Windows Recovery

Recovering WIM Images

A user came in to helpdesk with a laptop that had a dying hard drive. A coworker was able to recover part of the LENOVO_RECOVERY partition to a new drive that was installed in the laptop, with a intact .WIM image, yet the partition would not boot. We tried rewriting the MBR, rebuilding BCD and other tricks but nothing would work. To make a very long story of us trying everything to get this drive to restore with no avail; we were able to manually make a partition then use GImageX to recover the image.

The new hard drive had the 10gb recovery partition we had copied over, and nothing else on it. So first using DiskPart, we made our new partition for windows.

  1. Boot from a Windows Vista, or 7, or later installation disc
  2. Go to Recovery Mode, and then get to the command prompt (dont do a system restore)
  3. Run diskpart
  4. “list disk” and then “select disk #” for the disk you want
  5. “list partition” will list what is on the hard drive, we then did “add” to make a new partition
  6. “select partition #” will select the new partition if you put the correct number in
  7. Finally “assign” will give the new drive a drive letter

Now that the new partition exists, we used http://www.autoitscript.com/site/autoit-tools/gimagex/. This tool will recover the standard WIM windows images to a partition. To make life easy we copied it to a thumb drive and then launched it on the recovery disc. If your windows disc is 64 bit, you will need the 64 bit version of the app. Once we had the app it was just a matter of launching it and going to the second tab of “Apply” to install the image. The laptop we were working on had the recovery image hidden, in a folder called “FactoryRecovery”. By running “dir /AHS” the computer will list all files in a directory, including hidden and system files. While navigated to the directory you know the images are in, running “attrib -S -H /S /D” will remove system and hidden attributes from the files and folders. Now GImageX can see the image and recover it.

That was the end of a long recovery, if anyone has questions post a comment.