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Acer Hidden Recovery Partition

Discussion in 'Acer' started by baz999, Feb 7, 2005.

  1. darkspark88

    darkspark88 Notebook Evangelist

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    Hi,

    I made some Acer recovery CD's but have no idea how to use them. I assume you have to set the BIOS to boot from the DVD drive?

    So assuming my windows was corrupted beyond the point of booting into Vista, will all be well If I simply boot from the DVD? Does it perform the same function as the hard drive recovery (which I have tried and works) only not in the Windows environment?

    THanks. The eRecovery software is pretty nifty. It does what it says without leaving missing drivers etc... I performed it when I first got my notebook, and I claimed back around 2.5gb of space on the C:\ Drive
     
  2. MrPink

    MrPink Notebook Enthusiast

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    New guy, here. Have a problem that isn't quite the same, but it's close. I picked up an open-box Acer 5610-2273 that appeared to be normal, but isn't.

    I've discovered that whoever had this before me wiped out Acer's version of Vista and installed an regular retail version of Vista. This version has a few problems, one being that it wants to be activated. Another is the complete lack of Acer tools and drivers.

    The OTHER bad news is that this pinhead's install wiped out Acer's MBR. ALT-F10, no go. One would THINK that the geeks at Best Buy would have run across this problem before, but all they do is blink and tell me I should refund this notebook and buy another. But I don't want to.

    The restore partition is there. There are, of course, no restore discs.

    What to do?

    I've unhidden the partition with PTEDIT, but will do nothing else until I come back and see what you folks have posted.

    I have found multiple files with MBR in their names. Three versions of MBR.BIN. One is in the root, one is in the RYTOOLS directory, one is in the SYSTEM32 directory.

    I have also found an RTMBR.BIN file in the RYTOOLS folder and another one called RTMBR2.BIN in the same folder. All are 512 bytes.

    Which one of these do I install with MBRWRWIN.EXE?

    I have another week to bring the machine back without penalty- but I really want to keep it.

    Suggestions? Much appreciated, and... nice to meet ya'll!

    -Pink
     
  3. TeeJay 44

    TeeJay 44 Notebook Deity

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    If I was you I would return the machine and ask for a Brand New replacement. In a sealed box.

    Why settle for something secondhand when you paid new prices?:(
     
  4. xtrafile

    xtrafile Newbie

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    Yeah I definitely recommend that.

    I believe my laptop just went faulty with the hard drive causing nothing to boot up whatsoever except show the BIOS.

    It's still under warranty, so why not try to get something better?
     
  5. MrPink

    MrPink Notebook Enthusiast

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    But I didn't pay a brand-new price for it, I paid $269. This Acer series is on clearance at BB. And there aren't any machines in the region, (well, except for a couple of more demos, and they're missing things like keycaps. At least this machine is clean and in good condition), and there aren't any more of the better Acers in this series that aren't open-box, either.

    And I don't want to spend more money if I can help it. This was a great deal, and I bought it as a backup laptop.

    So... the problem remains. Which MBR file do I use for the restore? After I posted above, I also found a couple of more .BIN files, on the PQSERVICE partition, such as VISTAMBR.BIN and ITMBR.BIN.

    I could try them all, but I'm worried that the wrong one will make the machine unbootable, and that complicates things, because I'd have to then get other tools involved to replace the file with one of the other ones.

    Can anyone help with which one it should be?

    -Pink
     
  6. TeeJay 44

    TeeJay 44 Notebook Deity

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    Sorry, I misunderstood you. I thought you had bought a brand new machine with a secondhand feel and look...:eek:

    Post a new thread with your problems rather than bury them in this old thread. Good luck, I wish I could help more

    Regards
    Theo
     
  7. lloco73

    lloco73 Notebook Consultant

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    Hi

    can someone say here what files are in the PQservice and if they are the same that we can find in the backup dvds/cds?
    I saw in my recover dvd in folder IMAGES a file named ACERBP0X.WSI. what program open wsi files?

    br
    lloco73
     
  8. ArchiGent

    ArchiGent Newbie

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    Sorry - I'm new to all this and a real newbie!
    I haven't deleted my hidden PQSERVICE partition but somehow I've accidentally made it visible as a separate drive (PQSERVICE (F:)). Since it has become visible every time I shut down my Acer TravelMate 8200 I get an annoying message about erecovery not responding and I have to end task.
    I just want it to close down properly!
    Is there a way I can put PQSERVICE back where it came from and will this solve my problem?
    A step by step account would be greatly appreciated as I know about diddly squat about computers, DOS or whatever!
    Can some kind person help me out please?
     
  9. MulMul

    MulMul Notebook Enthusiast

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    can you explain where you get those 2 files because in my PQSERVICE partition there are more than one version of those and is that method work with new laptops with Vista Home Premium pre-installed in them?
     
  10. Evolution

    Evolution Vox Sola

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    My 5102 came with XP not vista so I know it works with XP computers, I cannot however say if it will work with notebooks that came with vista installed. I only have 1 version of each of those files, so I couldn't even begin to tell you which one of the 2 versions to use when it comes to vista sorry... :(
     
  11. lloco73

    lloco73 Notebook Consultant

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    hi

    in my backup dvd i have an iso file.I have extracted and saw various files on it

    can someone explain me what this means
    CD2D.txt
    Code:
    
    SELECT DISK 0
    SELECT PARTITION 1
    DELETE PARTITION NOERR
    SELECT PARTITION 1
    DELETE PARTITION NOERR
    CREATE PARTITION PRIMARY NOERR
    ASSIGN LETTER=D NOERR
    EXIT
    P2P3DSK.txt
    Code:
    SELECT DISK 0
    SELECT PARTITION 1
    ACTIVE 
    SELECT PARTITION 2
    DELETE PARTITION NOERR
    SELECT PARTITION 2
    DELETE PARTITION NOERR
    CREATE PARTITION PRIMARY NOERR
    SELECT PARTITION 2
    ASSIGN LETTER=T NOERR
    SELECT PARTITION 1
    ACTIVE
    EXIT
    P3P4DSK.txt
    Code:
    SELECT DISK 0
    SELECT PARTITION 3
    DELETE PARTITION NOERR
    SELECT PARTITION 3
    DELETE PARTITION NOERR
    CREATE PARTITION PRIMARY NOERR
    SELECT PARTITION 3
    ASSIGN LETTER=T NOERR
    EXIT
    Both files have a .cmd file with same name.
    On File P2P3DSK.txt and P3P4DSK.txt they assign letter=T , so what this means?

    br
    lloco73
     
  12. MulMul

    MulMul Notebook Enthusiast

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    Has anyone sucessfully restore factory default with vista, using the ALT+F10 D2D function at BIOS boot up?

    My eRecovery not working only constantly ask for password to restore but not doing anything after reboot
     
  13. lloco73

    lloco73 Notebook Consultant

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    Hi

    i deleted my PQSERVICE (but made backup dvds) No i want to restore PQService and i need to know what files do i need inside PQSERVICE beside D2D.
    I have copied D2d(basically is the content of the backup dvds) to drive and managed to Alt-F10 to work but now it appears just after hit Alt-F10 the following message:

    "This is not a bootable disk. Please insert a bootable floppy and try again"

    So i need the missing files to make it boot from hidden partition can anyone share or tell me what files are still needed?

    br
    lloco73
     
  14. MrPink

    MrPink Notebook Enthusiast

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    FIXED.

    And with no help from the outside world. Here's what the process was:

    I unhid the PQservice partition with PTEDIT32, an old freeware utility from PowerQuest (you can find it if you search. It's also available on another notebook forum if you become a member), and changed it from type 27 to 7.

    To make this work, you have to right-click the app, and choose Run As Administrator.

    This allowed me to find MBRWRWIN.EXE and the various MBR images that were in that partition. I grabbed it and RTMBR.BIN and put them on a flash drive.

    I then tried to run MBRWRWIN, and Vista would not allow it to write to the MBR (clever, clever).

    So I booted with UBCD for Windows (EVERYONE should have a copy of this!) and ran the utility from the flash drive, and rewrote RTMBR.BIN. This was a fatal error. I made a backup of the original MBR, but that was of no help. Read on...

    Everything broke. I mean, EVERYTHING. RTMBR.BIN is the WRONG MBR image for Vista machines (at least mine). Now, the partition information and MBR were completely hosed, pointers were wrong, everything. The drive is totally dead.

    Drums stop, very bad, very bad.

    I had made a backup of the MBR, but forgot to take it off of the drive. Now, I couldn't access it. Lovely. Stupid!

    It took about a day of poking around the drive with various tools to deduce the partition structure, start sectors, end sectors, etc. I was finally able to reconstruct the partition information with DISKTEST, a freeware DOS-based disk tool that gives complete control over everything. It's not a tool for the faint-of-heart. Between it and PTEDIT32, I got everything repaired.

    Now, the partition information is correct. I then ran FIXMBR via the Windows Recovery Console (remember that wonderful tool, UBCD for Windows? You need it!)

    Now, the partitions are there again. Unfortunately, the main partition has had something bad happen to it (surprise, surprise, surprise!) It won't boot, and I can't see files or folders on it. With ANYTHING. Huh. So I unhide the PQService partition with MBRWizard, and voila! Everything is there.

    Using MBRWizard, I make that partition active (bootable), and make the main partition inactive. I reboot.

    Woooo! Acer eRecovery starts! OOOO! The restore starts... and fails, with an obscure error. Huh.

    I look again at the main partition. All the low-level tools show it as the correct size, but it's reporting itself to be 1MB in size when you look at it from Windows. That's, well, ugly. So I decide that since it's hosed anyway, and it's either going to be restored from PQSERVICE or with a fresh install of something else, I format it, after hiding the PQSERVICE partition (don't want to format THAT!!) just in case.

    It formats fine, to 67 GB or whatever. To be safe, I formatted it FAT32. I unhide the PQSERVICE partition, and reboot.

    eRecover starts, runs, restores and exits. Wooohooooo!

    I then run MBRWizard again, to hide the PQService partition, make it inactive and to make the main partition active. Reboot.

    Windows Vista installs and restores. YAY! Mission accomplished.

    Here's what you need to know so that you don't experience the pain I did.

    MBRWRWIN doesn't make MBR backup images in a format that other MBR utilities can read. Stupid, but apparently true. So, what you need to do is make a backup of your MBR with something like MBRWizard BEFORE YOU DO ANYTHING. Save that backup somewhere OTHER than the HDD you are messing around with. This cannot be stressed enough. If you hose that disk, this will be your only recovery.

    This will allow you to try the various *MBR*.BIN images lying around the PQSERVICE partition. If the one you try is wrong, boot from DOS or UBCD, restore the MBR backup you made with MBRWizard, reboot and then try the next one.

    It's possible that none of them will work. If this is the case, or if you don't want to fool with MBRWRWIN and the various dangerous MBR images, then do the below.

    To do a restore when your ALT-F10 function doesn't work:

    1) Make a backup of your existing MBR with MBRWizard. And put it somewhere other than the HDD you're screwing with (duh!).

    2) Using PTEDIT32, write down every single parameter it shows for each partition, before you do anything else. If something bad happens, you'll know how to put it all back. Then, change the PQSERVICE partition to type 07 from type 27, and make it bootable by changing boot type from 00 to 80. Make the other partition not bootable by changing it from 80 to 00. Save the changes and exit.

    3) Reboot, and go to setup in BIOS to make sure D2D recovery is on (not sure that this matters in this case, but set it anyway).

    The system should boot to the PQService partition (presuming it's intact), and restore. If it doesn't, I don't know what to tell you. If it starts and then fails, try formatting the main partition FAT32 and boot again.

    4) After the restoration, use PTEDIT32 to reset the values back. PQSERVICE goes back to type 27, boot 00, main partition goes to type 07, boot 80.

    5) Use MBRWizard to hide the PQSERVICE partition. For some reason, Vista can still see the partition if all you do is change it back to type 27. Odd.

    The only problem with this method is that it does NOT re-enable the ALT-F10 function, at least in my case.

    Good luck!

    -Pink
     
  15. Raz007

    Raz007 Newbie

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    I think I've the exact same issue as you MulMul...
    My buddy just brought me back my laptop from work, so I setting it back to default using the backup I created the day I purchased it...only a few months ago now.
    I popped in the disk and rebooted, told me it was reading from RAMDRIVE, brought me a nice recovery screen that gives me a choice of multiple languages, I take english, it then tells me I should plug in my AC so I do, then it begins the long recovery to partition 2 being my C:

    Now upon going through both dvds it has me reboot, and I do. Then I get a blank black screen, no scribbles, no cursor no nothing.

    So I have no OS to work with at all now

    ALT-f10 does not work either, please help LOL

    A new development...
    Just for the sake of trying I tried F8...and it brought me up windows xp options...keeping in mind that I am using my vista premium backups....
     
  16. so-phia

    so-phia Newbie

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    hi, are you able to send the rtmbr.bin file to me also has i am also unable to locate it, also searched hidden files but found none with **mbr.bin
     
  17. MrPink

    MrPink Notebook Enthusiast

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    The image file of the MBR for your machine will not reside in the regular, visible C: drive- it's in the hidden PQSERVICE partition. You need to unhide that partition, search for the file and move it and the winwrmbr executable over to some other media. See my post above.

    Be cautioned that there may be more than one MBR image floating around in the hidden partition. There were at least 5 on my machine. ONLY ONE will be correct for your hard drive geometry. Make sure you back up your existing MBR on media other than the HDD you are messing with before you start doing anything. I suggest using MBRWizard (freeware) to do this.

    You'll also need some other means of booting the machine before you start doing this. If you mess up your MBR, the machine won't boot, and you'll have no means of undoing your new mess.

    You'll need either UBCD for Windows, or a bootable DOS CD. MBRWizard comes in both Windows and DOS versions.

    Make SURE you can boot off whatever alternative you choose before you start.

    Good luck!

    -Pink
     
  18. kollar

    kollar Newbie

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    Mr Pink
    Thanks so much for your tutorial! (the 5 steps to booting the PQService partition)
    BTW - found out how to restore the Acer MBR to make Alt-F10 work --- I installed an old version of Windows (in this case, XP -- which is what I wanted to do in the first place) onto the boot drive. [Little did I realize I overwrote the MBR when installing XP]. Using PTEDIT, I made the hidden partition type 07. Rebooted, and I could access the PQService partition in Windows Explorer. Ran the MBR execution file in that partition -- rebooted -- and voila, alt-F10 works!
    Now, I have XP loaded (which I wanted anyway), and when I increase my RAM down the road, I can load the VISTA using ALT-F10!
    Wouldn't have known where to start without your wonderful walkthru!
    Thanks again.
     
  19. shafeeqgt

    shafeeqgt Newbie

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    Hi there.Im new here and I had this problem when i wanted to boot my acer 5594WMXi from the recovery dvd and suddenly there's this msg that said "partition is not found","cannot find preload.tag for SetBoot.Ini"...I don't really know much about computers so please help me!
     
  20. Raymond Day

    Raymond Day Newbie

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    Have a "AcerPower S260" The sound messed up then the next day could not get it to reboot. Did the Alt + F10 and it restored. But then it would start to load windows for about 3 sec. then reset and go over and over doing this.

    A long time ago made a true Image backup of it. Because it had some virus's. Back then did the Alt + F10 and it worked.

    After testing this a lot found out something is wrong with the mother board. Testing a new install of Windows it would error on formating. Putting a restored True Image in would not work.

    Had a Elitegroup 741GX-M with a Sempron AMD 2200+ cpu and put it in the system. It booted windows but still had the virus's

    Rebooted to do the Alt + F10 but it would not work. Booting in Windows it wanted a Product key but the on on the side of the case did not work and a key find program did not get the same Product key on the side of the case and that one did not work ether. Said to contacted Microsoft and had to call and talked to a computer. Give it a big long number and it asked if changed the mother board and if old was defective. Said yes. That worked so it then booted in Windows. In windows it has a restore icon and ran that. When it rebooted it said something like "only for a Acer system" in red flashing text. Could not get out of that. So no way to restore it.

    But with True Image just restored the MBR and that fixed it so it booted. Hooked the hard drive up to another system and run a virus check on it. It deleted about 15 of them. Quarantined 4. Booted it up and it's working good now.

    All ready wanted to install a new windows in it using the a OEM Windows XP pro like it says it came with but the key on the side don't work or getting the key with a key scan that key don't work. I guess it's now s OEM Windows XP pro but something like a Acer OEM windows XP Pro.

    That's to bed they did not send the Windows XP pro install CD with the mother board drivers CD too. But the mother board is bad now any way.

    I would still like to get a windows CD. Have the Product key on the side of the case and some other Product key doing a read of it in Windows.

    On the 80GB hard drive it's using 1/2 of it one is 35.71GB named ACER (C:), one is 35.88 GB named ACERDATA (D:) the MBR and Track 0, PQSERVICE 2.934 GB looks like all old FAT32 types.

    I guess there is no way just to save out the Windows XP pro CD from the hard drive ha?

    -Raymond Day
     

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