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Solved: HP Recovery via base.wim file.


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02-Apr-2012, 06:33 AM #1
Post Solved: HP Recovery via base.wim file.
Now this is simply for informational purposes. It is not a question.

I work as a workshop Tech and I recently came across a rather frustrating and puzzling issue.
Now the issue was that the HDD had failed in a HP Compaq and it had to be replaced.
The COA on the bottom of the laptop had been worn off the the state it was completely unreadable (a common issue with laptops), removing the option of simply reinstalling a fresh copy of Windows.
The bad sectors and difference in size of the HDD had prevented me from being able to clone the old HDD to the new one.
After a little research, most people had suggested using recovery discs. This was not an option as there were none with the machine. Another suggestion was to purchase the recovery media from HP, this was also not an option as HP has only a limited supply of these discs for each model and as support for this machine had ended (because HP no longer supports machines out of warranty.)
Now this had left me in somewhat of a pickle. So I mulled it over for a while and a little more research eventually came across a .wim (base.wim) file in the recovery partition of the old HDD. *EDIT* The contents of the recovery partition were marked as system files, so you need to make sure the computer you are viewing the partition on is enabled to view system protected files. */EDIT*
I opened the file (using 7zip) and discovered 4 images in the file. If you are familiar with .wim files you will understand that the images are simply numbered folders (1 to 4.)
Ok so to shorten this story, these images are what HP uses to recover the OS to an OOBE (Out Of Box Experience) or Factory Settings. In my case i used image 4 as it looked the most like the original OS HDD partition.

Now, to install the image my first idea was to use the windows deployment service from my workshops server, but it didn't recognize it as an install image for some reason.
My next idea was to simply copy the image to the HDD (in my case using a WinPE, <reference to illegal software removed>) this did not work as the Boot sector was not copied.

Final solution:
What finally worked for me was to once again boot to my special USB drive (<reference to illegal software removed>) and use <reference to illegal software removed> and GImageX to "Apply" the image to the new HDD. This could also be done by attaching the HDD to another PC and using its OS and GImageX.
Now I still had the issue of the HDD not booting to the Windows Setup. This was fixed by inserting a Windows 7 installation DVD and selection "Repair Your Computer" from the second screen. This repairs the boot sector and allowed the HDD to boot into the Windows Setup that you installed on the HDD using ImageX.

Summary of Solution:

1. Either attach HDD to another PC or boot to a WinPE (Such as <reference to illegal software removed> or BartPE)
2. Use GImageX (<reference to illegal software removed>) to apply image 4 to new (empty) HDD
3. If HDD does not boot then boot to any Windows 7 install DVD
4. Select "Repair Your Computer" from second screen.
5. Allow it to repair the "Windows Setup"
6. Restart and simply follow the prompts to recover to OOBE.

Last edited by Elvandil; 03-Apr-2012 at 09:30 AM.. Reason: Small Detail Missing
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02-Apr-2012, 02:22 PM #2
Thanks, been wondering if this type of recovery on a HP was possible.

Did it install all the original HP software and drivers also?
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02-Apr-2012, 02:25 PM #3
In case you ever need obsolete HP recovery discs.

http://www.computersurgeons.com/Default.aspx
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02-Apr-2012, 02:33 PM #4
Any tips on how to build the "(<reference to illegal software removed>) and use MiniXP"

Thanks.

Last edited by Elvandil; 03-Apr-2012 at 09:30 AM..
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02-Apr-2012, 05:57 PM #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mumbodog View Post
Any tips on how to build the "(<reference to illegal software removed>) and use <reference to illegal software removed>"

Thanks.
<reference to illegal software removed> has a page on how to make the CD .iso into a bootable USB drive.
<reference to illegal software removed>
I use a USB as it is a lot easier to modify. The grub menu that comes on the disc already has the options in it to add some extra files, just by downloading them from their respective website.
I will work on making another thread on all of the modifications I have done so far and detailed instructions too.
Also thank you for the link to the recovery disc website. I had already looked at that site and i was in a rush to finish the job and as i am located in Australia, i did not want to wait for the delivery. But thank you anyway.

Last edited by Elvandil; 03-Apr-2012 at 09:31 AM..
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02-Apr-2012, 05:59 PM #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mumbodog View Post
Thanks, been wondering if this type of recovery on a HP was possible.

Did it install all the original HP software and drivers also?
Yes, the image in the .wim file was the original image that the computer booted to. Meaning it simply "reset" the computer to that state it was when was purchased. This included all drivers and HP software as well as any updates that had been applied before the image was made.
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02-Apr-2012, 06:11 PM #7
Quote:
Originally Posted by anarcist69 View Post
Yes, the image in the .wim file was the original image that the computer booted to. Meaning it simply "reset" the computer to that state it was when was purchased. This included all drivers and HP software as well as any updates that had been applied before the image was made.
Awesome, thanks so much, been trying to figure this out for too long, will be very helpful on the HP forums.

Please link back here when you get your tutorial done for the <reference to illegal software removed>.

Last edited by Elvandil; 03-Apr-2012 at 09:32 AM..
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03-Apr-2012, 12:57 AM #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mumbodog View Post
Awesome, thanks so much, been trying to figure this out for too long, will be very helpful on the HP forums.

Please link back here when you get your tutorial done for the<reference to illegal software removed>.
I will start working on the tutorial this afternoon, it may be rather lengthy and precise though as i am a little OCD like that. But it is definitely something that every techie should have, it has got me out of many sticky situations.

Last edited by Elvandil; 03-Apr-2012 at 09:32 AM..
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03-Apr-2012, 08:45 AM #9
" i am a little OCD like that. "

which is needed in tutorials. I don't know how many I have read that leave out important details.

Thanks again.
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03-Apr-2012, 09:36 AM #10
Everyone should note that this entire thread is based on the use and recommendation of illegal, pirated, and illegally registered software. For the safety of our community and for the respect of intellectual property rights that the owners most assuredly have, we can't allow such things in our forums. Please refrain from similar activities in the future.

Since this thread is not a problem that belongs in the tech forums, I have moved it to "Tips".

(Just for reference, as I have noted elsewhere, the wim file can be extracted and deployed directly to the system drive in most HP systems.)
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Last edited by Elvandil; 03-Apr-2012 at 09:42 AM..
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compaq, failed hdd, hp recovery partition, windows 7

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