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I have a notebook (the free Steve Sinofsky PDC09 Acer) with Win7 and no removable media slots and no external CD or DVD drive. The hard drive crashed and is now in an unbootable state. It didn't come with an install or recovery disk (not that there would be any place to insert it) but I can download Win7 ISO images from MSDN. I do have USB drives of various types and sizes. How can I recover this notebook?

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you might want to run SMARTMONTOOLS off a liveusb to make sure the drive is stull usable. –  Journeyman Geek Oct 26 '10 at 1:01
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Who is Steve Sinofsky, and why are people trying to free him? –  Fake Name Oct 26 '10 at 1:26
    
@Fake Name, free him because he works for Microsoft! microsoft.com/presspass/events/pdc –  Moab Oct 26 '10 at 2:42
    
+1. I vote that he be freed (and I don't mean Dave). –  Xavierjazz Oct 26 '10 at 5:08
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3 Answers

Most Acer PCs have a recovery partition, unfortunately using it will wipe the drive and all data, but it will restore it to a as shipped condition.

Alt+F10 repeatedly at the very beginning of power up. http://support.acer.com/acerpanam/desktop/0000/Acer/AspireE360/AspireE360faq40.shtml

You can buy recovery media from Acer here if there is no recovery partition or it is damaged

https://secure.tx.acer.com/RCDB/Main.aspx?brand=Acer

Investing in an external usb dvd drive is a good idea when you own a model that does not have one.

Pull the hard drive if you need to save your data, use a laptop hard drive USB adapter, connect it to another PC to copy your files.

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I tried this and it does have a recovery partition. I'll do this if I can't find any way to save my data. –  Matthew Kane Oct 26 '10 at 4:49
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Pull the hard drive if you need to save your data, use a laptop hard drive USB adapter, connect it to another PC to copy your files. –  Moab Oct 26 '10 at 19:02
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You can install windows off of a a usb key - there's other ways but that's the 'official' one. There's also tools that do the whole process easily

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Will this enable me to restore my data? –  Matthew Kane Oct 26 '10 at 4:45
    
It would only overwrite Windows @Matthew, not your other data (at least so long as you don't choose to format the HDD!) –  Ivo Flipse Oct 26 '10 at 17:23
    
OK, I'm going to give the tool a try and if I can get back up without losing my data I'll check this as the answer. –  Matthew Kane Oct 26 '10 at 18:01
    
The tool wasn't able to make my USB bootable for my 64-bit notebook when running it from my 32-bit desktop without some file that I couldn't find anywhere but would supposedly be downloadable from the Windows Store if that's where I had gotten my ISO image. But I got the image from MSDN and that file wasn't there. –  Matthew Kane Oct 27 '10 at 2:31
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I needed to hit F8 and that brought up the choice to repair Windows, which enabled me to fix my boot issue.

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Glad to hear you found how to fix it! If that solved your problem, please mark your own answer as accepted so that people will know that a solution has been found. –  nhinkle Oct 27 '10 at 4:49
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