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Windows Xp Media Centre


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#1 Juha

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Posted 27 June 2008 - 10:25 AM

My Acer laptop came with Windows Xp Media Centre 2005 SP2 (now upgraded to SP3).

I've had it for over a year now and would like to re-install but don't have any recovery disks or OS disk. I don't know if I can just pick up any Windows Xp CD and use it to re-install. Will it be okay? Or will I need a disk which specifically says 'Windows Xp Media Centre'?

Thanks.

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#2 62blue

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Posted 27 June 2008 - 12:03 PM

No one would confuse me for a computer expert, but I'm replying here because I had to do the same thing last weekend.

If you bought your computer with Media Center already installed like mine, you'll have a D partition on the hard drive with all the XP installation files so you don't need a CD. (BTW, mine is XP Pro, not Home, but I don't know if all Media Centers are.)

When you first turn the computer on, there are a few options that appear at the bottom of the screen. One of them is <F10 System Recovery>. Hitting F10 at that point will take you through the steps to reinstall Windows without losing any data. All your old programs will still be there, but I found that they needed to be reinstalled as well since they weren't registered with the new installation of Windows. You'll also have to add all the Windows updates--there were 90 updates that I had to install.

Hope that helps.

EDIT: BTW, my computer is a desktop. Not sure if this info would apply to a laptop.

Edited by 62blue, 27 June 2008 - 12:05 PM.


#3 usasma

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Posted 28 June 2008 - 07:05 AM

I would contact Acer to see about getting a set of recovery CD's from them - it'll cost less than purchasing a new copy of XP, and will contain all the drivers that you'll need for your system also (another XP MCE 2005 CD won't have these).

Most manufacturer's will send you a set for less than $20 US (although I've heard that Toshiba will charge $40) and it will be the proper CD for your system.

Using a CD from another system requires that you match not only the OS (Pro, Home, MCE), but also that you match the license that the system was sold under (Retail, VLK, OEM, etc). The Service Pack level is also necessary due to the change in product keys between the different levels. Finally, some manufacturer's will "tattoo" their CD's so that they can only be used on that manufacturer's products.
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#4 Juha

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Posted 28 June 2008 - 03:39 PM

The laptop came pre-installed. I have the i386 folder on the C:\ Drive but now moved to D:\ for space. I read that one can re-install from this folder, which contains the installation files, but I'm not sure.

As for contacting Acer, I managed to send them an e-mail requesting for a recovery disk. I told them my laptop needs reinstallation and they replied:

It sounds like it may be advisable to perform a system recovery on your machine to rule out that the problem is a software related one. This can be initiated by pressing ALT + F10 when the computer is first switched on. You will need to hold down ALT as soon as the Acer splash screen appears, and repeatedly press F10. The window of opportunity is very small, so this may take a few attempts.

You will have 2 choices of how to run a recovery on the machine.

1. Restore System to Factory Default

This will restore the machine from the image on the hidden partition of the hard drive. If you select this option, the machine will ask you to enter a password. This will be the eRecovery password you set on the machine. If you can not remember the password, click on the "Hint" and this will display the hint you set when you set the password.

2. Restore System from CD/DVD

This will restore the machine from the CD's or DVD's you were asked to make when you first received the machine. The CD/DVD drive will automatically eject and will ask you to insert "Back-up disc 1 or the System CD".

These will return your system to factory settings and will delete everything stored on the machine. If possible we strongly advise backing up anything important on your machine before starting the recovery process.

If you are unable to complete the recovery process, please do not hesitate to contact us again, as there may be another problem with the machine.

I can't remember being asked to make any CD/DVD's when I first received the laptop. But I'll try Option 1: Restore System to Factory Default.

Will I need to back up for this one because it says:

This will restore the machine from the image on the hidden partition of the hard drive.

It doesn't say whether I should backup and I'm not sure if my files and programs will be wiped out.

Edited by Juha, 28 June 2008 - 03:41 PM.


#5 hamluis

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Posted 28 June 2008 - 04:00 PM

Well...I think I'd try Option 2 first.

Do you have an owner's manual for your system?

I'd see if I could make the restore CDs now before reverting the hard drive.

Louis

#6 Juha

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Posted 28 June 2008 - 04:24 PM

Why start with Option 2?

Actually, what is the difference between Option 1 (Restore System to Factory Default) and Option 2 (Restore System from CD/DVD)? Aren't both of them restoring to the factory settings?

Do you have an owner's manual for your system?

What is an 'owner's manual'? You mean the system manual for instructions?

I'd see if I could make the restore CDs now before reverting the hard drive.

How do I make restore CDs (of factory settings)? I've used the laptop for over a year and there is lots of junk.

Also what is this:

image on the hidden partition of the hard drive?

Is this referring to the i386 folder?

#7 Galadriel

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Posted 28 June 2008 - 04:40 PM

Why start with Option 2?

Actually, what is the difference between Option 1 (Restore System to Factory Default) and Option 2 (Restore System from CD/DVD)? Aren't both of them restoring to the factory settings?

Also what is this:

image on the hidden partition of the hard drive?

Is this referring to the i386 folder?


The difference between Option 1 and 2 is that Factory Default is exactly the way the computer was shipped out. No other programs or updates installed. Option 2 Restore CD/DVD would be using the backup made by you at your convenience. This would include any and all programs and updates installed prior to making the backup.

The hidden partition they are referring to, is not the i386 folder. It holds the backup that they made at the factory, not the installation files for the OS. The i386 folder contains the cab files and setup for Windows, nothing else.

The partition has a letter assigned. Like C: or D:. You won't see it when you browse "My Computer" because they made it hidden. But you can find it by using Disk Management. Right click on My Computer and select Manage. In the left hand pane, under Storage you should find Disk Management. This lists all partitions on the drives. Including hidden ones. The one they are referring to is likely going to be at or below 4GB.

As for making a backup now, there probably is an option somewhere in the program files for that.

Edited by Galadriel, 28 June 2008 - 04:45 PM.

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#8 hamluis

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Posted 28 June 2008 - 06:05 PM

What Galadriel said :thumbsup:.

I don't own any boxmaker (Dell, Gateway, etc.) computers and I have XP CDs for each of my systems...but I understand that boxmakers who use recovery CDs, partitions, etc....provide users with instructions on how to make Recovery CDs from the Recovery Partitions. These instructions are supposedly provided to consumers as part of the documentation accompanying purchase of system.

If you never made those disks when you initially received the system...perhaps you can make such today (which might be equivalent to a system backup).

I don't know, just think I'd find out if I had a boxmaker system.

You're quite right...restoring to Day 1 is restoring to Day 1, but that wasn't my focus.

Louis

#9 usasma

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Posted 29 June 2008 - 06:29 AM

With an Acer computer, you'll have to open the eRecovery program. Somewhere in there is the option to make recovery disks.

Here's a link to their eRecovery FAQ (a .pdf file): http://websupport.acer.com.tw/et2_tw/uploa...0-%20031606.pdf
FWIW - their web page didn't respond when I attempted to open the above link.

I did find this link: support.acer-euro.com/documents/eRecovery%20Procedure%20before%20Vista%20Upgrade.v1.doc
and it opened when I clicked on it. :thumbsup:
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#10 Juha

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Posted 03 July 2008 - 03:09 PM

I am trying to perform Option 1:

Restore System to Factory Default

This will restore the machine from the image on the hidden partition of the hard drive. If you select this option, the machine will ask you to enter a password. This will be the eRecovery password you set on the machine. If you can not remember the password, click on the "Hint" and this will display the hint you set when you set the password.

I got to the eRecovery Management through ALT + F10, and it asks for a password. Unfortunately, it looks like I set a password a year ago and I cannot remember. I tried all combinations I could think of and no luck. The utility closes after three attempts (and requires restarting), which I think is to stop an attempt to defeat it. In the quote above, Acer says there is a 'hint' somewhere but I can't locate it.

Anyway, I tried searching online for a solution. I understand that the password can be recovered from the hidden partition called PQSERVICE in a file named 'TOOLSAIMDRS.DAT'. I can see PQSERVICE is present under Disk Management. I've tried Super Fdisk and PARTEDIT32 to 'unhide' the partition. Both do not work for me. The Partition does not appear under My Computer. I tried 'disabling' the D2D Recovery in the BIOS and re-starting... and still nothing works. I cannot view the partition.

Any ideas?

Edited by Juha, 03 July 2008 - 10:35 PM.


#11 usasma

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Posted 04 July 2008 - 07:37 AM

It looks like you're gonna need the password to do this - and the rules here forbid trying to bypass/hack the password.

No subject matter will be allowed whose purpose is to defeat existing copyright or security measures.


I'd suggest contacting Acer for a set of recovery disks to reset the entire system.

This topic is closed.
My browser caused a flood of traffic, sio my IP address was banned. Hope to fix it soon. Will get back to posting as soon as Im able.

- John  (my website: http://www.carrona.org/ )**If you need a more detailed explanation, please ask for it. I have the Knack. **  If I haven't replied in 48 hours, please send me a message. My eye problems have recently increased and I'm having difficult reading posts. (23 Nov 2017)FYI - I am completely blind in the right eye and ~30% blind in the left eye.<p>If the eye problems get worse suddenly, I may not be able to respond.If that's the case and help is needed, please PM a staff member for assistance.




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