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I installed Windows 8 onto my Lenovo S-10 netbook. I now want to go back to Windows XP so I can give the netbook away.

Previously after installing other OSes such as Windows 7 on the device I have been able to go back to Windows XP by pressing the "Restore" hardware key. Now whenever I press this key it just boots up into Windows 8. I can see that the OEM recovery partition is still there. I have tried installing the Lenovo recovery software so that I can restore from inside Windows, but this will not install on Windows 8.

How can I restore Windows XP using the OEM partition?

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

Using this guide I was able to restore the netbook to its original state. Apparently this procedure is a bit risky, so do so at your own risk. Open a command window cmd (possibly as an administrator) and then do the following:

DISKPART> select disk 0
DISKPART> list partition

Look for the OEM partition, for me it was Partition 2 OEM and then use its index for the next command:

DISKPART> select partition 2
DISKPART> active


The Lenovo recovery software should now load. Follow the instructions to restore your Windows XP installation.

After restoring, the OEM partition will still be set as the boot partition, so every time you turn your netbook on it will boot into recovery. I could not get a safe mode command prompt to load without errors, so I created a GParted Live USB and booted into that. Once in GParted select your main Windows XP partition and turn the boot flag on (Partition → Manage Flags). Shutdown GParted, remove the USB drive and you can now boot into Windows XP and apply about 3 years of Windows updates.

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Don't follow the above instruction because it only make your problem worst!! I change my recovery partition active on my Asus U24E machine and now I get stuck in boot loop between bios screen and Asus recovery screen. I cannot even load into safe mode! Please be more helpful with a clear solution, not a guess! – user179775 Dec 12 '12 at 13:37
Yeah and so did I. But did you read the last part about using GParted Live USB to set the correct parition? – row1 Dec 12 '12 at 14:00

Make the OEM recovery partition the active (boot) partition, then reboot the computer.

There are several ways to do this.

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I had almost the same problem and I've solved. See my case bellow.

My case: I was using Windows 8 that came with my Dell notebook. I went to the disk manager and shrunk the disk into 2 units: (the main unit and the download unit). Last week I did a factory reset on my notebook and when the Windows startet after the reset, I couldn't see the second unid (downloads unit). I'd tried to download Acronis software, but it doesn't work with Windows 8. I tried to manage disk with the Admistrative Tool, and manage disks, but I couldn't apply any of the functions.

How I solved: Following the instructions above, I found another way to solve the problem.

  1. Run CMD from the search tool.
  2. type: diskpart
  3. type: list disk --> You are going to see the list of disks you have.
  4. type: select disk X (X = number of the disk you want)
  5. type: list volume --> You are going to see the list of volume you have.
  6. type: select volume X (X = number of the volume you want to be selected)
  7. type: assign (it is going to attribute a letter to this volume. If you want to attribute a specific letter, type assign letter=X)

This was the only way that worked with me. This may help another user with the same problem as mine.

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You don't need the list disk and select disk commands for this. You are obviously working with volumes here, not disks. So you can skip step 3 and 4. – sammyg Mar 28 '14 at 9:15
You would need to use select disk in front of a list partition or a select partition command. But it is not needed for "volume" commands like list volumeand select volume. – sammyg Mar 28 '14 at 9:18
And the list disk command is only needed if you have more than one HDD and you want to be sure you select the correct one. If you only have one HDD inside you can just use select disk 0 right away. Again, this all only applies when you work on partitions, it is not needed for volumes. – sammyg Mar 28 '14 at 9:20

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