Restore System Windows XP failed

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Restore System Windows XP failed

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I have a dell Inspiron 640m. It was getting too slow, so I decided to restore the system.  I did this procedure before and I didn't have any problem, but this time it failed.

I press the CTRL/F11 to start the restore, it began to run until it stopped saying the following message:

"The system recovery process was not successful"

Then I press the Finish button to reboot, just as the message showed to do it.

Then, this message appeared:

Loading PBR for descriptor 2... done.



And it didn't do anything else, let the pc with that message for about an hour. So decided to turn it off pressing the poser button and try again. And this is what it showed to me:


Loading PBR for descriptor 4... done.

Loading DRMK version 8.00...


DRMK Version 8.0020.10 [Build 00009]

COMMAND.COM Build date: Nov, 28, 2005

[DSRcheck] Partition change detected - restore may not succed

Later it shows:

ABORT: 36000, A GeneralException occurred

ABORT: 36000, A GeneralException occurred

Abort details output to GHOSTERR.TXT.


I wonder what is that "partition"... why does it happen...

I have installed programs that later I uninstalled. One time my husband fragmented the disc. And that is all what computer had gone through.

Can somebody help me?


All Replies
  • A partition is an amount of space on the hard drive that can be treated as a separate storage entity and alloted its own drive letter.  As delivered from Dell, your hard drive should have had three partitions; the diagnostic partition, the boot partition, and the restore partition.  The partition that you boot from, which is normally designated as the C: drive, is where Windows resides.

    Dell computers delivered with Windows XP have a special Master Boot Record that chooses which partition to boot from so that you can use the factory restore image from the third partition.  The simplified version of the process is that you start the computer, press the CTRL and F11 keys, the code from the MBR detects the keypress and changes the boot partition to the third partition, starts the restore process, and when the restore process is finished, additional code in the MBR changes the boot partition to the first partition, which is where you are now stuck.  The first partition normally boots to a special version of Windows 98 that runs the program to register your computer.  When you finish answering the questions there, the program boots again to the special MBR which again changes the boot partition to partition 2 and tries to boot Windows.  Your particular computer differs from what I have just described because you probably have Media Direct which requires a fourth partition, but the operation is the same except for this detail.

    From what you have told me, someone has attempted to modify the partition layout on the drive; perhaps you wanted some additional storage space for data.  The restore process is very sensitive to these changes.  It works correctly only if the partition layout remains the same from the time Dell delivered the computer.  The error you have seen essentially states that fact.  There is a page by Dan Goodell that goes through this process in great detail and gives you pointers on repairing it, but unless you are very familiar with computer operation, it would be easier for you to start from the beginning and manually restore your computer from the CDs that were shipped with your computer.  If you would like to look at the repair process anyway, you will find it here:  Inside the Dell PC Restore Partition.  A Dell guide to restoring your computer is here:  PC Restore for Windows XP.  To get to the manual restore process you need to click on the link you will find in step 3.

    Dell Forum member since 2005

  • I have the User's manual where the same PC Restore for Windows XP instruction appears. And that is what I did to restore the system. Yet, the computer I got from a friend who bought the laptop directly from Dell. None of the CDs were  handed to me, so I will have call this person and ask him where they are! And yes, my computer has Media Direct.

    My husband told me that fragmenting the disc would repair the gaps that install/uninstall process let in the system, which makes it slower. I didn't see any change after that, so that's when I decided to restore the whole system as I had to one about a year and half ago and then it worked well without troubles.

    I appreciate your help. Thank you so much!