Can't access Windows 8 recovery partition to restore Windows.

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Artichoke
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Can't access Windows 8 recovery partition to restore Windows.

Post by Artichoke »

Hi guys,

I've got a Toshiba Satellite C50D-A which originally came with Windows 8 and on which I installed Linux Mint 17.2, leaving the original Toshiba recovery partitions untouched. For various reasons, I now wish to restore this machine to Windows (don't worry, this doesn't mean I'm forsaking Linux!), but I can no longer press 0 while powering up and access the recovery options. My knowledge is not extensive, but I gather this might have something to do with the way Linux overwrites the partition table? How do I get back to where I was and restore Windows?

Gparted shows the following at present:
Gparted.png
Many thanks in advance.
Terrortec
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Re: Can't access Windows 8 recovery partition to restore Windows.

Post by Terrortec »

Hello!

I don't know how exactly recovery on Toshiba notebooks is working, but I think reinstalling the Windows bootloader could help.
You would need to reboot into the advanced windows boot menu, like described here: http://www.howtogeek.com/126016/three-w ... ions-menu/. From what I see your Windows partitions are still there, so you could boot your old Windows installation. If not you would first have to create a boot menu entry for Windows in grub2.

Then you would need to open the command prompt and enter "bootrec /fixboot".
Wish you luck!
:)
Artichoke
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Re: Can't access Windows 8 recovery partition to restore Windows.

Post by Artichoke »

Dear Terrortec, thank you for your reply. However, unless I've misunderstood something, I don't believe your suggestion will work because the Windows installation is no longer there. I split the old C: partition into partitions for Linux Mint (/, /home and swap). I left all the other partitions intact, and I imagine it's a case of being able to boot from the correct one in order to restore Windows. But I don't know which one (I assume that sda7 in the gparted screenshot is the one with the actual recovery image in it), and I don't know how to do it anyway!

I've dug myself into a bit of a hole, proving that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing... :cry:
Terrortec
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Re: Can't access Windows 8 recovery partition to restore Windows.

Post by Terrortec »

Hello!

Sorry, it was my failure. I saw all those FAT and NTFS partition and was under the wrong assumption, that Windows was still residing on your hard disk, but just not bootable. But after a second look, all those partitions are too small for keeping a Windows installation.

Ok, now. Key to restoring your notebook state now, would be having an installation medium (Windows from Microsoft) or a recovery medium (created by yourself using "Toshiba Recovery Media Creator".)

For both you need a running windows installation and your Windows key.
Obviously you don't have the first one at the moment.

The way for getting a Windows installation depends on:
-Do you still have the Windows serial-key?
-If you have the key: Where does this key come from? Was it vendor supplied, did you read it from your running Windows installation?
-What Windows exactly did your notebook ship with? Was it 8 or 8.1? Was it 32 bit or 64bit?

Currently Windows 8.1 setup finally allows using Windows 8 keys from what I have read. But if you don't have the key, this would probably mean you'd have to read it from encrypted UEFI store, and this can only be done by first installing the OS the notebook first came with, which will make the OS automatically pull the key from UEFI, this giving you the possibility for grabbing the key from the running OS. It would not do this, if you start by installing 8.1 on a notebook with a Windows 8 key in UEFI. As an additional hurdle, you can't download the Windows 8 ISO directly, but just the Windows 8.1 ISO. If you really needed Windows 8 (for key reasons) you would first have to create a temporary Windows installation, for creating a Windows 8 install media from there, or you could use another Windows machine if you got access to one.
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Pierre
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Re: Can't access Windows 8 recovery partition to restore Windows.

Post by Pierre »

technically, that recovery partition is just another windows system,
and should be available from the grub boot menu
so, in a terminal, type
sudo update-grub
and if it does correctly identify that recovery partition,
then that option should now be available in the revised grub boot menu,
when you reboot the computer, next.

I've got a laptop, where this rescue partition is available in the boot menu,
and it simply overwrites the C: drive with the recovery data - yours may be different though.

But - in that screen shot above, there does not seem to be a partition,
that is big enough to be the C: drive - are you sure that you just split the existing C: drive ?.
- that is - sda8 is Huge ! & it's the /home partition for the Linux system,
and occupies the bulk of that 500Gb HDD.
Image
Please edit your original post title to include [SOLVED] - when your problem is solved!
and DO LOOK at those Unanswered Topics - - you may be able to answer some!.
rene
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Re: Can't access Windows 8 recovery partition to restore Windows.

Post by rene »

To simply being able to start the recovery with that "0" key, resetting the machine to boot in UEFI mode and disabling any sort of "fast/quick boot" setting your BIOS settings provide might be all there is to it?

Your Gparted screenshot is a little weird. sda1 is the Windows RE (Recovery Environment), sda2 the EFI system partition, sda3 the small Windows 8 "boot partition", sda7 the actual recovery partition -- and frankly I don't know what sda6 is.

sda4, sda5, sda8 and sda9 are the Linux partitions that are to be replaced by Windows again but once we'd remove this, we'd be left with TWO entries sda4 and sda5 between to be preserved entries. Do you remember if originally your drive was partitioned in a C: and D: drive? If so, then it makes sense.

If you can get it to boot the recovery but it still fails due to it not finding its expected partition layout I'd try deleting all 4 of the Linux partitions and seeing if it the recovery will recreate something by itself. If not, to recreate sda4 and sda5 both as type 7 partitions, carving up the gap between sda3 and sda6 in whichever proportions you remember. If still not, to recreate sda4 as a single type 7 partition that fills up the gap entirely.

Of course, once you delete Linux partitions, any further Linux-based adjustment will have to be made from a Live CD.
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Derek_S
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Re: Can't access Windows 8 recovery partition to restore Windows.

Post by Derek_S »

Hello Artichoke - Thanks for providing the screenshot from Gparted. I have a problem trying to figure out the purpose of one partition, /dev/sda5. It appears to have a filesystem that is not recognized by Gparted (-or- it's unformatted -or- it's encrypted). And it's flagged as "bios_grub". Why is this?

Important Question #1: Did this partition, /dev/sda5, exist before you installed Linux Mint, or did it appear after you installed Linux Mint?

I have a feeling that because it's flagged "bios_grub", it could somehow be interfering with the boot process and could possibly be preventing you from booting into Windows 8 recovery mode.

Important Question #2: When you installed Linux Mint, did you change any of your BIOS boot settings? Specifically, did you disable UEFI boot and/or enable Legacy/CSM boot?

Important Question #3: When you installed Linux Mint, did you choose /dev/sda2, the existing Windows EFI System Partition (ESP), as "the device for bootloader installation"? Or did you use the default choice of /dev/sda instead?

Please post back with the answers to those three questions. The answers will determine whether or not it is safe to delete /dev/sda5, or whether it should remain on the disk.
"When you rise in the morning, give thanks for the light, for your life, for your strength. Give thanks for your food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason to give thanks, the fault lies in yourself." - Tecumseh
rene
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Re: Can't access Windows 8 recovery partition to restore Windows.

Post by rene »

sda5 is the GRUB BIOS boot partition that it needs when booting in BIOS mode with GPT partitioned disks; the partition where it embeds its core.img. It is not going to be an original partition but will have been created during the install -- which was therefore also (likely to have been) in non-UEFI mode. As per my previous reply, setting the system back to UEFI may be all that is needed to be able to boot the recovery.
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Derek_S
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Re: Can't access Windows 8 recovery partition to restore Windows.

Post by Derek_S »

@rene - We're thinking alike and both have the same suspicions here: The OP might have created /dev/sda5 himself and might have used Legacy/CSM instead of UEFI when he installed Linux Mint. And having /dev/sda5 flagged as bios_grub might be confusing the machine's BIOS as to where it should be looking during system boot. But I'd like him to verify exactly what he did before offering any advice.
"When you rise in the morning, give thanks for the light, for your life, for your strength. Give thanks for your food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason to give thanks, the fault lies in yourself." - Tecumseh
rene
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Re: Can't access Windows 8 recovery partition to restore Windows.

Post by rene »

I don't in fact so much have suspicions. The bios-grub partition is a partition created by the Linux installation since that is what it does when installed in BIOS mode onto a GPT disk. Certainly moreover, the BIOS does not concern itself at all with said partition; it's only GRUB MBR code that does.

If I seem to reply in unfriendly tone; don't worry, it's nothing technical, only personal. I find it "interesting" to see someone add a racial remark by one of Adolf Hitler's biggest sources of racial inspiration to the footer of his posts (and quite possibly this comment rather than your footer will be censored on this forum -- in which case you clearly should certainly not mind my tone).
Artichoke
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Re: Can't access Windows 8 recovery partition to restore Windows.

Post by Artichoke »

Hi guys,

Thank you so much for the answers so far. Please bear in mind that I'm only a dabbler, and I struggle with anything that's too technically abstruse. First up though, to answer Derek's questions:

Important Question #1: Did this partition, /dev/sda5, exist before you installed Linux Mint, or did it appear after you installed Linux Mint? I'm trying to delve back 3 years into my porous memory, but I think it appeared after the installation.

Important Question #2: When you installed Linux Mint, did you change any of your BIOS boot settings? Specifically, did you disable UEFI boot and/or enable Legacy/CSM boot? Not that I recall. At most I would have just had to persuade it to boot from the Mint USB stick.

Important Question #3: When you installed Linux Mint, did you choose /dev/sda2, the existing Windows EFI System Partition (ESP), as "the device for bootloader installation"? Or did you use the default choice of /dev/sda instead? Not knowing any better, I would have just left at the default.

To clear up some other matters, there was only a C: drive. During the Mint installation all I did was carve it up into three Linux partitions (the same /, /home and swap partitions I always use). Everything else, with the possible exception of that sda5, were already there in the Toshiba factory installation. The machine originally came with Windows 8, 32-bit I think. I upgraded it to 8.1, and then gave up on that dreadful OS and switched it to LInux, not realising that I had cut off access to the recovery partition. I thought if I needed to switch it back to Windows I'd only need to power+0 and I'd be away laughing.

I no longer have, in fact I think I never had, the Windows key, else I'd solve all this by just obliterating everything the hard drive and installing from Windows 8 media and using the key. Toshiba aren't even so good as to give you a little card with the Windows key on it or anything like that - I've just about torn the old box and documentation apart trying to find something.
rene
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Re: Can't access Windows 8 recovery partition to restore Windows.

Post by rene »

There's a manual available for your system at http://www.manualslib.com/manual/551765 ... e-C50.html.

Can you also no longer enter the BIOS settings with F2 during startup? If you can, can and has it been set to non-UEFI mode?

[EDIT] as per pg. 5-14, Advanced -> System Configuration -> Boot Mode -> UEFI Boot. In the next section about restoring from the hardrive that advice is not explicitly given but worth a try I'd say; "0" may start working.
Terrortec
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Re: Can't access Windows 8 recovery partition to restore Windows.

Post by Terrortec »

Artichoke wrote: I no longer have, in fact I think I never had, the Windows key, else I'd solve all this by just obliterating everything the hard drive and installing from Windows 8 media and using the key. Toshiba aren't even so good as to give you a little card with the Windows key on it or anything like that - I've just about torn the old box and documentation apart trying to find something.
Hello!

Ok, so your first mission is to get a working Windows key. It probably would be easiest to achieve, by using the recovery Windows.
As for restoring the recovery you need the Toshiba Recovery Media, and for creating the Toshiba Recovery Media you need a working Windows system, I suggest that you start with downloading the Windows 81 ISO from here: https://www.google.de/url?sa=t&rct=j&q= ... de9793e98g

You need to burn this ISO to a DVD and boot your notebook from it (enable the optical drive as first in boot order in your bios).
Windows 8.1 should be installable with just skipping the serial key (the option is called "I want to enter the key later" or such). If it insists on entering a serial key, you can the Windows 8.1 key given here: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/lib ... s.11).aspx.

Once you got this Windows 8.1 installed, you need to download the Toshiba recovery media creator from Toshiba's website: http://www.mytoshiba.com.au/support/com ... k/download
Probably the tool is same at least for all C50D models, but best would be if you check set your precise model number is set in the fourth of the upper right cycle menus. The search the download below for the "TOSHIBA Recovery Media Creator ", download and use it.
This should end with you having the recovery media, be it on an USB driver or on optical discs, depending on your choices while using the recovery tool.
After that you need to boor your notebook from the recovery media you just have created. This should restore the recovery into a working installation, including a matching serial key.
Artichoke
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Re: Can't access Windows 8 recovery partition to restore Windows.

Post by Artichoke »

Thank you Terrortec, that actually sounds pretty easy. I'll work my way through your steps (probably a little later in the week when work isn't getting in the way of everything) and let you know how I get on.

Thanks for taking the time to reply, I really appreciate it.

Linux Mint forever! Except on this one laptop, which I need to use for some proprietary Windows-only software.
Mark Phelps
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Re: Can't access Windows 8 recovery partition to restore Windows.

Post by Mark Phelps »

You don't get a little card with the product key on it, because starting with Win7, MS required the OEMs to embed the product keys in the UEFI firmware of the motherboard.

To retrieve it, you need to run various Windows utilities -- but that requires booting into a Windows environment.
Terrortec
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Re: Can't access Windows 8 recovery partition to restore Windows.

Post by Terrortec »

By the way:
Once you have your OEM Windows recovered, you should really make sure to note down your key, just in case of your hard disk or recovery partition being lost. You could use if if you like to install a fresh and clean Windows from genuine Microsoft ISOs instead of using the bloated OEM-Recovery then.
Stevensmith
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Re: Can't access Windows 8 recovery partition to restore Windows.

Post by Stevensmith »

Use RAW Partition Recovery tool to perform Windows 8 partition recovery as well as recover partition data on all major versions of Windows OS. To know how this software, you can click on this link: http://www.rawpartitionrecovery.com/windows-8.html
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