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TL;DR I want to reinstall the OS shipped with my Thinkpad, but I cannot get to install Rescue and Recovery; I cannot get to create a Windows recovery disk; I cannot get to restore the Windows MBR.

Context

I have a Lenovo Thinkpad X230. By default, Windows 7 is installed on it. However, I also installed Linux on another partition, such that I can have a dual-boot. Dual booting is handled by GRUB2 (the Linux distribution I use is Debian Wheezy), which was installed with default options (so it overwrote the Windows Master Boot Record).

GRUB2 shows four entries:

  • Debian Wheezy
  • Debian Wheezy fallback
  • Windows 7
  • Recovery environment

The problem is that selecting the recovery environment simply boots Windows. I was used to doing this with my other laptop, the Lenovo Thinkpad X61 tablet, which has both Windows XP and Debian installed. On the X61, there is no interference between Linux and the ThinkVantage "technology": I can boot in the recovery environment either by using the ThinkVantage button, or by selecting the appropriate entry in GRUB.

Rescue and Recovery

My first thought was to use Lenovo's Rescue and Recovery, which is supposed to help me do this. The problem is that it fails to install; I get an error stating (not sure of the exact text in English, mine is in French):

An error occurred while installing the boot manager of Rescue and Recovery. Return code: 6

I could not find explanations for this error, and it seems that I'm not alone. The workaround I found was to use a Windows recovery disk.

Windows recovery disk

It is supposed to be easy: run recdisc.exe, which will burn an image of the recovery disk. Well, I did not work in my case; I get the following error:

System repair disc could not be created The device failed to accept the command within the timeout period. This may be caused by the device having entered an inconsistent state, or the timeout value for the command may need to be increased. (0xC0AA020D)

I think that the problem is that I use a rather old DVD burner plugged in USB, which may take some time to work. But it works (I can burn DVDs with it using imgburn). Again, I'm not alone. I found several mentions about buying a recovery ISO. However, I would like to avoid spending money for this.

Windows MBR

At this point, since I'm OK with loosing my Linux install, I though what I could do would be to restore the default MBR, and that would fix my problem of accessing the recovery environment. Well guess what? The most popular solution requires a recovery disk in order to do that. However I found a post in SuperUser mentioning the command bcdboot.

I don't have much knowledge with boot loaders and Windows administration, so I don't really know what to do to continue my quest. I guess I'm also getting tired of struggling to simply reinstall my laptop. I tried running the command bcdboot C:/Windows, but it gives my an error:

BFSVC: Could not open the BCD template store. Status = [c000000f]

I also tried recreating the MBR from Linux, based on this post:

install-mbr -i n -p D -t 0 /dev/sda

All I gained was that Windows does not want to hibernate anymore. Neat.

So, any help is welcome to help me reinstall Windows 7 from my recovery partition. Thanks for your time,

share|improve this question
    
Press F11 during boot (BIOS) to go to the Rescue & Recovery partition. To work several things have to not be messed with but sometimes just marking the Recovery partition as the active partition gets things going. –  Brian Nov 17 '13 at 4:15
    
@Brian Thanks, I think I got something out of this! I thought I tried F11 before, maybe I was not thorough enough... You should make it an answer so I can accept it. –  piwi Nov 17 '13 at 9:05

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