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Recovery disc/hidden partition annoyance solved!!

 
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joshua



Joined: Thu Mar 09, 2006 7:41 pm
Posts: 68

PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2007 8:53 pm    Post subject: Recovery disc/hidden partition annoyance solved!! Reply with quote

Hi, I have an Ei systems laptop running winxp Home and Mepis dual booting with grub. I found that in rewriting the mbr grub took away the facility to reinstall windows using the f10 key and the hidden partition. I now have a small problem, In moving house I have lost the recovery CD I made on purchase. and the F10 key doesn't work to boot the hidden partition into the recovery mode. The recovery media centre won't let me make another copy of the recovery DVD. Does anyone know how to sort this out pse? Could I use Mepis to copy the hidden partition to DVD, would this work?
I have just managed to get the F10 key to work by rooting around in the murky depths of xp until I found a prog called pc angel which operated the recovery partition and in running it it has rewritten the mbr and the f10 button now works. However grub has disappeared. I shall have to read up on how to but grub somewhere else. Still unable to make another disc though, I have found this reference to the same problem
http://www.softwaretipsandtricks.com/forum/windows-xp/20069-restore-disk-2.html does anyone know if ei systems is the same as the old e machines company. It involves running a small exe file to reset something in one of the cab files. Apparently this would then alow me to make another disc one more time only. Does this fix sound feasible?
This is not an overly important problem its just that I like to figure these things out and not let the computer manufacturers beat me.


Last edited by joshua on Sat Mar 31, 2007 9:47 pm; edited 1 time in total
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jjmac
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Joined: Fri Apr 08, 2005 2:32 am
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Location: Sydney, Australia

PostPosted: Sat Feb 24, 2007 1:43 am    Post subject: RE: Recovery disc/hidden partition annoyance Reply with quote

Howdy,


Sounds like you would be better off installing grubs' 1st stage to the boot sector of the root partition that you have Mepis installed to. As long as it is within the range of the bios, all you would then need to do would be to set the Linux partition active/bootable, and then have an appropriet entry for your windows install in the /boot/grub/menu.lst file.

But then, i think that will just repeat the experiance you just had and so it probably wont be just as simple as that.

Unless there is some peculiarity about the bootstrap that XP writes.In any case, if after doing that, and setting the Linux drive bootable/active via cfdisk/fdisk, it was to again disable your F10 key, then just reseting your XP partition active would fix that.

Assuming it is the XP partition that is set active. Maybe it's the hidden partition that is really set as the boot partition, and it just jumps to that and then jumps up to XP, unless the F10 key is pressed. One way to find out, could you run ...

]# cfdisk -Pt /dev/hda

(or what ever the device name for youd drive ... sata would be sda)

And post the result ... it will show just what the partition layout is and which is actually being set as bootable. That would be a big help in visualising this.

As far as getting grub onto the Linux partition boot sector, just boot a LiveCD, to the console and rerun Grub, as such ...

example only:
------------------
]# grub
grub> root (hd0, 1)
grub> setup (hd0,1)

That would tell grub to use the secondary boot files found on the first drives second partition. That is, the /boot/grub directory is on that partition. Then it would install grubs 1st stage loader to the boot sector of the same partition.

(hd0) /dev/hda
(hd0,0) /dev/hda1
(hd0,1) /dev/hda2
(hd1) /dev/hdb

You would then need to set the table entry bootable with fdisk/cfdisk.

I suspect though, that will likely disable your F10 key again, but easily reversible by reactivating your XP partition with cfdisk/fdisk. If that is the way it eventuates, then you would have to make a copy of that linux bootsector, using 'dd', and then just copy the image made over to the root of your C: drive/partition. With a subsequent entry made for your Linux install added to your 'boot.ini' file. Which will likely be hidden unless you have enabled 'show hidden/system files' in XP.

It seems the ntldr system will invoke other OSes, but it must be able to find their respective 1st stage loaders in its' own C: drive root. And have a 'boot.ini' entry.

I haven't had the need to do that myself but a few people here have, and have posted some good discussion on the technique. So a good search around on 'boot.ini/ntldr/dual booting ntldr' etc should find those posts.

It isn't that complex, all you basically need to do is install grubs 1st stage to the Linux bootsector so that it has the appropriate mapping to its' secondary files. Copy it out from there to a file (grub-1st.img), then copy that 512 byte file over to the XP C: drives root, and then make an entry in the boot.ini file.

The only real thing to watch there would be 'dd'. Have a really good read up on the man and info pages first as it can be a very unforgiving program. Get its' input/output switches back to front and it will flatten whatever it was pointed at. Otherwise it's a gem.

Do post that cfdisk output, as it would be helpful to just see just how the layout is.

good luck


jm
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joshua



Joined: Thu Mar 09, 2006 7:41 pm
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 24, 2007 11:20 pm    Post subject: RE: Recovery disc/hidden partition annoyance Reply with quote

Thanks for the reply, i've printed it out, as being fairly new to playing about with boot sectors etc I shall have a have a session and see what I can do. I think that the f10 key system of recovery works similar to the using f2 to get into the bios it starts off a little bit of code that boots the hidden partition, which then acts just as if you had booted from a recovery CD. thanks again for the reply I will post again when I have experimented a bit.
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kilikopele
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Joined: Wed Aug 09, 2006 4:35 pm
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 25, 2007 2:41 am    Post subject: Re: Recovery disc/hidden partition annoyance Reply with quote

joshua wrote:
does anyone know if ei systems is the same as the old e machines company.


Sorry I can't help on the issue, but I can tell you that e-machines still exists. They were purchased by Gateway and now make up their "discount" line.

The recovery partition is one of those innovations I really dislike. Call me fickle, but I really like getting the actual discs for the software I install. The first thing I do if I buy a commercial machine is spend hours removing crap that I neither need or want on the machine. (AOL anyone?) Then I spend hours (on Windows machines) downloading updates. Recovering to their recovery partition means that I have to go through the exact same machinations all over again. Having the real install discs means FORMAT C: is all I need to get going again. Much preferred.
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joshua



Joined: Thu Mar 09, 2006 7:41 pm
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 25, 2007 9:43 pm    Post subject: RE: Re: Recovery disc/hidden partition annoyance Reply with quote

couldn't agree more, it is a lot of hassle If as it seems e machines is different from ei system (which I believe could be a Spanish concern I won't try the fix, knowing how fragile windows is I could end up with an entire garbled system,
I have being playing with the PCLinuxOS test and this seems to work fine and I may well just install that instead of fiddling around. Although its sort of interesting to try and get things to work even though I do end up swearing and sticking pins in my little effigy of Bill. Thanks for responding.
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joshua



Joined: Thu Mar 09, 2006 7:41 pm
Posts: 68

PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2007 9:46 pm    Post subject: RE: Re: Recovery disc/hidden partition annoyance Reply with quote

This has now been solved, well sort of. this is a bit embarrassing as I have found the recovery disc so all is now well. I for some reason (a senior moment perhaps) had stashed it in a portable washing machine we use when we go off in our motorhome during the winter. I can't believe I did such a thing.
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kilikopele
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Joined: Wed Aug 09, 2006 4:35 pm
Posts: 298

PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2007 10:56 pm    Post subject: RE: Re: Recovery disc/hidden partition annoyance Reply with quote

At least you'll be able to bring your system back to a "CLEAN" state. Smile

Get it? Clean? That's good stuff! Come on. You know you were thinking it. You're just jealous that I posted it first.
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Rhakios
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Joined: Thu Apr 07, 2005 12:18 am
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Location: Midlands, UK

PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2007 11:02 pm    Post subject: RE: Re: Recovery disc/hidden partition annoyance Reply with quote

You've been hanging around 1sf (troll) for too long Razz
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kilikopele
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Joined: Wed Aug 09, 2006 4:35 pm
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 01, 2007 12:05 am    Post subject: RE: Re: Recovery disc/hidden partition annoyance Reply with quote

Come on. Admit that you missed me during my heavy marketing season! I'm home for a while, so you can look forward to more witty banter. Smile
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Rhakios
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Location: Midlands, UK

PostPosted: Sun Apr 01, 2007 10:49 am    Post subject: Re: RE: Re: Recovery disc/hidden partition annoyance Reply with quote

kilikopele wrote:
Come on. Admit that you missed me during my heavy marketing season!


And you are ...?

Razz
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kilikopele
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 01, 2007 6:54 pm    Post subject: RE: Re: RE: Re: Recovery disc/hidden partition annoyance Reply with quote

...sobbing now.
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Rhakios
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Joined: Thu Apr 07, 2005 12:18 am
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Location: Midlands, UK

PostPosted: Sun Apr 01, 2007 10:00 pm    Post subject: RE: Re: RE: Re: Recovery disc/hidden partition annoyance Reply with quote

Oh, cheer up. It could be worse, you could have been born with delusions of lubricated fishiness.

Very Happy
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