Tuesday 16 August 2016

Add a 'factory' recovery partition using Aomei One Key Recovery

Whilst looking at the Aomei Backupper utility (horrible name!) in a previous blog, I saw the free Aomei One Key Recovery product on the Aomei website and decided to try it today.

The website has a lot of 'Chinglish' sales talk and very little information about how it works. Here are the main points for you techies!...

  • Automatically resizes your partition(s) and creates a new hidden, logical partition to hold the backup - it made an empty 16GB partition (total file size of C: was 16GB)
  • Installs a modified MBR which prompts you to press F11
  • When you press F11, it boots to grub4dos from the Logical partition
  • Adds a Desktop icon to take a backup or Recover
  • Can be configured to use the A key instead of F11
  • Grub4dos then boots to an ISO file on the Logical partition (OneKey_PE.iso)
  • If your system is not bootable (e.g. MBR is destroyed) you can copy the OneKey_PE.iso to your E2B drive and boot from it, to restore your system.
  • It reboots to WinPE (via the ISO file) to do a restore
  • It creates a backup on the hidden AOMEI Recovery Partition at \AmSysBackup\AmSysBackup.adi
  • It created a 10GB backup file from 16GB of Windows files.
  • It also modifies the BCD so you can boot to the Recovery partition as well as Windows from bootmgr
  • If you take another backup, it overwrites the previous backup
  • Although the free edition says it does not support encrypted backups, if you boot from the .ISO file, it does support encryption and restore works too (it prompts you for password). Also, you can choose the compression level (None, Normal (default), High) and you can backup to another location (e.g. USB drive) and you can change the timeout length, etc.. If you use the Windows utility however (e.g. Desktop icon), these features are blocked. So you can get the Professional features for free if you press F11 to boot from the ISO and make the backup that way, instead of using the Windows application!

I did not test it with UEFI\GPT disks, but the website says that it works with those too.

Installation and setup was very simple, so if you need a hotkey 'factory restore' solution, try it!

The free edition is here. You can compare the features of all the retail versions here.

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