Great write up ix. I think I will try it. First on my SP1. If you get more time to write up some more cool guides please do. I would like an idiots guide to creating a bootable flash drive to use in case my surface gets bricked. And how to use it to un-brick my SP.
It's gonna be a long while before I get any significant free time again - sorry! But the bootable USB guides are everywhere. It's much simpler than all this. Just google around for something that seems easy to follow. Good luck.
Sure. Not a bad idea if you're feeling skiddish. First, crucially, you would need to skip steps 1) though 5) in Phase III (at the cost of a few gigs of disk space, not that big of a deal), as this is the part where said partition is deleted!
1) elevated command prompt
2) type the following
sel disk 0
3) the hidden partition will say Recovery and be several gigs in size (there will be two - you want the big one). note the partition number then type
Any plans on trying out that new WIMBoot install? I gave it a shot but can't get the push button reset to work. Keeps saying Recovery Environment not found. Advantage of WIMBoot is the recovery image is the same image that it boots from basically, so you don't have to keep a separate image on the SSD just for recovery = some space recovered.
I have not tried WIMboot. It sounds pretty fun to play with, but I know nothing about it. My gut throws up some warning signs though - my purpose of using a WIM is to have a compressed backup that is guaranteed pristine readily available. If you run your OS from that same backup, it seems hard to avoid the inevitable Windows degradation, which defeats the purpose for me. If they are saving changes to the OS in a different index, it might be OK, but certainly not if they are using the primary index of the WIM.
I don't use Bitlocker, so I can't say for sure what will happen if you do. My gut says it will be fine, but I have no basis for telling you it would be safe. Sorry.
Finally, yes, it will work just fine with SP3 (as it will with any Windows 8.1 machine). I would not inject the same drivers, obviously, so that step would certainly need to be adjusted, but other than that it will be fine. And I am glad you find it so easy to follow!