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HP and Compaq Desktop PCs - Troubleshooting System Recovery Problems (Windows XP)

This document pertains to HP and Compaq desktop PCs with Windows XP.

Performing a full system recovery takes a long time to perform and involves an incredible amount of data transfer. With so much data to transfer, there are many opportunities for problems to occur. A power outage or a scratch in a recovery disk can cause severe problems. Use this document to resolve full recovery issues in Windows XP. Before using this document, please read the following important information:

CAUTION: If extra hard drives were added to the computer, disconnect the IDE and power cables from the back of the extra drive before performing a system recovery. This prevents possible data loss on the additional drive.

CAUTION: Performing a full format or destructive recovery completely erases all files, programs, and saved work on the hard drive. Always back up important information before attempting a recovery.
NOTE: If computer hardware was added or replaced, remove the hardware to avoid recovery problems.

HP computers that shipped with Windows XP probably do not include recovery discs in the box. The recovery information is instead stored on a protected hard drive partition. This eliminates the need for Recovery CDs that can get lost or scratched.

CAUTION: If Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 1 (SP1) has been or will be installed, download and install the SP1 software patch (in English) to prevent boot up issues. Disregard if you are using Service Pack 2 for Windows XP.

Starting a Recovery

Turn on the computer and immediately begin pressing the F10 key repeatedly until a Recovery Screen appears.

You can also start a recovery from recovery discs, or from Windows. For more information refer to Performing a Full System Recovery in Windows XP .


Recovery is taking too long

If your computer stops responding after using the recovery program, do the following:

NOTE: If the computer appears to have stopped responding after restarting from a recovery, please wait, it may take several hours or longer to complete the initial Windows XP setup process, especially if a recovery was run from a recovery disc set sent by HP. A Standard recovery may also take longer, depending on how many files are stored in user accounts (like in My Documents).
  1. Exit the stalled recovery process by pressing the POWER button on the PC until the power turns off, this takes approximately five seconds.

  2. Before recovering, disconnect personal media drives, printers, scanners, cameras, camera-type memory cards, and other devices that did not originally come with the PC.

  3. If you are using recovery discs, be aware of the following items:

    • If you created the recovery discs using Recovery CD Creator, be sure to run the recovery from the same drive that you used to create the discs.

    • Clean the discs with a soft, clean, lint-free cloth wetted with distilled water. Wipe from the center of the disc to the outside edge. You may also use disc cleaning kits or disc restoration kits from your local computer store. These kits produce better results than using cloth and water.

    • You may also use available CD/DVD Drive cleaning kits to clean the laser reading lens of the CD or DVD drive.

  4. Try running a full system recovery again from the hard drive by turning the on the computer and pressing the F10 key until a Recovery Screen appears. This performs the recovery from the hard drive.

  5. If the recovery stops when recovering from the hard drive, use the section Disc errors occur during the recovery process to eliminate errors on the drive. Try recovering again after the disk errors are removed.


Drive does not recognize disc

When using recovery discs, the drive cannot read the disc (no errors open). For example, the computer is turned on with the first recovery disc inserted into the drive. The drive activity light flashes quickly while the screen remains black with a flashing cursor. Eventually the drive activity light stops flashing after the drive stops reading the disc. When this happens the disc might be scratched, dirty, or defective or the drive's firmware may need to be updated so that the drive can recognize newer disc media.

Clean or repair the disc and try using it again to see if the drive recognizes the disc. If the disc is scratched, use a chemical disc restore product to fix the disc (available at most home electronic stores). Insert the recovery disc again after it has been cleaned or repaired and restart the computer.

After cleaning or repairing the disc, if the disc is still not recognized by the drive, update the drive's firmware. This is especially true if the discs were received from HP Customer Care via mail. The firmware for a DVD drive (the driver) may not be able to recognize the recovery disc media that was used in a more recent DVD manufacturing process. Make sure that the drive firmware is up to date, download and install any available DVD drive firmware updates from HP that match the type of DVD drive that is installed in your computer. For more information about how to find and update the firmware for you HP or Compaq computer, refer to the HP support article Obtaining Software and Drivers .

NOTE: Drives that are known to require a firmware update before they can read support-sent recovery discs are: TSST TS-H652L - update SP26482, and PBDS DH-16A1L/PBDS DH-16AYH - update SP35000. You can find the name of your CD/DVD drive in the BIOS Setup Utility screens or from Device Manager.

In some cases, the discs may be damaged beyond repair such as when discs are left out in the sun too long. When this happens, perform the recovery from the hard drive (if the hard drive recovery partition is still available) or replace the discs.


Recovery message asks to insert disc after disc is already inserted

The first recovery disc was inserted and successfully completed but one of the subsequent discs asks for the same disc to be inserted again. For example, disc 1 has completed and a message appears asking to insert disc 2. After inserting disc 2 the message appears again asking you to insert disc 2.

When this happens, verify that the disc you are actually inserting is the correct disc. If it is, reinsert the disc. In some cases you may have to reinsert the disc many times before the recovery software recognizes that the correct disc is in the drive. Continue reinserting the disc until the message stops and the recovery process continues.

In rare cases, the disc set may be mislabeled. Insert a different subsequent disc that has not already been used until the message stops and the recovery process continues.


Error: 0x0000007B or PC repeatedly restarts after recovery

If this error message is displayed, perform the system recovery again. If you are using a supplemental recovery disc (select models only), make sure that you remove the supplemental disc before restarting the PC.


Error on disc 7: Cannot Create User Partition

The recovery discs that are ordered from HP are to be used only on hard drives containing one blank partition. Use the following HP support document to recover from this problem: Recovering the System after the Hard Drive Is Replaced .


Error: Only an Administrator user can run this program!

Windows XP requires administrative privileges to backup files or start the recovery process from within Windows XP. If logged on as a guest, or limited user, trying to start the recovery process from within Windows produces the following error:

Only an Administrator user can run this program!

Use the following steps to log on with administrative rights:

  1. Click Start, select Log Off, and select Log Off again.

  2. Select an account that has administrative privileges, and type the password (if you did not set a password, press the Enter key).

    By default, the administrator account name on HP and Compaq PCs could be:

    • Owner
    • HP_Owner
    • Compaq_Owner

If these options are not available, or you do not know the password, contact the system administrator or see the section Starting a Recovery for further options.


Error: Please Insert Login Advanced Installation Disc Number 1 and Restart

If this error message is displayed at the end of a Full System Recovery from disc, remove the recovery disc from the drive tray, and then restart your PC. You do not need to insert the disc referenced by the message.


Error: Problem in Extracting Process

The following error message occurs while recovering the computer from recovery discs: Problem in Extracting Process: File: <path to unrecoverable file>

This error message is normally caused by a recovery disc that has become dirty or scratched. Make sure that the recovery discs are clean and scratch-free before attempting a recovery.

On some models, this error can also be fixed by updating the BIOS. For more information, refer to the HP support document Updating the BIOS .


Error: The file c_20127.nls is needed

After performing a standard System Recovery, the following error message (or a similar message) is shown:

File needed The file c_20127.nls on Windows XP Home Edition CD-ROM is needed. Type the path where the file is located, and then click OK.

Follow these steps to resolve this issue:

  1. Turn on the PC and press the F10 repeatedly at the first screen to start the recovery screens. If the recovery application doesn’t start, you can run the recovery from the Recovery CD or DVD discs. For more information, see Performing an HP System Recovery in Windows XP .

  2. If you see a welcome screen, click OK.

  3. Click Advanced Options and then press the Alt and D keys at the same time to go to a command prompt.

  4. Type: diskpart, and then press Enter.

  5. At the diskpart> prompt, type: list volume, and then press Enter.

  6. A screen should appear outlining the current drive letters in the system. Note the drive letter in the Ltr column next to the HP Pavilion, or Presario NTFS partition. You will need this information in the steps below.

    Figure 1: List Volume display

  7. At the prompt, type: exit, and then press Enter.

  8. Type in the drive letter you recorded in step 6, followed by a colon, ‘:’ (without the quotes) and press Enter. (For example, C: or H: )

  9. Type the following: cd \windows\system32

  10. At the new prompt, type the following: rd /s catroot2

  11. Type Y to confirm.

  12. Restart the PC.

    You may receive the We apologize for the inconvenience... message again. Let the timer complete the countdown from 30 to 0.


Error: There is not enough memory available...

When performing a system recovery from discs, the following message appears:

There is not enough memory available to run System Recovery in stable conditions. If possible reduce the size of shared Video Memory (BIOS) or add more memory to your system then try again. Do you want to run System Recovery nevertheless?

If YES is chosen, more errors appear. Do not perform a System Recovery from CD\DVD. Instead, adjust the on-board video memory to a smaller amount and perform a full recovery from CD\DVD:

  1. Set the video memory to 8Mb or less:

    1. Turn on the PC.

    2. When the first screen appears, press the F1 key repeatedly until an Entering Setup screen appears.

    3. When the BIOS Setup screen appears, use the Right Arrow key to select the Advanced option.

    4. Use the Down Arrow key to select either VGA RAM Size or On-Board Video Memory and press the Enter key.

    5. Use the Down Arrow key, select 8MB or less, and press the Enter key.

      CAUTION: Do not select DISABLED without a video card installed! Doing so will cause the monitor to go blank until a video card is added or the BIOS is reset.
    6. Press the F10 key, and then press Enter to save the changes and exit.

  2. Perform a Full System Recovery .

  3. Set the video memory to the original setting.


Error: These PC recovery discs do NOT support this PC model

This error can occur due to the following conditions:

  • Using the wrong recovery discs, such as those that were created or ordered for another PC.

  • The configuration data on the motherboard or hard drive was not properly configured at the factory when the PC was manufactured.

  • The motherboard on your computer was replaced with a motherboard that is not the same replacement part. If so, you must install a new operating system or replace the motherboard with an original type.

If this error opens and you are using discs that were ordered from HP or sent by HP support, then find out if you have the correct recovery discs (as were sent by HP) using the following steps:

  1. Get the build ID number for your PC:

    • If your computer is still able to open into Windows, Press CTRL + ALT + S and look at the Software Build # in the HP Support Information window.

    • If your computer cannot open Windows, you can find a BID # on a sticker found on the bottom of the PC case.

  2. Compare the build ID number to the build number on the recovery discs and do the following:

    • If the build ID number matches the number on your recovery discs and the recovery still fails with this error, the computer needs to be serviced by HP before it can be recovered.

    • If the number on the recovery discs is not the same as the build ID number, obtain the correct recovery discs . Make sure the numbers on the recovery disc match the build ID number before ordering new discs.

If this error opens and you are using discs that were burned from the same PC that you are trying to recover, contact HP for the correct replacement discs that match your PC's software build.


Other errors occur during the recovery process

If there are bad areas on the hard drive, errors can occur during recovery. Scanning the disk drive for errors can isolate these bad areas, so they do not interfere with the reading and writing of files. If Windows does not open, run chkdsk from the recovery console.

NOTE: If you have a recovery tools CD or a Windows XP recovery console CD, open the chkdsk utility from the recovery console instead of using the Windows steps in this section. For more information on using recovery console, refer to Using a Recovery Console to Resolve Startup Issues .

If you are still able to use Windows, perform the following steps:

  1. If you are performing a recovery from a hard drive partition (pressing F10 at startup), skip this step.

    Remove and gently clean the surface of the disc using distilled water and a lint free cloth. Reinsert the disc and try again. If the error persists continue using these steps.

  2. If you are performing a recovery from a hard drive partition (pressing F10 at startup), skip this step.

    Remove the disc and examine the disc for scratches. If the disc is scratched, you can attempt to repair the disc using an optical disc repair kit. These types of kits use special chemicals that bond to the surface of the disc and fill in the scratches. Disc repair kits may be purchased from major electronic stores or places that sell DVD movies. Once the disc has been repaired reinsert the disc and try again. If the error persists continue using these steps.

  3. Start and My Computer.

  4. Right-click the main hard drive (usually C:) and select Properties.

  5. Click the Tools tab, click Check Now, and select Automatically fix file system errors and Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors.

  6. Click Start and click Yes in the message window.

  7. Restart the PC.

    The disk check starts after the initial startup screens and can take a very long time.

  8. Retry the recovery process after disk scan has finished.


Recovery fails after using partition software (FDisk)

HP and Compaq PCs that come with Windows XP contain the recovery software on a hidden recovery partition on the hard drive. If you have used the FDISK utility or other disk partitioning software to modify or delete the recovery partition, it may not be possible to run a recovery from that partition. You can try to restore the recovery partition information by entering the following at the DOS command prompt: fdisk /mbr.

If you are still unable to perform a recovery from the recovery partition on the hard drive, you must perform a recovery using recovery discs. For more information on how you can obtain recovery discs, refer to Obtaining a Recovery CD or DVD set .


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