Factory Restore (Windows 7 Starter) on HP Mini 110-1190LA

Hello Experts,

so I have this netbook HP Mini 110-1190 by Studio Tord Boontje PC that was shipped with Windows 7 Starter. It was working fine till last week when Windows crashed. I was able to start windows and log in after many attempts... later it would freeze again (actually this happened many times that day). My assumption, something is wrong with the system or maybe even the hard drive.

What I did to resolve the issue:
I would restart and hope for windows to log in normally and immediately go to the HP Recovery Manager. I clicked myself to system recovery (expecting to do a full Factory Restore). It all went as expected until an error popped up, something like missing file AFTER the Recovery Manager formatted the partition (or disk). I didn't do anything manually. I let the Recovery Manager "do it's thing" ...meaning: Format, copy files and later install Windows. ..the error came while copying the files!
When I restarted (had no other option after the error message popped up) I noticed I was in trouble. There was no system.

My question:
I thought there is a Hidden Recovery Partition I can still access even without a working OS on C:\ (I am pretty sure I even done this before). How can I see if there is a Recovery Partition or if this has been deleted as well? (I wouldn't expect that it has been deleted as it was the HP Recovery Manager which did the formatting. ... and it wouldn't format the same partition it is stored at, right? )

I believe I once was able to do a successful System Factory Restore on the SAME PC by hitting F11 on system boot. (also described by another user on :here) but it doesn't work now.

Do you have any suggestions? As I didn't manually delete a partition, it should technically still be there. Can you suggest a tool to see hidden partitions?

I could install a Windows 7 "fresh" copy but I don't have a license Key. The only valid Key I have for Windows 7 is printed on the back of the netbook and I believe it is intended (only) for the HP factory W7 Starter copy. (I mean it is already payed for. I don't want to purchase another W7 copy for same PC).

I could also purchase the HP Recovery USB but I don't want to invest more money into it, it is an old PC. I just want to rescue it.

PC Specs:

CPU Athlon 1.60 Ghz
250 GB HDD
Shipped with W7 Starter

Thank you for your time!

Sven BaehrAsked:
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you can see the installed partitions by booting from a BOOTIT-BM cd  - free for this task
make the cd - boot from it, do NOT install it on the disk - hit Cancel
now select partition work, you should see your partiitions
if the recovery one is still there, you can also set that partition to active (so it boots from it)

**i would make an image of the drive first, on another disk

Bootit-BM   www.terabyteunlimited.com/
Sven BaehrAuthor Commented:
Hello Nobus,

thank you very much for your time and your advice. I just DL the BOOTIT-BareMetal CD you recommended and started reading the User Guide. It often recommends doing a backup of the data and also creating a Windows Repair Disk. ...You too recommended doing an image of the drive first.

My problem is: Since I don't have a functional OS on that PC I really don't know how to backup any data. Besides The data on C:\ has already been formatted by HP Recovery Manager anyway (no probs I had backups of all personal files. I ain't missing anything.) HOWEVER the data that is important to me is the one on the Recovery Partition (My Windows 7 Starter copy) and I don't know how to even see it. I executed a Live CD from Ubuntu and the partition just won't show. As you said before, the partition must be "inactive" . (And no, there is no option on the BIOS to activate it from there).

Considering I am not missing data on C:\ .. should I move on or will I be risking the data on System Recovery partition (I presume D:\?)

I have no recovery disks (my fault) and I currently only own W8.1 and WXP on Laptops. I have no "extra" or "lab" PC to connect the drive externally and I don't want to use my main laptop for this purpose. (On my experience I might end up with two broken PC's)

Once again, thank you very much for your time and effort and sorry for the long text.

Usually you make an image of the HDD when it's hooked to a working PC - best use the sata connection (10x faster than over USB); you can use the free Paragon B&R :
***you can make a bootable cd from it also

if you don't need the data, you can pass this step, and do a factory reset rightaway
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Sven BaehrAuthor Commented:
Hello Nobus,

I appreciate your help and time. I haven't done an image the way you described because I have been trying many other things I have researched on the internet (being the main reason because I don't feel comfortable stripping a laptop or netbook. I have only dissembled PC's successfully (but long time ago).

Anyway this is what happened.

I miraculously found the rescue disks for that netbook (I knew I had a problem with that netbook before and that I created the rescue disks immediately after fixing it! I felt like a champ for being that careful)..however... while restoring I got an hp error code 0xe0ef0003. This happened while restoring from CD's and happened again while restoring from the recovery partition (yes it was still there and it was optional to restore from CD or from recovery partition).  I suspected HDD failure or corrupted recovery disks (or partition).

Giving it a last try I decided to install Windows 7 from scratch (got an ISO and thought I would buy a serial key if it works).  Thing is it worked for a day (while downloading all critical updates and drivers) . Then I got the exact same error again. Finally since I was able to start windows with W7 rescue disks I did a CHKDSK. It stopped at step 5 at 10%. It's been like this for hours. I guess it is safe to say the HDD is definitely broken.
It will work sometimes and then it would simply fail. So its not reliable.  

What would you do? Is it worth investing on a new HDD? Would you happen to know which kind of HDD I would have to look for? Any recommendations ? (i.e. Toshiba, seagate, samsung)

BTW. is Paragon B&R also available for USB? I have been looking for a GOOD software like Paragon that creates a Rescue USB for this kind of scenarios or worse. I would like to have a tool to diagnose or repair disks without investing so much time like I did this time.

Kind regards,

what i would do is run some diagnostics
best use the UBCD, as you find lower, and run extensive tests on ram and disk
these will let you decide which way to go; it can simply be a bad ram stick

 i suggest the UBCD  to run some diags first - to be sure about the basics

Hardware diagnostic CD    UBCD

go to the download page, scroll down to the mirror section, and  click on a mirror to start the download
Download the UBCD and make the cd   <<==on a WORKING PC, and boot the problem PC from it
Here 2 links, one to the general site, and a direct link to the download

since the downloaded file is an ISO file, eg ubcd527.iso - so you need to use an ISO burning tool
if you don't have that software, install cdburnerXP : http://cdburnerxp.se/

If you want also the Ram tested - run memtest86+ at least 1 full pass,  - you should have NO errors!
For disk Diagnostics run the disk diag for your disk brand (eg seagate diag for seagate drive)  from the HDD section -  long or advanced diag !  (runs at least for30 minutes)

http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/                        ultimate boot cd
http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/download.html             download page

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Sven BaehrAuthor Commented:

Hello Nobus,

I had some problems with UBCD because of an error I got after burning the ISO and booting on the affected PC.  The error I got was : "No DEFAULT or UI configuration directive found!"

I thought I downloaded a bad ISO and re-downloaded it 4 more times from different sources. Finally I decided to run it on a USB drive and it worked. Now I am running the diagnostics you suggested.
Just wanted to keep you up to date since I haven't posted anything in the past days.

Best regards,

Sven BaehrAuthor Commented:

Hello Nobus,

well my first guess of damaged HDD was right , but I only assumed it. You provided the correct advice and tools to have proof and be 100% sure. The UBCD Memtest86+ showed the RAM was okay but the comprehensive test of the Fujitsu HDD did not pass. I will attach an image of the message and the error number (which I can not remember).  

Do you think it is possible to "fix" the broken sectors or clusters and use the rest of the disk or is that not possible in this case (or probably wouldn't be a definitive solution, right?).

I have mixed feelings about what to do with this netbook. I didn't want to invest any money in it but after looking around in the market I noticed it's not THAT old to throw it in the thrash. Maybe a lightweight OS with email client and a browser for traveling(?)

I appreciate your time, effort and experts advice!

you can try HDDRegenrator trial  to ssee if it fixes the first sector; then buy it and run the complete diag   http://www.dposoft.net/hdd.html
Sven BaehrAuthor Commented:
Hello Nobus,

I am impressed by your deep level of knowledge. You certainly know the right tool for the right job!

Anyhow, I thought a small HDD for the netbook would be much cheaper and I already decided to go that way. My new problem is, that this netbook is so compact it only has a few screws and the only accessible component is the RAM modules. (Yes I have taken PCs apart before, notebooks not so many, netbooks never!)

...well I believe that will be a whole different story (and another big challenge for me), so I decided to open a new discussion on how to change the HDD for that netbook. (actually I am not sure if it is possible at all).
I just took some pictures and will post them next to the netbooks model on the coming threat. (hope you will be participating!)

Best regards,

you can always post the link here to be sure i see it!
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