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Utilize a recovery partition after crash

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  • Utilize a recovery partition after crash

    As most of you know, many manufacturers don't provide disks anymore, but rather create a recovery partition that you can create disks from, or do a recovery from, if you can still boot.
    I regularly receive the computers to repair that can't boot, but still have the recovery partition, but is useless unless you can boot.
    Is there another way to create disks from these partitions some way?
    HP for example.
    I already know I'm not that bright. Please be constructive. Only give your 2cents if it helps. Don't be condesending or demeaning. It doesn't make you look smart. You just look like an arse.
    Chris Robertson
    The Computer Doctor

  • #2
    Re: Utilize a recovery partition after crash

    The only option I can see is to order a set of disks from HP:
    A recent poll suggests that 6 out of 7 dwarfs are not happy


    • #3
      Re: Utilize a recovery partition after crash

      Hi there,

      Having spent a fair bit of time investigating the recovery environment with a couple of manufacturers, this is my two pennies worth.

      Since the advent of Vista, most recovery environments have been integrated into the windows restore environment normally accessed using the F8 key at boot time. If you cannot get that far then you can still view the contents of the drive using a linux live cd.

      As you probably know the images contained in the recovery drive are generally WIM files which are whole or split. The Dell default restore file is called Factory.wim and is ultimately launched using the custom utility PCrestore.exe. If the partition structure is still in tact you can using a tool like ptedit change the partition type if hidden and boot order to point at the hidden partition. Reboot back in to a dos environment and change to the now C: drive and navigate to where the custom restore program is. If you launch it manually it should start the restore process. Obviously the recovery partition must still be there to access both the launch program and the WIM files.

      Personally if I see a machine and have the time I generally take a copy of the partition structure using a clone utility like Ghost or Clonezilla. This has allowed me to rebuild and restore a number of machines. With a bit of work I can get the recovery environment going again also. The main headaches tend to be resizing the partitions of a master image to suit the installed drive size.

      Basically with a bit of work machines can be restored. The secret is getting a master image to suit the manufactirer, however you could use a dell partition structure on any machine and just insert the HP WIM file into the recovery partition and for example rename it Factory.WIM.

      Hopefully today I will have time to take an image of a HP laptop and get a better understanding how they implement the recovery environment.




      • #4
        Re: Utilize a recovery partition after crash

        I seem to have the kiss of death in these forums. Anytime I post, the thread goes dead. Ho Hum. Anyway I did some research on a HP recovery partition from a laptop. Basically I looked at the the drive and how it was partitioned and then took an image of the recovery partition.

        This is what I found.
        1st partition C: Vista installed NTFS Primary
        2nd partition D: HP_RECOVERY NTFS Primary
        Inside the recovery partition the important files are the Boot.wim and the Base.wim files. The location of these files are as follows:

        Steps to recover the machine to the factory State using the Recovery partition.
        Note this was created using VMware but will work on a live machine.

        Firstly create the partition structure eg 2 partitions. I made the C: drive 70GB and the D: drive 10 GB. Set both as primary partition.
        I then applied the previously taken image of the recovery partition on to the D: drive using ghost 2003.
        Once complete I then installed a sacrificial vista installation on to the C: drive using the custom options, being careful not to overwrite the D: drive. Once the instakll is done you dont need to worry about drivers as it is will be rewritten shortly.
        Download and install easybcd on the vista install. Open up the program and choose the option to add remove entries.
        Scroll to and select the WINPE option.
        Enter the path or browse to the location of the source WIM file, so navigate to the D:Sources\boot.wim directory and select the boot.wim file. Click to add the entry, it will then ask for the Vista CD to copy some files and will then complete.
        Reboot the machine, and at boot time you should see two options. Choose the second boot option-Ramdisk. This will then boot to the windows recovery environment.
        Next let the program detect the windows installation.
        Select the your vista installation and click next.
        Enter your username and password and click next.
        In the Recovery tools menu select the bottom option, Recovery Manager.
        At the recovery manager welcome screen you can proceed two ways. either click next until you get to the point where you select to do a factory restore or you can choose the advanced options and go directly from there.
        From here on in it is up to you what choices you make. You shouldn't have any data to back up so continue on to the factory restore process.
        For me the restore process took about an hour and a half from start to finish. Quite slow in my opinion. However It was successful in restoring the image to the C: drive.

        General notes
        Once the restore process has completed you can create restore disks. Most other systems seem to disable this option once a set of disks have been made.
        Restoring this way doesn't repair the F11 function key or give you the advanced options when using the F8 key. There will be a way of fixing this I am sure.
        There should be a manual way of editing the boot options to point to the boot.wim file. this would maybe negate the need to to do the sacrificial vista install.
        Note also that you can install Win7 instead of Vista, it doesn't really matter.

        Quicker Method
        Just had a thought, it probably is quicker to just create the partition structure and image the HP_RECOVERY partition, then copy out the boot.wim file and mount using the WAIK and then create a bootable WinPE disk. I haven't tried it but it should work. This would hopefully avoid having to do the sacrificial istall of Vista and have to use easybcd. I will try it tonight.

        Final tip
        When burning your restore disks, normally 2 DVD's. What I do is, start the process of burning the DVD but just before clicking next to start the burning process, for real. I do a search for iso files as they are loaded up in a temp folder which is used as a repositary during the burning process. I then copy them out of the folder for future use. Do this for all the disk that need to be created.


        Last edited by jewen; 6th March 2010, 19:36. Reason: Added dots to boot.wim files and poor spelling.Added new information.


        • #5
          Sony boot partition

          Thanks for you help I will continue to post results with every sucess I have.

          Sony (usally the most difficult)
          • Using partition magic (I believe it was) set the partition as primary boot.
          • rebooted
          • System recovery partiton started in linux mode
          I already know I'm not that bright. Please be constructive. Only give your 2cents if it helps. Don't be condesending or demeaning. It doesn't make you look smart. You just look like an arse.
          Chris Robertson
          The Computer Doctor