Installed Ubuntu 12.04 over the secondary (D:) partition with Grub2 handling multi-boot. Never accessed the 'Recovery' option in the boot menu until Windows7 Starter became unusable due to HDD failure (bad sectors on C:). Tried creating an USB recovery stick using the OEM's recovery application (F9) on hidden partition: all I got was a clean C:\ and an error telling me the recovery images cannot be found [R:\recovery\windowsre\ - or something very much like that] although everything is there (changed 'hidden' flag to check and copy contents).
Nothing happens upon pressing F9, then Grub takes over giving the recovery option. The application starts but halts about 30s after initializing, very briefly displaying the error message above. I guess every time it goes through this it actually wipes C:\ but crashes immediately afterwards not being able to find what-ever .wim image files it needs.
How to make it work?