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Scammersbegone
2 Bronze

How to fix recovery partition error without disk?

I've been fighting some sort of issue with booting. Dell 8700XPS, Win7 Pro, 32GB SSD cache.

On power up (from system powered off) it does not recognize the hard drive (accelerated to use SSD). It only lists the SSD, and fails to boot, saying improper media. If I power cycle and hit cntl I before that error, it does not list the HD (only SSD), then hit escape, then it recognizes the HD and SSD as the boot process continues. Then it seems ok. Once up and running, a reboot sees both the HD and SSD during boot. So the problem only appears after a power down, not a reboot.

I went to the Dell Backup and Recovery program, and it reports the Factory Recovery Partition is missing or corrupt. I thought I had made a recovery CD (win7 pro), but of course can't find it. The only disks shipped with the unit were Win8.1, which I never upgraded to due to software I use doesn't run on Win8.

I'm hoping the Recovery Partition problem is why it's not seeing the HD on power-up, but may be just wishful thinking. 

Thoughts on how to get that recovery partition problem resolved? I assume it is on the SSD.

Thanks in advance.

Bill

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55 Replies
Saltgrass
4 Ruthenium

RE: How to fix recovery partition error without disk?

If the system came with Win 8.1 it was probably configured as UEFI.  The recovery image would be for 8.1 and links to it were probably overwritten by your downgrade.

The SSD and HDD run in a Raid configuration during acceleration.  If it is still in that configuration, you will not be able to see the SSD in Disk Management.

If it only happens during boot from power down there may be a driver situation not being loaded correctly.

You also may need to reset the acceleration using the Intel panel in the hidden icons on the taskbar.

But are you wanting to do anything other than get your system working again?  Are you looking to upgrade to Win 10?

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XPS 2720, Inspiron 17 7779, Inspiron 15 7567, XPS 13 9365, Inspiron 1545, TB16 Dock

9 Rhodium

RE: How to fix recovery partition error without disk?

The recovery partition is stored on the hard drive, which from the sound of it, has failed.

If you have not prepared a set of recovery media, you will need to call Dell customer support - they'll generally sell you a set for about $20-25 for out of warranty systems.

You'll need that along with a new hard drive to get the system going again.  The recovery media will take care of reloading the OS to the hard drive;  setting up IRST again (the cache scheme) can be done AFTER you've go Windows installed and working.

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Scammersbegone
2 Bronze

RE: How to fix recovery partition error without disk?

Salt- the system was delivered with Win7 installed, but licensed for upgrade to Win8 (back before win10 was free). So I didn't actually do a downgrade.

The drives are reported as non-raid during reboot(when it sees both HD and SSD). Once booted the Intel RST SW shows the drive as RAID (SATA), and reports all working properly. The storage view shows my 1.8TB disk, accelerated, and the 30GB SATA_Array Cache volume. I'd send a screen capture but can't figure how to attach an image.

FWIW, I have run all of the Dell diagnostics (stress and normal) and no errors are reported. All drives pass. All drivers up to date.

I really appreciate the help. If I never did a power down, I might not know there is an issue. Unfortunately, that is necessary every now and then.

Thanks again Salt.

Bill

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Scammersbegone
2 Bronze

RE: How to fix recovery partition error without disk?

ejn63- thanks for taking the time to help. I might suspect the HD going bad as well, except it only happens on a power down, then power up. And I can get around the error just by hittiing cntl-I, then exiting and letting the boot continue. It never fails on just a reboot. I haven't had any issue once the system is running, can see all data without a problem, and all diagnostics report the drives pass (don't know if that means much). Guess I'll have to bite the bullet and buy the Win7 recovery disks.

Thanks again.

Bill

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Saltgrass
4 Ruthenium

RE: How to fix recovery partition error without disk?

You might also check for a bios upgrade for the system.

Along with that, driver updates for anything.  Microsoft continues to tweak Windows 7 and one of those updates may be involved.

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XPS 2720, Inspiron 17 7779, Inspiron 15 7567, XPS 13 9365, Inspiron 1545, TB16 Dock

Scammersbegone
2 Bronze

RE: How to fix recovery partition error without disk?

Bios appears to be the latest, and all drivers up to date. Thanks though, good thought.

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9 Rhodium

RE: How to fix recovery partition error without disk?

Have you run a full hardware diagnostic (including an extended test on the hard drive)?  F12 at powerup to get to the diagnostics.

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Philip_Yip
6 Indium

RE: How to fix recovery partition error without disk?

The first thing you should do is run Dell [F12] preboot diagnostics:

http://dellwindowsreinstallationguide.com/f12-preboot-diagnostics/ 

If they pass you should then prepare Windows Installation Media (set it up for a UEFI Boot).

Next you need to Download Windows Installation Media. You have a Windows 8.1 Pro License (UEFI BIOS SLP Key) with OEM Downgrade Rights to Windows 7 Pro. This means you can either Download and Install Windows 7 Pro, Windows 8.1 Pro or Windows 10 Pro (Free Upgrade to Windows 10 Pro - recommended). For Windows 8.1 Pro and Windows 10 Pro (Windows 8.1 Pro keys act as Windows 10 Pro keys) the installation media will pickup your UEFI BIOS System Locked Preinstallation key during installation. For Windows 7 Pro you need to use OEM System Locked Preinstallation as you have no unique 25 digit product key for Windows 7, this is essentially an install with a generic product key leading to offline BIOS based Product Activation.

To Download Windows 10 or Windows 7 Installation Media from Microsoft follow my guides here:

http://dellwindowsreinstallationguide.com/download-windows-10-oem-and-retail-iso/ 

http://dellwindowsreinstallationguide.com/windows-7-sp1-iso-download/ 

In either case you want to make installation media using the GPT partition scheme for a UEFI BIOS.  For a Windows 7 install, you should follow the instructions in the guide to update your installation media to include the convenience rollup, IE11, NVMe support and USB 3.0 support...

Once you have installation media you should ensure your SATA operation is set to AHCI. I would recommend removing the mSATA SSD and getting a 512 GB 2.5 " SSD and installing on that. This will give you vastly superior performance...

If you stick to the mSATA SSD cache drive then use Diskpart to Clean the mSATA SSD and Clean All the HDD. See here:

http://dellwindowsreinstallationguide.com/cleaning-up-a-drive-format-vs-secure-wipe-ssd-and-hdd/ 

You should then modify your UEFI BIOS setup in accordance to the HDD/SSD drive configuration you have and version of Windows you are going to install. See here for details:

http://dellwindowsreinstallationguide.com/uefi/ 

 

Dr Philip Yip
Tech Enthusiast and Author of the Unofficial Dell Windows Reinstallation Guide

Windows FAQs and OEM Downloads


#IDoNotWorkFor Dell
Scammersbegone
2 Bronze

RE: How to fix recovery partition error without disk?

Yep. Ran this several times, just to be sure. Everything passed, no errors.

Thanks.

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