Cannot boot from recovery partition

Discussion in 'Windows 7 Installation' started by skern, Jun 20, 2012.

  1. skern

    skern New Member

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    Hi all,

    My sister just got a new laptop with 7, then accidentally installed a friend's version of 7 on top of it, thinking it was Microsoft Office. I'm trying to restore to factory settings so she doesn't lose all the software that came with the computer.

    I know the recovery partition is on the computer (I made it appear by assigning it a drive letter). But I cannot boot from it (or whatever I need to do to access it).

    I have tried the following:

    1) Advanced Boot Options -> Repair -> System Image Recovery: no system image
    -> System Restore: no restore point

    2) all possible F# keys at startup, including F10 which got me to Edit Boot Options, which seemed hopeful because it named the partition number, 3, but did not allow me to change it (the recovery partition is 2).

    3) F2 -> setup (nothing there)

    4) burning an iso of Windows 7 recovery disc, which just gave me the same repair tool as in the 1st attempt.

    5) setting the recovery partition as "active" (in fact, I think it was already active).

    Please help!

    Thanks,
    Sasha
     
  2. Saltgrass

    Saltgrass Excellent Member
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    Each OEM seems to have their own procedure for doing a repair install. Some use a combination of recovery disks provided or made by the user to restore the system. What brand is your system and what does it say to do to accomplish a factory restore?

    What does the computer do now when you attempt to boot it? Could she have overwritten the recovery partition?

    You may want to take the drive letter off the recovery partition, since any recovery utility will not need it. Does it hurt having it there--not sure.
     
  3. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley New Member

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    What is the size of this partition? You could be mistaking the partition for something its not. Windows Vista and Windows 7 uses a small partition(aprox. 200MB in size) that is not related to system restoration.

    Marking the recovery partition as active usually works. It is possible that when Windows 7 was re-installed, the MBR was rewritten and erased your only option to activate the recovery partition. If you restore the MBR (may require finding a copy of the MBR) to its previous state, you should be able to activate the recovery process.
     
  4. skern

    skern New Member

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    Saltgrass: The procedure is to used Advanced Boot Options to get to Factory Image Restore, which did not work for me (no image was found). The computer loads fine, using the OS she installed afterwards. I want to get back to the original OS to save all the software that shipped with the computer. I don't think the recovery partition was overwritten, as when I go to reinstall Windows 7 using her friend's CD, (the one that she used to accidentally overwrite her own 7), it gives you the choice of 3 partitions, one of which has the actual OS on it. So, if she encountered this same screen, she would've chosen that 3rd partition, in which case the other 2 would not have been affected. But I may be wrong here. (By the way, I haven't actually gone through with this reinstallation from the CD because that's the OS I DON't want. It's the last resort.) I tried most procedures before adding the drive letter, so I don't think that changed anything.

    The partition named Recovery is 20gb, 10gb of which are used. There is another partition, partition 1, named DELLUTILITY that is only 200mb. However, under Disk Management it is nameless and it's File Type is blank, and when I right click on it I have no options (i.e. to make it active).

    I'm not familiar with this so-called MBR, but it seems hopeful. Could you please tell me how to restore it to its original state or find another copy to replace it with?

    Thanks,
    Sasha
     
  5. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley New Member

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    MBR stands for Master Boot Record.
    Unfortunately, if you don't have a backup copy of the MBR, you would need to find someone that could create and share their MBR from an identical system (mainly identical partition structure). If you can't find a replacement MBR or activate the Recovery Partition through other means, then the Recovery Partition is pretty much useless.

    The best course of action, would be to contact the PC manufacturer. I'm sure they would have a solution, even if there was a small fee involved for their service.
     
  6. skern

    skern New Member

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    I'm going to contact the PC manufacturer, the only problem is my sister is leaving for Spain on Saturday and needs the computer. That'll have to wait til she returns.

    I'm wondering if a procedure like this would accomplish what you're talking about?
     
  7. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley New Member

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    That process will repair Windows 7 MBR, the same MBR that Windows 7 installation creates. Thats not the same MBR that you lost during the installation of Windows 7. The MBR that you need is specifically designed by the PC manufacturer for dual booting the Operating System and Recovery Partition.
     
  8. Saltgrass

    Saltgrass Excellent Member
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    Since I do not know what model computer you have, except it is a Dell, I used my older laptop tp check for a Factory Restore process. It says to get to the Factory Restore, you have to hit CTRL+F11 during boot. But it is hard for us to even guess what might be going on when there are several different keystroke and repair options available. If you get the same results when using a Window 7 Install DVD as you do when doing a factory reinstall, then you are not hitting the correct keys or not hitting them at the correct time.

    Have you been able to look at the recovery directory, and you may have to enable "Show hidden files, and Show System files" in the folder options, but is there a .wim file there? I would think it would be there if so much space is used in it.

    Could you open the Disk Management window and use the snipping tool to take a picture and attach it using the paperclip on the advanced replies page? Maybe something will show up.

    Dell normally has very good technical support. They could probably tell you what you need, or send out some media required for the process. If not Dell technical support, possibly their support groups.
     
  9. skern

    skern New Member

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    I tried CTRL+F11 many times, to no avail. I showed all files in the recovery partition (i.e. hidden and system) and searched but there's no .wim file. I thought I had a breakthrough when I discovered the Windows.old folder, opened up Dell DataSafe and there was an option to restore to factory image. The image is somewhere, as it knew the exact date and time when it was created (a month ago). However, when I did it, it restarted and brought me to the same old repair options screen, and failed to find the image again.

    Because there is a time constraint, I am now reinstalling Windows using her friend's CD, but will use her own product key and hope it works. Then, at least the copy of Windows will be genuine. When she gets back from Spain, I'll try to call Dell and see if they can help.

    Thanks for all the help.
     

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