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Copy Laptop Hidden Partition


Iain
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I've been asked to look at a friend's laptop that's died. I've repaired the HD with MHDD then I backed up the data. I have installed a new HD and had hoped to reinstall the OS (XP MCE) to factory default using the recovery DVD. However, when I booted it, it whinged because the new HD doesn't contain any information!

I've done some digging around and it seems that I need to have the hidden recovery partition on the new HD.

I'm familiar with Ghost (boot floppy) but, when I examined the old HD with it, the hidden partition wasn't recognised. I attached the old HD to an XP Pro installation and the hidden partition was shown in Disk Management as 5GB (approx) FAT32.

I'm not familiar with any other imaging software. Can anyone give me recommendations (cheap, or preferably free!) about what I can use to copy the hidden partition from the old HD to the new one? I thought of cloning the whole HD (160GB) using Ghost and deleting the Data partition but my desktop is very old and it's BIOS doesn't like such a large HD.

Edited by Iain
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Why not just back up their drivers and keys and resintall everything from a windows install cd, then restore their files? Why mess with factory restores that are going to put all the crapware back on it that it shipped with?

If the other system boots normally, run Double Driver and get all their drivers backed up and then run License Crawler to get the keys for all their software including the windows install key. Backup, format, install, restore.

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Thank you digip.

I had thought about reinstalling from scratch from a standard OEM disk but there are two problems (as far as I know):

1. He needs to use a projector attached to the laptop's VGA output for presentations and also use the laptop-specific hotkeys (mute, volume, screen brightness etc.). When I looked at this functionality on a laptop previously, the necessary executables, dlls or services were only available with the manufacturer's recovery CD and not packaged with the standard OEM installation disk. I'd add that the utilities weren't available on the manufacturer's website to be applied following a standard OEM installation.

2. The OS is XP MCE and I've not been able to get hold of an original OEM installation CD. I suspect that I could download one from one of various sites but I can't be 100% sure that it would be "clean".

Edited by Iain
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Thank you digip.

I had thought about reinstalling from scratch from a standard OEM disk but there are two problems (as far as I know):

1. He needs to use a projector attached to the laptop's VGA output for presentations and also use the laptop-specific hotkeys (mute, volume, screen brightness etc.). When I looked at this functionality on a laptop previously, the necessary executables, dlls or services were only available with the manufacturer's recovery CD and not packaged with the standard OEM installation disk. I'd add that the utilities weren't available on the manufacturer's website to be applied following a standard OEM installation.

2. The OS is XP MCE and I've not been able to get hold of an original OEM installation CD. I suspect that I could download one from one of various sites but I can't be 100% sure that it would be "clean".

#1 - This is why you use DoubleDriver to backup all the drivers for the machine BEFORE wiping it. Double Driver will recover all the installed drivers, including function keys, etc.

#2 - Well, if he doesnt need the media center stuff then I would just go with XP Pro. Its the same thing as MCE minus the media center extender and media center itself. It will do everything else his original did though minus the actual media center services which to be honest, I disable on all my machines that have media center. Just extra overhead and annoyances to me anyway. Now, I'm not saying it will work, but you can try the License Crawler route and use the MCE Install Key with XP Pro. They are the same base, just the MCE is an addon to XP Pro, so the key should work with an XP Pro install. Won't however work with home edition.

Edited by digip
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Thanks digip - that's interesting. I've never come across Double Driver before and it looks a VERY useful piece of software.

As far as XP MCE is concerned, I realise that it's XP Pro with the extras but didn't know that the key will (or is likely to) work with XP Pro. I'll look into it for him because I don't think that he needs all the extras. A question that springs to mind though is about the licencing of the OS. I know that MS licencing is a very complicated matter and, whilst it would be unlikely for the "licence police" to investigate his system, I wouldn't want to do anything that would make his system illegal.

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Thanks digip - that's interesting. I've never come across Double Driver before and it looks a VERY useful piece of software.

As far as XP MCE is concerned, I realise that it's XP Pro with the extras but didn't know that the key will (or is likely to) work with XP Pro. I'll look into it for him because I don't think that he needs all the extras. A question that springs to mind though is about the licencing of the OS. I know that MS licencing is a very complicated matter and, whilst it would be unlikely for the "licence police" to investigate his system, I wouldn't want to do anything that would make his system illegal.

If his original key works, then you arent pirating anything. Its a matter of if you can recover it from the old drive(which if its still bootable, license crawler will be able to recover it) and IF the combination of an XP Pro method of install for the MCE key will work together. If they do then you should be good to go. If you get an error about the key not being valid after trying to validate or activate windows, then you might have to do the phone method of activiation using, but if it gets that far, then you should be fine.

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