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Bootable Macrium recovery drive

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Infrasonic
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Re: Bootable Macrium recovery drive

#338727

Postby Infrasonic » September 7th, 2020, 12:20 pm

When I mentioned 'caveats' upthread and the links to IODD drives I was basing it on this below (and other reading I've done over the years trying to crack the multiboot USB all in one Swiss army knife utopia). Ventoy looks like the best software solution so far. It will be interesting to see how it handles updates to OS/Recovery etc.


From the Rufus FAQ...https://github.com/pbatard/rufus/wiki/F ... ot_support
(He's a bit shouty and full of it, but from bitter experience much of what he writes is true...).

...Then again, if you really insist on using Rufus as base for multiboot, you might be interested in this tutorial from our friends at RMPrepUSB... or you might as well use Ventoy (which is most likely what you are looking for) or RMPrepUSB or Easy2Boot or YUMI as there already exist quite a few solutions to perform what you seek.

Alternatively, you can do what the multiboot pros (actual sysadmins) do, and invest in a hardware device that is dedicated for multiboot support such as an IODD drive. This is because a hardware solution is the ONLY GUARANTEED way to ensure that multiple ISOs from a single drive can boot as intended. The reason why a hardware solution is needed is that, due to the contradictions of incompatible boot loaders and ISO → USB conversion, the only solution that works reliably is to present the USB device as a virtual CD or DVD ROM, and then present the selected ISO image as a CD or DVD disc mounted in the virtual device. But of course, any software solution that tries to do that after the USB has already booted as an HDD drive (which cannot be avoided) does have to make major compromises to try to pretend that your multiboot image was actually booted as a CD or DVD. However, since the BIOS or UEFI firmware knows full well that that wasn't the case, a software solution can NEVER reliably guarantee that the ISO will boot and work properly and the only way to address that issue in a pure software solution to modify the ISO content, either at runtime or prior to boot, which must be customized for each ISO type and which, as the developers of Ventoy explain, is hard work because there are so many different OS distros and so many special cases. As such, if you really are serious about multiboot, you will invest in a hardware solution... Cont.

mc2fool
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Re: Bootable Macrium recovery drive

#338792

Postby mc2fool » September 7th, 2020, 4:44 pm

djpeck1 wrote:To be honest I haven't tried a Windows Recovery ISO on a Ventoy USB stick as I personally just use a system image to recover from any serious Windows problems. Life is too short to try repairing Windows! According to the Ventoy site (https://www.ventoy.net/en/isolist.html) Windows ISO files are listed as working under Ventoy, but there is no mention of Windows Recovery ISO. Maybe just try it and see if it works. You've nothing to lose.

Sorry. I've never had to create an ISO from a Windows Recovery USB drive, but Googling found this https://www.alexpage.de/usb-image-tool/

If I understand its FAQ correctly, that doesn't create ISOs but rather images of USB drives. No worry, there's plenty of folder-to-ISO stuff around, was just wondering if there was one you use in the hope of saving me trying out several to find a good'un. ;)

Recovery media contains more than just Windows repair, e.g. the ability just go back to a restore point without having to spend a couple of hours restoring your entire system back to the last system image. https://www.digitalcitizen.life/things-you-can-do-windows-10-recovery-drive, and in any case, I see no harm in having (at least) one of everything available, recovery wise, even if I do end up deciding to just roll back to the previous day's differential. :D

Anyway, something that I found a bit unfamiliar with Ventoy is the secure boot stuff. None of my other bootable USBs (or CD/DVDs) require me to turn off secure boot, or set them up with keys, so why is it required for the Ventoy USB? And having set one up with keys on my desktop should I expect it to work OK on my laptop, or not?

(I could, of course, just try it, but as my laptop is old and slow-ish to boot I'm waiting for a convenient opportunity....)

Infrasonic
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Re: Bootable Macrium recovery drive

#338801

Postby Infrasonic » September 7th, 2020, 5:32 pm

Apparently you can use Ventoy with secure boot, but not by default because it's not consistent...https://www.ventoy.net/en/doc_secure.html

Even with major Linux distros like Ubuntu which have the signed shims it's still hit and miss with SB and dual/multiboot due to OEM UEFI implementation.
The general rec is for off just to avoid the aggro.

My W10 desktop is SB off and I'm running multiboot SATA/USB OS' without issue...(yet).

JonE
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Re: Bootable Macrium recovery drive

#338815

Postby JonE » September 7th, 2020, 6:41 pm

Infrasonic wrote:Even with major Linux distros like Ubuntu which have the signed shims it's still hit and miss with SB and dual/multiboot due to OEM UEFI implementation.
Confirmed. Some oddball bits of kit are just made that way. I've an HP110-213ea all-in-one which didn't fully succumb even with use of BCDEdit and other twiddles. As it happens, I gave up eventually because I couldn't eliminate the tearing on Intel Graphics which made any browser unusable with any Linux distro I'd persuaded to boot.

Cheers!

mc2fool
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Re: Bootable Macrium recovery drive

#338821

Postby mc2fool » September 7th, 2020, 7:59 pm

Infrasonic wrote:Apparently you can use Ventoy with secure boot, but not by default because it's not consistent...https://www.ventoy.net/en/doc_secure.html

Yes, I had seen that. ;) In fact it was that page that enlightened me on how to set it up.

When I tried first booting the Ventoy USB (before I'd seen that page) my PC refused to boot it 'cos of secure boot, so I went into the BIOS and turned secure boot off.

However, that had a strange effect; my PC has two monitors and normally the POST & BIOS screens, and any recovery stuff I boot (Macrium USB, etc), come up on just one monitor, with the second only coming out of standby and showing anything at all once Windows has loaded and has (auto) logged me in.

But if I turn secure boot off then the POST & BIOS screens appear on both monitors, and so do the Ventoy screens, Macrium, etc, although with some graphics problems on the second monitor. And if I boot to Windows the Windows loading screen appears on both monitors, with everything only returning to normal after logging me in.

That's a rather weird side effect of turning secure boot off, so I turned it back on and went and found the page above and set up secure boot support on the Ventoy USB. But I am rather puzzled. It's my first encounter with secure boot, which has always been on in the BIOS, by default, but I don't get why I've needed to encounter it at all.

I've booted from the likes of Macrium etc USBs before (inc. the DIY format-as-FAT-and-add-contents-of-ISO method) without encountering secure boot, so either Macrium puts the keys needed into its USB/ISO, in which case why can't Ventoy do that too, or it doesn't and you can, in fact, boot any old USB, sans keys etc, even if secure boot is turned on, in which case what's the point of secure boot?!?

Infrasonic
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Re: Bootable Macrium recovery drive

#338870

Postby Infrasonic » September 8th, 2020, 8:46 am

Macrium are a proper company with offices (just down the road from me in fact) and one of the reasons we all like them is their software is pretty solid and they fix bugs quickly. They'll have the resources to do things properly.

The UEFI spec sheet document is 2558 pages long...https://uefi.org/sites/default/files/re ... _final.pdf

OEM's play fast and loose with it though, so even today you'll get major brands releasing new hardware that won't boot the big commercially backed Linux distros (with signed shims) or they'll just about boot and half the hardware won't work. (Thankfully it's now a minority.)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unified_E ... _criticism

Alternative...https://www.coreboot.org/
https://www.coreboot.org/vendors.html

A lot of the FOSS utilities/apps are sole developers, many of the alternative OS developments are spare time minimal resource projects.

So with any USB multiboot scenario you'll have all the variables for failure increasing.

All you can do is experiment with your specific hardware and it's particular BIOS/UEFI quirks, find what software boots and works with SB on/off, and then hope that updates to either the firmware/OS (hello W10 updates) or bootable 3rd party software don't break boot later on.
(Which has always been one of the 'caveat' issues with other USB multiboot apps where fixing them after breaks was time consuming)

https://forums.ventoy.net/showthread.php?tid=101

mc2fool
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Re: Bootable Macrium recovery drive

#338995

Postby mc2fool » September 8th, 2020, 1:55 pm

Infrasonic wrote:Macrium are a proper company with offices (just down the road from me in fact) and one of the reasons we all like them is their software is pretty solid and they fix bugs quickly. They'll have the resources to do things properly.

Thinks: the Macrium recovery stuff is, of course, built on Windows PE, so maybe they get the secure boot capability for free, so to speak.

Infrasonic wrote:All you can do is experiment with your specific hardware and it's particular BIOS/UEFI quirks, find what software boots and works with SB on/off, and then hope that updates to either the firmware/OS (hello W10 updates) or bootable 3rd party software don't break boot later on.

Hmmm ... sounds like putting recovery stuff on a multiboot USB might not be such a good idea then.

At least, not with any software mechanism; the multiple partitions and using the PC's boot device menu to choose method sounds like it could be the least potentially problematic way.

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Re: Bootable Macrium recovery drive

#338999

Postby Infrasonic » September 8th, 2020, 2:19 pm

My conclusion having had a bit more time to study it all is that the 'smart' IODD drives are the best option (or the least potential issues rather than perfect...), as used by professional sys admins and repair techs (they must know a bit about it...).

The Zalman drives aren't quite as good on the firmware features side from what I've read of the reviews.

I've signed up to the Ventoy forums, so I'll be keeping close tabs on it and will experiment, but just for minimisation of potential frustration (all my previous endeavours with USB multiboot) I think I'm going to get an IODD Mini (SSD).

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Re: Bootable Macrium recovery drive

#339009

Postby mc2fool » September 8th, 2020, 3:22 pm

Infrasonic wrote:My conclusion having had a bit more time to study it all is that the 'smart' IODD drives are the best option (or the least potential issues rather than perfect...), as used by professional sys admins and repair techs (they must know a bit about it...).

The Zalman drives aren't quite as good on the firmware features side from what I've read of the reviews.

I've signed up to the Ventoy forums, so I'll be keeping close tabs on it and will experiment, but just for minimisation of potential frustration (all my previous endeavours with USB multiboot) I think I'm going to get an IODD Mini (SSD).

I guess it depends on what your actual need is. My thoughts were just around minimising the number of recovery media I have, which at the moment (experimentations aside) consist of, for each of my desktop and laptop, a Windows recovery USB with system files and another without, a Macrium CD, and a Paragon CD, so eight in total.

OTOH they don't do any harm, just sitting in a cupboard at the far end of the house along with various other archive USBs, CDs & DVDs, and given what's been said I think best is just to keep those single-boot media there. ;)

Although, given time and inclination, I may play with Ventoy etc to create an additional multi-boot USB with "everything" on it, just for convenience....

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Re: Bootable Macrium recovery drive

#339026

Postby Infrasonic » September 8th, 2020, 4:16 pm

If you've got all the individual recovery boot media and backups then there's nothing to be lost with trying a Ventoy multiboot option. Hopefully with its unique ISO methodology even if one recovery option is taken out by an update somewhere screwing up boot, the others will still boot OK.

I'm in the same boat, lots of individual USB's, a multi-partitioned/multi file system (USB) Samsung T5 SSD, SDXC cards et al, messy.

I need W10, Chrome OS, Linux (various), Android 9/10 backup and recovery options, plus I look after some other W10 machines for other people (all with unattended scheduled USB HDD MR + W10 File History backup partitions /cloud syncs + recovery USB's).

So multi OS recovery boot options/backups/ various 'live' OS' /various persistent OS' (with per machine install drivers/setup saved to avoid waiting every time) and then portable apps and utilities partition(s).
I think it's all doable with an IODD, not so sure about Ventoy. (Though it does do .img as well now so persistence is less of an issue setting up. I'm keen to try Nomad BSD [GUI+persistent] even though it's not listed as supported.)

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Re: Bootable Macrium recovery drive

#339039

Postby mc2fool » September 8th, 2020, 4:49 pm

Infrasonic wrote:If you've got all the individual recovery boot media and backups then there's nothing to be lost with trying a Ventoy multiboot option.

But similarly not an awful lot to be gained, as it doesn't free up all the individual recovery US sticks if you need to keep them all to be confident of having something that works. Yes, the convenience of having it all on one USB, but as it's all for once in a (hopefully) very blue moon emergency uses, that's not really a big deal.

You obviously have a lot more complex setup -- indeed, just a lot more setups! -- to rationalise. :D

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Re: Bootable Macrium recovery drive

#339080

Postby mc2fool » September 8th, 2020, 7:37 pm

Infrasonic wrote:I need ... Android 9/10 backup and recovery options ...

BTW, what do you do for that and what does it cover? (Above just plain Backup to Google Drive).

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Re: Bootable Macrium recovery drive

#339085

Postby Infrasonic » September 8th, 2020, 8:09 pm

mc2fool wrote:
Infrasonic wrote:I need ... Android 9/10 backup and recovery options ...

BTW, what do you do for that and what does it cover? (Above just plain Backup to Google Drive).


At the moment it is just that, automated backup to Google Drive (cloud), which isn't a full backup by any stretch.

I've never researched it exhaustively but did settle in my mind on Titanium Backup some time ago, which seems to be the MR equivalent of Android backup software. Free and paid options. Available in the Play store.
https://www.titaniumtrack.com/titanium-backup.html

You can do a USB cable transfer between an old and new Android phone, and it should do most of it. I did that between my Nexus 5 and my Pixel 3a when I got it. Unfortunately I'd forgotten about the state of the N5 battery and it failed halfway through when the N5 switched off (I should have used a Y-split power/data cable). So the rest of it was whatever Google cloud had saved and would sync back, which didn't include things like all the saved WiFi settings and other stuff that was a bit of a pain to remember.(Although the most recent Chrome update does save and share/sync WiFi settings, which is handy.)

My Chromebook has a manual backup facility built in for the Linux container. When I tried a restore it failed with an unspecified error (repeatedly) so that's yet another avenue I have to explore for an alternative. I don't rely on it for anything important, but the novelty of rebuilding the container from scratch (more than once) via the terminal quickly wore off, even if my bash command line chops exponentially improved very quickly.

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Re: Bootable Macrium recovery drive

#341098

Postby Infrasonic » September 17th, 2020, 11:25 pm

An interesting NSA UEFI secure boot customisation document here...https://media.defense.gov/2020/Sep/15/2 ... 200915.PDF


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