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Last post Author Topic: [SOLVED] Boot problem/s  (Read 5273 times)

tomos

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[SOLVED] Boot problem/s
« on: July 23, 2015, 02:58:05 PM »
see reply #18 for the solution. As I'm not sure exactly what went wrong, I cant be 100% sure what fixed it.
All I can say is be afraid of DELL's boot and partition management - be very afraid...

Dell Latitude E5550 Laptop:

Summary, so far...
# Windows 7 machine will boot to Windows Sartup Repair, but not further. See update below for details from Startup Repair diagnosis.
# System restore to before problem started did not help.

Update:
(taken from Reply #6)

Hiren's Linux worked:
# I got the user files off of it
# I deleted Hiberfile.sys

The machine does still boot to Windows Startup Repair, but still not any further.
I now see Startup Repair says:
-------------------------
Root cause found:
-------------------------
Boot configuration is corrupt
Result, Failed. Error Code = 0x3
-----------------------------


According to MS, the 0x3 code is:
-------------------------------------
ERROR_PATH_NOT_FOUND
3 (0x3)
The system cannot find the path specified.
-----------------------------------

There are three partitions:
# Dell Recovery
# OS
# Boot

I have one image of whole drive courtesy Aomei Backerupper -
will try restore the boot one, but too late now for me (1am here) - will have a go tomorrow.

[What broke it is another story :-/ possibly caused by trying to create an image via DOS (using Eassos Partition Guru). Something about the DELL setup and that did not work on  reboot. Or could possibly be hardware related, but I suspect not]


Original Post, some relevant details maybe...
[1] Most immediate problem:
Blue screen: I am unable to reboot; battery is not removable - this will solve itself eventually when the battery runs down - but is there any other way of forcing it?
(I've put the screen on maximum brightness to speed up that process.)

[edit]
I did try:
# pressed power button - no response; tried it for a few seconds, nothing
# tried Ctrl+Alt+Del a few times - nothing
# the machine does not seem to have any reset button
[/edit]

[2] Immediate background:
I was trying to start the machine with Hirens boot USB stick, selected the mini XP option.
Got error:
0x000000A5 (0x00000003, 0x8BE651D4, 0xC0140008, 0x494E495F)
According to MS the solution is to delete Hyberfile.sys
If the problem persists, start the computer by using the Windows CD or by using an emergency startup disk, and then delete the Hiberfil.sys file.
https://support.micr....com/en-us/kb/831691

So, if/when I can reboot, I plan to try with Hirens Linux option and delete that file (and if I'm lucky 'normal' windows will start again - but that's for another post).

Any suggestions welcome - will let you know how I get on anyways ;-)


EDIT// corrected th error code

Tom
« Last Edit: July 26, 2015, 05:08:09 AM by tomos »

MilesAhead

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Re: [Help!] Boot problem/s
« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2015, 03:15:35 PM »
You mean you hold down the Power Button and it won't shut down?  (I know.  Dumb question.  But I have to ask.)

tomos

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Re: [Help!] Boot problem/s
« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2015, 03:17:35 PM »
You mean you hold down the Power Button and it won't shut down?  (I know.  Dumb question.  But I have to ask.)

should have said that myself - no, it doesnt work:
# pressed power button - no response; tried it for a few seconds, nothing
# tried Ctrl+Alt+Del a few times - nothing
Tom

TaoPhoenix

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Re: [Help!] Boot problem/s
« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2015, 04:11:22 PM »

I thought there were command line options that forced something to reboot.

Or maybe you could do one of those updates that "forces reboot now"! : )


tomos

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Re: [Help!] Boot problem/s
« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2015, 04:28:59 PM »
^ well, with the machine not responding, any updates are going to have to wait a while :D

I thought that you got a forced reboot after a blue screen - but the circumstances are a bit unusual - it's a blue screen from Hirens boot USB / mini XP on a Windows 7 machine, that is already borked. But if I'm lucky, it might mean I inadvertently found the root problem with the OS.

[Still waiting, will probably leave it overnight and have another go in the morning]
Tom

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Re: [Help!] Boot problem/s
« Reply #5 on: July 23, 2015, 05:37:53 PM »
That is wild.  I never heard of a machine without a positive off button.  Sometimes I have to hold it down for about 7 or 8 seconds.  But it always kills the Laptop.  My sample size is rather small.  This Toshiba is the only Lappy I ever owned.  :)

tomos

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Re: [Help!] Boot problem/s
« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2015, 05:55:43 PM »
That is wild.  I never heard of a machine without a positive off button.  Sometimes I have to hold it down for about 7 or 8 seconds.  But it always kills the Laptop.  My sample size is rather small.  This Toshiba is the only Lappy I ever owned.  :)

well, the battery drained - (I'll update OP after this):

Hiren's Linux worked:
# I got the user files off of it
# I deleted Hiberfile.sys

The machine does boot to Windows Startup Repair, but not further. (A System Restore did not help.)
I now see Startup Repair says:
-------------------------
Root cause found:
-------------------------
Boot configuration is corrupt
Result, Failed. Error Code = 0x3
-----------------------------


According to MS, the 0x3 code is:
-------------------------------------
ERROR_PATH_NOT_FOUND
3 (0x3)
The system cannot find the path specified.
-----------------------------------

There are three partitions:
# Dell Recovery
# OS
# Boot

I have one image of whole drive courtesy Aomei Backerupper -
will try restore the boot one, but too late now for me (1am here) - will have a go tomorrow.

[What broke it is another story :-/ if necessary will go there tomorrow]
Tom

Shades

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Re: [Help!] Boot problem/s
« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2015, 09:23:20 PM »
Sounds like the order of the partitions got jumbled up in (parts of) the Windows configuration.

During the boot routine some hard-coded path's are used and it appears that there things go wrong.

Windows partitions are assigned a unique code that is later on translated into a drive letter. My suspicion is that here your problem starts. Suddenly all parts of the operating system are not in the location where the operating system expects them to be and a generic error code 0x3 will be served up to your screen.

Fixing this kind of errors might prove more time-consuming than re-installing or putting an image back. Laptop manufacturers have the nasty habit lately to put the recovery partition in front off the other partition. The reasoning behind this doesn't make a lick of sense to me. After all, this is the fastest part of the hard disk, which should be used for the Windows partition. After all, you will spend more time using the laptop instead of restoring the factory setup!

My guess is that they do this, so they can crank out laptops faster. Anyway, even the Windows installer gets "confused" by this on occasion.

What you could do...and this is a dangerous, possibly warranty voiding proposition:
  • Buy/borrow a USB hard disk enclosure
  • Pull the hard disk from the laptop, put it in the enclosure
  • Hook the enclosure up to a (Windows) PC
  • Install software to manage partitions on that PC
  • Start moving partitions on the disk (in the enclosure!!!), use this order: BOOT, OS, Dell recovery
  • That order of partitions never confuses!
If the above sounds like too much mumbo jumbo to you, get someone with the required skills to do it for you. 

That is what I would do, if you asked me...and I know you didn't.

Or put the image you already have back and see if your trust in Aomei Backerupper is warranted.

tomos

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Re: [Help!] Boot problem/s
« Reply #8 on: July 24, 2015, 10:17:51 AM »
Sounds like the order of the partitions got jumbled up in (parts of) the Windows configuration.
[...]
Laptop manufacturers have the nasty habit lately to put the recovery partition in front off the other partition. The reasoning behind this doesn't make a lick of sense to me. After all, this is the fastest part of the hard disk, which should be used for the Windows partition. After all, you will spend more time using the laptop instead of restoring the factory setup!
Yes,
it seems to be:
(1) Boot
(2) Recovery,
(3) OS
(3) Boot
 [edit] appears the boot partition does come first - but yes, Recovery should be at the end - or not there at all ;-) [/edit]

Or put the image you already have back and see if your trust in Aomei Backerupper is warranted.

Haven't gotten back to this yet - but planning on starting with image restore for Boot partition and see if works.
Then I could the consider the option of messing around with the partitions.
I thought I might be able to modify the partition simply via a boot USB stick but not sure what software will move the partitions - I'm wary of using Partition Guru now, unless I know what exactly caused the problem. Will research (maybe Gparted).
Tom
« Last Edit: July 25, 2015, 06:22:42 PM by tomos »

Vurbal

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Re: [Help!] Boot problem/s
« Reply #9 on: July 24, 2015, 12:34:53 PM »
Sounds like the order of the partitions got jumbled up in (parts of) the Windows configuration.

During the boot routine some hard-coded path's are used and it appears that there things go wrong.

Windows partitions are assigned a unique code that is later on translated into a drive letter. My suspicion is that here your problem starts. Suddenly all parts of the operating system are not in the location where the operating system expects them to be and a generic error code 0x3 will be served up to your screen.

Fixing this kind of errors might prove more time-consuming than re-installing or putting an image back. Laptop manufacturers have the nasty habit lately to put the recovery partition in front off the other partition. The reasoning behind this doesn't make a lick of sense to me. After all, this is the fastest part of the hard disk, which should be used for the Windows partition. After all, you will spend more time using the laptop instead of restoring the factory setup!

My guess is that they do this, so they can crank out laptops faster. Anyway, even the Windows installer gets "confused" by this on occasion.

I ran into this exact problem last year after replacing the hard drive in a Dell laptop. The restore process is supposed to hide that partition at the end of the restore process, but doesn't necessarily do so. IIRC I found a way to do it from the command line. If I get some time, I'll see if I can find the command I used.
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MilesAhead

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Re: [Help!] Boot problem/s
« Reply #10 on: July 24, 2015, 01:05:39 PM »

I ran into this exact problem last year after replacing the hard drive in a Dell laptop. The restore process is supposed to hide that partition at the end of the restore process, but doesn't necessarily do so. IIRC I found a way to do it from the command line. If I get some time, I'll see if I can find the command I used.

Probably diskpart.  Run it from an administrative command prompt(or elevated as they say these days.)

edit: This tutorial on a Vista system changes a recovery partition to show it by changing the type to 07. Supposedly 07 is visible ntfs 17 is hidden and 27 is a recovery partition.  If 17 doesn't work try 27.  :)

http://defaultreason...-disk-with-diskpart/


« Last Edit: July 24, 2015, 01:11:49 PM by MilesAhead »

Vurbal

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Re: [Help!] Boot problem/s
« Reply #11 on: July 24, 2015, 01:20:00 PM »

I ran into this exact problem last year after replacing the hard drive in a Dell laptop. The restore process is supposed to hide that partition at the end of the restore process, but doesn't necessarily do so. IIRC I found a way to do it from the command line. If I get some time, I'll see if I can find the command I used.

Probably diskpart.  Run it from an administrative command prompt(or elevated as they say these days.)

edit: This tutorial on a Vista system changes a recovery partition to show it by changing the type to 07. Supposedly 07 is visible ntfs 17 is hidden and 27 is a recovery partition.  If 17 doesn't work try 27.  :)

http://defaultreason...-disk-with-diskpart/


This was actually one of Dell's command line utilities, but yeah, DiskPart should do the job.

Apparently I did just use diskpart, at least according to what I posted here at the time.

For anyone unfortunate enough to get stuck repairing a Dell with DataSafe (a truly ironic name) backup software, I do now have a few words of advice. The first word that comes to mind is run and that's only halfway joking.

It seems someone at Dell came up with the brilliant idea of integrating half assed backup software with the Windows deployment process. Actually that's not exactly right which is really the problem. Instead of launching their proprietary tools inside the deployment process, a successful restore required me to use their tool directly so it could select the correct (original) install image rather than the DataSafe backup which just looked like it was the original.

Also, since Dell decided to leave the recovery partition accessible from Windows, when the Win7 upgrade ran it used it as the boot partition and changed it from E: to C:. That, of course, isn't nearly as problematic as the fact the upgrade obviously had to also make it the active partition. On the good side I can now definitively say I haven't forgotten how to use diskpart.

The tl;dr version goes something like this. After booting with a Windows disc I started by making the correct (OS) partition active. Next I used imagex to manually apply what various Internet sources indicated was the factory image. In reality it ended up a backup from some point which at least got me to the point DataSafe was available from the Windows repair menu. When I booted the next time I let DataSafe do another restore which applied the actual factory image.
I learned to say the pledge of allegiance
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They haven't got a word out of me since
I got a billion years probation
- The MC5

Follow the path of the unsafe, independent thinker. Expose your ideas to the danger of controversy. Speak your mind and fear less the label of ''crackpot'' than the stigma of conformity.
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It's not rocket surgery.
- Me


I recommend reading through my Bio before responding to any of my posts. It could save both of us a lot of time and frustration.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2015, 01:43:28 PM by Vurbal »

tomos

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Re: [Help!] Boot problem/s
« Reply #12 on: July 24, 2015, 04:16:16 PM »
Also, since Dell decided to leave the recovery partition accessible from Windows, when the Win7 upgrade ran it used it as the boot partition and changed it from E: to C:.

I think there's clue in there for me - I restored the Boot partition (via Aomei Backerupper) - no joy, I then restored the OS partition - still no change.
I'll have to have a look see which the active partition (and maybe restore the Recovery partition too).
Tom

tomos

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Re: [Help!] Boot problem/s
« Reply #13 on: July 25, 2015, 06:16:34 PM »
Also, since Dell decided to leave the recovery partition accessible from Windows, when the Win7 upgrade ran it used it as the boot partition and changed it from E: to C:.

I think there's clue in there for me - I restored the Boot partition (via Aomei Backerupper) - no joy, I then restored the OS partition - still no change.
I'll have to have a look see which the active partition (and maybe restore the Recovery partition too).

Okay, here's the flags for the partitions - I'm presuming (but unsure) that the OS one should be boot - what do ye think?

1st partition[noname]lba39MiB / 213 KiB used
2nd partitioonRecoveryboot
3rd partition[noname=OS][no flags]
Tom

MilesAhead

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Re: [Help!] Boot problem/s
« Reply #14 on: July 25, 2015, 06:48:40 PM »
I think OS being Boot on a single OS system is a safe bet.   :up:

Shades

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Re: [Help!] Boot problem/s
« Reply #15 on: July 25, 2015, 07:43:58 PM »
Default setting for Windows 7 is to make a 100MByte partition (on a spinning hard disk, SSD hard disks use a 350MByte partition for that same purpose) when installing on a unpartitioned disk. But if the disk already contains partitions Windows will use these however it sees fit. Anyway, if your system has such a partition, it becomes essential in the Windows boot procedure.

Not sure what to make of the first partition in your list, as I can't be exactly sure how the boot procedure on your computer was configured.

Clipboard Image.png 
This is taken from my own system. I added a 120GByte SSD hard disk to an already working PC (disk0). Afterwards I installed Windows fresh on the SSD and as you can see, there is a 350MByte partition (label: 'System Reserved'). This partition must be 'Active'. Depending on what software you use to check the partition structure of your disk, the terms 'Active' and 'Boot' are used to indicate the same thing. The Windows disk manager makes a distinction here, as you can see in the screenshot.

So I am not sure what to make of the 1st partition on your hard disk. Likely when you make the 3rd partition the boot partition your system will start working again.



 

Vurbal

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Re: [Help!] Boot problem/s
« Reply #16 on: July 25, 2015, 08:47:39 PM »
So I am not sure what to make of the 1st partition on your hard disk. Likely when you make the 3rd partition the boot partition your system will start working again.

I'm pretty sure it's part of the Dell restore crap. Not all of it, obviously, since it's not big enough. IIRC it contains the restore program, accessible through the Windows startup repair process. At least on the one I dealt with, the WIM image was actually stored on the system drive, but hidden so you wouldn't know it was there.

It's still a little fuzzy, but I'm pretty sure all I had to do at that point is set the correct partition to boot (using diskpart obviously), and it was fixed. I do remember for sure that the recovery partition was at the beginning of the drive, just because I had always seen them at the end in the past.
I learned to say the pledge of allegiance
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They haven't got a word out of me since
I got a billion years probation
- The MC5

Follow the path of the unsafe, independent thinker. Expose your ideas to the danger of controversy. Speak your mind and fear less the label of ''crackpot'' than the stigma of conformity.
- Thomas J. Watson, Sr

It's not rocket surgery.
- Me


I recommend reading through my Bio before responding to any of my posts. It could save both of us a lot of time and frustration.

tomos

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Re: [Help!] Boot problem/s
« Reply #17 on: July 26, 2015, 03:15:19 AM »
The plot thickens, and not in a good way :-(

I removed the 'boot' flag from the Recovery partition, and added it to the OS partition.

When I boot machine (with nothing connected to it), I get the message:
An operating system wasn't found. Try disconnecting any drives that don't
contain an operating system.
Press Ctrl+Alt+Del to restart.


When I try to boot via Hiren's bootable USB stick, I get the message:
BOOTMGR is missing.
Press Ctrl+Alt+Del to restart.


This is not getting any easier :-/


UPDATE:
I *am* able to boot using the System Repair boot USB - looking at the options there, I think command line is the only option to do anything specific. Any suggestions much appreciated.

Note: it is (was) a win 7 machine, only a month old :eye-roll: :-) but it came with a Windows 8 upgrade cd. I dont see the Windows key anywhere on the machine or the disc, but a new install is an option...
Tom
« Last Edit: July 26, 2015, 04:23:27 AM by tomos »

tomos

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Re: [solved] Boot problem/s
« Reply #18 on: July 26, 2015, 04:58:02 AM »
UPDATE:
I *am* able to boot using the System Recovery boot USB

turns out this should have been my first line of recovery :D
I used the first option: "Startup Repair" and it recognised the problem as 'Boot manager missing or corrupt" and IT FIXED IT!!!
 :-* :-* :-*

Note I tried this before - but not using the repair disc - the machine did already start to the Startup Repair window, which was unable to fix the boot manager - it didnt occur to me that the Startup Repair on the boot usb-stick would have any more success.
Or maybe it was now successful because I had changed the OS partition to boot flag.

The boot is definitely different to before, there was a lot of updating on restart:
"Applying update operation xxxx of 105,389 ([filename here])"

As to what exactly happened to cause the problem in the first place, I can only imagine it was a clash between Dell's weird boot & partition management, and Partition Guru not being able to restore it to previous version.

Considering my options now  8)
a) leave well enough alone
b) rip it all out and install a 'normal' Windows 7 (or 8) without a recovery partition
c) try to move the partitions around to a more logical setup (recovery to end)

a) wins for today, but I will seriously consider (b)
I might make a list of lessons learned - but that's another post too


EDITED the OP:
As I'm not sure exactly what went wrong, I cant be 100% sure what fixed it.
All I can say is be afraid of DELL's boot and partition management - be very afraid...
Tom
« Last Edit: July 26, 2015, 05:23:50 AM by tomos »

MilesAhead

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Re: [SOLVED] Boot problem/s
« Reply #19 on: July 26, 2015, 07:28:36 AM »
Congratulations.   I have pretty good experience messing with MBR.  But with W8 they changed to this UEFI and GPT jazz.  I understand it had to be changed to accommodate huge storage.  But I don't dare to do anything without a lot of reading in preparation and expendable machines to experiment with.  :)

Plus a lot of bootable utilities that worked for sure on MBR are now suspect.  Can't take anything as a given. 


Shades

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Re: [SOLVED] Boot problem/s
« Reply #20 on: July 26, 2015, 10:10:56 AM »
The new kids on the block are not nearly as stable as good old MBR...that's for sure. Faster, yes. Less limited about partition sizes, yes. But not nearly as stable...and when the proverbial sh.t hits the fan, you have way(!) bigger problems. As MilesAhead already said: Don't expect software that worked flawlessly with MBR, to work with GPT in a similar fashion.   

Personally, I try to avoid 2+ TByte hard disks for as long as I can. You can get GPT on smaller disks if you want, but it is obligatory for disks of 2+ GByte in size. And given the very bad experiences I had with 1,5 TByte and 2 TByte hard disks (I have a total of 8 of those "doorstops", none of these lasted a year and were all brand new), I'll keep to 1 TByte disks.

Besides that those disks soldier on without problems whatsoever (anecdotal, I know), the size limit does require you to think about backup strategies that you have to execute.

The lure of 3+ TByte disks is certainly there, but common sense dictates that it is never a good idea to "keep all your eggs in one basket". 

Vurbal

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Re: [SOLVED] Boot problem/s
« Reply #21 on: July 26, 2015, 01:49:57 PM »
Congratulations.   I have pretty good experience messing with MBR.  But with W8 they changed to this UEFI and GPT jazz.  I understand it had to be changed to accommodate huge storage.  But I don't dare to do anything without a lot of reading in preparation and expendable machines to experiment with.  :)

Plus a lot of bootable utilities that worked for sure on MBR are now suspect.  Can't take anything as a given. 



As I learned last year, Dell's recovery process was already suspect on MBR systems - and that's being generous. Throw in those additional variables and it's clearly a train wreck waiting to happen - at least for the average user.
I learned to say the pledge of allegiance
Before they beat me bloody down at the station
They haven't got a word out of me since
I got a billion years probation
- The MC5

Follow the path of the unsafe, independent thinker. Expose your ideas to the danger of controversy. Speak your mind and fear less the label of ''crackpot'' than the stigma of conformity.
- Thomas J. Watson, Sr

It's not rocket surgery.
- Me


I recommend reading through my Bio before responding to any of my posts. It could save both of us a lot of time and frustration.

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Re: [SOLVED] Boot problem/s
« Reply #22 on: July 26, 2015, 07:36:21 PM »
The lure of 3+ TByte disks is certainly there, but common sense dictates that it is never a good idea to "keep all your eggs in one basket".

My data loss related anxiety is in direct proportion to the capacity of the individual hard drives in a machine. 1TB is my limit. Anything above that is way out of my comfort zone and would likely keep me awake at night, until I downgrade to lower capacity drives.

And I am really glad I have never owned a consumer grade Dell that comes with any type of restore crap. All of my Dell machines have been business grade and came with real OS installation and driver disks. (no restore partitions or restore disks that wipe away all your data) An added benefit of that is no crapware bundle, or restoration of any of the original crapware the machine came with, pre-installed. In fact, it can't even restore the Dell branded wallpapers the machines originally had.  :)


tomos

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Re: [SOLVED] Boot problem/s
« Reply #23 on: July 26, 2015, 11:02:14 PM »
All of my Dell machines have been business grade and came with real OS installation and driver disks. (no restore partitions or restore disks that wipe away all your data) An added benefit of that is no crapware bundle, or restoration of any of the original crapware the machine came with, pre-installed.

this is a business grade machine :-(
Came with Windows 7 on it, and a Windows 8 CD (and no optical drive lol).
There is an option to make a factory recovery disc/usb - I'd be curious how that one installs...

No crapware is fairly true - although McAfee was included without choice in the offer, it was not actually installed.  (There's an installer wizard to install the junk and/or any software purchased with the machine.) I have read though, that this Dell backup & recovery is supposed to break Windows image restore - unless you upgrade to the paid version (cnet - that is from a year ago, so dont know if still the case).
Tom

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Re: [SOLVED] Boot problem/s
« Reply #24 on: July 27, 2015, 03:18:00 AM »
(cnet - that is from a year ago, so dont know if still the case).

Quote from: cnet
Anyone who purchased a Dell computer after the first of May and has Dell's "Basic" version will not be able to recover their computer with an Image if they have a major failure.
I wonder if Microsoft knows what Dell did to their Windows 7 Operating System?

Some OEM's have done so much worse to some previous versions of Windows, including installing their own utilities that deleted both the copy of the original setup that was copied to disk during install, as well as backups of updated files from WinME, effectively disabling a feature that would have given the user a completely updated set of installation files, after every Windows update. That naturally forced users to use the OEM's "restore" disk, which by default wiped the drive and all the user's data before reinstalling Windows and all the crapware again, essentially restoring it to whatever it was when new, and forcing them to go through the process of a gazillion Windows updates all over again. They could never do a repair install from within Windows, from a special system folder, that would have preserved their data and prevented them from having to visit Windows Update, over and over again.

This is one of the reasons why when you purchase a machine that includes an OEM version of Windows (not a retail install disk), the agreement is that the OEM will provide support for the OS and not Microsoft. Microsoft has no idea what OEMs do to their OS, specifically (although they do have some clue), and they are not willing to support the OEM's bastardized versions.