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How do I restore a laptop hard drive to factory settings through my desktop?
March 15, 2012 6:09 PM   Subscribe

How do I restore a laptop hard drive to factory settings through my desktop?

I have a laptop hard drive (HP Pav Dv5) that I want to format via my desktop. My reasons for doing this is that the laptop has pulled a funky and won't boot. I think the bios is corrupt; I slipstreamed XP onto it shortly after buying it with VISTA pre-loaded.

The hard drive is partitioned into C and D, with the latter containing the image file that restores the drive back to factory settings.

This is Ms Cultist's old laptop. She now uses a Mac, but I'd like to have a go at fixing this one, if only to use as a back-up. I have removed the drive from the laptop and am accessing it via usb on the desktop.

How do I reformat the C drive using the image file on D via the desktop, without potentially making the desktop drives unstable? I'm a fairly old hand at formatting, but I've never loaded an OS onto an external drive in this way.
posted by New England Cultist to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
My reasons for doing this is that the laptop has pulled a funky and won't boot. I think the bios is corrupt;
Huh? What? The BIOS doesn't live on the hard drive.
I slipstreamed XP onto it shortly after buying it with VISTA pre-loaded.
XP probably doesn't have the necessary drivers to work with your laptop, so is failing somewhere in the boot process. You probably need to stick with Vista or Win7 unless you have some way of rolling the necessary XP drivers (if they exist) into install media.

Reboot your laptop a few times and look for the BIOS configuration message. Usually you press F2 or F10 or escape or some combination of keys to get into the BIOS. Once you do that, see if there is an option to boot from the D: drive. This may not be possible from the BIOS - you may need to break into the Windows bootloader (F8?) and may be able to choose to boot the recovery partition from there.

If your BIOS is really hosed, then there isn't anything you can do to the hard drive that will help.

Further, your recover partition is very likely keyed to the model of your laptop. It is unlikely that you will be able to boot it in your desktop machine.
How do I reformat the C drive using the image file on D via the desktop, without potentially making the desktop drives unstable?
If you want to try things out safely in your desktop machine, just unplug the SATA cables to your desktop drives. That way, it is impossible for the stuff on your laptop drive to touch the data on your desktop drives.
posted by b1tr0t at 6:22 PM on March 15, 2012


The laptop shuts itself down almost immediately after pressing the start button, ergo my reasoning for the bios being shot.
posted by New England Cultist at 6:36 PM on March 15, 2012


That sounds like you've got a dead power supply and consequently a dead battery, not a "bad bios", whatever that means.

As noted above, your BIOS doesn't live on the hard drive. All it does is let the machine bootstrap itself from a cold start to running code that lives on the hard drive, which is why it's called a "basic input/output system".

I'd start at the wall and work my way in, checking to make sure it's all plugged in and that you don't have a more basic problem before trying to boot off a known-good hard drive or a CD. Don't ever wipe a drive unless you have a very-clearly-understood reason to do so, because once you do that data's never, ever coming back.
posted by mhoye at 6:52 PM on March 15, 2012


As mhoye says, check the power adapter carefully. In particular, look for damage where the plugs meet the cables and where the cable enters the brick. If you have pets, look for bite marks. Even if everything looks perfect, try an alternate power supply, but make sure it has the same voltage and amp specs.

It is possible that your laptop is in a weird sleep or hibernation recovery loop. Try pressing and holding down the power button for a minute or longer. That may force a cold boot. You will lose whatever state is stored in RAM, but since you were willing to wipe the whole drive, that probably isn't much of a loss. You'd just be losing any unsaved documents at worst.
posted by b1tr0t at 6:59 PM on March 15, 2012


Have already tried another power supply, same deal. I've already backed up the hard drive, so no big deal losing anything.
posted by New England Cultist at 7:24 PM on March 15, 2012


The laptop shuts itself down almost immediately after pressing the start button, ergo my reasoning for the bios being shot.

It could be overheating. You can rule that out by re-applying thermal paste (e.g., Arctic Silver) between the CPU and its heatsink. Lots of YouTube howtos on this.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 9:12 PM on March 15, 2012


> The laptop shuts itself down almost immediately

What is "almost" immediately? What is the length of time? 1 second, 10 seconds, etc? What does it display before shutting down?

Nothing so far indicates a BIOS issue. And reinstalling Windows won't fix a BIOS issue.
posted by dgeiser13 at 6:11 AM on March 16, 2012


Shuts down after a second; Quicklaunch icons turn on, fan spins, then shuts down.
posted by New England Cultist at 10:04 AM on March 16, 2012


Any beeps?

I would start out simply.

1) Take out the battery.

2) Unplug the AC Power Adapter from the laptop.

3) Press and Hold power button for awhile, e.g. 30 seconds.

4) Plug in to AC Power (Leave the battery out)

5) Power on computer and see it boots up properly and/or attempts to boot up differently, e.g. longer time before shutting down and/or error messages and/or beeps.

If it:
a) boots up properly then the issue is fixed,

b) boots up the same ("Shuts down after a second; Quicklaunch icons turn on, fan spins, then shuts down") could be laptop internal power supply

c) boots up differently then see if you can get into the BIOS to run Hardware Diagnostics.
posted by dgeiser13 at 1:59 PM on March 16, 2012


Yup, tried that. No change in the way it boots. I'm starting to think it might indeed be overheating, or like you mentioned, a power supply issue. Potentially a fried mobo.
posted by New England Cultist at 8:51 PM on March 16, 2012


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