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11-22-2009 10:55 PM
I have an a1210n desktop belonging to a friend. Drive died badly. Bought a new drive (about $60) and ordered recovery cd set from HP ($20 to $45 depending on shipping choices). Tried recovery but recovery stalls and never completes if I have the old drive. If I have the new drive in the unit instead, Recovery says "NOT A SYSTEM DISK" and won't let me proceed. The new drive is Western Digital 500 GB vs. 200 GB Maxtor originally. WD incudes support for Acronis True Image, a specialized version for WD. Acronis has clone drive option but finds bad sector on original drive and then fails to copy content using Clone Drive.
HP support says I have to do the recovery onto the old drive... but it's effectively dead. Won't work.
HP says recovery cd set cannot be used to image a new drive. I'd have to buy retail windows and install it which I don't want to do due to expense.
Does anyone have an as shipped (as recovered?) drive with the a1210n base image (like new). This is what we need provided we can image the content over to the new WD drive, e.g., with Acronis which I have.
Help much appreciated!
11-22-2009 11:15 PM
Put in the new drive
You want to go into the BIOS and make sure the boot order is DVD first before the HDD. Currently it's probably trying to boot off the HDD first, thus the error.
Put in the DVD disc shut down and then turn the system back on again. When you get the message to press any key to boot from DVD, that's when you press the key on the keyboard to boot from DVD and initiate the recovery.
11-23-2009 01:16 AM
Using bios options as described here:
I was able to get the system to start to boot from the recovery cd but then it checks the hard drive and tells me my hard drive is not a system disk.
11-23-2009 10:44 AM
Good news. Talking with HP by phone, even though PC is out of warranty, the tech support contact provided help based on the fact that I ordered Recovery CDs. She walked me through the initial portion so that I can apply the recovery image to a NEW disk drive. I did not have to press any special keys (Function keys or Escape key). In the BIOS, I had already configured boot order to start with the CD/DVD drive. I was prompted with a message explaining that the (new) drive had no usable content (was not even partitioned), and asking me to type "R" to apply recovery image. I did so and the process is in progress now. I have a ticket number and will call them back if problems occur. I did have one prompt saying a file could not be copied, and asking me to clean the CD, so I did that using a spray air can. The CD was not very dirty at all, but I reinserted after spraying with air, and was able to continue, at least for now.
Below is more info on my experience, mostly historical, for those that may find it useful.
Prior to posting here, I did online chats with HP support. In the most recent one, I asked for a supervisor when I was told I could not use the recovery CDs to put the original image on a new disk drive. I want to do this because I believe the original disk drive is corrupted "very badly". Past attempts to access the info on the old drive have been fruitless. I got UNMOUNTABLE_BOOT_VOLUME once I told XP (advanced options) to skip the automatic retry in the event of a crash while booting. Then the PC showed me the BSOD (blue screen of death). Before that Windows would just retry in a loop and I could not boot to safe mode, or command prompt etc.
I took the disk to another system and found that the recovery partition was there, but the other (main) partition would not show up, or it would show up briefly and then go away. I took it to tech support at Central Computers in Sunnyvale, CA. The tech (while I watched, which was good) connected it to two different systems, but saw the same thing. They were great in that they did this analysis "on-the-spot". Also, when the tech said they could not recover it for me, they gave it back but did not charge anything for the (failed) attempt. Other places charge just for trying.
I then got an IT admin from a previous employer to give it a try in one of his PCs. Same result (recovery partition there, but main partition would not mount). He also tried using some utilities to recover deleted content (unerase, undelete, etc.). These utilities also did not work much, as they saw only a handful of possibly recoverable files.
Currently recovery is still trying to copy files from cd to the new disk. Will post an update at some point, but if you don't hear from me, this must have worked eventually.
Thanks to those attempting to help. Kudos primarily to HP tech support person with whom I spoke.
11-25-2009 10:40 PM
In the last note, I thought things were about to be resolved. Not a chance. The recovery cd ran very slowly and then prompted me indicating it had problems reading some files. I cleaned the disk, reinserted, etc. and it continued several times, but after about 90 minutes it started telling me disk 1 was not really disk 1 and then had me swap cd's, etc. Then it went on to disk 2 for real, and appeared to finished copying valuable files, but then it said some file had not been copied correctly. Eventually it gave a "CD/DVD: read error!" message and eventually got stuck and did not progress.
Called HP tech support a couple more times and got no help. Lots of "that's an old pc (2005)" and "buy a new one", and "not under support/warranty".
Tonight I tried a couple more times. Got a message about "NOT A SYSTEM DISK", so I used the Acronis software to "Add a new drive" (formatting/partitioning). Then I booted from the cd's again. After a few tries I got the proper prompt about doing a full recovery, which I said to do. After 10 minutes, the PC Recovery UI reported that the recovery had failed.
Tried using the first disk to create a duplicate but the dup was not readable (not bootable).
So, stuck again. Very tired of this issue.
11-28-2009 11:42 PM
Finally some real progress. I gave up on using the Recovery DVD. I pulled out a copy of XP OEM Professional and installed that successfully. I tried to then run the recovery DVD unsuccessfully. I then reinstalled XP OEM Professional but this time it failed. So I tried again, and it failed again. Got error messages about "cyclic redundancy checks" and about a few files not being copied correctly. Tried a repair a couple different ways.
At this point I noticed a driver update for the CD/DVD drive. I wanted to apply it but could not boot to dos, or safe mode, etc. So I swapped out the CD/DVD and inserted a Memorex CD/DVD drive from another pc. I also removed the Modem card around this time and disconnected the multimedia ports (for flash, sd, etc.). I then tried the XP OEM install again, and it zoomed through without error, and completed much more quickly than the prior failures or the prior success.
OK, I completed XP OEM Professional install, did numerous reboots and Windows Update runs to finally get everything up to date. Installed Office as well and updated that numerous times. Manually installed many of the drivers listed on the hp site for this model of system, especially display and multimedia keyboard drivers.
At this point, the system is working great except a few points:
1) Device Manager shows a conflict on the Other Devices item, for Multimedia Audio Controller and SM Bus Controller. I tried Update Driver... but Windows can't find a driver for these devices.
2) I tried to install HP Update or HP Software Update which should help me better install the right drivers, notify of updates, etc. but the install always fails, a problem many others have apparently hit. Could not figure this out so just used Windows Update or Microsoft Update for updating. Plus some manual installs.
3) I'd like to get any other built in or provided software installed, for dvd burning, playback etc.
4) I have not yet swapped back to the HP CD/DVD unit (HP dvd740, aka 740b). I'm curious if others have been hammered by issues with this device.
Any suggestions on these steps would be appreciated.
Caveat Emptor: Buying a new drive and buying XP Professional (or XP OEM Professional) is not cheap, and this has taken a lot of time.
p.s., The items fixed with the CD/DVD drive are reported to be these:
12-06-2009 12:58 PM
Found solution for "SM Bus Controller" device manager conflict. The motherboard for the a1210n is apparently identical to a1230n, since both use the same Asus motherboard. Search for this topic for info about a1230n chipset drivers which I just installed for my a1210n, successfully. Note that the typos (chpset vs. chipset and drivrs vs drivers) are intentional to match the original post: "a1230n chpset drivrs needed - cpu 2 pci bridge"
Or search for "sp26608 site:hp.com".