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  1. #1
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    Emergency repair disks for Windows: Part 2




    TOP STORY

    Emergency repair disks for Windows: Part 2


    By Fred Langa

    Part 1 of this two-part series told how to create a Windows repair disk that will boot a failing PC — and provides tools that might fix what ails it. Part 2 tells how to use a repair disk on all PCs — including those locked down with Win8's Secure Boot — and also gives some advanced tips and tricks.

    The full text of this column is posted at windowssecrets.com/top-story/emergency-repair-disks-for-windows-part-2 (paid content, opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.

  2. #2
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    Mr. Langa

    I tried to test my boot DVD but ran into problems,
    Following your instructions exactly....

    "The best way to find out is also the simplest:

    1)Shut down all software, exit Windows, and turn your PC completely off (i.e., a full power-off shutdown).
    2)Place your boot/repair CD/DVD into your PC's optical drive or plug the rescue drive into a USB socket.
    3)Turn your PC on."

    I could not get my optical drive to open to insert the DVD!

    What am I doing wrong?

    Dave

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by PvtBB View Post
    Mr. Langa

    I tried to test my boot DVD but ran into problems,
    Following your instructions exactly....

    "The best way to find out is also the simplest:

    1)Shut down all software, exit Windows, and turn your PC completely off (i.e., a full power-off shutdown).
    2)Place your boot/repair CD/DVD into your PC's optical drive or plug the rescue drive into a USB socket.
    3)Turn your PC on."

    I could not get my optical drive to open to insert the DVD!

    What am I doing wrong?

    Dave
    There's no point in putting the disk in first before boot if your machine is not set to boot from CD/DVD first and as the full instructions say - when you first switch on you will momentarily be presented with the options to press (usually) F2 or F12.

    F2 will take you into the BIOS where you can navigate to Boot to change the Boot order or tapping F12 as you switch on will give you a one off boot change where you would select the CD/DVD option, insert your disk then press Enter.

    If your machine is already set to boot from CD/DVD first, if you look closely at the disk drawer you will see what looks like a pin hole.

    Inserting something like a needle or straightened paperclip will mechanically open the drawer so that you can insert the disk before switching on, where you will be momentarily be presented with the option to Press any key to boot from CD/DVD.

    If you miss this then the machine will boot normally.

  4. #4
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    "as the full instructions say - when you first switch on you will momentarily be presented with the options to press (usually) F2 or F12."

    ..... or not! I have a Toshiba Satellite P755D laptop. It even has a HWSetup option to change the boot order. Except that it always boots from the hard disk. You can't access the BIOS any way at all. Some internet research led to the discovery that this laptop was one of a family of models called "Legacy Free". Oh what a marvelous way of telling you how you compare to pond scum. So, if the hard disk is broken enough to start the boot process but not enoiugh to bring up windows, you're up the creek. You can't also set up a dual boot system or boot something like the Network Security Toolkit. I have no idea what happens if you remove the hard disk entirely. That's not something I consider routine maintenance. So, I can't tell if the repair disk that I created will in fact even boot. One posting suggested that if you removed the hard disk, you could turn off the "Legacy Free" setting. I can't vouch for that.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Nolan View Post
    "as the full instructions say - when you first switch on you will momentarily be presented with the options to press (usually) F2 or F12."

    ..... or not! I have a Toshiba Satellite P755D laptop. It even has a HWSetup option to change the boot order. Except that it always boots from the hard disk. You can't access the BIOS any way at all. Some internet research led to the discovery that this laptop was one of a family of models called "Legacy Free". Oh what a marvelous way of telling you how you compare to pond scum. So, if the hard disk is broken enough to start the boot process but not enoiugh to bring up windows, you're up the creek. You can't also set up a dual boot system or boot something like the Network Security Toolkit. I have no idea what happens if you remove the hard disk entirely. That's not something I consider routine maintenance. So, I can't tell if the repair disk that I created will in fact even boot. One posting suggested that if you removed the hard disk, you could turn off the "Legacy Free" setting. I can't vouch for that.
    That's definitely bad news and certainly won't be getting one of those if I ever upgrade my Toshiba Satellite C660D and a Google for a review of any future models would seem prudent.

    Have you asked Toshiba Support about this ?

    Oh - and welcome to the forum

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    I've just used my HWSetup to change the boot order by using the scroll arrow to move the HDD to below the ODD, clicked on the ODD to highlight then Apply - OK.

    Opened the disk drive and stuck in a Win 7 bootable ISO then shutdown - closed the disk drive and switched on which briefly gave the splash screen before the prompt to Press any key to boot from CD/DVD.

    If yours doesn't do that then it must be faulty in some way and contacting Toshiba Support for advice or taking it back if still under warranty would be the way to go, as it should have some working means of recovery.

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    I'm not a techie, so this is going to be "old hat" to many readers; but might help at least 1 other person.
    I run Macrium Reflect (paid.) I had created a new rescue disk earlier this year, and tested that I could boot from it successfully.
    Macrium had subsequently applied a few patches to Reflect as time passed.
    Reading Fred's 2 articles, just for grins I decided to test my rescue disk again.

    It failed!

    I have created a new rescue disk, and again it works like a charm.

    The lesson for me is that anytime Macrium patches Reflect, I need to test my then current rescue disk to make sure it still works. Otherwise, it's time to burn a new one (and test that one too.)

    Dick

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    Not everyone may have known that who use Macrium and it's a good post as a reminder to complacency.
    Last edited by Sudo15; 2014-04-17 at 11:20.

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    I have not consulted Toshiba Support about this. Using HWSetup APPEARS to work when I change the boot order to ODD. It just won't boot from the DVD (and I tried a few). I didn't try using the Windows 7 DVD, since I am currently running Windows 7 and what I wanted to run was alternate systems like Knoppix and ultimately a System Rescue disk when my hard drive fails. So, perhaps I need to explore several avenues. And, there could be something wrong with the system itself. It's out of warranty and it's not my favorite laptop anyway. Sigh!!!

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    I've recently had two disk drives changed in this one as it wouldn't boot from any bootable disks created on here and would only boot from one other created on another Toshiba laptop.

    It will now boot with Win 7 ISOs but only gets so far before it freezes when booting with a Paragon Rescue disk.

    When I restored it with a system image following a factory reset to eliminate it being a software problem, Windows told me that I would have to boot from my Repair disk to select the restore option that way, so I know there's still something wrong but at least my Repair disk works

    Prior to having the disk drives replaced, it would read one brand of disk but show another as having 4.08GB free when it contained the same as the one it could read but not boot from.

    Perhaps you need another disk drive to get around the booting problem but it took two to get as far as I am.
    Last edited by Sudo15; 2014-04-17 at 12:24.

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    I do not have Windows 8, but to me Secure Boot is another reason to avoid it. The primary method of accessing the Settings or disabling Secure Boot would be unavailable in the circumstances where I have used the UBD4Win in the past, i.e. your computer is not in a state where you can get into Windows to change settings. I suppose that if you could override Secure Boot using a CD only it wouldn't be very secure. If I am understanding the article correctly, the only way to avoid this problem is to disable Secure Boot permanently when Windows 8 is first installed. In any event, great and helpful article as usual.

  13. #12
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    Put the disk in before you shutdown the computer. The second step is actually the first step--.

    1)Place your boot/repair CD/DVD into your PC's optical drive or plug the rescue drive into a USB socket.
    2)Shut down all software, exit Windows, and turn your PC completely off (i.e., a full power-off shutdown).
    3)Turn your PC on.
    Last edited by mlg63; 2014-04-17 at 14:44. Reason: further explanation

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    Quote Originally Posted by John Nolan View Post
    "as the full instructions say - when you first switch on you will momentarily be presented with the options to press (usually) F2 or F12."

    ..... or not! I have a Toshiba Satellite P755D laptop. It even has a HWSetup option to change the boot order. Except that it always boots from the hard disk. You can't access the BIOS any way at all. Some internet research led to the discovery that this laptop was one of a family of models called "Legacy Free". Oh what a marvelous way of telling you how you compare to pond scum. So, if the hard disk is broken enough to start the boot process but not enoiugh to bring up windows, you're up the creek. You can't also set up a dual boot system or boot something like the Network Security Toolkit. I have no idea what happens if you remove the hard disk entirely. That's not something I consider routine maintenance. So, I can't tell if the repair disk that I created will in fact even boot. One posting suggested that if you removed the hard disk, you could turn off the "Legacy Free" setting. I can't vouch for that.
    It is easier to start tapping the F12 key or whatever key you use to get to the boot menu as soon as you restart without waiting for any screen. Keep tapping until the boot menu appears or you hear a beep. That way you don't wait for any screen to appear and you don't miss the brief window. Today's fast computers don't allow much time to make the selection. Check with your computer maker for the correct key to access the boot menu. All computers have some way to start the rescue.

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    Good point about Macrum or similar tools. But I would also note that a Backup recovery "rescue" disk is not the same thing a system rescue disk. Its still a really good idea to have a rescue disc for your OS. They have a different set of tools on disk. I also have an AV rescue disk and a general utilities rescue disk.

    It's great to have a hammer but sometimes you may need pliers.

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    I can also note that some Optical disc trays will open when the system is powered off (mechanical) and some require power. You can start the system up and usually almost immediately open the tray but be warned it may close again if the boot order checks it for a disk. And there may not be time to stick in a disk before the check.

    Opening the tray before powering down is also possible but similarly some systems will automatically close the tray during shutdown.
    But you can put the disk in, then shut down. Then start up.

    As Sudo notes above, if that doesn't boot the system, then you need to check BIOS settings. On My Sony laptop, its F11 during boot to change the boot device or F2 to open the BIOS.
    The first is handy for occasional use when you don't want to slow boot times normally.

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