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Restore the Fxx startup hotkey!


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Once upon a time there was a student lab which purchased 30 computers with vista OS, a recovery partition and with the complex Fxx hotkey for recovery at startup....

Once upon a time there was an engineer (with no experience) -no he's not me :rolleyes: -who wanted to install XP on the new computers believing that he will have a dual boot after installing XP. Of course that didn't happen. Now he has FIVE computers with XP ONLY. He installed XP on five computers in a parallel manner. He then wanted to correct his mistake by installing VISTA again. I think he reinstalled VISTA which created a new problem....the activation key.

Once upon a time there was an other engineer (from the company which the computers were bought from) who solved the VISTA problem. Now the computers have VISTA OS. He said that everything is fine except that the Fxx hotkey will not work and that we'll not be able to recover the system. He also said that he can't make it work again!!!

Once upon a time there was a MSFN user who had no doubts in the MSFN experts. He told them the story asking them to find a solution to return the startup hotkey to work again. :thumbup

I just wanted to ask: if I took the MBR, first sector of C and first sector of recovery partition (which is hidden in our case) from an untouched computer (using Hdhacker) then copy those on the "touched" computers....... will the hotkey return to normal??

Is there any other solutions?

NOTE: All computers are identical....

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In the sticky topic I was only able to burn the recovery disks. Doing a recovery from the recovery disks returned the Fxx function to work.

I don't have the recovery disk option here.

I believe that the recovery partition still exists because all the playing was in the C partition. Nobody came near to the recovery partition.

But let's say that the recovery partition was formatted, can't I copy it from the other identical computers??

This is what I need: How can I completely copy a hard disk with everything related "MBR, sectors, partition tables, ....etc." to another hard disk????

EDIT: Or you were saying that I should write my new problem as a post in the sticky one??

Edited by ahmad2080
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I understand where you are coming from Ahmad, but there will end up being too many similarities. Even though that topic was created because you couldn't make the recovery CD, others have used it because their Function key didn't work, didn't appear or they couldn't run a recovery.

When it all comes down to it, anything relating to a SoftThinks recovery partition should go into that thread, because all those abilities lead to the same thing. And that is fiddling with the MBR. So that thread is now about the MBR for those partitions, which emcompasses many of their features. However, that topic is only for SoftThinks based recovery partitions. There are other options out there, Phoenix being one example.

As far as your question regarding capturing the entire volume (including the MBR) I have found only Ghost can do it, but you need a newer one. There is one issue with that, if this is a SoftThinks recovery partition, Ghost won't capture the license string and the recovery partition may not be activated. If that ends up being the case, if you boot into the recovery, it will tell you that you do not have permission to use the feature, or a similar message.

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Ok.....I was waiting for a time that I can gather more info about the problem.....

The recovery partition has been made using Acronis true image....

I looked in "computer management" and I saw the recovery partition there safe and sound....

For the other untouched computers, it doesn't tell you to press the F11 button to start recovery....you just should know.

I've tried F11 on the computers with the mentioned issues and it didn't respond.

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He told them the story asking them to find a solution to return the startup hotkey to work again. :thumbup

In the version of the tale I remember, the "MSFN user" told a completely different story. :unsure:

In that version, he was a poor student that accidentally deleted an otherwise perfectly working Disk/partition using Partition Magic:


and he managed to "solve" the problem by finding a copy of the original bootsector from another machine:


which of course is not a solution, it is a workaround.

Same workaround (copying from an "original", "untouched", "identical" hard disk) should work as well for the whole disk/partition (as opposed to the bootsector or MBR only).

Why doesn't the "MSFN user" image the drive of one of the affected PCs "as is", tries whatever experiment he is wishing to carry on, and if it/they do not work, re-images the drive back in the previous state? (nothing to lose)


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The new bootmgr [Vista/ 7 bootloader] allows mapping custom keycodes for recovery sequences in BCD.

i didn't tried but saw it in BCD Walkthrough or in its OEM deployment guide

i dont think it is that much complex or messy . Using it we can restore the Fxx key for recovery.

Edited by Innocent Devil
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