My wife recently got the Windows XP 160GB version of the amazing popular Acer Aspire One (this seems to be the only netbook people ever have!).
I'd heard from a friend that we should save off the backup image which is preloaded onto a hidden partition (called PQSERVICE). But how do you gain access to the partition in order to save it off?
After much research I came up with the following options:
- Install Linux on a USB pendrive, boot from that, then save the partition using Linux tools
- Hack the master boot record to remove the 'hidden' attribute of the partition, then save it somehow
- Numerous other tough/dangerous/involved methods
- Follow my method below which is easy, safe and free!
Saving your hidden PQSERVICE partition
Download the free version of Macrium Reflect and install it
Run Macrium Reflect, let it analyse your drive and then right-click on the listed PQSERVICE partition (it's not hidden to this tool!):
Choose the "Create Image of '1 - PQSERVICE'" option
Save the partition to wherever is suitable, I place mine directly on my NAS storage box (I selected the "Intelligent Copy" option rather than the sector by sector copy, but I've not restored the image so please don't rely on that advice for a safe copy...).
An image of your hidden WinXP partition will now be saved:
Saving your Master Boot Record (MBR)
You will also probably want to save off the master boot record of the Acer's drive so that in the case of a complete drive failure you can set it up in a similar manner to the factory settings to be able to restore it correctly.
Download the free MBRWizard and extract the archive
Open a DOS box, navigate to where you extracted MBRWiz.exe and run the following command:
MBRWiz /Save=C:\acer_aspire_one.mbrCopy the
acer_aspire_one.mbrfile in your C drive to somewhere safe (I put mine in the same place on the NAS box as the above PQSERVICE partition image file.
Note: I've not restored this partition or master boot record, and I don't expect to, but at least you have a copy without messing about with your new netbook too much!
All this information was gleamed from The Importance of Backing Up EISA Hidden PQSERVICE Partition and MBR on a New Laptop (includes details on how to view the contents of the backed up image) and 5 Free Tools to Backup and Restore Master Boot Record (MBR) from the fantastic Raymond.cc blog. They go into much more detail and I would recommend that you give them both a good read.
UPDATE: This blog post looks like a good source of information if you want to Restore XP from the Acer Aspire One Hidden Partition.
Technorati Tags: Acer, Aspire, Backup, Partition, Image, WindowsXP, Macrium, MBRWizard, Raymond.cc, Andrew Beacock