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HP Notebook: The recovery partition could not be found


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You are going to need to get your hard drive string back in there. The OP was able to do this by copying the MBR of someone else's notebook hard drive and apply it to his. You'll have to read through this thread and try to find the answers, but you can ask questions if you are having problems with a particular program or concept. I understand how the recovery system works, but I can't give you any specific details or tools to make this work again. My hands are tied in that respect.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Finally I have managed to create my 2 DVD recovery set :thumbup

My original OS was vista that I never used. I have installed Windows XP which disabled recovery partition and F11 key. I have tried everything but couldn't fix until today. I have installed Windows 7 after Windows XP. My recovery partition was intact, but of course MBR was damaged. I was able to fix the MBR by using Windows 7 recovery option. I booted the recovery partition however it gave me error 100a that can't find recovery partition. I have downloaded Enhanced HP Backup and Recovery Manager for Microsoft Windows Vista which has all the tools we need. I started Restore7.exe but create recovery DVD option was not available. I browsed C:\Windows\SMINST\ directory and saw CD Creator.exe I tried with that one and it said recovery partition couldn't found. After you install Windows 7, windows hides HP_RECOVERY partition. First off all I set a drive letter for that partition. I tried again and it still says that recovery partition couldn't found.

Enough is enough!Finally it p***ed me off and called OllyDbg and IDA to the rescue. I found out that CD Creator.exe checks every fixed harddisk for recovery partition. First It reads drive by 200h(512) bytes which is size of MBR. Then it compares BYTES at 0000001F0 with RECOVERY string. If it finds that means your recovery partition is intact and you can see all the options. So your option is either patch CD Creator.exe at that point to force that compare or edit your MBR and add RECOVERY string to that position. At first I did the first one and it worked. Then I researched little bit further and found a nice workaround. After all we are not bad guys aren't we?. If you add


to STRCDC.ini, you can force the recovery partition to any drive you want. Problem solved!

After I created DVD set,I tried to make ISO images it said that, I can't make any more set. C'mon man! I have already the DVD I can make images of it why you are bugging me? In order to remove that message remove below files from your recovery partition and C:\Windows\SMINST\ directory.


THANK YOU!! This worked for me after my stupid laptop kept saying recovery partition not found (even though it was there and perfectly fine). F11 even works now (no prompt at boot, but it works) HP/Compaq's "tech support" was a joke, literally no help at all and a total waste of time. Big FU's fly out to them. Did the restore on a spare hard drive just to make sure all was well. Now that I've got that safety net, time to play with 7 on this puppy :)

On a side note, does anyone know the maximum CPU that the Compaq Presario F500 line (and its HP cousins) support? HP's official answer is the TL-58, but I have a feeling you can probably get away with something better, the TL-62 is a nice bump up from the stock CPU and not too expensive. The TL-66/68 are insanely expensive right now, however.

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On a side note, does anyone know the maximum CPU that the Compaq Presario F500 line (and its HP cousins) support? HP's official answer is the TL-58, but I have a feeling you can probably get away with something better, the TL-62 is a nice bump up from the stock CPU and not too expensive. The TL-66/68 are insanely expensive right now, however.

You should repost this question in a new thread in the Hardware Hangout

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi all,

Sorry to revive this old topic, but I'm trying to accomplish what others have discussed here. If the moderators or others feel it is better I start a new thread, I will of course do that.

My situation is a bit different from the OP and some of the others who have posted with their problems. I have an HP 6730s and the recovery partition was already removed when I got the laptop. Since I had access to another HP laptop, I thought I could reactivate the recovery function by simply creating an NTFS primary partition and copying over the files from the other laptop's recovery partition. My goal is not to restore the factory recovery function (since I don't have the factory image on the HDD), but to allow a custom image to be written when there is a need to recover the system. I'm setting this computer up for my grandmother and I'm trying to create a method whereby she can just go back to the way the computer was set up with a few simple clicks. I thought that the built-in method would probably be the simplest to implement (although after reading through these posts I'm beginning to think there are probably easier methods).

So here is what I've already done:

1) I created a primary NTFS partition named "HP_RECOVERY".

2) I copied the content of the recovery partition from another laptop into the partition.

3) Using a Windows PE + imagex CD, I made a WIM image of the windows partition and placed it at system.sav\util\HPFactory.wim

4) I edited the HPRM.ini file which has a listing of image indices and the partition where they should be copied to work with this new file

5) Using EasyBCD, I created a new boot loader entry of type "WIM Image (Ramdisk)" (it is on the WinPE tab) and linked it to the Recovery\WindowsRE\winre.wim file

6) After reboot I chose the new entry and Windows RE loaded up along with HP Recovery Manager.

7) I did a system restore and the program successfully wrote my new image back on the Windows partition.

Now the problems

1) The F11 function doesn't work. Pressing F11 won't do anything and the HP recovery environment is not listed in the boot options (there is a blank line between F10 and F12). From what I've read in this thread, HP's custom MBR is required to get this to work, am I right?

2) Setting the recovery partition to active and trying to boot directly into the partition won't work either. It says "BOOTMGR is missing." Again, from what I've read, I need a proper boot sector instruction that loads the WinRE image.

Given the above, I want to know what is the next step? I was thinking that I could copy over the recovery partition boot sector from the other laptop and maybe then I'll be able to at least boot directly into the recovery partition. If that works I have the option to either copy the MBR from the other laptop and give it a try or use Tripredacus' method and try and catch F11 in the MBR and then boot into the recovery partition.

But is this all sound? Am I missing something? I'm very new to all this and I will likely need some help in trying to copy the proper sectors.

Any help is greatly appreciated.

Kind regards,


PS: I haven't attached any files because I'm not sure which files are most handy. Let me know and I'll post the requried files.

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You definately cannot post any files from inside the recovery partition. Is this a Vista or Windows 7 recovery partition? The programs I used from Terrabyte Unlimited can boot both a WinPE from Vista or 7, but I have had problems. For example, If I use a Win7 WinRE on a Vista system, it will not work properly. And FWIW, in my original image testing of imaging a SoftThinks partition with Imagex, I was also not able to get it to boot to the recovery partition, even though it was set up properly. I could never get the F11 key to work either.

But yes, you need the MBR information to do it, which is why I still only use Ghost to image systems with the SoftThinks recovery partition.

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I've made some advances since my last post. I've been able to get F11 to boot into the recovery partition. However, I'm still not able to boot because of the BOOTMGR problem. I think the last issue for me to resolve is to be able to get the recovery partition to boot the winre.wim file. I'm new at this kind of thing and still haven't figured out how to boot the wim image. I've been thinking that maybe the best strategy is to mount the image and copy the files over to the recovery partition and then use BCD to start windows recovery environment.

Any thoughts? As I said, I'm very new and don't have good grasp of most of this stuff yet so any insight will be greatly appreciated.



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If I may, you are using a "proprietary" undocumented method to create your own recovery partition.

It would seem to me far easier to use properly documented available tools instead.

Besides the Terabyte MBR, there is mbldr, which you may want to try, some initial reference is here:



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You are getting this problem because when you press F11, it sets the recovery partition as being active and you can boot into it. But then you have nothing to set the OS volume to be active when you exit the recovery partition. This is why you are getting the bootmgr error.

For some strange reason, you can actually hide an OS volume, using either MBR, diskpart or other tools, and you can STILL actually start booting into the OS! I'm not sure why this happens. Theoretically, if the volume is hidden you should get a PXE prompt or the standard "no bootable device found" type message. Instead, the bootloaders on both XP and Vista (didn't try 7, no reason to) will actually start, but then realize their drive type is incompatible and toss you a message. Sometimes it is just this bootmgr message, but I have seen XPe actually pop a BSOD when its volume wasn't set to the proper ID.

So when I made my own recovery partition using Terrabyte's MBR program, I had to make sure that the OS volume would get set as active after booting into the recovery partition, so that on a reboot you wouldn't get these types of errors.

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  • 8 months later...


i'm trying to get through all 11 pages, but there is to many post and links that are around my problem, so maybe someone may point me to right pages, post etc. (a straight away answer would be handy as well)

so, the problem is:

1. it's not my laptop (hp pavilion, xp MCE) so I don't know what was installed/run.

2. I'm trying to do full recovery to factory settings

3. pc recovery from windows gives "recovery part could not be found" message

4. f11 starts pc recovery that is trying to make recovery part (it needs cd/DVD disks that weren't done)

5. f8 has no recovery option

6. making recovery part active changes nothing (normal boot to xp)

7. recovery part is visible, I made everything visible on partition using attrib.

any help?

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First thing, if you have the option, CREATE the CD/DVD's.

You were NOT supposed to make partition active, using attrib, etc.

The "partition cannot be found" means, strangely enough ;), that the partition has not been found (this can happen for a number of reasons, among which somethng - even accidental that changed the partition ID or a "tag" file in it or it's volume name, or whatever).

Since you semingly CAN make the CD/DVD,s do them, NOW, it may be your last and ONLY possibility.


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my english is bad

I CAN'T make cd/DVD

pc recovery suggests to make recovery partiotion FROM cd/DVD (and IS expecting media to be inserted to cd drive)


partition was VISIBLE, only files, dirs were hidden.

i've only unhidden files/dirs on visible partition.

seems like ordering cd is my only option?

is this problem with recovery present on newer hp as well?

so first thing after opening box should be making recovery cd/dvd 'cos recovery partition can go south at any time?

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so first thing after opening box should be making recovery cd/dvd 'cos recovery partition can go south at any time?

Yes, guess why at first boots you get a nagging reminder about making the CD/DVD's? (you know the one that pi§§es you off and that you check to never show again?) ;)

Even better than the above would be to buy PC's that come with either "full" software and OS media or with a pre-made recovery media.

And an even better one would be to make yourself an image of the disk.

Back to your problem:

It is possible that the Recovery partition contents are still "OK" (at least before you changed something in it) but *something* minor - but stil needed - has gone beserk, like the actual MBR that loads the partition or the bootsector of the recovery partition or even a small "tag file" somewhere.

No way to know.

Please note that the OP that started this thread had an HP with Vista installed, yours has XP MCE, they "behave" differently as OS, it is probable that also the recovery system partition uses different versions of the tools or different tools altogether.

A good idea would be if you could start a new thread about your issue.

Since your XP is booting allright, it will be easier to get some info.

Provided that your "XP" drive is C:\ and that the "Recovery partition" is D:\, open a command prompt and run in it:


Compress the resulting file C:\HP_MCE.DIR into a .zip archive and attach the archive to your post.

Additionally get HDhacker:


and use it to backup the MBR (first sector of \\.\PhysicalDrive) and the bootsectors/PBR of partitions C:\ and D:\ (first sector of each \\.\Logicaldrive).

Also add these three files to the .zip archive.

Maybe with this data we can find the "culprit" or find an alternative way to actually start the recovery process.

As said, a good idea would be - if you have this possibility - to make a full, dd-like image of the whole disk (better be safe than sorry) in order to be able, should things go worse that they are, to get back safely to current situation.


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Even better than the above would be to buy PC's that come with either "full" software and OS media or with a pre-made recovery media.

There's always been a move to switch to the "do it yourself" method of making the recovery media, but that has been compounded by other things. Most recently, a number of Authorized Replicators had closed up shop, leaving only a handful of ones to choose from. This caused the price per disc to jump up considerably! An example is that the price-per-disc cost went up at least $10. So consider how HP or Dell used to use the model to create model specific recovery discs, the never ending product price war and the increased cost to produce recovery media. You can see why systems are coming out with the "do it yourself" method!

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thx guys, unfortunately i don't have time to play around.

but thank You for answers.

I just found out, that win 7 need ultimate version to switch languages.

great stuff from ms as usual. I wonder why people are not switching to Linux, or buying apple comps.

best regards

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  • 5 months later...

Hello..I have notebook HP Compaq CQ45-318TX. I had bought it at 15 August 2009. But i forgot to make CD Recovery. The First, when i want to make Cd Recovery, i get message "The recovery partition could not be found" by Softthink Recovery Manager in my Windows Vista Home Basic. I have read this thread and i didn't find some files likes:

1. MBRinst.exe in folder C:\System.sav\Util

2. MBR.exe and MBRinst.exe in folder C:\windows\SMINST

The Second, when i press F11 for System Recovery my notebook, i'm not get any message. After pressed F11 the boot is to My primay Windows without any message from System Recovery.

After i read all comment in this thread/board admitedly i'm very confused :-(

What should i do?

Can you tell me step by step to solve it?

Edited by mbatory
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