The Asus A9Rp laptop has from factory a hidden recovery partition, invoked with F9 at POST, that contains the OEM version of the XP Home SP2 operating system. All necessary drivers are integrated there, but so are some unwanted programs too. The system on this hidden partition is MS-DOS and the recovery data is packed into a huge PQI image. A number of batch files and scripts take care of the restoring business. When restoring is invoked a lot of data is written to the partition that will contain the XP Home OS. After reboot the XP installation procedure is indistinguishable from an installation from CD. Problem: Failed after numerous attempts to make a proper XP Home OEM installation CD for the Asus A9Rp laptop. Didn't accept the serial, even though it is the same as in the recovery image. So instead went to Plan B, making a backup of the recovery partition on some external media. First thought was DVD, which was a mistake and immediately added unnecessary complexity. Solution: Turned out that Puppy Linux had the program, Pudd, to solve this and that the most appropriate external media was a USB stick. The hidden recovery partition wasn't hidden at all in Puppy Linux, it could be read and written to without any "unhiding" necessary. But transferring it to a DVD would require burning a DVD in HDD emulation mode, which was beyond my skill level. However, transferring the recovery partition to a USB stick with Pudd went smooth and worked beautifully. The USB stick boots to DOS and behaves exactly as the recovery partition, except that it isn't invoked with F9. You just choose to boot from USB. This bootable USB stick can of course in turn be saved as an image somewhere. The Puppy Linux I had handy was version 5.11 Wary, which is a couple of years old, but the exercise should work nicely with newer Puppies as long as Pudd is part of them. I haven't tried it yet, but Pudd should be able to transfer the recovery partition back from USB to HDD as well. Including to HDDs of other sizes. A quick note on Puppy Linux, for those unfamiliar with it. Puppy is a live distribution, meaning you don't need to install it. It is in fact so live you can even discard the Puppy boot CD once you've reached its desktop. Puppy reads in a heavily compressed image into RAM and does everything from there. You can burn CDs and DVDs or watch DVD movies instead of occupying the CD/DVD drive with your OS. Same goes for a USB based Puppy OS. Puppy is the only Linux I use (and like). Hope this saved someone the time I spent trying other solutions and messing things up.