Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 18
  1. #1
    Lounger
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Posts
    42
    Thanks
    2
    Thanked 7 Times in 4 Posts

    Unable to Reset Win8.1 on Asus Laptop

    Attempting to recover an Asus D550CA laptop that has been overrun with malware. Laptop came with Win8 x64 installed and was upgraded at some point to Win8.1 x64. This is my first experience with Win8 and thus far it has been Very Frustrating.

    I would prefer to wipe the hard drive and perform a clean install. Unfortunately, the owner failed to create any recovery media when the computer was first purchased.

    My first line of attack was to simply reset the OS. However, Win8 "Update and Recovery" reports that it cannot find an image for reset.

    Regrettably, the support information for this laptop at the Asus website only addresses Win7 and does not include information about Win8. Worse still, Asus does not include a recovery utility with this laptop.

    I’ve managed to extract the product key from the UEFI using ProduKey, but I’m dead-in-the-water without a recovery disk.

    Does anyone have any suggestions on how to proceed?

    Will appreciate any suggestions to extract myself from this nightmare …
    Last edited by wu_saline; 2014-08-30 at 20:40.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Durham UK
    Posts
    6,629
    Thanks
    147
    Thanked 882 Times in 844 Posts
    I believe that Windows Defender in Win 8 is auto disabled when a 3rd party AV is installed.

    As the computer is overrun with infections, let a Kaspersky Recue Disk have a look at it - it got me out of the mire when mine wouldn't boot up - although it wasn't because of an infection.

    The scan can take a while to complete so you'll just have to let it get on with it - it took ~9hrs on my Win 7 laptop http://support.kaspersky.co.uk/4162

    It doesn't mention Win 8.1 in the System Requirements although Win 8 could be a generalisation, but it has an update option in the program - but you will need to wire up for it to get an internet connection.

    I used Imgburn to create the disk http://filehippo.com/download_imgburn
    Last edited by Sudo15; 2014-08-14 at 12:35.

  3. #3
    Super Moderator
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Durham UK
    Posts
    6,629
    Thanks
    147
    Thanked 882 Times in 844 Posts
    Other than the ~44GB used in C: and the ~.12GB used in D: where you would expect to find the recovery, it doesn't look as if there is one on there and from reading the hyperlink, Asus haven't included one - but as it was upgraded from Win 8.0 - may have found a fix for you http://www.neowin.net/forum/topic/11...to-windows-81/

    This from a quick browse though, is only to refresh 8.1 and not for a clean sweep but if the system is working okay after Kaspersky, then why the need for a full reset ?

  4. #4
    Super Moderator
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Durham UK
    Posts
    6,629
    Thanks
    147
    Thanked 882 Times in 844 Posts
    Yes, I was aware that the Win 8 product keys were buried.

    I think the best thing you could do with this machine if you aren't happy that it's 100% clean would be to give it back and tell her to take it in and ask for it to be reimaged - you could always save her personal stuff for her.

    All of your hard work could otherwise be undone if she continues with her browsing habits.
    Last edited by Sudo15; 2014-08-14 at 18:58.

  5. #5
    Super Moderator
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Durham UK
    Posts
    6,629
    Thanks
    147
    Thanked 882 Times in 844 Posts
    You could always give it a robust scan with a free ESET Online Scan and if that comes back clean and the system runs okay, then you could assume the system has been disinfected.

    You don't always need to wipe and reinstall following an infection unless the files have been so badly damaged that a factory reset/reinstall is the only option.

  6. #6
    Administrator
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Portugal
    Posts
    12,519
    Thanks
    152
    Thanked 1,398 Times in 1,221 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by wu_saline View Post
    Attempting to recover an Asus D550CA laptop that has been overrun with malware. Laptop came with Win8 x64 installed and was upgraded at some point to Win8.1 x64. This is my first experience with Win8 and thus far it is Very Frustrating.

    My preference in these cases is to securely wipe the hard drive using Lenovo Secure Data Disposal and then perform a clean install. (Yes, I know SDD is not bulletproof, but it is adequate for my purposes in this case.) Unfortunately, no recovery disk was made when the computer was first purchased and the owner did not buy any recovery media.

    My first line of attack was to simply reset the OS. However, Win8 "Update and Recovery" reports that it cannot find an image for reset. FYI, here’s what the partition structure looks like (the owner swears she has not messed with the partitions as they came from the factory):

    Attachment 39345

    (Disk 1 labeled "Recovery" is a 16GB flash drive on which I stored a recovery image created with the Win8 "Update and Recovery" tool. I can't use it to restore Win8 without a Win8 disk, which is what I'm trying to find.)

    I have been unable to find INSTALL.WIM in any of the three partitions marked “recovery.” I’m betting that SOMEONE messed with restore/recovery before I got hold of the computer.

    Regrettably, the support information for this laptop at the Asus website only addresses Win7 and does not include information about Win8. Worse still, Asus does not include a recovery utility with this laptop and wants US$50 to purchase two recovery disks.

    I’ve managed to extract the product key from the UEFI using ProduKey, but I’m dead-in-the-water without a recovery disk. I don’t want to pay $50 to Asus or $100 to Microsoft for another copy of Win8.

    Does anyone have any suggestions on how to proceed? Could the recovery image be lurking somewhere else on the hard drive? If I can find the image, what tool should I use to restore it? How do I point the tool towards the image? I have Acronis True Image 2013 which can read Win7-generated disk images, but I don't know whether Acronis 2013 will work with Win8 images (assuming I can find one).

    Will appreciate any suggestions to extract myself from this nightmare …
    Any Windows 8 recovery disk will allow you to restore the image you created (if I got that part correctly), so do you know anyone running Windows 8 that can create recovery media for you?
    Rui
    -------
    R4

  7. #7
    Lounger
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Posts
    42
    Thanks
    2
    Thanked 7 Times in 4 Posts
    I was not able to obtain a Win8 .ISO image using any of the techniques linked in my earlier post. The supposedly valid "generic" Win8 license keys would not permit download of an .ISO. I suspect Microsoft has plugged the holes and made it impossible to obtain an .ISO image without a valid retail key. Not sure why they would do that to OEM customers, unless Win8 is circling the drain and Microsoft really does want you to forget Windows 8. More proof that vendors will do anything to squeeze a little extra profit out of gullible purchasers. You had better have a safety net in place before installing a major upgrade that breaks a critical part of your system. What an education this has been so far!
    Last edited by wu_saline; 2014-08-30 at 20:40.

  8. #8
    Lounger
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Posts
    42
    Thanks
    2
    Thanked 7 Times in 4 Posts
    Checking-in with updated information.

    1. The issue I am trying to fix is a known problem, fairly common, and has been around since November 2013 or perhaps earlier. Windows 8.1 Update Leaves OEM Owners With Broken Restore Function.

    2. The folks over at Brand X have beat this one to death and come up with a mind-numbing solution. Asus owners seem to be particularly afflicted.

    3. After more poking around inside the partitions, I managed to locate both INSTALL.WIM and WINRE.WIM. Not sure which versions of these images I have.

    4. My goals are (a) to get back to the factory OEM bare metal version of Win8; (b) create a proper recovery .ISO image; (c) upgrade to Win8.1; and then (d) create a proper system image with Macrium Reflect.

    I only have occasional nights and weekends to work on the problem, so the solution may be a long time coming ...

  9. #9
    Super Moderator
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Durham UK
    Posts
    6,629
    Thanks
    147
    Thanked 882 Times in 844 Posts
    Well - Good Luck

  10. #10
    Lounger
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Posts
    42
    Thanks
    2
    Thanked 7 Times in 4 Posts
    As my understanding of the issues evolves, I may have to go back and edit previous posts to reflect correct terminology and improved problem description.

    (BTW, out of impatience, I had a phone conversation with the pleasant folks at Asus, who told me they cannot, will not, and do not sell recovery media for this particular model, even at the OBSCENE price of US$50 plus US$9 shipping. If you buy an Asus product with Win8 OEM installed, fail to create recovery media, and then upgrade to Win81, you are screwed so far as the company and Microsoft are concerned. Want to perform a clean install? Buy a new copy of Windows.)

    Since I've been able to salvage various .WIM files from the hard drive, I think my issue is more one of deployment. I think I should be able to restore to bare metal using a WinPE boot disk, the recovered INSTALL.WIM, and the recovered product key.

    Now I'm concerned with how to format (is that even the correct word?) the hard drive for UEFI/GPT rather than MBR. That will be another learning curve.

    Bravely onward!

  11. #11
    Super Moderator
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Durham UK
    Posts
    6,629
    Thanks
    147
    Thanked 882 Times in 844 Posts
    I think that if this computer is working after giving it a good disinfection and that you have created a system image, that you should just let the owner get on with it and if it has any problems, then try and address this problem then - but without an ISO....

  12. #12
    Lounger
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Posts
    42
    Thanks
    2
    Thanked 7 Times in 4 Posts
    Here are the steps I'm going to follow this evening using INSTALL.WIM recovered from the old installation:

    1. WinPE: Create a Boot CD, DVD, ISO, or VHD

    http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/l.../dn293200.aspx

    2. WinPE: Boot in UEFI or legacy BIOS mode

    http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/l.../dn293283.aspx

    3. Configure UEFI/GPT-Based Hard Drive Partitions by Using Windows PE and DiskPart

    http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/l.../hh825686.aspx

    4. Installing using the MBR or GPT partition style

    http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/l.../dn336946.aspx

    5. Applying Windows, System, and Recovery Partitions by using a Deployment Script

    http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/l.../hh825089.aspx

    N.B.: I've gone back and cleaned-up or deleted earlier posts to remove inaccurate or misleading information based on what I've learned to this point.
    Last edited by wu_saline; 2014-08-30 at 20:43.

  13. #13
    Super Moderator
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Durham UK
    Posts
    6,629
    Thanks
    147
    Thanked 882 Times in 844 Posts
    Hope you are going to create a full system image first before you try all of that (which has lost me off ).

    Are these the steps you found unsuccessful to create a Win 8.0 ISO - Creating Bootable Windows 8/8.1 DVD or USB Media lower down the page in http://www.winhelp.us/non-destructiv...8-1.html#media
    Last edited by Sudo15; 2014-08-31 at 06:26.

  14. #14
    Lounger
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Posts
    42
    Thanks
    2
    Thanked 7 Times in 4 Posts
    Booyah! It worked!

    Hope you are going to create a full system image ...
    Why would I keep a system image of an untrustworthy system? This was a last-ditch effort. If it didn't work, I would have been forced to install from a new retail copy of Win8.1. I deleted every partition on the hard drive and scrubbed the disk before starting.

    Are these the steps ...
    Yes, the steps themselves are fine but the "generic product keys" are no longer accepted by Microsoft's website.

    My personal opinion is that you don't "own" a computer or its operating system until you can wipe it out and reinstall bare metal from known-good sources.

  15. #15
    Super Moderator
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Durham UK
    Posts
    6,629
    Thanks
    147
    Thanked 882 Times in 844 Posts
    Well, the system was only untrusted by you - the scans had proven the system to be clean and it's always best to have an image to fall back on - but glad you were successful

    May be a good idea to make a note of her generic product key so that you can make a bootable ISO.
    Last edited by Sudo15; 2014-08-31 at 09:22.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •