cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
mavs-fan
Level 2
11 7 1 0
Message 1 of 6
1,461
Flag Post

How to Clean Install Windows 10 with HP OEM Partitions

HP Recommended
HP Z4 G4
Microsoft Windows 10 (64-bit)

Once a year or so, I typically reinstall Windows via USB with Microsoft's Media Creation Tool to easily install the latest feature update. I prefer this option because it allows for a full format without multiple Windows feature upgrades being installed on top of each other. It's cleaner and eliminates potential issues.

 

I have a new HP Z4 G4 Xeon Workstation. There are three decisions I'm considering in order to optimally set up this machine. I'd like to hear feedback from others. This is a personal workstation. It's not used in an organization.

 


Consideration #1 - Partitions and Reinstall

 

Partitions on C drive, OEM M.2 SSD installation:

 

1. EFI System Partition
2. Windows C (BitLocker Encrypted)
3. Windows RE Tools (OEM Partition)

 

If I choose to frequently clean install Windows with the USB Media Creation Tool, what is the process in terms of these OEM partitions? Should I wipe all three of these partitions or should I leave the Windows RE Tools partition as is?

 

Ideally, I'd like to clean install Windows directly from USB when needed while retaining the option of fully resetting the PC to HP factory defaults in the future via boot commands or official recovery procedures. I'm just not sure how to best handle these OEM partitions, particularly the RE Tools (OEM Partition).

 

I understand that when doing a USB Media Creation Install that I'll choose Windows 10 Pro and then download the Windows 10 Pro for Workstations update afterward from the Microsoft Store. The chip key will activate with a digital entitlement license.

 

In order to prepare for the reinstall I've:

 

1. Exported the factory drivers via Powershell for easy installation in the future.

 

2. Saved a list of installed software from Control Panel if needed to download from HP. (I already removed Microsoft Office 365 - en-us). I'm not sure what will be needed from this list that isn't included in the Powershell export, but I have it just in case.

 

- HP Documentation
- HP Hotkey Support
- HP Notifications
- HP Performance Advisor
- Intel Network Connections 24.0.0.11
- Intel Virtual RAID on CPU
- Intel Management Engine Components
- Microsoft OneDrive
- Microsoft Visual C++ 2017 Redistributable (x64)
- NVIDIA Graphics Driver 431.70
- NVIDIA HD Audio Driver 1.3.38.16
- NVIDIA nView 149.77
- NVIDIA WMI 2.33.0
- Realtek High Definition Audio Driver



Consideration #2 - Bitlocker

 

The system includes two M.2 SSD drives. Please note, these drives are currently "waiting for activation" for Bitlocker. I haven't yet decided if I'll be using Bitlocker or not as I haven't used it previously.

 

I'm concerned whether it's worth the performance hit and potential unlocking issues. There is some appeal that malware can't change the Bios before booting into Windows. I have no plans on removing the M.2 drives as I would frequently do with a traditional storage drive.



Consideration #3 - ReFS

 

If I understand correctly ReFS can't be used on the boot disk. So the C drive must be formatted with NTFS.

 

I will be adding 1-2 12tb drives to this system. (If I add 2 drives, the second will be to have an identical copy of the first drive as a backup.) I'll need to decide whether to use NTFS or ReFS (which I've never used) for this new set up. I've read up on ReFS, however, I've never seen it running or done any hands-on testing.

 


Thanks in advance for the help and assistance on these three issues.

5 REPLIES 5
mavs-fan
Author
Level 2
11 7 1 0
Message 2 of 6
Flag Post
HP Recommended

It's been nearly two weeks since my original post without a response. As expressed earlier, the biggest issue was whether or not it's possible to retain or recreate the factory partitions (and drivers/data) when performing a clean Windows install via USB with the latest Windows feature update.

 

Partitions on C drive, OEM M.2 SSD installation:

 

1. EFI System Partition
2. Windows C (BitLocker Encrypted)
3. Windows RE Tools (OEM Partition)

 

I've made a full factory system image of my Windows M.2 SSD drive as a backup. I'll probably try a clean install from USB and will see how it goes since I haven't received any feedback here. I should be able to restore the factory system image (with Bitlocker waiting activation) in case anything goes wrong.

 

Any feedback on reinstalling Windows with OEM partitions and also pros and cons of using Bitlocker and ReFS would be most appreciated.

0 Kudos
SDH
Level 10
2,271 2,225 211 654
Message 3 of 6
Flag Post
HP Recommended

You may not know that HP developed a method to download full recovery media for workstations from the ZX40 family and on up.  Thus, that would be available to you, and presumably the install image that you can download from HP will be updated somewhat as newer major OS versions are released.  The recovery media for years has had the option to take your install back to the from-the-factory state.  Then you need to do updates to that, just as you would have done over time after unboxing your workstation..... it just will be more of an update marathon.

 

I've done that process with the Z440 and Z640 workstations..... works fine, and updated fine.  Don't expect Microsoft to provide you with a HP Recovery kit.... that will come from HP, and it won't be as up to date as the Microsoft Windows Update mechanism (which these days may be a blessing).

 

Doing a clean install is always a bit of a chore, with many personal choices about what to install beyond the from-factory state, and what settings to set.  My advice on that is to take notes as you go this time, which will make next time easier.  I use Acronis quite a bit and it has been handy to capture an image as I layer on major new parts of the build with clear documentation of what each image is comprised of.  That way if I get in trouble then or later I can go back to a particular stage and save time.  Roughly 3 images for each major build, with the last one including our security steps/antivirus/antimalware.

0 Kudos
mavs-fan
Author
Level 2
11 7 1 0
Message 4 of 6
Flag Post
HP Recommended

SDH, thanks for the reply. It's much appreciated.

 

To be sure I'm not missing something, please confirm the step-by-step process for downloading full recovery media for HP Workstations with the latest Windows feature update.

 

On the software and drivers page for the Z4 G4 Workstation, I found several ISO images to create Driver Recovery DVDs. Is this what I should use? It doesn't appear Windows is included with this download.

 

The newest one is here:

 

https://support.hp.com/us-en/drivers/selfservice/swdetails/hp-z4-g4-workstation/16449890/swItemId/vc...

0 Kudos
SDH
Level 10
2,271 2,225 211 654
Message 5 of 6
Flag Post
HP Recommended

No.... that is a driver installer CD.  You want the "HP Cloud Recovery Tool" to download the OS (W10Pro64 is all you can get this way for the HP Z4 G4).  That is a bootable USB drive you'll end up with .  You'll need to have your workstation's actual serial number handy to enter before you can download the Recovery kit.  If your serial number is not licensed for W10 (say it was bought to run Linux originally) you will get rejected, I believe.  Even if you downloaded under the serial number from a friend's properly licensed W10 Z4 G4 the branding in your BIOS done at the factory will not allow that Recovery kit to result in a HP self-activated W10 install (if the workstation is not W10Pro64 activated already).

 

There is a legal way around that.... if your box came as a Linux box but you upgraded it properly to W10Pro64 it will have a valid alternative W10 activation path via Microsoft.  The HP source installer will work, but the activation process will go through the MS W10 activation servers and confirm that your BIOS' UUID is already entered (from your prior proper activation) and this HP based install will be allowed to activate.  A clone of your install would not work to "self activate" another Z4 G4 unless it also was W10Pro64 licensed in its BIOS, or via some other upgrade and then it would get activated via MS.  Generally you'll be able to ignore all that, but it will be of value to those who want to run Linux and/or W10Pro64 on their one box.

 

Here's links to use the HP Cloud Recovery Tool:

How to use, for you:

https://support.hp.com/us-en/document/c05115630 (business PCs)

 

How to use, for HP customers with a consumer grade PC)
https://support.hp.com/us-en/document/c06162205 (consumer PCs)

 

To see if your computer is a HP Cloud Recovery supported platform:
https://ftp.hp.com/pub/caps-softpaq/CloudRecovery/crsupportedplatform.html

Once at that page use CTRL + F and enter Z4 G4, and hit return, and look for a check mark rather than an x.  Yours only has a kit for W10Pro64.  The Microsoft Update servers will take over from there just like they did when you hooked your box up to the internet, but at least you are back to a HP Factory Install before that begins.  I personally set BIOS back to factory settings before I began the OS load from the HP-based USB drive.  After I'm all done I reset my tuned BIOS via my notes..... it is good exercise to review them.

 

So, you're up and running.  I'll step fully out of this now.

 

 

0 Kudos
mavs-fan
Author
Level 2
11 7 1 0
Message 6 of 6
Flag Post
HP Recommended

SDH, thanks again for the reply. 

 

A few more questions for you (or anyone else) if you don't mind.

 

(1) When running the "HP Cloud Recovery Tool" is there a way to know which feature update version of Windows you will get (1909, 1903, 1809 etc) before download?

 

(2) My Z4 G4 was installed with Windows 10 Pro for Workstations. I'm assuming the "HP Cloud Recovery Tool" will download this version and I won't have to jump through the manual process of upgrading from Windows 10 Pro to Windows 10 Pro for Workgroups.

 

(3) I'd be curious what your BIOS notes are and if you have any recommended changes from the defaults.

 

(4) What's your experience with Bitlocker? I'm debating whether or not to enable this since I'm only using this as a personal workstation, not in a business environment. I'm concerned whether it's worth the performance hit and potential unlocking issues.

 

(5) What's your experience with ReFS? If I understand correctly ReFS can't be used on the boot disk. So the C drive must be formatted with NTFS. I will be adding 1-2 12tb drives to this system. (If I add 2 drives, the second will be to have an identical copy of the first drive as a backup.) I'll need to decide whether to use NTFS or ReFS (which I've never used).

0 Kudos
Warning Be alert for scammers posting fake support phone numbers and/or email addresses on the community. If you think you have received a fake HP Support message, please report it to us by clicking on "Flag Post".
† The opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of the authors, not of HP. By using this site, you accept the Terms of Use and Rules of Participation