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Accessing HP Recovery Disc Files: solved

Discussion in 'HP & Compaq' started by orev, Apr 8, 2008.

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  1. orev

    orev Notebook Virtuoso

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    Many of you have had questions about how, if anything, you can access the files on the HP recovery discs, without having to go through a full recovery. Maybe you did a clean install and want to get some software you forgot to backup, or something else like that. Well, here it is:

    Before you start, please know that this is really for ADVANCED USERS ONLY, and frankly, it's kind of a pain.

    Right now you can explore the folders and copy files out of the image, and that's about it. If you're looking to be able to do a clean install using this method, it might work in a limited way and you'll have to do a LOT of modifications to the image. I have not looked into this yet, but I bet someone can figure it out.

    OK, so here's how:
    1. Download and install the free, but HUGE <a href="http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=94bb6e34-d890-4932-81a5-5b50c657de08&displaylang=en">Windows Automated Installation Kit</a> (All you really need is the 'imagex' utility and WIM driver, which is about 14MB, but it only comes as part of this 1GB download)
    2. Install the WAIK
    3. Install the WIM driver:
      1. Go to "C:\Program Files\Windows AIK\Tools"
      2. Open the folder that matches the architecture of the OS you're running
        • 32-bit = x86
        • 64-bit = amd64
      3. Right-click on the "wimfltr.inf" file and select "Install"
      4. Reboot[/li]
    4. Add the WIM tools folder to your PATH:

        [*] Right-click on "Computer", then "Properties"
        [*] Click on "Advanced system settings" in the left-hand pane
        [*] Select the "Advanced" tab, then press the button [Environment Variables...]
        [*] Under the "User variables for {username}", click on "PATH", then the [Edit] button
        [*] In the "Value" box, go to the end of the line (DO NOT DELETE ANYTHING THAT'S ALREADY THERE!) and add to the end of the line:
        &nbsp;&nbsp;;C:\Program Files\Windows AIK\Tools\x86
        Make SURE to include the semi-colon, and replace "x86" with "amd64" if you are using 64-bit Vista.
        [*] Press [OK], [OK], [OK]
    5. Insert each recovery DVD and go into the "preload" folder where you will find a bunch of "BASE#.WIM" files, where # is a number. Copy all of these files into a folder on your hard drive (also get the "BASE.WIM" file). Do this for each of the discs.
    6. Open the "Command Prompt" as Administrator and "cd" into the folder where you copied the "BASE*.WIM" files.
    7. Run the "imagex command to export the split WIM files into one big file:
      <code>imagex /export /ref *.wim base.wim 1 exported.wim "exported"</code>
    8. Wait
    9. Make a directory that will be used to mount the image:
      <code>mkdir exported</code>
    10. Mount the image:
      <code>imagex /mount exported.wim 1 exported</code>
    11. Now you can open the "exported" folder and explore all the files inside!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 29, 2015 at 3:49 PM
  2. satyre

    satyre Notebook Enthusiast

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    Hi Orev:

    I have been trying to do this for awhile. Looks like in the step #4, sub#4
    " Under the "User variables for {username}", click on "PATH",.."

    There is no PATH entry, but I see PATH entry under "system variables.."
    So, I inserted this " ;C:\Program Files\Windows AIK\Tools\x86 " under that entry to find what is going to happen.

    However at the step #5, " ...go into the "preload" folder .."

    I don't see any folder named "preload" in the recovery DVD.

    I am using my Sony recovery disk.

    I am using a PC with Vista Ultimate SP1 to do this procedure.

    Any suggestion?
     
  3. andyasselin

    andyasselin Notebook Deity

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    Here something that goies good with this gui from imagex

    http://www.autoitscript.com/gimagex/


    also am pretty sure when you install waik you do not need to install imagex fliter manual
     
  4. orev

    orev Notebook Virtuoso

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    For the PATH issue, it does not matter. You can do it systemwide or you can do it per user. You can make a new variable if it doesn't exist under USER, or just put it in SYSTEM.

    As for the "preload", you'll have to find that yourself. It may not be called "preload". You have to look around on the disc for some really big files, probably ending in .WIM, or maybe .MOD files, according to post #4 in this thread. This procedure is very vendor specific, so you'll need to get creative to adapt it for you.

    Great find!
     
  5. satyre

    satyre Notebook Enthusiast

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    I found several files *.MOD and two .WOM files that is BOOT.WIM and P1.WIM.

    Everything went smooth, but in the out put folder there is no software that I am looking for though it is listed in *.MOD files.

    Where went wrong, I have no idea.

    I used this command for MOD files.

    imagex /export /ref *.mod boot.wim 1 exported.wim "exported"

    It created the exported.wm file
    Then used this command

    imagex /mount exported.wim 1 exported

    Opened the folder, it has only the basic windows files but no softwares...

    What is that P1.wim ? I tried with P1.wim instead of Boot.wim again, but no software files in the ouput.
     
  6. v3loc1ty2.0

    v3loc1ty2.0 Multi_Booting_Master

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    thanks for the great tip orev!!!
     
  7. orev

    orev Notebook Virtuoso

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    Every vendor is different. You might have more luck in the Sony forum. One good clue will be how big each of the files are. For HP systems, there are about 10 files, each about 650MB, which makes it easy to fit on CDs or DVDs. There may be another image number in there that has more files on it.

    I would suggest reading up on imagex, and trying out that GUI utility that andyasselin mentioned.
     
  8. andyasselin

    andyasselin Notebook Deity

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    I wound say p1 image are apply after the base one with windows depend on config

    have you try just mount the p1 images?

    or do imagex /info on them? that gui can do that
     
  9. cgman

    cgman Newbie

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    I followed this verbatim and it worked perfectly, even tho it took me hours on imagex before I found the tutorial.

    My question is what or how do I create a bootable DVD without the HP crap? Is it possible? should i create a virtual machine to try out the new mounted image?

    Please help.

    cgman
     
  10. orev

    orev Notebook Virtuoso

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    There's some information on how to make a bootable DVD from the downloaded Vista files, which you can find here: http://www.mydigitallife.info/2007/05/10/how-to-make-vista-bootable-dvd-with-wim-downloaded-files/
    You may be able to figure out a technique that uses the extracted file from these WIM files instead.
     
  11. cgman

    cgman Newbie

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    Hello again,

    I've attached a sample of the directories the .wim files spit out. I am using the boot files command.com from my bootable flash drive. I guess to try and spoof it.

    I tried to create a bootable image with imgburn, but with the entire 9+GB, it creates 3 images.

    I would like to burn this to a HDD to see if it will work, but am currently unable to get it to work.

    any ideas??

    Thanks,

    cgman
     

    Attached Files:

  12. orev

    orev Notebook Virtuoso

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    I would start looking into how corporations can customize the discs (Windows Automatic Installation Kit), and once you figure that out you can try to reverse engineer the HP disc.
     
  13. simarr

    simarr Newbie

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    when u have access to the contains of the disk, can't u try to find the necessary files to make a iso for a vista clean install? :D im just hoping. i need to do a clean install on my tx2000, but i dont have any vista dvds :(
     
  14. orev

    orev Notebook Virtuoso

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    I'm sure it's possible, but some other smart person will need to figure out how to do it.
     
  15. cgman

    cgman Newbie

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    Thanks for the help, so far, OREV. This is what I am trying to do. Upon further research, it looks like WinPE is used for the vista install and all of the folders are what WinPE look for during the install.

    What is really nice is the HP didn't encrypt or count on us trying to look at the actual files and there are TONS of batch files and text files, containing information like... generic CD key for the installation.

    I still have not found anyway to get a clean install. My next step is to install vista, remove all the CRAP, and then create a bootable .iso image for the OS. I hope it works and I will post the outcome.

    Thanks

    Cgman
     
  16. cgman

    cgman Newbie

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    Thanks for the help, so far, OREV. This is what I am trying to do. Upon further research, it looks like WinPE is used for the vista install and all of the folders are what WinPE look for during the install. Also, HP us using a lot of python scripts to automate something.

    What is really nice is the HP didn't encrypt or count on us trying to look at the actual files and there are TONS of batch files and text files, containing information like... generic CD key for the installation.

    I still have not found anyway to get a clean install. My next step is to install vista, remove all the CRAP, and then create a bootable .iso image for the OS. I hope it works and I will post the outcome.

    Thanks

    Cgman
     
  17. AMJ

    AMJ Newbie

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    Hi,

    My first post on this forum, but reading the clean install topics has been very useful, thanks!

    With my dv2531ea, I have found a way to get the clean version of Vista off the recovery disk.

    When you have mounted the image, you search for a file called "baseos.wim" (just do a search - I'm afraid I've forgotten the dir name, but it looked like a load of random letters in the root of the cd ([something]\source\baseos.wim)). This wim file contains the clean Vista install. Copy this file to a flash drive and follow the instructions here (can't post a link because the forum won't let me):

    windowsnetworking.com/articles_tutorials/Deploying-Vista-Part-13-Performing-Image-Based-Deployment.html

    This will apply the wim to your hard drive.

    Hopefully you know this already, but this will delete all files and the recovery partition from your hard disk! I have tried this and it works, but the usual disclaimer applies: you must accept responsibility for anything you do that results in losing data or damaging hardware!

    This procedure installs Vista completely clean and my ethernet and WLan ports worked out-of-the-box. It's then up to you to apply video drivers, relevant updates and the HP software (extracted from those recovery disks).

    Hope this helps,
    Cheers,
    Adam
     
  18. mujjuman

    mujjuman Notebook Deity

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    hmm.... nice job Orev! Thanks!

    Looks like I have a new project on my hands ;)

    [EDIT]
    I'm trying my best btw.... using all the resources I have.
    Been few hours and no luck so far, but I still have a few tricks left.
    Btw no "baseos.wim" file....
    They wouldnt include an image of an OS install disk inside of an image of an OS recovery disk ;)
    Did I give too much info away? ;)
     
  19. AMJ

    AMJ Newbie

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    Wel, that's how it is on my recovery CD - the mouned image contains another image with the clean OS image - applying it to a newly formatted HDD was trivial.

    I'll go through the extraction again and post the path later.

    Cheers,
    Adam
     
  20. mujjuman

    mujjuman Notebook Deity

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    Thank you. Can you try and post a screenshot (and size of file)?

    You have dv2500 and I have dv9500.... the recovery disks should be really similar (besides drivers)

    I created my own wim using the wim files extracted from the recovery disks...
    All I have to do is test it (how can I without messing up my own installation?)
    I'm going to try virtual machine first... probably wont work on there since this is based off OEM (OEM-check?)

    [EDIT] - update
    I got my wim file down to just over 3GB..... from 6.29GB
    I still cant find a way to test however...
    I'm going to have to get a bit creative.
    BUt for now I am going to sleep.

    Btw, is all this worth it? I dont think so personally but its still fun, all in the name of research.

    [update 2]
    Found a way, but installation failed before showing License Agreement (probably missing it in the wim or something)
    Going to use original wim/remake wim
     
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