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How to copy Dell recovery partition

Posted on 2014-01-19
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Last Modified: 2016-11-23
Dell Inspiron N5030 with W7 Home.  The disk drive is failing but I think the recovery partition on the drive may be OK.  Is there a way for me to create a factory set of DVDs off of the recovery partition so that I can replace the drive and create a new OS?  I already have the data backed up via Carbonite so I think I'm OK there.   I've tried a W7 System Image as well as a Boot It image and neither will complete the image because of bad sectors.
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Question by:tonyadam
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Expert Comment

by:Darr247
ID: 39793374
Can you copy the factory.wim file off the recovery partition?
If so, you should be able to copy it to a same-size partition (reproducing the original path \dell\image\ on the recovery partition) on the new hard drive, then once you have any version of win7 installed (or can even boot from BartPE disc if you made one before this happened) and can see the new recovery partition, you should be able to run

imagex /apply d:\dell\image\factory.wim 1 c:

where "d:" is the drive letter of the recovery partition and "c:" is the drive where you want the factory image restored TO.

After that, if you installed a larger drive and the recovery changed the size of the main partition you should be able to boot from GParted Live and use that to expand it back to the original size.
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Author Comment

by:tonyadam
ID: 39793399
I see that there is a Recovery partition (14.65GB) via CP and Disk Management.  However, I don't know how to access the files in the partition.  While attempting to create an image with W7 System Image, the recovery partition appears to copy OK but when Sys. Img gets to the C partition, it stops with errors.  It is apparent that my bad sectors are in the C partition area.  Can someone suggest how I access the Recovery Partition to copy the .wim files?
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Accepted Solution

by:
dbrunton earned 167 total points
ID: 39793473
Probably need to take the disk out of the machine and attach it to another machine - just make sure it doesn't boot first.  Then use that machine's Explorer to access the disk and copy the right files across.
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LVL 92

Assisted Solution

by:nobus
nobus earned 167 total points
ID: 39793551
try the free paragon b&r for copying the partition :
http://www.paragon-software.com/free/                  PARAGON Free image soft

if you have troubles, you can use the rescue kit (also free) with its boot corrector tools
http://www.paragon-software.com/home/rk-express/            PARAGON Rescue Kit
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LVL 44

Assisted Solution

by:Darr247
Darr247 earned 166 total points
ID: 39794613
The simplest way is connecting it to another machine with a SATA/PATA to USB adapter.
I *think* dbrunton means attaching it directly to the drive controller of another machine (using a SATA cable or EIDE cable)... that method *does* ensure the fastest and most-reliable communication with the hard drive, but the USB adapter means you don't have to open up the other machine.

Or, try booting from SystemRescueCD and use its file recovery programs (e.g. PhotoRec) to copy the factory.wim file to the new hard drive connected to the Dell with a SATA/PATA to USB adapter.
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Author Closing Comment

by:tonyadam
ID: 39804655
All of these were good suggestions.  Ultimately, I was able to boot to the bad drive and was able to eventually get access to some of the data and simply copied it to a new drive.  I was also able to recreate the operating system on the new drive.  Therefore, even though I was not able to completely restore the data, we've retrieved enough to close this case.  Thanks to all that responded.
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