I’m looking to create a “factory restore” partition on my machines that I deploy similar to the “press F11 to recover” used by HP and the likes so if the customer presses the defined hotkey, they are effectively taken to the install media and can use the menus and tools on said without needing the USB stick I used to install and configure the machine in the first place. I can’t tell you how many of these calls I get on windows installs so since I will be offering OpenSUSE as an install option soon I would like to have similar setups so for those customers who want to migrate, they have that kind of emergency fallback option (they shouldn’t need it unless they completely bork the install (hey, we’ve all been there myself more times than I care to admit))
Do you really want to give clueless users TW??? Better to give them Leap which is more stable and you don’t get a new OS every week or so…
Any way though it maybe in theory possible to have a “Install” partition or iso setting it up may be complex. Since you are going back to the default level of the OS (ie no updates) Make a copy of the OS at install time and set up a simple copy from to restore to the OS original state. A reboot would be needed after the restore copy. Note the default setup should have a separate home partition (ie user data settings etc) the user loses nothing if you deal only with restoring the system partition (ie / aka root).
It might be a lot simpler to just setup a PXE-bootable service on the
network. Any modern-ish system can boot from the network, and you can
have openSuSE-whatever out there for users to install and that way you
could even give them a newer version so if they use this process after
three (3) years they are installing Leap (or Tumbleweed) version++ and
saving you the need of, later, upgrading them to a still-newer version, or
speed up the original install process with Tumbleweed because your PXE
repository can be a semi-current Tumbleweed repository, so no need to
install something from when you first built the machine (years ago) and
then try to upgrade to the present. This seems particularly important to
me because if you actually need to rollback you might be effectively doing
this over time:
Today: build box.
Until the crash: upgrade things and keep them current, so much newer
version in the case of Tumbleweed.
Years in the future: Rebuild from something, either PXE to get current
code, or a “recovery partition” to install something that is years old.
After getting new stuff up with old code, patch to the present again. Ew.
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Creating disk free space and then partitioning is trivial,
But I wonder if your better solution is to simply provide the DVD on bootable media… Depending on your systems, it could be a USB dongle or optical disk.
Everything on the DVD would enable everything you might find in a MSWindows recovery partition, and more… ie a more or less automatic repair by re-installing the OS (DVD would have all original install packages), a command line environment to run repairs, more.
Without using any space on the disk, you could simply hand the User the USB key or DVD with some simple instructions or do more complex repairs… and would not require a network connection.