windows - Accessing the recovery partition on a Vista machine that won't boot?

  • eftpotrm

    I've got a Dell Vista machine - Inspiron 1720 laptop specifically - which I'm 99% certain came with no media, just the recovery partition.

    It's now refusing to boot, saying the system registry is corrupt. The standard F8 boot menu doesn't seem to provide a way to access the recovery partition, neither does BIOS from what I can see. None of the options I can access seem to do anything useful, I just get the message about the corrupt system registry instantly.

    Have I lost a critical disc? Am I looking in the wrong place? Or is there anything you could suggest for how I can access this data and get the machine booting again?

  • Answers
  • jao

    From Dell's documentation for the Inspiron 1720:

    Restoring the Computer to the Default Factory Configuration

    1. As the computer restarts, press <F8> until the Advanced Boot Options menu appears on the screen.
    2. Press <Down Arrow> to select Repair Your Computer on the Advanced Boot Options menu, and then press <Enter>.
    3. Specify the language settings that you want, and then click Next.
    4. Log in as a user who has administrative credentials, and then click OK.
    5. Click Dell Factory Image Restore.
    6. In the Dell Factory Image Restore window, click Next.
    7. Select the Yes, reformat hard drive and restore system software to factory condition checkbox.
    8. Click Next. The computer is restored to the default factory configuration.
    9. When the restore operation is completed, click Finish to restart the computer.
  • Moab

    If the recovery partition is fully intact, see this page to manually start the recovery from the hard drive using a boot disc, you will need a Vista or W7 install DVD to boot from to perform this workaround procedure.

  • Related Question

    windows - How to transfer a RECOVERY partition to a new HD of a DELL Inspiron 1420?
  • Geo

    My HD is about to die, and I am going to buy a new drive and install everything from scratch. I will like to use the recovery partition on my original drive, but I don't know the correct steps to use the recovery partition on a new drive since it will not be there and I don't know that just a simple copy of all files will work. If I copy all the recovery partition in a pen-drive (flash drive), will I be able to use it in my new hard drive?

    if not, what should I do?

  • Related Answers
  • nagul

    Use Clonezilla, a clone of Norton Ghost which is used in most corporate environments to clone OS installs across the corporate network. Clonezilla can be run from a LiveCD, or any bootable media like a USB drive or USB hard disk.

    From Wikipedia:

    Clonezilla Live allows a user to clone an individual machine. A particular partition or entire disk can be cloned to another medium. This can be saved as an image file or as a replicated copy of the data. The data can be saved to locally attached storage, an SSH server, Samba Server or a NFS file share and then restored at a later date. Clonezilla can be run from either a bootable USB flash drive or CD/DVD. This requires no modification to the machine as the software runs in its own environment.

    There are other alternatives that may fit your need better, including the venerable Unix dd command.

  • DrJekl

    I use drivesnapshot for imaging drives. There's a free trial available.

  • ehempel

    I've never hit exactly this situation, however, I think this will work. Get a new drive the exact size as the old drive, then using a linux live CD you can make an exact copy of the drives using a command like 'dd if=/dev/hda of=/dev/hdb' (be really careful you get the devices right).

    There may very well be a better way ... but that's what I'd try ...

  • Bart Silverstrim

    If I were going to attempt it, I'd get Rescue-Is-Possible linux and boot with that, then use either gparted to use the graphical editor to copy the partition in question from the hard disk to another drive or I'd use partimage to copy the partition to another drive as an image then restore to the new one. Gparted can also resize partitions and edit them, but I normally use partimage for copying and moving them as files to store on another medium.

  • Cary Schwartzman

    I used to be a computer tech. The tools that I used were either Ghost or (which comes on the awesome-and-free Hiren's Boot CD) or Clonezilla.

    It's been my experience that some recovery partitions get corrupted when using Ghost. If that happens, Clonezilla has always worked but can take a bit longer.

  • Larry

    There is a wealth of information Here Probably more than you want to know.

    You can just copy it over with almost any software that will copy a partition.

  • Seasoned Advice (cooking)

    If OS is XP or Windows try this:

    Just make sure that the replacement HD is the same size as the original, or closely matches the original HD in terms of specs and size.