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re-install Windows XP on Acer Travelmate 530

Posted on 2010-09-12
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Last Modified: 2013-11-17
Hi all,

I have an old Acer Travelmate 530, bought in 2003. By now, it's the kid's computer, but it's getting fairly slow and clogged up. All the kids ever do is surf the web and play games from CDs, so I'd like to format the hard drive and do a clean install or restore of the factory settings, so the box is a bit faster to boot and work with. Unfortunately, I can't find a recovery disk; I'm not even sure it came with one.

On the D drive, there's a system folder called IMAGES, and within that I find 2 files:
70ET5300.ACR -- 629,760 KB
70ET5300.002 -- 489,856 KB

I assume that these are image files with the original factory settings.

What would I need to do (after backing up my data, thank you) to wipe the C drive and restore the original XP installation? Can I create a boot disk from one of these files? If so, how? (I assume that if I re-create the original factory settings, I'll have to do a full Service Pack upgrade to get the lapper into the 21st century? That would be fine, and I'll be able to handle that.)

I'm just not sure how to go about wiping the C drive and re-creating a virgin XP install.

Any suggestions welcome.

Please note that I'm not in front of that machine during the day, so my replies upon trying out suggestions may be a bit delayed.

cheers, teylyn
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Question by:teylyn
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LVL 62

Expert Comment

by:☠ MASQ ☠
ID: 33656211
You should have eRecovery installed
See the user guide for details on how to either run the Recovery option or create a set of disks
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Author Comment

by:teylyn
ID: 33656228
I don't have eRecovery. This is New Zealand. Things here happen later than in the rest of the world. I think what this system has is the predecessor. It's called Notebook Manager, and the commands therein are limited to
- system information
- boot options
- password
- display device
- smart card
- volume control
- power scheme
- launch manager
- invilink
and
- exit  :-))

The only promising one, "boot options", just lets me change the order of
- Removable Device
- CD-ROM/DVD/ROM
- IDE Hard Drive
- Boot from LAN

and there are some Power-on Options that let me enable Fast Boot, Auto-Dim and Fan.

But no mention of Recovery.
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Expert Comment

by:☠ MASQ ☠
ID: 33656236
eRecovery runs from Windows (if it is there at all)
I thought things happened earlier in NZ?  I keep getting called at 11am on New Year's Eve by people who want to be first to wish me a Happy New Year! :)
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by:teylyn
ID: 33656248
Masq, eRecovery is not installed on that laptop. In the PDF you linked to, it says to start eRecovery via Start > All Programs > Acer > Acer eRecovery Management. I don't have that option in the Start menu.

When I browse to  C:\Program Files\Acer  all I see is Notebook Manager. Can eRecovery be downloaded and installed retrospectively? Or is there another way to get a bootable image disk or whatever I need to wipe and restore the C drive?

cheers, teylyn
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Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 33656254
I agree that probably you have a recovery partition on the PC. If you open Diskmanagement, do you see a hidden, EISA partition?

First, inside your BIOS check if you have a D2D Recovery option, and if you do, make sure it is enabled. Then, when booting, at the Acer splash screen, press Alt+F10 a couple of times. If your lucky you'll get into a recovery option from which the system can get restored.
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Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 33656263
If that doesn't work, can you tell us what other files you have on the root of D:\?
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by:teylyn
ID: 33656266
rindi, thanks for your reply.

>>If you open Diskmanagement, do you see a hidden, EISA partition?
How do I do that?

>>First, inside your BIOS check if you have a D2D Recovery option
How do I do that?

I've hit F2 during boot and see the BIOS setup utility.
- Info
- Main
- System Device
- Security
- Boot
- Exit

What and where would I want to look for to find a D2D Recovery option?

cheers, teylyn
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by:teylyn
ID: 33656289
On the root of my D drive I see these items (other than stuff that has been clearly added by me long after the laptop was first installed)

folders:
IMAGES
OTHER
PATCH
System Volume Information

files:
$.TMP
DISKTEST.TST
DONE.TAG
E
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Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 33656290
1. Right Click "My Computer", select "manage", then "Diskmanagement"

2. Hit F2 and then select "Main". Check if there is a D2D Recovery option and enable it if there is and it isn't enabled.
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by:teylyn
ID: 33656329
rindi, you're leading me to places I've never seen before.

Re disk management: Yes, indeed, there's a 8 MB partition that I did not know about. It has 3 MB free space, is FAT (whereas the other partitions of C:\ and D:\ are FAT32.

Re BIOS utility - Main: I see

- System time and date
- system memory (640 KB)  -- OMG!!
- Extended memory (511 MB)
- VGA memory (UMA = 16 MB)

- Installed O/S (WinXp)
- Quiet boot (Enabled)
- Power on display:
- LCD Auto Dim (disabled)
- F12 Boot menu (enabled)

Nothing that looks like "recovery" or "D2D"

Am I out of luck?
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Assisted Solution

by:rindi
rindi earned 250 total points
ID: 33656349
The 8MB partition is too small for this, so it looks like the PC is too old for the hidden recovery partition.

Also show what files are in the "Other" and "Patch" Folders. Download the UBCD, burn it to a CD.

http://ultimatebootcd.com
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by:teylyn
ID: 33656368
The OTHER folder is empty.

The PATCH folder has a bunch of BAT, EXE and ACR files.

1024.ACR
1400.ACR
1600.ACR
AA_LANG.EXE
AA_MODEL.EXE
AA_OS.EXE
AA_VER.EXE
ACHKCDDRM.EXE
ACKPANEL.EXE
ADEPLY.EXE
AEXTD.EXE
APAQAEX.EXE
APQIEX.EXE
BASE.BAT
DOPATCH.BAT
ENVIR.BAT
PATCH.BAT
TAG.ACR

>>Download the UBCD, burn it to a CD.

And then what do I do with that?
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Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 33656396
First within disk management set the "D" partition to active, then try booting the PC. If it boots to a recovery option, you won't need the CD, but I think there are things missing on that drive, so it probably won't boot, and then you would need the CD to set the other partition to active.
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by:teylyn
ID: 33656400
rindi,

thanks, but what CD? I don't HAVE a CD. That's my issue. I want to create a bootable CD and restore the image on the D drive to the C drive, hence restoring the factory settings. It seems that all the data I need sits in the image on the D drive. I want to wipe the C drive and restore the original factory settings. I gather, the image file is the clue. How do I do that?

I need step by step instructions, not cryptic hints to "the CD"

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by:teylyn
ID: 33656413
>>First within disk management set the "D" partition to active, then try booting the PC.

In Disk Management, trying to set the D partition to active, I see this warning message:

"This disk contains your system partition. Changing the active partition on this disk might make the disk not startable if the partition does not have valid system files. Do you want to continue?"

Frankly, I don't know what they're asking. All I see is that my computer may not boot at all if I hit OK, so I won't, unless someone can tell me what's going on here.

Again: I'm not a hardware buff. I'm pretty good at Excel, but I need much hand-holding when it comes to hardware, so be gentle, please.
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Assisted Solution

by:rindi
rindi earned 250 total points
ID: 33656478
Just make the other partition active and then try to boot.

The UBCD is a bootable CD with many tools on it. There are partition managers with which you can change the active partition back to the original one in case after doing the above you can't bootup.
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Expert Comment

by:Rant32
ID: 33656676
The image files are PowerQuest Drive Image Pro images, which are restored by using the recovery CDs. I believe you should have those. I owned a TravelMate 630 from around that era that I recovered using this method.

There is a bootable CD that can restore images directly from the harddrive, and there are CDs that have the XP OS on them (you need the first one).

Please contact Acer to see if they can supply you with the recovery disc (the part number of my disc is SD.T2305.002, seems to be generic). They should be willing to provide it for free or a reasonable fee.
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Expert Comment

by:Rant32
ID: 33656681
Try registering a helpdesk account here: http://helpdesk.acer.com.au/ and ask them if they can replace your lost or "damaged" recovery disc.
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Accepted Solution

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Grant1842 earned 125 total points
ID: 33656689
If I was you I would Download a copy of XP and use your current CD key on that laptop to put XP back on your computer.

If you have a friend that has a XP cd you can borrow that cd.

Once you get your hands on an xp cd its simple to FORMAT the the hard drive.

If you can get your hands on a CD and need help from there just post here and I will get you some detailed instructions.
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by:teylyn
ID: 33658161
Rant, thanks for your suggestion, but the issue is that I don't have the recovery CDs. If I had, I wouldn't post here. I'm kind of reluctant to pay for them

Grant, I'm starting to lean towards something like that. I found all the drivers for that laptop model on the Acer site, so I figure, I can just start with a normal Windows XP install CD (I have one that came with my current HP lapper, would that work?) install windows and get the drivers on there. Does anyone find fault with this approach:

- backup data (just a few docs the kids created, and their bookmarks/favourites)
- download Acer drivers from Acer site and store on D drive
- boot with Windows XP CD (from HP laptop)
- format C drive
- install Windows
- access drivers on D drive when required.

Re the Windows key: there is a sticker on the laptop with a license key, or something that looks like it. Or should I try one of these tools that can extract the license key of your currently installed software?

cheers, teylyn
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Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 33658231
OEM XP versions from HP will only work on HP PC's, like Dell Versions will only work with Dell. They are preactivated for the hardware they came with and you won't be able to enter the keys on your sticker. You need the original or buy a new XP version (or you could install a free Linux OS like Linux Mint).
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Expert Comment

by:☠ MASQ ☠
ID: 33658313
rindi asked earlier about trying Alt+F10 while the Acer logo comes up on the boot screen. Did anything happen?
The *.ACR files on the drive are from eRecovery so you've got the data you need - it's just getting at it!
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Author Comment

by:teylyn
ID: 33658409
Dang, there goes my plan.

Nope, Alt-F10 did not do anything.

So, how can I get the *.ACR files into a format I can use? I've hunted around on the Acer site for a d/l of the eRecovery software, but it can not be downloaded for my model, and it seems to be model specific.

Am I back at square 1?

cheers, teylyn
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Assisted Solution

by:Rant32
Rant32 earned 125 total points
ID: 33659733
My experience with re-installing a plain vanilla OEM XP on another manufacturer's system is that it will correctly install, it will accept your license key (as long as the versions match - if the key is for Pro, you obviously need to install Pro) but the OS will not activate.

In that case, I just had to call the MS activation warehouse, explain your issue (no recovery discs), and they'll happily activate Windows for you. They can tell if you have a legitimate product key.
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Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 33660547
Those *.ACR files are probably image files of partition  magic or ghost, but you would need the CD's mentioned by Rant earlier. On those CD's there should be a copy of the tool used. I can't didn't find anything that looks like any such tools on the D drive when I asked for the file list, that's why I mentioned earlier there may be things missing on that drive.

The problem is that Partition magic is ancient and not sold anymore by symantec, and if ghost was used, it may still not work to restore the images with a new version, as they may not be compatible. Also, you'd have to buy it...

So if you really can't get the CD's from Acer (the recovery CD's usually aren't expensive, but as this system is so old they might not be available anymore), a free OS would be my best recommendation. Linux Mint is a very nice and user friendly OS. Very easy to install and not really hard to get used to, even if your only history is with Windows.
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Expert Comment

by:Rant32
ID: 33660629
Correct, the CD I mentioned contains a copy of PowerQuest EasyRecovery. It boots DOS 6.2, you can try to use the regular restore application, or if that doesn't work, you can step through the boot process using F8 to eventually find PQER.EXE on the RAM drive.

To be honest, I was willing to supply this recovery CD I have, some way or another, but not without exhausting the regular support route. This CD is copyrighted. It's Acer's job to supply the replacement. I'll think about it if it's no longer available or Acer charges more than a fair amount (let's say, a few $ in shipping fees).
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Author Comment

by:teylyn
ID: 33660850
All,

there was some real good learning for me in the comments provided and I will try to award points fairly.

I've come to the conclusion that I don't really care about the Acer image and factory setting restore, as long as I can format my C drive and put Windows back onto it with my existing license key. If the Acer ballast is not included in that install, I'll actually consider that a bonus.

I've found this article http://www.howtohaven.com/system/createwindowssetupdisk.shtml and will give the method a go, unless I hear screeches of protest from any one of you in the next day or so.

Thanks for your help. With all the links and tips you provided I've done a lot of reading up and feel much better equipped to tackle the task at hand.

cheers, teylyn
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Expert Comment

by:Rant32
ID: 33660889
That's a very detailed HowTo you linked there. I wish all instructional articles were written as clear and concise as that one.

No objections here. Good luck.
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Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 33660913
That looks like a good Link and should work if the i386 folder exists on your PC.
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Author Comment

by:teylyn
ID: 33710931
Sorry about the 4 day delay to awarding the points. There seems to be a problem with splitting points right now.

Update: I successfully created a Win XP CD off the i386 folder, following the procedure in the link above, re-formatted and re-installed Windows. (Note to anyone reading this: the installer was asking for OEM<something>.cat files for activating Windows, which I had not included in the install. At first I thought I was done for, but then clicked "ignore" or some such, and it went ahead anyway. After installing, I then followed the normal procedure to activate Windows by calling the phone # supplied in the Windows Activation program - Start - All Programs - Accessories - System tools - Activation).

It took a few iterations of updates and driver installs, but now I'm running virgin XP with internet connectivity and the lapper is current with XP SP3. The biggest problem was the VGA drivers supplied by Acer, which did not work, but I downloaded a newer version from the Intel site and got it running ship-shape.

Now working with UBCD to create an image of the C: drive before I install any apps.

Thanks again for your great tips and advice.

cheers, teylyn

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