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OEM POST Key (F11, F10, etc) to Activate Windows PE

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5 replies to this topic

#1
bigdogchris

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Manufacturers like HP, Dell, etc., use an F key press to activate the recovery partitions. In the event that you replace the hard drive you lose the functionality. So my question is a two-parter:

1) Does anyone know the actual functionality of the F button presses, ie., how it works?
2) Is it possible to program a new partition as the fail over partition so that the buttons works again?

I would like to do this without using 3rd party tools.

I hope this is the right spot to ask :)

Edited by bigdogchris, 19 April 2013 - 01:46 PM.



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#2
Kullenen_Ask

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i want to learn that too.

#3
submix8c

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Nope... they ARE Third Party Tools, usually built around using SoftThinks. They are "generally" special Master Boot coding.

For Dell, just do a google on "goodells" (the man's name) that provides a wealth of info on Dell.

The scenario "generally" goes like this -
1 - Press the Fx Key
2 - "Hidden" Partition is booted to instead of Regular OS one
3a - Code there May/May-not "mess" with bits in the MBR
3b - Code May/May-not transfer control to ANOTHER paritition
4 - You get "Restore" Options - pick as given and it "happens"
5 - Any "messed with" code is "undone"
6 - You now boot to the Restored Regular OS partition

Why do you think Dell (etc.) does NOT use 3d Party methods?
Grub4DOS (AFAIK) has a method of doing something along those lines.

Are you suggesting IF your HDD totally FAILS?
Did you NOT have either Restore -OR- Recovery CD's/DVD's before it happens (big mistake)?

On a side note, you MAY be referring to some "stunts" pulled for an OS like Vista/Win7. Still the same methodology, though, even when booting to the (not WinPE) WinRE to allow for Restores of WIM files.

Best I can tell you...

Someday the tyrants will be unthroned... Jason "Jay" Chasteen; RIP, bro!

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#4
jaclaz

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And the answer is "Yes and No". :w00t:

Yes, depending on the actual OS you are using it is possible using no third party tool (but the key is F8) to access a WinRE (one of the least talked about setups/environmants, actually a PE), but No, in most cases a third party tool is used as it is simply much easier to setup (and you can choose another key, though loking for F11 is normally an issue as it is a non-standard key, choosing F10 is advised) AND much more robust (as the "switch" happens in the MBR, which has less probabilities of being corrupted if something happens, or, if correupted won't let the PC boot anyway).

If you prefer, using the \boot\BCD mechanism is possible but overly complex, far from "failproof" and all in all not "smart". :unsure:

Anyway, for Vista :ph34r: and later:
http://www.msfn.org/...via-f8-startup/

If you decide to go for third party tools, there are several ones "self contained" in the MBR or - personally prefferred - grub4dos that can do that easily, just ask.

jaclaz

Edited by jaclaz, 20 April 2013 - 04:27 AM.


#5
bigdogchris

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I do PC repair and often times I do not have access to the original restore disc. I typically just create pre-activated media when I do OS installations. But of course, like I said, that leaves FXX restore functionality broken. It seems mbldr can do something like create alternate boot records to boot to.

Also, Submix8c is right, SoftThinks is the software I see handles recovery for HP. I'm just hoping to find a way to do this for free to my customers.

Edited by bigdogchris, 21 April 2013 - 06:32 PM.


#6
jaclaz

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I do PC repair and often times I do not have access to the original restore disc. I typically just create pre-activated media when I do OS installations. But of course, like I said, that
Also, Submix8c is right, SoftThinks is the software I see handles recovery for HP. I'm just hoping to find a way to do this for free to my customers.

As said there are several tools available for free.

What I personally use is grub4dos BUT it has features far exceeding your needs (and is more complex to setup and uses - when plainly installed - not only the MBR but also a few of the hidden sectors) and it potentially gives to your customers "powers" that they really shouldn't have (unless they know where their towel is), NOT recommended for your specific use.

A simpler solution that I also use often is mbldr (fully contained in the MBR):
http://reboot.pro/to...is-named-mbldr/
http://sourceforge.net/projects/mbldr/
See here for it's use as a replacement of the Softthinks MBR:
http://www.msfn.org/...d/page__st__105
the issue as hinted before is with F11 (use F10 instead).

Another option is Terabyte thingy MBR Utility:
http://www.terabyteu...ee-software.htm

See here for tips/info:
http://www.msfn.org/...very-partition/
http://www.msfn.org/...on/page__st__26

jaclaz




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