Neither recovery partition nor disks work

movrshakr

New Member
Gateway M-6881
Anybody have any ideas...

a. The FACTORY recovery DVDs (2) that I have will not boot. Usually they just run until a window pops up to insert a blank CD, but you can do that forever--and it just cycles through repeatedly. A couple of times it did proceed to a second window indicating the restore was proceeding, but the bar did not advance, and after a minute or so, it too failed (sorry, don't remember the exact indications).

b. Trying to start recovery using the hidden partition... does not work either.
When you use Programs>Gateway>Gateway Recovery Management>Restore tab and command it...it simply proceeds to a shutdown and reboots right back into Vista. Second way-- the manufacturer enter-recovery-during-boot process (Left Alt-F10 while "Gateway" is onsceen, also simply proceeds to boot thru into Vista.

Some things I have determined:
-A different bootable DVD will boot the machine, so DVD drive is working--at least READ.
-ASIDE: Using the internal utility at Programs>Gateway>Gateway Recovery Management to try to burn either a full recovery set (2 DVDs) or a "Drivers and Applications" set both fail--do not do it.
-File folder structure on the two factory recovery DVDs can be viewed
-chkdsk C: /r has been run and found a few seemingly insignificant things, which were 'fixed'
-The F8 menu does NOT contain "Repair your computer' entry.

Quite frustrated to have three ways to do it and none works.
 

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ilikefree

Vista Guru
Gold Member
Repair computer option is on a retail disc not the F8 menu
 

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System One

  • Manufacturer/Model
    Lenovo Thinkpad T400
    CPU
    Intel Mobile Core 2 Duo P8700 @ 2.53GHz
    Motherboard
    LENOVO 64734VM
    Memory
    2.00GB Single-Channel DDR3 @ 531MHz
    Graphics Card(s)
    Intel Mobile Intel 4 Series Express Chipset Family
    Sound Card
    Conexant 20561 SmartAudio HD
    Monitor(s) Displays
    15 inch
    Screen Resolution
    1280 x 800
    Hard Drives
    1x 180GB Intel 530 series SSD
    1 x 120GB Hitachi 5400rmp
    1 x 650GB Western Digital Elements 5400rpm
    1x 1Tb Western Digital Elements 5400rpm
    Internet Speed
    Medium for New Zealand
    Other Info
    Weakest part of my computer is the graphics chipset.
    Only ever used a laptop.
    Also use USB Freeview TV Card
    Lenovo Docking Station
    External Speakers
    Other bits a pieces as needed

movrshakr

New Member
Repair computer option is on a retail disc not the F8 menu
"Repair computer option is on a retail disc"
THAT"S TRUE...

"...not the F8 menu. "
THAT'S ALSO TRUE for my computer right now,
but it is NOT TRUE as a general statement.

The vast majority of computers have a repair option in F8, though it disappearing is a widespread issue.
A quick web search will show you that this is true.

Now back to my question...any ideas on where I should go from here given all of the previous.

I did discover that the factory disks are faulty. Tried last night to do a factoryDVD>iso>newDVD using ImgBurn, and it found unreadable data at 46%. A disk wash got the next run to go to 80% area, but then failed there.
The recovery partition should work though, and it does not.
 

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virtual6

Vista Pro
Do you have a bootable CD/DVD from which you can run some utilities or a command prompt?
For example, I happen to use Norton Ghost for backups. The Ghost CD is bootable, and I run my backups that way. It also includes a number of handy utilities useful in recovery situations.
Specifically, it can set a partition "active".
If you set your recovery partition "active", then reboot, this [might!] run the recovery management process.
This seems to be your problem, the recovery process can't get to the recovery partition? (bad discs being the other problem...)
Alternatively, of course, you can use Disk Management in Vista (or a command prompt) to set the "active" flag.
But if this idea doesn't work and the recovery doesn't happen, you want to have a way to set the original Vista partition back to "active"...and what if you can't get back into Vista to do this? With the Ghost disc I have an "external" method to make that change.
 

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movrshakr

New Member
That may be a useful approach. Such troubleshooting CDs are available around the net if I can't find one here at the house.
I will save this to be a last resort though as success is uncertain and even getting back to "as before" with the troubleshooting CD is not totally assured.

Assuming the 'standard' recovery process simply causes a boot into the recovery partition, one would think it would work. Do you or anyone know if that is what a standard factory default recovery does--simply reboot from/into the recovery partition?
 

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virtual6

Vista Pro
Well it's sort of a guess on my part, I've never had this problem, so I've never really researched how this process works. If you could actually view the files in the recovery partition, you might be able to tell if it is "bootable". I think there are ways to do this, but your pc company has protected the files such that you can't view them using Windows Explorer.

You're right, success is uncertain...but, if you can assure yourself of a backout plan, then it's really a very simple thing to try. Like I said, all you really need is a command prompt to enter a few "diskpart" utility commands to reset the flags. I'm sure you can find the exact sequence with an interweb search.

How do so many, including yourself, have computers with recovery disc/partition issues? In some cases it might be self-inflicted, when people "play around" with partitioning programs, multi-boot setups, etc. Hmm...
 

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virtual6

Vista Pro
Okay, I did a little work on the Ghost 15 disc, meaning I booted my Vista HP laptop using the disc, to reacquaint myself with the options...
It does indeed have an option (under the Utilities menu) to set a partition active, using some version of PQ (Power Quest) Boot.
It also has (under the Analyze menu), options to Open Command Shell Window, and Explore My Computer. This last option is like Windows Explorer. When I used it on the recovery partition, voila! All files exposed, no longer hidden!
And there was a lot of boot stuff there. So my idea might work.

Anyway I did some digging and found where you can download the Norton Ghost Recovery Disc ISO file, which you just burn to a CD.
Also the SHA1 checksum for the file so you can verify the download.
Keep in mind, although this free download works for the functions I've mentioned, the Norton folks want you to buy the program, so some functions (such as the main function of performing backups!) require a product key.
This version (15 w/SP1) is from around 2009-2010 and is in fact the final "Ghost" product from Symantec, but should work fine.
Recovery Disc:
recovery-disc-ISO

SHA1 Checksum:
SHA1-checksum




 
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virtual6

Vista Pro
My HP recovery partition was visible and assigned a drive letter, but Windows Explorer would not display any folders or files...HP decided that no one should be poking around in there.
What are the contents of your BOOT folder? If there's a bootsect.exe and bcd, then it's worth a try.
 

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movrshakr

New Member
Here is the BOOT directory inside PQSERVICE partition--
Well, no it isn't--when I checkmark the box on it and click insert inline, it says to checkmark a file.
IT IS!!!!!

And now I see it didn't even attach it in any form.

And when I drag the new image of the BOOT dir into the bottom window, it does nothing--
the dragged down shadow image block just disappears and does not stick in the bottom panel.

robust software, eh?
 

Attachments

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virtual6

Vista Pro
Hmm, the name of your recovery partition, PQSERVICE, sounded interesting, so I consulted the Google using "pqservice partition"...wow...quite a few more interesting results for Acer, versus Gateway.
Have you looked at any such results?
There was one result which referred to the D2D folder, which is shown in your previous post.
It said "D2D Recovery is Disabled in the BIOS (Main Menu)"...the fix of course is to Enable it, then try the ALT+F10 again.
Interesting, eh?
Another result said to mark the partition as "active" and reboot, as I have suggested.
Keep at it...
 

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movrshakr

New Member
That's quite interesting. Gateway/Acer are joined at the hip...I think one bought the other.

Just opened the BIOS settings on that computer, and don't see anything at all like that.
"D2D Recovery in the BIOS (Main Menu)" Nothing about D2D or Recovery anywhere.

I went through each 'tab' at the top, and opened all items that had submenus
( > beside the item indicating subitems).

Sure wish it were there...could have been the solution.
 

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movrshakr

New Member
How to enable disc-to-disc recovery video:
here
And you don't have this?
No, as stated. And this is Gateway vs. Acer, though there is a lot of commonality.
My BIOS is v95.10. Shown is 2.17. Obviously completely different brand, though brand not stated.
Mine does not even have the "Information tab".
1st item is Main. Then Advanced, Security, Boot, Exit.
D2D is nowhere in there, on any tab/

Yet, the PQSERVICE partition and other recovery related things/procedures are same as Acer.
 

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virtual6

Vista Pro
Have you owned this laptop since new, and therefore know it's history?
Have you ever run any program or utility (like a partition editor) that may have affected the MBR (master boot record)?

The reason I ask...I read a very interesting series of posts about someone with an Acer and his troubleshooting the PQSERVICE partition.
His problem was somewhat self-inflicted, he was manipulating partitions, adding boot loaders, etc.
After a tremendous amount of testing, he found that the Acer MBR code is unique in that it always transfers control to the boot sector code (Volume Boot Record code) in PQSERVICE. I believe it is the VBR code that decides whether alt+F10 was pressed...if yes, then proceed through the bootmgr loader -> bootmgr program -> Recovery program sequence from the PQSERVICE partition.
If no (normal startup), then [I'm not sure where control is transferred to do this] check for the active partition, which would be Vista, and proceed through the bootmgr loader -> bootmgr program -> Vista OS sequence from that partition.

If your MBR somehow got changed to the more conventional setup, then the system will always boot to Vista, regardless of whether you request Recovery in Windows or by using alt+F10.

I had read another post about fixing the alt+F10 function by repairing the special MBR, and that is was absolutely important to preserve the PQSERVICE partition, but he never said exactly how it related to the fix.

So again, in order to restore your system, the fix still seems to be to boot into the PQSERVICE partition.
Will that actually work? I think so...I just watched a video where a guy did exactly that, by setting the partition "active" using a boot CD containing a program called GParted. (Or you could use the Ghost CD I documented earlier.)
When he rebooted...tah dah! ...Recovery Management.
 

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movrshakr

New Member
Well, that is really interesting.
Yes, I am original owner of the laptop.
No, no quirky stuff has been done that should affect partitions, MBR or boot loader;
I did just the last few days unhide PQSERVCE and give it a drive letter R:

Any chance you could post a link to that video you reference--
"the fix still seems to be to boot into the PQSERVICE partition. Will that actually work? I think so...I just watched a video where a guy did exactly that, by setting the partition "active" using a boot CD containing a program called GParted.

I do have one other fallback in work...son has identical machine, bought at same time. I am having him try to make the recovery DVDs from his machine. He is slow as molasses. Has no DVDs. Pl.us is on a business trip now. Waiting on that to try (and will have to transfer them from another city to me)...If that fails, then I think...is the summary of the above to set partition active and reboot, or more involved than that?
 

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virtual6

Vista Pro
His video is a little long, and the quality is poor so he added some annotations which helped.
First he got a Hiren's BootCD file, and burned it to a CD.
Boot the computer, presented with a selection of many programs to run.
He selected "Linux Based Rescue Environment" (Parted Magic).
Parted Magic boots up to a Linux desktop which also has a selection of handy programs and utilities, from which he selected and ran a program called GParted.
Once in GParted, he selected the PQSERVICE partition and set it active.
Whew!
(I think he went this convoluted route because it was all free. For example, you have to buy Parted Magic.
There probably are other routes to take. Personally, I would take the Norton route simply because I trust it and have booted from it many times.)
But you're correct in your summary.
Here's the link:
Restore to factory
 

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movrshakr

New Member
Thanks. Yes, that seemed to work on his laptop, so it's in my short list of fixes now.

I have some other programs that will set a partition as active, so I think that is the objective to get recovery started.
 

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virtual6

Vista Pro
As to the reason why you want to reset to factory, are you currently having trouble with the system?
Or just want to get a clean start?
Some people I know reset their systems every so often, just to clean out the Windows "build-up".
 

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movrshakr

New Member
Trouble only in the sense that, having been used for years now, it is cluttered and slow. Basic hardware is very decent, so it is definitely still quite usable (if cleaned up) for routine type stuff--surfing, email, etc. 2.2 GHz dual core. But slow boots, slow program openings, etc...could do the hunt-down-everything-you-can-find, but just not up to that.

Hmmm...considering how hard the recovery has turned out to be, that might have been better--but sometimes even doing all that does not bring a computer back to fresh life.
 

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