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[x230] Adventures with Recovery media [Long read]

X230 and later series specific matters only
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samveen
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Joined: Sat Apr 27, 2019 12:28 am
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[x230] Adventures with Recovery media [Long read]

#1 Post by samveen » Sat May 11, 2019 2:23 am

My second hand x230 came with a windows7 install on it's 320G WD Blue (mfg. Oct 2013) with:
- Missing drivers for lots of stuff, including the function key functionality and Battery tools, which annoyed me a bit.
- atleast one worm pre-installed, which annoyed me a LOT.

So I decided to get myself a not-so-expensive 240G Kingston A400 SSD for USD 40 (seems acceptable as per amazon's reviews), and use the correct recovery media to install W7 and proceed from there.

With the help of theterminator93 who had posted about recovery media, I got myself the recovery images and proceed to burn them onto DVDs.

With the new SSD installed, the external DVD (a Buffalo drive) attached, and OS disk 1 of the recovery set ready to boot, I turned on the laptop to get everything sorted. There I hit my first snag: as I had completely forgotten to reset the BIOS to default settings, Win7 files would load, get to the Lenovo Splash screen, and then **poof** - reboot. Not just that, this was an infinite process. After a lot of googling all over, checking MD5 sums and re-burning a DVD needlessly, I read the idiot-resistant documentation on recovery media usage by Lenovo and finally reset the BIOS to it's defaults. And lo and behold; it "worked".

The recovery process first asked for partition table creation, where I selected GPT, then proceeded to ask me to insert, in order
  1. Applications And Drivers Recovery Disk 1
  2. Applications And Drivers Recovery Disk 2
  3. Operating System Recovery Disk
  4. Product Recovery Supplemental disk **IF I had it**

After completing the copy, the laptop proceeded to reboot and start the recovery process from the SSD itself.
(update #1)

Once the process completed (that took almost 2 hours, 2 DVD drive changes, and 5 or so reboots) I was presented by the first login process for the laptop. I don't remember much of the questions, just that I filled out all required information as correctly as I could, with a few exceptions - I refused to enable all bloatware that was requested by the process (Norton AV, some cloud sync and other such shyte).

On first login, I uninstalled the above bloatware (Chrome and Google search toolbar included), leaving just the Lenovo tools and utilities in place: It was nice to see the function keys work as expected without needing to do a thing. After installing Firefox, next up was M$haft Security Essentials to replace Norton.

ThinkVantage System Update (v4.x) no longer worked, and so I had to download and install Lenovo System Update (v5.x), and it's prerequisites(MS .NET 4.5.2 runtime) by downloading from their respective product pages.

Now I was ready to run the Update processes, both for Win7 and Lenovo, which being a couple of Gigs worth of downloads, took the whole night.

Final observations:
  • Windows is auto-activated, showing a ***-OEM-*** product ID, and with a lot of ThinkPad and Lenovo branding all over (I liked the ThinkPad part).
  • The recovery media has bloatware, which is hopefully not virus infected, and luckily removable, before the first connection to the internet.
  • The Disk layout created by the recovery process creates 4 partitions (no questions asked, other than type of the Partition table; I chose GPT):
    1. An EFI system partition of 100MB
    2. A Microsoft reserved partition (most probably a recovery disk equivalent). (update #1)
    3. The Win7 OS disk which takes most of disk and depends on the Disk size.
    4. Lenovo Recovery partition of size 13.67GB
    5. A partition with no information that is exactly 8.00 GB in size of type "Intel Fast Flash" (update #1)
  • Shinking the OS Disk will only reduce it to 51% of it's original size due to NTFS filesystem layout caveats: a copy of the Master file table $Mft is created right in the middle of the disk, and disk manager cannot move it to reduce the disk size further. More research needed as I want the disk in 3 parts: Win7 - Shared - Linux.
Updates #1
  • I finally figured out that the last 8G of the disk was an "Intel Fast Flash" partition expressly kept for "Speed start" and it's size is matched my RAM of 8G. This also means that in case I want to increase the RAM on the x230, I better keep an appropriate sized block of free space (8G) ready and available at the end of the disk **immediately before** the Fast Flash partition to keep utilizing the amazingly fast Win7 startup speed.
  • With the help of Google, I finally managed to move the $Mft data to the "new" middle of the newly downsized partition and downsized it down to 80G from the 107.812 G that it was, leaving me a large chunk of free space for Linux and "shared" partitions.
  • The newly freed space was divided into 5 partitions via windows as prep for Linux install:
    1. 20G as %home%/workspace to be cross-mounted with $HOME/workspace
    2. 20G as %home%/misc to be cross-mounted with $HOME/misc
    3. 256M as /boot (easier for grub to find boot files if the /boot is a small partition)
    4. 30G as root for linux
    5. The rest for $HOME/VirtualBoxVMs
Updates #2 - Linux
The last time I messed around with Linux on a personal laptop was 2014 when I installed Lubuntu 14.04 on my Toshiba AC-100 tablet. Otherwise, I'm either net-installing Centos on servers or Centos/Xubuntu on VMs in VirtualBox (whatever the Host OS on my office workstation). So I was a little apprehensive on installing Linux on the laptop, and as it turned out, rightly so; the process which should've probably taken 30 minutes at most ended up taking almost 3 hours.

I'd made a bootable USB stick with the Xubuntu 18.04 ISO following the directions over at the ubuntu site, and I've been using that to live-boot, with a partition mounted as "/home" to make the user sessions persistent. This was to be my source for the install.

The installer allowed me to correctly point it to "/boot" and "/", but popped up a warning about a missing partition at the beginning of the disk for boot files. I found this weird as the EFI partition was already in place, so it should have been recognized, but I continued anyway. As you can probably guess, the install succeeded, but with no way of booting into it. A quick search pointed to EasyBCD as a possible solution to using the WinBootloader instead of the Linux one, but that didn't help at all.

So I decided to try messing around with the USB stick bootloader and passing it the appropriate parameters to chain-load the Linux on the SSD. A lot of reading on isolinux and chaining to disk booting followed, without much success.

After a couple of hours of research, I found some page that clearly pointed out the difference between UEFI vs LEGACY USB-booted Boot Menu presentations of the *ubuntu ISOs. I was clearly booting the wrong mode (aka Legacy). A quick bios setting change to prefer UEFI mode to Legacy, and I was back in business. the install process was repeated, much quicker, as this time I just needed to select Replace existing install, with the bootloader installing perfectly.

Booting into linux was awesome, with a caveat: the option `Replace existing install` does not take into consideration any mountpoints other than the root partition, which meant that my `/boot` partition was now orphaned. From personal experience I knew how to fix it so I did:
  1. Mount the partition to /newboot
  2. Clean out the old boot files in there
  3. Unmount /boot/efi
  4. Moving the contents of /boot to /newboot
  5. Unmount /newboot and add appropriate mountpoint record into /etc/fstab to mount the partition at /boot before the entry for /boot/efi
  6. mount /boot and then /boot/efi
  7. Run grub-update
The reboot to test this landed me at the grub command-line instead of the menu, because the menu had been updated, but grub was still looking for the menu files in the wrong partition (this is in /boot/efi/EFI/ubuntu/grub.cfg which required UUID and GPT entry number of the partition containing the boot files.) A quick correction, and I was in business.

Results
Installing from Recovery and then setting up Dual-Boot isn't hard, but does suffer from a few gotchas:
  • Hard to reduce the windows partition below 51% of original size
  • Fastboot will fail to work correctly if RAM is increased after recovery CD install
  • Linux installer better boot in UEFI mode or there will be issues in bootloader installation.
TODOs
  • Set up the correct user mappings between Windows and Linux users for each NTFS shared partition.
  • Create the correct mount points for them all as appropriate.
  • Finally start on work...
Last edited by samveen on Wed May 15, 2019 6:58 am, edited 3 times in total.

w0qj
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Re: [x230] Adventures with Recovery media

#2 Post by w0qj » Sat May 11, 2019 10:27 am

Glad you finally got your X230 up and running using OEM Product Recovery DVD's!

1. There's minimal bloatware from ThinkPad OEM Product Recovery; that's part of the reason why we stick with ThinkPad!
And as you've said, it's easily uninstallable before you get onto the internet for the first time. We do this too!

2. Since you are using SSD, you can also safely uninstall ThinkPad Airbag Protection which is for protecting hard drives only.

3. There's also a Linux forum should you have any specific Linux questions, at:
http://forum.thinkpads.com/viewforum.php?f=9

Have fun with your X230!
Daily Driver: X1 Extreme 1st Gen (X1E1): i7 | 16GB | 1TB | IPS
Current Thinkpads: X1E1 | X1C4 | X1C3 | X250 | X230 | T410
Retired Thinkpads: T42 | 560 (circa 1996)
~~IBM Thinkpad era computer bag !

samveen
Posts: 21
Joined: Sat Apr 27, 2019 12:28 am
Location: New Delhi, India

Re: [x230] Adventures with Recovery media

#3 Post by samveen » Sat May 11, 2019 12:47 pm

w0qj wrote:
Sat May 11, 2019 10:27 am
<snip>
2. Since you are using SSD, you can also safely uninstall ThinkPad Airbag Protection which is for protecting hard drives only.
</snip>
  • I tried to find the entry for this in Programs and Features, but there was nothing to show for it. Any ideas where to look for the uninstall?
  • Is it worth keeping the Coral programs?
  • As I have recovery media already created, should I remove the recovery partition and media creation software?
  • Is it ok to remove Lenovo Welcome and Lenovo Registration?
  • Is there a removal list somewhere that I can refer to, as google isn't showing much of relevance for this query(or I can't think of good search terms?)

w0qj
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Joined: Fri Jun 11, 2004 9:53 pm
Location: Hong Kong

Re: [x230] Adventures with Recovery media

#4 Post by w0qj » Sat May 11, 2019 1:49 pm

1a. Look in the Programs and Features, and Google for entries in there that you are not sure about, to decide if it can be uninstalled.
***You can leave everything in the Programs and Features for ThinkPad software, most are OK to leave in, and will not slow down your ThinkPad.

1b. If the ThinkPad Airbag Protection is not in Programs and Features, then it's not been installed.

2. Coral programs can be uninstalled; these are not important.
Our X230 did not have any Coral programs installed.

3a. Yes, you can delete the Recovery Partition if you wish, to save some storage space.
3b. Please *DO*NOT* put your data onto your X230 while you experiment with Product Recovery Partition deletion; you may need to do Product Recovery again!
3c. There are freeware disk partition programs out there, such as: [Disclaimer: I don't work for AOMEI, just a fellow ThinkPad user!]
www.disk-partition.com

4. Yes, you can safely uninstall Lenovo Welcome, and safely uninstall Lenovo Registration.

5. Again, it's OK to leave the Lenovo/ThinkPad programs in Programs and Features; they would not slow you down.
If you do decide to uninstall the various Lenovo/ThinkPad programs in Programs and Features, be prepared to do numerous Product Recovery attempts to revert back to starting point (aka Factory Reset).

6a. We used ThinkPad Rescue & Recovery to do snapshot (backup) of the system, before experimenting by deleting various Lenovo/ThinkPad programs in Programs and Features.
6b. Or you can use another similar program (there are many freeware versions out there), such as: [Disclaimer: I don't work for AOMEI, just a fellow ThinkPad user!]
www.backup-utility.com/onekey-recovery.html

Good luck!
samveen wrote:
Sat May 11, 2019 12:47 pm
..
  • I tried to find the entry for this in Programs and Features, but there was nothing to show for it. Any ideas where to look for the uninstall?
  • Is it worth keeping the Coral programs?
  • As I have recovery media already created, should I remove the recovery partition and media creation software?
  • Is it ok to remove Lenovo Welcome and Lenovo Registration?
  • Is there a removal list somewhere that I can refer to, as google isn't showing much of relevance for this query(or I can't think of good search terms?)
Daily Driver: X1 Extreme 1st Gen (X1E1): i7 | 16GB | 1TB | IPS
Current Thinkpads: X1E1 | X1C4 | X1C3 | X250 | X230 | T410
Retired Thinkpads: T42 | 560 (circa 1996)
~~IBM Thinkpad era computer bag !

samveen
Posts: 21
Joined: Sat Apr 27, 2019 12:28 am
Location: New Delhi, India

Re: [x230] Adventures with Recovery media

#5 Post by samveen » Wed May 15, 2019 1:51 am

w0qj wrote:
Sat May 11, 2019 10:27 am
<snip/>
3. There's also a Linux forum should you have any specific Linux questions, at:
http://forum.thinkpads.com/viewforum.php?f=9

Have fun with your X230!
Linux is up n running with a couple of caveats. All details added to first post.

I have a question about a possible "product recovery supplemental disk". Is there any such item for the x230? If so where can I get it?

And as for the fun, that I will :D

TPFanatic
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Re: [x230] Adventures with Recovery media [Long read]

#6 Post by TPFanatic » Thu May 16, 2019 9:41 pm

I have discovered that you can install the base Windows 7 using just the operating system recovery disk and when it prompts you to put in the Applications & Drivers CD just press "No" and it'll continue...

I discovered this in error when using the CDs on a T42, I had clicked Yes but something went wrong with the Drivers CD but it continued anyway. The more you know.
lenovo "Super" T420 i7 2670qm WQHD 16GB
lenovo T500 P9700 Radeon 3650 WUXGA 8GB
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samveen
Posts: 21
Joined: Sat Apr 27, 2019 12:28 am
Location: New Delhi, India

Re: [x230] Adventures with Recovery media [Long read]

#7 Post by samveen » Thu May 16, 2019 11:21 pm

TPFanatic wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 9:41 pm
I have discovered that you can install the base Windows 7 using just the operating system recovery disk and when it prompts you to put in the Applications & Drivers CD just press "No" and it'll continue...

I discovered this in error when using the CDs on a T42, I had clicked Yes but something went wrong with the Drivers CD but it continued anyway. The more you know.
If this is the case, then I am expecting that it might just be possible to create an updated drivers and programs disk. I don't know if it's worth the effort, though.

onespeedbiker
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Re: [x230] Adventures with Recovery media [Long read]

#8 Post by onespeedbiker » Thu Sep 19, 2019 4:59 pm

I'm curious if you actually tried installing just the X230 OS (Windows 7) media, without Thinkpad drivers and applications disk, because I could not make that work. I have used X61p to load windows 7 on my R61i, and as you said, choosing no when asked to load the applications and drivers and Windows 7 loaded without the second disk. Using the X230 media (same as you 3 disks) my aim was to load windows 7 on a Lenovo G555. After the install (boot) disk initiated booting and partitioning , it asked for Disc #1, which turned out to be the same Disk that was being used; all that was needed was to pressed okay and it continued to load. When it came to the part where it asked for the Applications & Drivers disk, there was no "Okay" or "No", instead there an "Okay" and "Cancel" (at least in my case) and hitting Cancel button shut down the install process. So instead I started from the beginning and let the entire install run with the second disk. In the end there were, enough drivers loaded that it booted using either the correct of generic drivers. There were also some incompatible Levono programs that needed to be deleted, but the Lenovo EOL had the drivers and a few programs that got the computer up and running.

skx
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Re: [x230] Adventures with Recovery media [Long read]

#9 Post by skx » Fri Sep 20, 2019 5:20 pm

Win7 is EOL early 2020, you better invest your energy in a nice linux distro or W10. X230 has perfect support for both.
ThinkPad X220: i5-2520M CPU 2.5GHz - 8GB RAM 1333 MHz - SSD 860 EVO 250GB - Debian - ME_cleaned
ThinkPad X230: i5-3320M CPU 3.3GHz - 8GB RAM 1600 MHz - SSD 860 EVO 500GB - Debian - ME_cleaned

dr_st
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Re: [x230] Adventures with Recovery media [Long read]

#10 Post by dr_st » Sat Sep 21, 2019 3:19 am

skx wrote:
Fri Sep 20, 2019 5:20 pm
Win7 is EOL early 2020, you better invest your energy in a nice linux distro or W10. X230 has perfect support for both.
Win7 won't magically stop working after its EOL. And it won't get infested with malware that will steal all my personal data and hack the internet in 10 minutes, as some reality-challenged people apparently want you to believe.

However, it's true that X230 supports Win10 perfectly (and probably many modern Linux distros as well).
Thinkpad 25 (20K7), X1 Carbon (20HQ), Yoga 14 (20FY), T430s (IPS FHD + Classic Keyboard), X220 4291-4BG
X61 7673-V2V, T60 2007-QPG, T42 2373-F7G, X32 (IPS Screen), A31p w/ Ultrabay Numpad, A21m 2628-GXU

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