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ahmad2080

HP Notebook: The recovery partition could not be found

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The thing that I find strange is that the recovery partition was visible "from factory".

Usually, but really cannot say on HP laptops, and probably not all of them are the same, the Recovery partition is normally hidden and accessible only through the F11 or whatever hotkey while booting.

Most probably, as Tripredacus pointed out, in order for the MBRINST.EXE to work properly, the partition must be hidden before, possibly with the "stupid" 12 partition ID:

http://www.msfn.org/board/index.php?showto...08515&st=28

the (ab)use of 12 type partition dates back to Compaq:

http://www.win.tue.nl/~aeb/partitions/partition_types-1.html

12 Configuration/diagnostics partition

ID 12 (decimal 18) is used by Compaq for their configuration utility partition. It is a FAT-compatible partition (about 6 MB) that boots into their utilities, and can be added to a LILO menu as if it were MS-DOS. (David C. Niemi) Stephen Collins reports a 12 MB partition with ID 12 on a Compaq 7330T. Tigran A. Aivazian reports a 40 MB partition with ID 12 on a 64 MB Compaq Proliant 1600. ID 12 is used by the Compaq Contura to denote its hibernation partition. (dan@fch.wimsey.bc.ca)

NCR has used ID 0x12 MS-DOS partitions for diagnostics and firmware support on their WorldMark systems since the mid-90s. DataLight's ROM-DOS has replaced MS-DOS on more recent systems. Partition sizes were once 72M (MS-DOS) but are now 40M (ROM-DOS).

Intel has begun offering ROM-DOS based "Service Partition" support on many OEM systems. This support initially used ID 0x98 but has recently changed to ID 0x12. Intel provides their own support for this partition in the form of a System Resource CD. Partition size has remained constant at 40M. See e.g. sds2.pdf. (Chuck Rouillard)

IBM also uses 0x12 for its Rescue and Recovery partition on Thinkpad laptops. See also thinkwiki.org.

for the record, Dell's use the even more "stupid" DE:

http://www.goodells.net/dellutility/index.htm

I guess that whether a partition type 12 is visible or hidden depends on the particular BIOS of the machine, MS and IBM (OS/2) have always considered partition types with a leading 1 to be the hidden version of the corresponding ones with a leading 0.

@ahmad2080

Upload the file to rapidshare or a similar file hosting and post the link.

Also, the contents of your (possibly more than one) MBRINST.INI might be of use.

jaclaz

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@ahmad2080

Upload the file to rapidshare or a similar file hosting and post the link.

Also, the contents of your (possibly more than one) MBRINST.INI might be of use.

jaclaz

I didn't understand most of your post. I'm not familiar with partition IDs.

Here is the result of DIR /s in (X:\) :

http://rapidshare.com/files/217362289/booot.txt.html

This is the MBR.INI file in (X:\):

MBR.INI

These are all MBR files that I could find in both partitions C & D :

MBR.INI in C:\system.sav\Util

MBR.ini in C:\ program Files\SMINST

MBRINST.VBS (Script file) in C:\system.sav\Util

MBRINST.BT_ in C:\system.sav\Util

MBEINST.LOG in C:\system.sav\Logs --> ( has only one line in it "MBRInst returned 0 " )

MBR.DLL in C:\Program Files

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Info gathering here (in sequence)...

ahmad2080 -

When I said that I was able to log into the recovery partition I was wrong.

When I set the recovery partition as Active (or using F8) I do log into the recovery manager, but when I opened a cmd there I found that I was standing on [X:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32]

Beside the X:\ partition (which is called the boot partition) there are C: & D: (My original partitions)

--

jaclaz -

However, for the moment there is no need for a partition table editor, since we don't know WHAT to edit.

------

ahmad2080 -

EDIT: the DIR /s command on X:\ gave me a 1MB file (about 500 lines) which I can't Upload due to the 200 kb limitation.

--

jaclaz -

Now, if HP followed the Best Practices, the recovery partition would be the first partition, and the OS partition would be the second one.

(...and - )

As far as the CD burning deal. You execute this app from Windows. It obviously looks somewhere, like a file or a registry entry, to see if it made a CD before.

--

ahmad2080 -

7-Used F8(advanced boot loader) to apply a full system recovery, which was done perfectly except an error about MBR--> "MBR string is too long 30 bytes.It should be 16 bytes"

8-Tried the F11 function --> still doesn't work.

9-RecoveryDisk creation software still doesn't work (The recovery partition could not be found)

My condition now:

10-can perform a full system recovery using F8(advanced boot loader) then "Repair my computer" then "Recovery manager"

(...and - )

I've attached a screenshot showing the List Disk ,List Vol & List Part commands on my notebook.

* note @ahmad2080 - correct, kind of (refer to jaclaz' stmt about "best paractices" - it's "reversed")

* note @jaclaz - remember the topic#=131023 about HDD offsets? sounds familiar...

+++++++++

(my comments as-of now...)

Now, it "appears" that -

1- Booting, as you say via F8 or Setting Active, looks suspiciously like Window PE, since you're seeing an "X" drive.

2- "Used F8(advanced boot loader) to apply a full system recovery" sounds more like Recovery Console (like in 2k/XP/2k3), not Recovery Partition. (?confused?)

3- HP apparently didn't follow the "best practices" (the one I worked with was an XP Home on Compaq, Recovery was FAT32, 1st one on HDD).

4- DO NOT actually edit the Partition Table. It was more a suggestion to see what the HexFlag value is. This is how you got here. A HexEditor that will take you to the FirstTrack would reveal much the same. DO NOT use one and actually edit.

5- "F11" function is gone because the MBR "HP Special Code" (not "standard") is gone. The same may/may-not be true of the PBR of the D-drive (as in my Compaq scenario - not "standard").

6- The "Create Disks" function must be looking for a particular value in the Partition Table (FirstTrack) and is not finding it (in addition to jaclaz' stmt about "registry"). The Compaq Recovery Partition was "hidden" with a special value. In addition, once disks were created, the Option was removed from the Start/Programs "list"; that is, until a Full System Restore was done (as I stated).

7- Finally - "MBR string is too long 30 bytes.It should be 16 bytes". This is extremely suspicious...

This post is strictly an info-gathering expedition and for confirmation purposes. It would sure be nice of HP if they would just reveal what that "special Partition HexValue" is.

Other members trying to help, you're up next... (sheesh!)

edit - ARG! turned an attempt to shorten the post (via codebox) baaad! changed to in-line single quotation (long but easier to read)...

Edited by submix8c

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I didn't understand most of your post. I'm not familiar with partition IDs.

In the MBR there are 4 (four) partition entries, each 16 (sixteen) bytes long.

In each of these entries, fifth byte is Partition ID.

See this:

http://mirror.href.com/thestarman/asm/mbr/PartTables.htm

and the already linked to:

http://www.win.tue.nl/~aeb/partitions/partition_types-1.html

Here is the result of DIR /s in (X:\) :

....

This is the MBR.INI file in (X:\):

....

Good. :)

Though I am still missing some info, maybe I overlooked it :unsure:

In your DISKPART report, you have two partitions:

the "main" one which gets letter C:\

and

the "recovery" one which gets letter D:\

Where does the X:\ come from?

Is it the letter that is given to the PE .WIM image that you boot when you choose the recovery partition?

These are all MBR files that I could find in both partitions C & D :

MBR.INI in C:\system.sav\Util

MBR.ini in C:\ program Files\SMINST

MBRINST.VBS (Script file) in C:\system.sav\Util

MBRINST.BT_ in C:\system.sav\Util

MBEINST.LOG in C:\system.sav\Logs --> ( has only one line in it "MBRInst returned 0 " )

MBR.DLL in C:\Program Files

Most probably you have set your system not to show executable files.

I would bet ;) that you probably have in

C:\system.sav\Util a MBRINST.EXE file

and as well and definitely one in

C:\ program Files\SMINST

Now, should this latter info be confirmed, you have a

C:\Program File\SMINST\MBRINST.EXE

and a

C:\Program File\SMINST\MBR.INI

this sounds very like the \SMINST\ path reported before:

http://www.msfn.org/board/index.php?showto...31620&st=24

Now, you posted the MBR.INI that you found in your X:\ drive, whatever it is, can you post also the one in C:\system.sav\Util\ and the one in C:\Program Files\SMINST\?

Unless they are all identical, of course.

I will also need a DIR /S of C:\system.sav\Util\ and a DIR /S of C:\Program Files\SMINST\

jaclaz

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Info gathering here (in sequence)...

(my comments as-of now...)

Now, it "appears" that -

1- Booting, as you say via F8 or Setting Active, looks suspiciously like Window PE, since you're seeing an "X" drive.

2- "Used F8(advanced boot loader) to apply a full system recovery" sounds more like Recovery Console (like in 2k/XP/2k3), not Recovery Partition. (?confused?)

7- Finally - "MBR string is too long 30 bytes.It should be 16 bytes". This is extremely suspicious

This post is strictly an info-gathering expedition and for confirmation purposes. It would sure be nice of HP if they would just reveal what that "special Partition HexValue" is.

The exact error message about MBR is : "Master Boot Record Strings too long! Your strings are 30 Bytes but the Master Boot Record has only 18 Bytes for strings"

It appeared again while I ran the PATCH.CMD file in X:\windows\system32

About the recovery from F8: F8 opens the advanced boot menu, then I choose "Repair My computer" which opens "system recovery options" which has some recovery tools (Startup Repair , System restore, command prompt,......and RECOVERY MANAGER). From the RECOVERY MANAGER I can perform a full recovery.

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In your DISKPART report, you have two partitions:

the "main" one which gets letter C:\

and

the "recovery" one which gets letter D:\

Where does the X:\ come from?

Is it the letter that is given to the PE .WIM image that you boot when you choose the recovery partition?

The X:\ partition appears when I boot from the recovery partition. It's 31 MB in size.

Most probably you have set your system not to show executable files.

I would bet ;) that you probably have in

C:\system.sav\Util a MBRINST.EXE file

and as well and definitely one in

C:\ program Files\SMINST

Now, should this latter info be confirmed, you have a

C:\Program File\SMINST\MBRINST.EXE

and a

C:\Program File\SMINST\MBR.INI

this sounds very like the \SMINST\ path reported before:

http://www.msfn.org/board/index.php?showto...31620&st=24

Now, you posted the MBR.INI that you found in your X:\ drive, whatever it is, can you post also the one in C:\system.sav\Util\ and the one in C:\Program Files\SMINST\?

Unless they are all identical, of course.

I will also need a DIR /S of C:\system.sav\Util\ and a DIR /S of C:\Program Files\SMINST\

jaclaz

Yes, MBR.INI in both paths and the one in X:\ are identical.

DIR /S of C:\system.sav\Util\ :

uTIL.TXT

DIR /S of C:\Program Files\SMINST\:

sminst.TXT

EDIT:

I found something Interesting: The Patch.cmd has a log file in systerm.sav, that log file was created 04/02/2009 ,although I ran the patch today.

Anyway the patch when it was executed in 04/02/2009 [ not by me] seemed to work perfectly.

I'll attach the correct LOG in 04/02/2009 and the LOG created when I ran it today.

PATCH_CMD_correct_.txt

PATCH_CMD_errors_.txt

I don't know why the new LOG didn't overwright the old one.

Edited by ahmad2080

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This is interesting:

Directory of C:\System.sav\Util

04/03/2009 09:54 PM <DIR> .

04/03/2009 09:54 PM <DIR> ..

....

05/08/2008 10:08 AM 5,069 MBR.INI

06/12/2007 03:42 AM 388 MBRINST.BT_

12/20/2007 01:40 AM 5,409 MBRINST.VBS

It is possible that MBRINST.EXE has been replaced by the .VBS script :unsure:, and the 388 byte .BT_ could be a (partial) MBR.

Can you compress together MBRINST.BT_ and MBRINST.VBS in a ZIP archive and post it?

Also, in C:\Program Files\SMINST, there are a lot of seemingly interesting .LOG files. newly created.

And a number of files beginning with ST that could be related to SoftThinks..., ot that seem like coonected with RP (Recovery Partition :unsure:) or HPRM (HP Recovery Manager :unsure:) and one related to CD creator...

I would like to peek inside:

04/04/2009 08:58 AM 11,765 BI.LOG

04/04/2009 08:58 AM 2 BurnInfo.log

04/04/2009 08:58 AM 266 CD Creator.exe.LOG

04/04/2009 08:58 AM 645 Creator.log

04/04/2009 06:19 PM 35,416 history.log

04/04/2009 08:48 AM 11,131 HPRM_BCD_FIX.LOG

04/04/2009 08:47 AM 324 LOG

04/04/2009 08:48 AM 45 Master.log

03/28/2006 10:09 PM 58 RPCheck.log

04/03/2009 09:26 PM 4,428 RPRemoval.exe.LOG

04/03/2009 07:41 AM 116 ST_LOG.LOG

Provided that they are hopefully "plain text".

jaclaz

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EDIT:

I found something Interesting: The Patch.cmd has a log file in systerm.sav, that log file was created 04/02/2009 ,although I ran the patch today.

Anyway the patch when it was executed in 04/02/2009 [ not by me] seemed to work perfectly.

I'll attach the correct LOG in 04/02/2009 and the LOG created when I ran it today.

PATCH_CMD_correct_.txt

PATCH_CMD_errors_.txt

I don't know why the new LOG didn't overwright the old one.

Very interesting from logs:

Set the first partition (= User Partition) active 
X:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\MBR.DLL /DISK 1 /INI X:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\MBR.INI /ACTIVE 1 /Q
...MBRInst returned 0

Apply the SoftThinks Master Boot Record:
X:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\MBR.DLL /DISK 1 /INI X:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\MBR.INI /U /Q
...MBRInst returned 0

It seems like the good Softthinks (or HP) guys renamed MBRINST.EXE to MBR.DLL...:whistle:

The MBR.DLL in X:\Windows\System32 is 159,744 bytes in size, exactly like the MBRINST.EXE in the same X:\Windows\System32 (and has same date/time 07/01/2008 04:14 AM)

The one in C:\Program Files\SMINST is 165,248 bytes. :w00t: and has different date/time 10/06/2008 09:55 AM (newer)

jaclaz

Edited by jaclaz

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Very interesting from logs:

Set the first partition (= User Partition) active 
X:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\MBR.DLL /DISK 1 /INI X:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\MBR.INI /ACTIVE 1 /Q
...MBRInst returned 0

Apply the SoftThinks Master Boot Record:
X:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\MBR.DLL /DISK 1 /INI X:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\MBR.INI /U /Q
...MBRInst returned 0

It seems like the good Softthinks (or HP) guys renamed MBRINST.EXE to MBR.DLL... :whistle:

The MBR.DLL in X:\Windows\System32 is 159,744 bytes in size, exactly like the MBRINST.EXE in the same X:\Windows\System32 (and has same date/time 07/01/2008 04:14 AM)

The one in C:\Program Files\SMINST is 165,248 bytes. :w00t: and has different date/time 10/06/2008 09:55 AM (newer)

jaclaz

I noticed the SOFTHINKS MBR part, that's why I thought it'd be useful.

Here are the LOG files & MBRINST.BT_ and MBRINST.VBS

LOGS.rar

MBRINST.rar

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Some interesting parts of the logs, that may need an explanation:

Testing Drive D:\

End of IsISOPartion : 0Entering IsISOPartition

......

End of IsISOPartion : 0RP not found. Trying to mount it.

Error Execute : 2

End of FindRP : 0

Starting process

CHelpDialogPCCreator -> SetTocPCVistaGUIMode(...)

......

Is there a valid partition

Is a set of CD have been allready done(mode 1)

RP Drive:

......

Exiting

....

Fri Apr 03 21:26:24 2009: Welcome to the introduction

Fri Apr 03 21:53:33 2009: Start of RestoreWiz.

Fri Apr 03 21:53:33 2009: Version of RestoreWiz.exe : 8.0.91.93

Fri Apr 03 21:53:39 2009: End of RestoreWiz with return code 1.

Fri Apr 03 22:12:40 2009: Running Recovery Disc Creation (FV: 7, 0, 91, 54, PV: 7, 0, 91, 54)

Fri Apr 03 22:12:47 2009: Exit application CD Creator

Fri Apr 03 23:44:09 2009: Running Recovery Disc Creation (FV: 7, 0, 91, 54, PV: 7, 0, 91, 54)

Fri Apr 03 23:44:16 2009: Exit application CD Creator

Sat Apr 04 17:01:42 2009: Running Recovery Disc Creation (FV: 7, 0, 91, 54, PV: 7, 0, 91, 54)

Sat Apr 04 17:01:49 2009: Exit application CD Creator

Sat Apr 04 17:39:12 2009: Running Recovery Disc Creation (FV: 7, 0, 91, 54, PV: 7, 0, 91, 54)

Sat Apr 04 17:39:22 2009: Exit application CD Creator

Sat Apr 04 18:18:31 2009: User starts Recovery Manager application

.....

There is much more info in the various other logs, but from a quick look at it, it seems like you tried to run the apps "n" times, with different "settings" on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th of April, so the logs are not exactly "clean".

The "new" thing is the contents of MBRINST.BT_

@REM =================================================================================
@REM PC Recovery Preinstall Addon:
@REM To perform MBR installation
@REM =================================================================================

CMD.EXE /c cscript.exe /nologo C:\system.sav\util\MBRINST.VBS > C:\system.sav\util\MBRINST.CMD
CMD.EXE /c C:\system.sav\util\MBRINST.CMD

Basically it is a batch that invokes the MBRINST.VBS Visual Basic script in order to create "on-the-fly" ANOTHER batch. :w00t:

The VBS performs some kind of security checks, lists drives on system then outputs a batch with this command line (both in the case of one single hard disk or in the case of two hard disks "NOT SWAPPED"):

C:\system.sav\util\MBRINST.EXE /INI C:\system.sav\util\MBR.INI /U /Q

jaclaz

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Thanks Jaclaz for all of your help here. I do appreciate your assistance.

Yes, I tried to run the CD creator but it keeps showing the error message.

That's why you found the recent dates in the LOG flie.

There maybe another source that we can get benefit from; a friend of mine has a similar(not identical ) notebook.[There are some hardware differences, but I beleive that the software is the same. His recovery partition is visible too from factory]

Can I capture his MBR and install it on mine? If yes, what software should I use? Should both harddisks be equal in size to do that?

As I understood from Tripredacus that he tried to do something similar but it didn't work.

Latter, I'll provide results of [DIR /s] on my friend's notebook in several locations (X:\,D:\,C:\system.sav).

Until then, is there anything else that I can do?

I've read an old topic similar to mine that I found from a google search. The google LINK led me here to MSFN. Both jaclaz & Tripredacus participated and provided plenty of information to solve the topic starter's issue (he was comess or something like that). Was that problem solved?

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Can I capture his MBR and install it on mine? If yes, what software should I use?

You should use (besides checking again why beeblebrox does not work for you) HDhacker:

http://dimio.altervista.org/eng/index.html

To backup BOTH your and your friend's MBR to files.

Then DO NOT apply them, but rather zip them and post them, it's better to have a look at them before possibly making damages.

Should both harddisks be equal in size to do that?

Yes and no.

There are utilities able to replace the MBR code part keeping the DATA part intact, besides using MBRbatch, handy utilities are MBRFIX:

http://www.sysint.no/nedlasting/mbrfix.htm

and MBRWIZ:

http://mbrwizard.com/

and of course for both the above choeres a hex-editor with \\.\PhysicalDriven access can be used as well.

As I understood from Tripredacus that he tried to do something similar but it didn't work.

Yep, but that does not necessarily mean that it is impossible, only very, very improbable. :whistle:

I've read an old topic similar to mine that I found from a google search. The google LINK led me here to MSFN. Both jaclaz & Tripredacus participated and provided plenty of information to solve the topic starter's issue (he was comess or something like that). Was that problem solved?

My crystal ball is (again) in the shop for maintenance :( and through Tarots and I-Ching I seem not to be able to find the unreferenced google link. :w00t:

jaclaz

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You should use (besides checking again why beeblebrox does not work for you) HDhacker:

http://dimio.altervista.org/eng/index.html

To backup BOTH your and your friend's MBR to files.

Then DO NOT apply them, but rather zip them and post them, it's better to have a look at them before possibly making damages.

I assumed that bleeblebrox is not compatable with vista because its main page says: "Beeblebrox is a partition table editor for Windows 95/98 or NT ", no VISTA there.

I'll backup both, zip and post soon.

I've read an old topic similar to mine that I found from a google search. The google LINK led me here to MSFN. Both jaclaz & Tripredacus participated and provided plenty of information to solve the topic starter's issue (he was comess or something like that). Was that problem solved?

My crystal ball is (again) in the shop for maintenance :( and through Tarots and I-Ching I seem not to be able to find the unreferenced google link. :w00t:

jaclaz

Sorry for not referring to the google link; I was in a rush. Anyway, here it is:

http://www.msfn.org/board/index.php?showto...t=0&start=0

And his name was 'comcc' not 'comess'; sorry for that too. :rolleyes:

On my friends notebook, I captured a screenshot for Diskpart. Here it is:

post-237972-1239000634_thumb.jpg

Just like mine (excluding the additional partitions he created).

and here is the dir /s on his X:\ :

http://rapidshare.com/files/217979585/_X.txt.html

All log files in SMINST (His SMINST folder is in C:\windows not C:\ProgramFiles):

LOGS2.rar

Note: You can find also the :

Testing Drive D:\
End of IsISOPartion : 0Entering IsISOPartition
......
End of IsISOPartion : 0RP not found. Trying to mount it.
Error Execute : 2
End of FindRP : 0

In his Logs too.

Info: He already burned the recovery Disks and his RecoveryPartition is working properly as well as his F11 hotkey function.

DIR /s D:\ --> I forgot to send the file to my USBStick so I'll post it latter.

Edited by ahmad2080

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FROM HIS NOTEBOOK:

DIR /s D:\ : D.txt]

DIR /s C:\system.sav : Systemsav.txt

I want to note that I've copied all contents of :

-The D partition.

-The C:\Windows\SMINST folder.

-The -The C:\Windows\boot folder.

-The C:\boot folder

-The C:\Hp folder

-The C:\system.sav folder

Edited by ahmad2080

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This is the HP tool that (probably) destroyed my original MBR.

http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/fastFaq...;encodeUrl=true&

Don't be amazed please. I was desperate trying to make the partition appear again.

Anyway, it worked.

I'd like to note that the F11 function was working properly after installing partition magic and before using the HP tool.

So obviously it was sp34748.exe which caused all of this ( .....yes, I know. It's my fault from the beggining :blushing: )

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