Replaced failed drive - new one incomplete restore

Fenway16

Senior Member
Hi - I am very proud that I was able to remove failed drive and replace it with a new one. I am not a tekkie person. This is for Dell 2305 all in one system. Anyway, I ran the system recovery disks that I made when I purchased the system 5 years ago. Everything was getting installed - system was recovered and it went to step 2 which is putting on all the services that were on the system when I purchased it. Suddenly, a cmd window came up with the following msg - unable to locate a valid partition to mount. It then would shut down, restart, go to the welcome screen and do the cmd window again. I have been told that the new drive is looking for a partition that was on the old drive and was copied over to restore disks. Does that make sense? Anyway, if someone could pls tell me what I should do, I would love it!!! Thank you so much.
 

Neemobeer

Windows Forum Team
Staff member
Many manufacturers will have a recovery partition on the hard drive. It's most likely looking for that. You may need to get a recovery disc from the manufacturer or contact them regarding how to work around this.
 

Fenway16

Senior Member
Thank you for that answer. I need to contact Dell for a recovery disk, I am not able to get tech support from them as this is out of warranty, but I would think the recovery disk would be a possibility. I'll give it a try.
 

Fenway16

Senior Member
Hi - I went to the Dell site this morning and found what you are talking about. I was all ready to download and install the recovery info but after putting in my service code, I was informed that I could NOT download a recovery disk for that code. There has got to be something I can do to get past that missing partition. I guess since it is over 5 years old, they want me to buy a new one.
 

BIGBEARJEDI

Fantastic Member
Premium Supporter
Hi Fenway;
Sorry you're having problems with your Dell 2305. I had fixed one of those a couple years back for a good Customer of mine. I actually have that Recovery DVD disc, so I know Dell makes it. Usually, you can order these online with the Service Tag (what you called the Service Code); but sometimes, on newer computers they don't always have their Recovery Media listed in their online support database. I suggest you to call Dell support, it's a free call--even though the PC itself it out of the 1-year factory Warranty. Once you get a Dell service Technician on the phone, he should be able to help you get the Recovery Media ordered.:call:

The service Technician will tell you whether your Recovery Media will come on DVD disc(s) or USB flash drive. I order these all the time from Dell as well as other name-brand PC makers. In some cases, the Technician will offer you the choice of DVD or USB, and that's up to you; the cost is about the same, though I think Dell is charging more for their Flash drive Recovery Media as the last 2 or 3 I ordered cost $99.99 US.
[it's worth mentioning that on probably 25 or more Recovery Media I've ordered from Dell in the last 15 years; 100% of them worked!, so it's a very reliable source to reinstall your Windows on your new hard drive.]:fdance:
DVD media is usually between $29-$69 US. Since the 2305 comes with a DVD burner, the DVD media of course would be cheaper for you!

When you purchase the Recovery Media, it will come to you in 2-3 weeks; though the last few I've ordered seem to get here in 6-8 business days (quite an accomplishment)! [at least in the U.S.]. This is much faster than most of the other PC makers do it.;)

If the Dell Technician for some reason tells you it's not available in any flavor media, even though you are trying to purchase it, you can PM me with your Service Tag # and I can call them and verify if it's really available or not for you. In some cases, you will get a Tech that's not fully trained (trainee), and if they don't ask a supervisor or you think to ask them to do so, they may not be familiar enough with the internal database to find it or use alternative resources they have available to them.o_O I've run into this a few times with folks here trying to order Recovery Media. In almost every case, it's available unless it's for a PC or laptop built <2007. Dell, like most PC makers stop keeping Recovery media after 10 yrs.; most of the other guys it's only 5 years or even less in some cases.

If you get stuck, contact me and I'll see what I can do to help you get them.

Best of luck,:eagerness:
<<<BIGBEARJEDI>>>
 
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BIGBEARJEDI

Fantastic Member
Premium Supporter
To help you out a bit further, this is what your Media should look like when you receive it:

DELL WIN7 RECOVERY MEDIA2.jpg Click on the Thumbnail image to enlarge it...

Best,
<<<BBJ>>>
 

Fenway16

Senior Member
Hey Big Bear!! Thanks for that great input. I do have a couple of questions. This recovery media is for Win7, correct? I don't think I mentioned that in my post. I paid $55 for the drive so hopefully I can cure my dilemma with another $30 or so. So this recovery media will overwrite the problem I am having and get me back to a functioning system, correct? I will call the 800 number tomorrow and see if I can do as you suggest. If I am not able to order I will pm you with my service tag and hopefully you can help me further. Big Bear is southern California, right? I live in New England now but was born in San Francisco. Thanks again for your help. Much appreciated.
 

BIGBEARJEDI

Fantastic Member
Premium Supporter
You're quite welcome! Glad to help. Yes, and both the DVD and USB Recovery media in my photo happen to be for Win7, no coincidence. Yes, on the get you back to a functioning system, right? Not for sure 100%, but probably 90%+ or better. There are still possibly other hardware failures involved; the RAM Sticks and the Motherboard for example. You'll be able to test the RAM sticks yourself with this link while you are waiting to order your Recovery Media: Memory Diagnostics
Most home Users don't have the necessary skill to test the Motherboard directly, so once you replace the hard drive, (and you might want to test that too using this link: Hard Drive Diagnostic Procedure) and install the W7 with your new Recovery Media once you get it, if your computer still doesn't see your hard drive and both your RAM sticks and new Hard Drive pass their tests OK [or have been replaced if any of them have failed!] at that point you'd have to suspect a Motherboard failure.:waah: And that Motherboard would need to be replaced or replace the entire computer! :waah:

This happened with the 2305 from my Customer. He had the computer about 2 years when the hard drive failed and I replaced it. It ran for another year or so before the Motherboard failed.:headache: So, the only 2305 I've seen and worked on experienced both a hard drive failure and a Motherboard failure. A new Motherboard would have cost my Customer about $400+ for parts and labor, so my Customer's grandkids got together and replaced it with a brand new laptop. Problem solved.!:applaud:

Yes, Big Bear is in Southern California, about 90 miles southeast of LA in the San Bernadino mountains not too far from Palm Springs. Here's a photo of our Lake looking East:
BigBearLake BoulderBay view.jpg

I've been to San Francisco many times; one of my favorite cities. Fond memories of the Crab House at Pier39.:drool: I even worked in Santa Clara back in the 80s and commuted there and back from Orange County area quite frequently. As you can imagine, the mecca for our industry, Silicon Valley is there and I worked for many companies based there over the years. I particularly love Mill Valley and Sausolito.:trueluv: I also enjoyed Boston when I was there many years ago for training, my only trip to New England.:wink:

Best,:cool:
<<<BBJ>>>
 

Fenway16

Senior Member
Beautiful Big Bear lake.

The WinSeven forum has offered the following method of cure.

Download the Microsoft Windows and Office ISO Download Tool. https://heidoc.net/php/Windows ISO Downloader.exe
Run it and choose Win7 - On type Choose Win 7 HP OEM and select the language. Download the Iso file.
Burn the iso on a DVD or make a Win 7 bootable installation flash disk using Rufus Rufus - Create bootable USB drives the easy way Boot the installation disk. Go to Install- advanced - delete all partitions - create new. Windows will create the necessary partitions.
Install on the large NTFS partition.
Use the COA key to activate.

I am not sure how this will all work and I'm not sure I want to go thru all that. In fact, I may just ditch the whole operation and go buy a new pc. I may return the drive as it didn't get the job done and just pick up a nice little laptop. Any suggestion for a system around $400 or less? I do appreciate everyone's help but I think I have reached the end of the line regarding all of this. Thanks again.
 

BIGBEARJEDI

Fantastic Member
Premium Supporter
Yup, this is a quite common solution. But, it only works about 80% of the time. You'll still have to test that new hard drive you bought, either using the diagnostics I mentioned or install into another working PC and install W7 OS onto it to prove integrity of that drive.

And yes, it's a lot of work; typically hardware testing and W7 reinstall takes 3-4 days to 2 weeks for the novice to do; folks with some experience such as you it would be more on the low side, say less than 1 week if you dedicated some serious hours to the effort.

If you go with a laptop--go with the Dell Inspiron. You can get a Dell Inspiron 14 or Inspiron 15 for about that pricing (check the Dell direct website for deals); but you won't get the faster processor; i3 if you're luck for a bit over $400. Also, this laptop will NOT be suitable for doing any kind of online gaming. Basic Internet usage; browing news/sports/entertainment, E-mail, Social Media, and basic app suites such as MS OFFICE365 or ADOBE CS ELEMENTS.

I just picked up a Dell Inspiron 11 netbook, W10, that is very nice and I like. Weighs less than 1 lb. and has HDMI port and fast enough to stream Netflix and Amazon to your TV. I already used in a Hotel trip to watch my shows and not the junk on Cable. You can get for $199 if you shop; I bought mine on payments through Fingerhut for $269 with a $50 off coupon. Here it is here: Amazon.com: Dell i3168-0028BLU 11.6" HD 2-in-1 Laptop (Intel Celeron N3060 1.6GHz Processor, 2 GB DDR3L SDRAM, 32 GB SDD, Windows 10 Microsoft Signature Image) Bali Blue: Computers & Accessories

Let us know how it goes and what you wind up getting laptop-wise.

Cheers for a good week!:cool:
<<<BBJ>>>
 

Fenway16

Senior Member
Wow - sounds like a nice laptop. I'll check it out. also, taking my desktop into Staples. Spoke with the tech guy - says they can fix it up fine and dandy. I'll let you know. Enjoy your day! all that bad weather not coming to the California south. My poor friends in the north are deluged!!!
 

Fenway16

Senior Member
Staples reinstalled their store win7 so all up and running again. They did not put in the coa which is on the back of the pc. Wondering why they did not do that. I am happy to have my desktop back but I do wonder - If I have to authenticate this install, I assume I can use the coa that came with the pc 6 years ago. Thanks.
 

BIGBEARJEDI

Fantastic Member
Premium Supporter
Yes, you should be able to put it in the System screen under Windows Activation. If it says not Activated, simply click on the change Product Key button and enter in the 26-character key on your COA sticker on your PC. It should work if the Staples tech did his job correctly. If that fails to work, you need to take your PC back to the Tech as Staples and make him fix it. If he missed, that he DIDN'T do his job correctly and he needs to fix it.:mad: I worked as a Staples Tech for 4 years.

We're getting like 2-3 times the amount of rain and snowfall that we've had for the last 6 years; so we are getting the south-end of the weather trough you mention. I've seen the pics of NorCal on the TV news--too much rain at once causes mudslides, traffic messes, fog related crashes, all the usual.
 

Fenway16

Senior Member
Thank you for that info. Now that all is back to "normal" what are my next steps. Should I create a system image or what. I also have to install drivers for audio, video etc. I had to dig out my original Dell dvd that had the network adapter drivers on it so now I have connection - that dvd also had drivers for all other stuff, i.e., audio, video. Thanks again.
 

BIGBEARJEDI

Fantastic Member
Premium Supporter
You're welcome!:up: Sorry I didn't get back sooner; I had a couple of Customer emergencies yesterday. Let me clarify where you are in the rebuild process: so you HAVE got Windows Activated on the System screen, Yes?

Sounds like the Staples tech didn't properly repair your 2305; you should have to be reinstalling drivers for your model PC again! :iee: The Tech should have done that for you!:noway: So, if you go into Device Manager and see a bunch of items like display, video, audio, storage, diagnostics, usb root, and others all with yellow exclamation marks or red-X'és next to them, you'll have to reinstall them from your Dell Driver DVD disc you mention. Since those are several years out of date, I suggest you go to the Dell support site for your Model PC, and enter your Service Tag NUMBER. Click on the Exact version of Win7 that Staples installed on your PC; either Win7 32bit or Win7 64bit. [you can tell which you actually have installed, by going back to the System screen, the same screen you used to tell that your Windows was not Activated]. Then you'll see a list of drivers which you can download to your PC, store in a file called 2305 DRIVERS or somesuch.
Here's a link which should be similar to what you'll see: Support for Inspiron One 2305 | Dell US
This link shows you the download page you'll need to get to for Win7 64bit English, which you should have. All 2305's should be 64bit, not 32bit as the driver download page has no 32bit drivers available.

***CAUTION: WHATEVER YOU DO, DO NOT UPGRADE THE BIOS ON THAT MACHINE!!! ESPECIALLY IF YOU'VE NEVER DONE THAT BEFORE YOURSELF!! DOING SO WITHOUT PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE WILL ALMOST CERTAINLY RESULT IN A BORKED MOTHERBOARD, WHICH IS NOT COVERED BY DELL WARRANTY AND WILL COST YOU HUNDREDS OF DOLLARS TO REPLACE IT!!!**** [and this is not needed unless you are planning on upgrading that PC to Win10].

There is a specific order also for installing these drivers, and if you do it in the wrong order Windows may stop working or those devices will never work again!:eek: That order goes like this:
1.) BIOS
2.) Chipset
3.) Audio
4.) Video
5.) Network (which you said you already installed and is working)
6.) Storage
7.) Dell Diagnostics
8.) Software Apps
9.) Software updates for Dell-specific Apps
10.) USB drivers


So, basically you can do all of those EXCEPT #1 and #5. If you do it correctly, you should eliminate any and all Yellow Exclamation marks or Red-X_es that you see in Device Manager which you'll need to be looking at after you install each category of driver. If all of those warnings are gone-you've successfully installed all those drivers into your Windows and you're good to go.:up: It's a good idea to first check your Internet, audio (check sounds and music work with your speakers), video (change your video resolution). If those 3 work, for the most part you are set. :up: If this is the case, you can skip to the paragraph titled: USING BACKUP IMAGE SOFTWARE TO BACKUP YOUR WORKING PC:

Next, I'm telling you all this and you're probably wondering you never had to do this before after getting a computer repaired, "why now?" As I said, the Staples Tech didn't do his job right, and so you're having to fix it for him even though you paid them to do so.:furious: If this bugs you, I suggest you do not take it back there, but rather to Best Buy Geek Squad or to a local repair shop in your location which employs licensed A+ Technicians only and pay them to do it. They may have to order the Dell Factory Recovery Media from Dell for your model PC (that's gonna cost $29-$99 US0 and is going to take a few weeks for them to get. This will be a parts charge on top of the labor charge to properly reinstall W7 and all the drivers onto your PC; from $65-$135 or more!o_O Total cost for doing this job right could be as high as $235.

USING BACKUP IMAGE SOFTWARE TO BACKUP YOUR WORKING PC:
Let's assume at this point in reading this Post you've either gotten all your drivers installed and working or you took it to another repair shop and paid them to do for you, and you want to make your Backup Image. There are free software to do this, but we've only tested 3 that we like that work from XP-W10. I'm going to recommend you use Macrium Reflect which I've been using for 3 years on all my personal PCs and Customer PCs as well. You can download free from here:
Macrium Software
You'll of course need to use or purchase an external USB hard drive which has at least the same or larger capacity than the drive inside the 2305 on which to save your Backup Image file. Here's a great video which explains the process which you should watch before you try using it:

If your hard drive ever craps out, or you get a nasty virus that you can't get rid of and you need to reinstall your Windows without removing all your programs and data; Macrium stores all of that in 1 single file. For either situation, you simply hook up your external USB drive to your 2305, fire up your Macrium from Recovery Boot Menu or Rescue Disc, select Restore, and browse to that Backup image file you made previous when your PC was working properly (you should do this right away once it does work correctly!), and click through the menus. After 1-2 hours or less, your PC will be completely Restored back to Win7 with all programs and data restored and working just as it was before the catastrophe hit your computer (failed hard drive or killer virus), and you're back online set to go!:fdance: This method is being used by more and more Techs and repair shops as it cuts down repair times from weeks to days; not to mention you can do it yourself. If you get stuck many of us here use Macrium and can walk you through the process. There's also a Restore video on YouTube you can watch to see how the back-end process works too.:D

That should get you going--too bad you took your PC to a place that didn't repair your PC correctly! Staples doesn't have a very good rep or street-cred on PC repairs, as I said I know as I used to train their Techs after working there 4 years. Sorry this happened to you.:frown:

Let me know how it goes.:)
<<<<BBJ>>>>
 
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Fenway16

Senior Member
Hi - looks like the Staples tech did his job. COA entered and worked. (by me). All drivers loaded - video could probably be updated to new but works. Is that the ATI Radeon? Right now I'm downloading 208 windows security updates. PIA. With regard to the storage disk, I have a 500 mb WD My book essential -- should I offload whatever I want to keep and make room for the backup you mention from Macrium? I have plenty of room on the system to take stuff off. Is the size of the drive that needs to be backed up, the size right now - 980MB or the size after programs etc installations. Do I need 1GB drive? in other words...
You'll of course need to use or purchase an external USB hard drive which has at least the same or larger capacity than the drive inside the 2305 on which to save your Backup
Thanks again for all your help.
 

BIGBEARJEDI

Fantastic Member
Premium Supporter
Awesome! Glad he did do it right-sort of...:razz: Not sure about your video chip on the 2305. There are usually multiple video drivers as different builds of the 2305 can come with different video chips on the Mobo. The best way to check it is visit Support | Dell US and click on the Blue AUTO-DETECT button, and Dell will ID your Service Tag and pull up YOUR exact hardware; go into W7 drivers 64bit, and you should see the correct Video driver for the chip that's physically on your Mobo. If there is more than one driver such as one for ATI, one for Nvidia, etc. Install whichever is listed first and try it. Use the maximum recommended resolution for the built-in display, say 1900x1600. See how it looks. If it looks weird or hangs up, uninstall that driver, and download the 2nd driver listed, repeat that resolution test. If Ok now, you found the right one! If there are 3 or more drivers listed, you'll have to repeat this process.

I do strongly recommend that you make sure you enable your SYSTEM RESTORE in W10 and set a Restore Point before you attempt to update your Video driver! If you mess it up; you'll have no Video whatsoever and will have to take your PC back into Staples and pay them to fix it, or another Tech. :headache:In addition, I recommend that you use MACRIUM as I instructed in my last post to capture a full Backup Image of your current setup since it's now working. Did you watch the YouTube video on how to use MACRIUM to do the backup that I gave you the link to in my last Post? If not, make sure to watch that before you attempt it--to get a good overview of the process.

Now to answer your other questions. There are several ways to proceed here. I would say that a 500GB drive is too small, as even though you can fit your programs & data on there by stripping off excess data to another external drive, you will only have room for 1 or 2 backups. That's not enough. I have 7 backups for the last 7 days stored on my externals (I have like 8 of them). I recommend you have at least 3 backups for 3 days consecutive before today. So, I would recommend you go with a 1TB; Amazon or Newegg has them on sale for $60; retail places like Staples want $70 for a 500GB drive (unless it's on Sale). 1TBs are now cheaper than the old 500GB as they are out of production. My main external drive is a 3TB WD UltraPassport; it has to be big due to the 7 days worth of backups along with many Customer PC backups as well..that's why I have 8 drives.;)

I do concur with your idea of stripping off excess files not needed ALL THE TIME; (very astute question!!) such as 10,000 songs in your iTunes music library or hundreds of movies or home videos in your videos folder. This will make the base-image as small as possible. One of our long time members here strips ALL data and non-essential programs such as online games (he has tons) over to a 3rd external drive, and has an extremely small W10 image to backup; I think under 50GB or so, so he can backup 10 images on a 500GB drive or 20 images on a 1TB drive!:polite: My images now are between 136GB-147GB, and that's my base-image size. Macrium takes about 1.75 hrs. to complete 1 backup image; I schedule it at 1AM at night when I usually am sleeping and it does it automatically--the only way to go. Macrium also lets you make manual backups in addition to the nightly automatic backup-very cool feature. You can put a shortcut on your desktop and a couple of clicks and you can grab a manual backup image anytime you want-: day or night!:applaud:

This should really improve your ability to keep your system running and free from hard drive failure, virus attack, etc. I have this installed on about 40 of my best customers and all my business customer's computers as it's now a must with the weird W10 updates and viruses out there now. Remember to do both of these first, and if you proceed with updated your video drivers, you'll be able to get your computer working again without having to take it back to Staples.:cool:

If you want to go the next step, you can buy a 2nd internal drive and use the Macrium clone feature to clone your C: drive to the 2nd hard drive; if the 1st internal drive ever fails you can turn it off, switch your SATA cables and boot order, and be back up and running on yesterday's backup image in 5 minutes!:teeth: I have this setup and working for a select few of my business customers.

Let us know how it goes. AND, you'll sleep better at night knowing you have state-of-the art backup image protection!:applaud:

Best,:cheerful:
<<<<<BBJ>>>>
 

Fenway16

Senior Member
Hi and once again thanks for all info. Here's where I am right now. All win updates downloaded, AV installed, MWB installed and printer & scanner installed, Chrome installed -- I would like to set up Macrium (after I watch the Utube vid.) Haven't found the time yet. I am not as diligent as you are about the backups thing. I mainly want my system restored to the state it is in today. With all the above mentioned items. I just want Win7 to be "restorable" -- I have not had any fun getting everything back together and I want to protect this new install. Is that possible? I don't want to update every day or every week. I just want to preserve the Win 7 install on my 500gb external drive. Hope this is possible. Let me know and thanks so much for all your good input. SFbridgeboundifIhavetogothruanotherinstalletc. ha ha
 

BIGBEARJEDI

Fantastic Member
Premium Supporter
Sure thing! Always glad to help.:up: The short answer to your main question of preserving your final rebuild is "YES". Macrium allows you to do this. You can just keep 1 or 2 Image Backup files on a 1TB external drive (maybe 1 image may fit on your existing 500GB drive). I would recommend that you make 1 image at least once a year starting with the image you have just created with your latest W7 rebuild. Twice a year would be better, as you would only lose at most 6 months worth of stuff, if you had a catastrophic hardware failure such as another hard drive crash.

The rest of the space is to offload your data files such as music and video files (large ones), and minimize the footprint size of your basic W7 image. As I tried to explain, this captures Windows systems files, desktop settings such as Icon placement, Wallpaper or Background, Screen Saver, screen resolution, etc., along with device drivers, installed programs (Apps), and all data files that live in your Library folders (documents, music, pictures, and videos). Additionally, network settings for shared folders and printers that may live on other computers on your Home network (LAN) via Windows Homegroups feature. In other words, 100% of everything that's on your computer now. The Restore feature in Macrium does this as clearly shown in the YouTube video link I gave you.:nerdie:

Enjoy!:cool:
<<<<<<BBJ>>>>> :clover: :usa:
 
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Fenway16

Senior Member
Hi - watched the Macrium utube vid. Do have a couple of questions. 1. make a recovery disk. After my recovery disk failures I sort of don't have much faith in their reliability but will do so. 2. After I remove all stuff from 500 GB WD "my book essential" external, I then format it to make sure all clean and ready to go. Makes sense - just confirming. I am going to then unplug it and put it away for any possible disasters in the future!! I really don't understand how an image from an external drive can reload everything if the internal drive has died, as mine did. As you can see, I am still a bit skeptical about the process as much as I would like to believe! Thanks again. Shall proceed.
 
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