggravation of creating the drive and assumed risk if lost all seem a bit high for 3.5 GB that can be made up by a MicroSDXC card.
  12. woodbane's Avatar
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    #12  
    Would the reverse also be possible?

    i.e. recreating the recovery partition from the USB stick back on to the Surface in built storage?

    No other reason than I'm curious.
    Sent from my Windows 8 device using Board Express Pro
  13. jhoff80's Avatar
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       #13  
    Quote Originally Posted by stephen_az View Post
    Personally, the aggravation of creating the drive and assumed risk if lost all seem a bit high for 3.5 GB that can be made up by a MicroSDXC card.
    Except apps can't be installed to microSDXC.
  14. jhoff80's Avatar
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       #14  
    Quote Originally Posted by woodbane View Post
    Would the reverse also be possible?

    i.e. recreating the recovery partition from the USB stick back on to the Surface in built storage?
    There's not an automatic way to do it. I'm sure it's possible, but there's not a wizard or anything. When you reset the device using your recovery drive though, it should recreate the partitions, so as a last resort you can do that.
  15. power5's Avatar
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    #15  
    Quote Originally Posted by jhoff80 View Post
    Except apps can't be installed to microSDXC.
    This is dumb but I suspect MSFT did it so that I could not download apps and then hand them to a friend. Basically that would circumvent their licensing rules. Should be a way to put a code on the SD card so that those apps would only work with the surface they were downloaded onto. Of course a binary code like that could easily be hacked by someone who knows what they are doing, but most users just want the extra space and will never take the card out.

    What exactly can be saved to the card and able to be in your libraries? Photos?
  16. johninsj's Avatar
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    #16  
    Quote Originally Posted by power5 View Post
    This is dumb but I suspect MSFT did it so that I could not download apps and then hand them to a friend. Basically that would circumvent their licensing rules. Should be a way to put a code on the SD card so that those apps would only work with the surface they were downloaded onto. Of course a binary code like that could easily be hacked by someone who knows what they are doing, but most users just want the extra space and will never take the card out.

    What exactly can be saved to the card and able to be in your libraries? Photos?
    It protects YOU the user, buy keeping apps sandboxed/trusted. Putting them on the SD card breaks the chain of trust.

    You can put any user content on cards - photos, videos, music, movies, documents, pdf files, spreadsheets, power point presentations, one note notebooks...
  17. woodbane's Avatar
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    #17  
    Quote Originally Posted by power5 View Post
    What exactly can be saved to the card and able to be in your libraries? Photos?
    Pretty much any media - music, photos, video and documents. There are tutorials floating around showing how to basically mount the microSD card as an extension of those libraries.

    Here's the one I used
  18. woodbane's Avatar
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    #18  
    Quote Originally Posted by jhoff80 View Post
    There's not an automatic way to do it. I'm sure it's possible, but there's not a wizard or anything. When you reset the device using your recovery drive though, it should recreate the partitions, so as a last resort you can do that.
    So doing a complete restore from the USB stick would recreate the partirions to factory/stock? Hmm, interesting. Certainly not going to do it at the current time but worth remembering for the future. Thanks.
  19. johninsj's Avatar
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    #19  
    Quote Originally Posted by stephen_az View Post
    You can certainly make a duplicate of the USB and might possibly be able to make a DVD. The process though is intended to create a bootable drive so there is no guarantee that copying to a desktop would allow you to recreate a drive that would work correctly with the ARM bootloader. Unless you have done it and can confirm it works, with instructions, that is a really irresponsible recommendation to make.
    Yep, I'm going to try doing just that - it's not entirely clear the USB recovery image needs be bootable at all, as the recovery process is actually somewhat different via USB

    If noting else, dumping a complete sector level image (aka .iso) of the USB key should be sufficient.

    If you are paranoid, buy a handful of 4GB USB sticks for $30 and use the surface "make a USB recovery" tool to make multiple recovery USB sticks. Then trash the partition.
  20. jhoff80's Avatar
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       #20  
    The wizard does make the USB drive UEFI bootable, but I'm not sure that it has to be either. But since making the drive bootable is a process that doesn't actually have to be done from Windows RT (you could technically use any Windows PC to make the drive bootable), there's other ways to handle that anyway.

    But yeah, if you want to be safest, use the wizard multiple times before deleting the partition.

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