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PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2012 12:28 am 
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Location: Toronto, Canada
Hello, all. (Please help!)

I have scoured this great website (and others) for answers, but have resigned myself to creating an account to solve my strange problem......

--- I simply cannot return my computer to factory state using the recovery disc(s) and my external CD DVD drive! ---

I did a system restore once before, a long time ago, and I believe at that time I used the recovery partition vice the external optical drive. The only other difference is that I just cloned my HDD to a SSD which is now installed in the computer. I DON'T see how that should affect anything, though.

The full sob story is at the bottom, but it should not make any difference to the main problem in red.

When I boot from the optical drive with the boot disc (the CD---the first recovery disc):
-- the computer goes into "Rescue and Recovery" (for a long time)
-- the computer then restarts and goes into "Windows Error Recovery"
-- I choose "Launch Startup Repair (recommended)"
-- the computer goes to "Windows Boot Manager" and gives me:
"Windows failed to start. A recent hardware or software change might be the cause. To fix the problem:
1. Insert your Windows installation disc and restart your computer.
2. Choose your language settings, and then click "Next."
3. Click "Repair your computer."
If you do not have this disc, contact your system administrator or computer manufacturer for assistance.
Status: 0xc000000f
Info: The boot selection failed because a required device is inaccessible."


I suppose I should swap the SSD out and the HDD in and try the recovery. It might work (this ridiculous tactic worked for burning recovery discs---see below). ...but that would still leave me with the question of how to do it with the SSD.

(Extra info: I found, in another thread on this board, a warning that said if you are cloning a disk drive, you should have the target drive in the main bay and the source drive connected by USB. I did my cloning backwards, with the target drive (SSD) connected by USB and the source drive in the main bay, but that was exactly as per the cloning software instructions (Intel Data Migration). If I can't think of anything else, I suppose I could try cloning it with the reverse set-up, but that would be a huge pain, and again, it would be against the cloning SW instructions.)

(Extra info: as a bonus problem, the blue "ThinkVantage" button seems to have stopping working properly. It used to present multiple options (maybe only when I was running off the HDD?), but now it just flashes up what should be the option screen too quickly to read, picks something on its own (and doesn't even seem to show more than one option), and proceeds to load Windows. Argh...)

---

I first tried doing the system recovery from the recovery partition, but that did not work. I thought that might be because the cloning software did not put the recovery partition in EXACTLY the same place on the SSD as it was on the HDD or something, so I decided to produce recovery discs and do the recovery with those instead (which should be foolproof!).

I COULD NOT produce the recovery discs from within Windows on the SSD, and after many failed attempts using the external drive, and then many attempts using virtual drives instead, on a whim I tried swapping the old HDD in. From within Windows on the HDD, it worked (why the difference I would LOVE TO KNOW!), and I now had recovery discs.

With that multi-hour battle won, I swapped the SSD back in, thinking it would be smooth sailing, but no---the recovery process will not work from the disc(s). The computer seems to be fighting me every step of the way...

This is insane... :S

By the way, I put this in the X2xx/X30x forum section because only people like me (X200 Tablet), with tablets (or other small laptops), need to futz around with external optical drives, though if there were a section for model-non-specific troubleshooting (I can't imagine why there isn't one, by the way) I would have put it there.

Thanks for reading this wall of text. I just wanted to provide all the background info I could. ...and, let's face it, vent. :)


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2012 10:39 am 
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Maybe the disk is bad? it happened to me before, but not exactly same as yours, i end up burning a new disk. What do you have ? the x200t ? Ill see if I have the boot for that.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2012 11:19 am 
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Location: Toronto, Canada
Thanks very much for looking into this.

When you say a bad disk, you mean the 1st recovery disc, right? (not the SSD, I hope!)

The burning process seemed to be fine (including verification), but I can try to burn recovery discs again. I read another post about forcing the system to let you do it again by deleting a certain file on the Q drive. I guess I will try that.

(BTW, yes, I do have an X200 Tablet.)


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2012 8:30 pm 
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Location: Toronto, Canada
Update:

I swapped the SSD out and the HDD (old) back in just to see if the recovery discs would work in that case.

...no go. The computer again failed to fully load Rescue and Recovery.

It did do something different with the HDD in than with the SSD in, though: When it did the automatic reboot, it did not throw the error (startup-repair-boot-manager-0xc000000f), but instead loaded Windows.

So, with the HDD in:
When I boot from the optical drive with the boot disc (the CD---the first recovery disc):
-- the computer goes into "Rescue and Recovery" (for a long time) (and as with the SSD in, it never fully loads it, but just stays on the splash screen)
-- the computer then restarts and goes into Windows



---


So the SSD seems to be an issue in some way, but seems not to be the reason the recovery discs are not working.

It must be either the discs themselves, or the fact that the computer is not using my external optical drive properly.

...any guesses? ...especially about possible external CD-DVD drive issues? :?


I will try to find out how to enable burning a 2nd set of recovery CDs, but if that doesn't work...then what?!?!


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2012 10:47 pm 
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Location: Toronto, Canada
Update 2:

Booting from an Ubuntu Live CD worked, so the external optical drive seems alright.

Since I'm lost (and since I could not easily find how to allow burning a 2nd set of recovery discs) I ended up ordering new recovery discs from IBM. I hope it was not a waste of 50 clams!

In any case, I would love to hear ideas about the "why??" behind all these problems.

Has no-one else had trouble recovering using an external optical drive?


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 9:03 am 
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oh since you ordered it, i was gonna iso it up and give you a download link for them


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 9:59 am 
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Try wiping the SSD first


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 10:10 pm 
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@ rsutoratosu:

Actually, if you happen to have that, that would be good! With the long week-end, my shipment is not supposed to arrive until Wednesday or Thursday.

By the way, recovery discs only work for a certain type of computer, right? Do you have an X200-Tablet-specific version?


@ richk:

Why do you think wiping the SSD would help?

I am not totally against trying, but I would like to know your reasoning. (Recovering with the original HDD in the computer won't even work.)


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 10:32 pm 
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It's a fairly common solution when encountering a restore that doesn't work as expected. Using a disk drive that does not have any remnants of a previously installed operating system will cause the recovery software to think it's working on a brand new drive. It will then take the necessary steps to partition and format it and will automatically assume that you are doing a full recovery. With a disk drive that's already partitioned and which contains the file format structure of an operational OS, it might think it's doing a "repair" installation.

I have only installed an OS from a set of recovery disks one time using an SSD (an X22 system a couple of years ago). Since it was a new drive I did not take any steps to wipe it. I would think you could use most any disk drive utility program that's able to completely erase a disk. For regular (magnetic, spinning) hard drives I start a "full erase" on it and then stop it after about 5%. That's enough to wipe out the boot track and partitioning information.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2012 11:38 pm 
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Well now THIS is interesting.

I tried to use GParted from an Ubuntu Linux (12.04LTS) Live CD to wipe the drive, and it shows NO PARTITIONS!
...and there are definitely multiple partitions on the drive, as I can boot into Windows on it.

...any idea how all partitions on a drive could be invisible to GParted?


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2012 11:50 pm 
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Well, I got the recovery discs in the mail, and they do seem to work. Disc 1 successfully boots into a Rescue and Recovery environment.

That's good, because wiping my SSD was not proving easy. (See my post immediately above.)

I did look into doing a "secure erase" of the drive, since I gather that fresh installing over a recently-secure-erased drive may yield a performance boost over fresh installing over a drive with many data on it. (something actually affecting the SSD controller...something about SSD speed being reset to 'normal', if that makes sense)
(info: http://www.overclock.net/t/1227597/how- ... ted-magic# )

Anyway, that proved difficult (again, see immediately above), so I just decided to do a system restore on the full SSD.

I just pulled the trigger on that, and I'll report back on how it goes!

(Note: Even if these pressed recovery discs do the trick, that still leaves the mystery of why my burnt discs did not!!)


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 10, 2012 10:10 am 
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sorry I got this late, is it x200 tablet version. I had times where my burn disk did not work.

So now I burn my disk, test them, make ISO of them and keep 2 copies on physical CD. just in case..


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 10, 2012 10:42 am 
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It worked!


Points to ponder, since it is still a mystery why this worked and the original recovery discs did not:

1. I used burnt back-ups of the pressed discs I was mailed.
-- so the fact that my first set of discs did not work has nothing to do with burnt vs pressed discs).

2. I did not change the computer in any way between attempts (AFAIK!).
-- I thought about updating the BIOS, but that seemed a little scary, so I went for other possible fixes first. ...and my computer might have the latest version anyway. ...and recovery discs generated on a given computer should work with that computer as-is!
-- I thought about wiping the SSD, but I could not figure out an easy way to do it. I tried with the Intel SSD Toolbox, but that only works for an SSD that is (a) not the booted drive and (b) not connected via USB-SATA adaptor...which is impossible to satisfy on a single-drive computer unless you somehow manage to run Intel SSD Toolbox while not booting from the SSD (Are you listening, Intel?). I also tried with GParted, but in that program, for some reason, the very definitely partitioned and data-filled SSD looked completely empty, unpartitioned, and unformatted (I am going to take a look again now that Windows is re-installed. I hope GParted shows the drive properly now!)


...so there seems to be something fundamentally different between the two sets of recovery discs.

If anyone has a guess as to why, please post. I'm dumbfounded. :??:

@richk: By the way, you could be right, in that using the first set of discs might have worked had I wiped the SSD. The second set of discs bulldozed right over all of the original data on the SSD, though, so the problem you described would have to be a problem only with the first set of discs. Maybe the first set of discs can 'repair' as well as do a full factory recovery, while the second set of discs are only for full factory recovery?


Last edited by RedNubAddict on Fri Aug 10, 2012 10:45 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 10, 2012 10:45 am 
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If the choice is available, always use the slowest burn speed available. I've had recovery disks fail that were burned at a high speed. Probably doesn't apply in this case though. Likely just a bad burn for some unexplainable reason.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 10, 2012 11:08 am 
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@Neil:

That is actually a very good theory. I burned the first set of discs on my external optical drive connected to my X200Tablet, and I burned copies of the second set on a different computer. Not only that, but I used different types of discs (1CD+2DVD in the first set, 2DVD for the second) and brands of DVD in each case, so there could easily have been a flaw in the first burn process that was not in the second.

The recovery disc generation utility (used for the first set) does include a disc record verification step, though, so it is still hard to believe the burning could be faulty.

Also, since the first disc in the first set of discs was a CD, the chances of me burning it at a speed higher than it was designed for are low (CD record speeds not rising as recently as DVD record speeds).

But if there is something about the recovery environment that makes discs somehow "harder" to read (more prone to errors, maybe because of using more basic optical drive drivers??), then OK, maybe it makes sense to burn everything at '1x' speed. I really don't see why an optical drive should be any more finnicky in the recovery environment than it is in the record verification step of the recovery disc burning utility, though.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 10, 2012 11:20 am 
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I can't explain why either, but it sure seems to be the case.

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