I'm brand-new to this community, but not to Dell computers -- I have a (working!) Dimension 8100 desktop from 2001 and a Studio XPS 8100 desktop (now discontinued) from 2010 ... In fact, I'm typing this on the old system right now because I can't boot from the (Windows 7 Ultimate) hard drive on the new system ...
Actually, there are TWO 1-TB drives on the new system, configured as a single RAID 0 array of 2-TB ... And something therein has gotten royally hosed such that Windows can no longer boot -- it just cycles endlessly through the BIOS trying to boot from the RAID 0 array ...
Now, I WAS doing something with installing Ubuntu on a USB flash drive, but (I thought) NOT anything that would've tinkered with the hard drive(s), messed with the MBR, or anything like that ... So I'm not really sure what the heck happened here ... I had an earlier situation with installing Ubuntu on that USB drive in which I accidentally allowed GRUB (the Ubuntu bootloader) to replace the hard drive's MBR (for an unintended dual-boot system) -- which also prevented Windows from booting -- but I was able to recover from that by finding instructions in "7forums.com" for fixing the Windows 7 MBR ... And thereafter I tried my best to avoid touching that MBR in my subsequent USB installations of Ubuntu ... (BTW, those MBR-fix instructions don't solve this new problem) ...
After spending hours already (and more hours to come) on the phone with Dell Support, I'm resigned to doing a "Dell Factory Image Restore" -- again, actually, because I already did it once successfully -- but THIS time, I can't even do THAT, because it fails with message: "There is not enough free disc space" ... Last time Windows booted, I was only using 16% of the 2-TB RAID 0 array ... (And I ran "DellUtils" diagnostics successfully on both hard drives) ...
NOW ... I'm able to boot to Ubuntu, using either a "live" DVD or my USB installation, and run Ubuntu's "Disc Utility", which allows one to examine, mount, change, format, partition, etc. all of the physical drives and logical volumes on the system ... And both the "DellUtils" (41 MB) and "RECOVERY" (12 GB) areas are clearly ON THE HARD DRIVE(s) and can be mounted and examined, and they seem to contain the expected files and folders ... So this is NOT a situation where the RAID 0 array got reformatted, erased, overwritten, etc. such that the "RECOVERY" area would be lost ... And this area seems to occupy the expected 6 GB out of the reserved 12 GB ...
But if I try to mount the "OS" volume on the RAID 0 array, the Ubuntu mount fails with error code 2, which means pretty much the same thing in Linux-land -- lack of system resources, space, etc. ... The Ubuntu "Disc Utility" program shows that the "OS" volume is "out there" on the RAID 0 array, but it can't be accessed (or booted from) ...
Has anyone ever seen this particular error message when trying to perform a "Factory Restore/Recovery"? What does it mean? Could it be a problem with the MBR or the partitioning or the RAID 0 configuration? I'm at my wit's end here simply trying to do a factory restore -- either from the hard drive(s) OR from the "System Recovery" DVD's (also 6 GB) that I created when first setting up the system -- and no one at Dell (so far) seems to have any clue of what to do, OTHER than re-installing Windows 7 on clean hard drive(s), using a Windows 7 disc that was NOT included with my system (and therefore, more delays) ...
What a huge hassle all THAT would be!!! Isn't there a better way??? I can SEE the required fixin' areas "out there" on the hard drive(s) ... Can anyone please help me, or offer some ideas, or point me to (online) resources???
First, I don't know much about RAID 0 array. If I uderstand correctly the computer sees this
as one drive, just a performance thing. Seems risky if you lose one drive both are gone.
That said, I would check the recovery partition to see if it is the active partition and look for a couple
of files in it 1: %root%\tools\imagex.exe 2: %root%\dell\image\factory.wim
Now you need a system repair disk for your system to boot computer and format the "OS" partition.
Get to command prompt run Diskpart
select disk #
select partition #
format fs=ntfs label="OS" quick
Change to recovery partition then to: %root%\tools
imagex /apply d:\dell\image\factory.wim 1 c:\
NOTE d: being the recovery and c: being the OS they might be reversed then it would be
imagex /apply c:\dell\image\factory.wim 1 d:\
If the image applys correctly you will need to change to OS partition then to %Root%\windows\system32
Same note applys here also. Hopefully your ststem will boot now, The F8 recovery will not work now because
of the new BCD loader files. You will need to get a command script called: setautofailover.cmd to fix this.
After you boot, make sure the recovery partition is visable to the system with a drive letter then run:
setautofailover /target d: /partition 2 /nohide
D in above line being drive letter you set for your recovery partition. This should fix the F8 option.
Hope this all helps.
I followed your instructions carefully, with some minor adjustments for missing files ... Actually, I wasn't able to find either the "tools" directory or the "imagex" command in the "RECOVERY" partition, but it didn't matter, because once I had (re-)formatted the "OS" partition, I was then able to do a Factory Restore/Recovery using the two "System Recovery" DVD's that I created -- from the "RECOVERY" partition, I guess -- when first setting up the system ... And then I followed your instructions for "BCDBOOT" and "setautofailover", and those commands gave me a bootable "OS" partition and a working F8-key mechanism for entering "Advanced Boot Options" when booting ...
So now I'm able to boot Windows again! I still have two "non-critical issues" remaining with the "DellUtility" and "RECOVERY" partitions -- both are still "out there" on the hard drive(s), but neither seems to be bootable anymore ... And while the "RECOVERY" partition seems to contain its original files, at least -- most notably, the "factory.wim" file (about 4 GB) -- the "DellUtility" partition seems to have somehow "lost" its original files and is now empty ... However, those are questions for another topic, because I seem to be able to perform the functions of both partitions using: (a) the two "System Recovery" DVD's that I created; and (b) the Dell "Drivers and Utilities" disc that was supplied with my system ... It's just that I'd kinda like to have the "original hard drive(s)" with the "original functionality" again ...
But the critical problem that I posted here is SOLVED!!! Thanks again, Tom ...