Windows Laptop with Debian Recovery Partition

Posted by – 15/03/2012

I was playing with my new Laptop (a Philco 14E-P686WP) that comes with (argh!) Windows 7. I was gathering information in order to avoid surprises with regards to drivers and hardware-compatibility so I can proceed with the Debian installation… By doing that with a new machine, I, usually, peek and poke everywhere, including the Recovery System.

I was shocked to find out that this (argh) Windows 7 laptop has a bootable recovery partition loaded with a customized Debian just to run Partclone which installs a Windows factory image. I was about to take some pictures of the process, but I managed to find some in a forum post.

Debian is being used to re-install (argh) Windows… How sad is that! 😉

8 Comments on Windows Laptop with Debian Recovery Partition

  1. Anonymous says:

    Does the laptop vendor supply all the necessary source code?

    • spectra says:

      That’s a good question. I haven’t found any comments about that at the vendor website. But I suspect that they have nothing in that partition whose source code cannot be obtained upstream (except the Windows 7 images, of course)…

  2. lachlan says:

    haha, i actually did something similar a couple of years ago to deploy windows 7 where i work. After that we went to sccm but i didn’t think it would happen commercially.

    • spectra says:


      That is a first to me also. I used other partition cloning tools (like partimage and clonezilla), but I never would suspect a vendor such as Philco is doing the same. And, it seems, the whole line of laptops from them do the same…

  3. Paul Wise says:

    Is the Debian partition GPL compliant? I suggest checking that out and asking for the code.

    • spectra says:

      @Paul Wise,

      As I told Anonymous, I don’t think its not compliant. AFAICS it’s just Debian configured to run partclone. Of course, it installs a Windows 7 image (and that is non-free), but for all the rest I can get the source code either from Debian or from partclone.

      • It doesn’t matter if you can obtain the GPL code from their origins. If they distribute the binaries, thay must also distribute all corresponding source code (at least for the GPL’ed binaries). Or at least provide the source code to whoever gets the binaries and requests the corresponding source.

        They might be modifying something, you never know. The best way to know is by having the corresponding source code, which they are obligated to distribute per the GPL anyway.

        • spectra says:

          You are right. I contacted them on Mar 15th via the contact form in their website, but still no reply. I will forward the same contact via email today and give it another week. If they still don’t reply, I’ll see if the 0800 gets me an answer.

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