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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Repair Master Boot Record (MBR) ACER MS Vista OS and Data Recovery

Assalamualaikum w.b.t.,

In this post no discussion about financial planning, investment and "CHANGE" for better Malaysia but will share how to recover  corrupted hard disk and repair any of your computer MBR  when unable to reboot successfully.

Why did I share the step and make it simple to recover back computer especially laptops?

Main reason, I face difficulties to recover back my laptop once normal recovery method provided by my laptop manufacture was not working and backup recovery disk also failed to work.

Last December 2012, my ACER Laptop crashed and failed to reboot. After few times making eRecovery approach, the laptops still unable to reboot and the last option that I have is to do hard recovery where all data in hard disk will be erased. At that time I was busy with tight project delivery and most of my data was in the laptop; and no latest backup being made. After 1 week struggling to recover boot problem then I make decision to purchase new laptop and start working to recover what ever data that still available in the hard disk. My lucky, I able to save 90% of my data. Alhamdulillah. Thank you,  Ya Allah for your merciful.

1) So how did I  recover my data and how you can recover yours?
In market there are a few type of universal plug and play USB Sata/IDE adapter or hard disk casing that you can get with cheap price below RM50.00 at IT shop.  After mounting hard disk to the adapter then you can plug directly to you other computer usb to get what ever data you want from the disk.

2) Recover Crash Hard Disk and Boot Problem

Now I'm a bit free to recover back my ACER Laptop. After a few time making default recovery using built in eRecovery system still fail to boot my laptop. Of course data already gone after making default recovery approach. If you don't know how to make e-Recovery then you can surf in youtube or web about this. Other laptop manufacture they use different name. Such my new laptop LENOVO / Windows 8  they call as OneKey Rescue System. It is common for most of new system to have this type of recovery system. May be some of you will argue, "Why not using Windows Installation CD then?". The reason, now branded computer system come with PRE-LOADED Windows including my ACER Timeline it use MS-VISTA.

How about the recovery media? You see what did ACER Answer for my request....



Thank you for contacting Acer Malaysia.

Pertaining to you inquiry, please be informed that we dont provide any recovery disk anymore.

Either you can format using other Windows Cd or you can send back to our repair centre for installation (RM120.00 for installation)

If you require further clarification, please call 1800-88-1918



So, no recovery disk that you can download from ACER anymore. So what should you do? Drive to ACER center? What else will cost me in addition to RM120?

I download free EASEUS Partition Master to check and do virtual partition for eRecovery to confirm it still there. At once I thought my hard disk still okey, then while working on it I found out a "clicking" sound from the hard disk shows instability and normally hard disk crash occurred due to hard disk unstable or damage. Testing using surface found bad sector meaning that this hard disk might have physical surface damage and better replace it if you want to use for critical work.

STEPs to reinstall MBR and Windows Recovery (Pre Load Version)
 i) Different problem might have different technique. This step might help you. Take out corrupted hard disk from computer/laptop.
ii) Backup pre-load windows system from old hard disk using EaseUS To Do Backup (get free from and use USB adapter for hard disk as mentioned above. Select Partition 1 in Disk 1. Disk 0 is your hard disk in computer. Disk 1, old disk connected to USB adapter. 
iii) After completed backup, change USB adapter and connect your new hard disk then restore back your back up partition. 

iv) Then, install new hard disk in your corrupted laptop then reboot to eRecovery D2D mode. For Acer, once bios start up press Alt & F10 key together. 

v) Once, eRecovery windows appear, select  "Completely restore system to factory default". This process is time consuming, please be patient. All required windows software will be installed in Partition 2.

vi) After completed, shut down laptop then take out back hard disk then connect to  USB adapter again and hook back to other good computer.

vii) Download  MbrFix software from Sysint as below. Learn how to use this software as below to fix your master boot record. Extract the file in prefer directory then execute "COMMAND PROMPT". To fixed MBR I use this command; 

MbrFix /drive 1  /partition 2 fixmbr /vista /yes

For other version such windows 7, XP and etc please refer below or direct to SYSINT website.

viii) Then, put back your hard disk to your laptop then reboot. The installation process of windows will start since the MBR already repaired. Fill in all required information. Your computer now ready for other software installation and can use as before.

ix) So if you still unable to recover your laptop/computer due to pre-loaded windows not reinitialize or partially initialize, try this method. THUMBS up to SYSINT  for its MBRFIX. Its really work. Allhamdulillah. Thank you.

All software I mentioned here is free for non commercial use. 

MBRFix @

Author: Systemintegrasjon AS
Version:  File Date: 8/5/2009  Number of Downloads: 281968  File size: 136 K
Date Released: 9/20/2007

File Description:
Tool to fix or create Master Boot Record (MBR) on harddisks, for instance when using Windows PE. With an x64-edition as well as the 32-bit edition.
Now with support for Windows Vista and Windows 7 MBR's!
The new version has some new, cool features, like creating DOS boot sectors, changing partition types, etc!
Read more

I copy the instruction from SYSINT to ease for future reference since its really work. Thank you guys for your genius work. Recommended for MBR recovery. If others interested please visit back to their original website for more information.
Copyright (C) 2004-2009 Systemintegrasjon AS


    MbrFix /drive  {/partition }  { /yes } { /byte }


The program is made for Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows 7 and Windows PE. Both 32-bit and 64-bit x64 editions are supported.
You need administrative privileges to make it work!


Perform several Master Boot Record (MBR) tasks, like backing up, restoring, fixing the boot code in the MBR, etc. The utility should not be used for GUID Partition Table (GPT) disks. The utility now, by popular demand, also come in a x64-version running unde x64-editions of Windows and PE.


    MbrFix /drive  driveinfo              Display drive information
    MbrFix /drive  drivesize              Returns drive size in MB as return value
    MbrFix /drive  listpartitions         Display partition information
    MbrFix /drive  savembr          Save MBR and partitions to file
    MbrFix /drive  restorembr       Restore MBR and partitions from file
    MbrFix /drive  fixmbr {/vista|/win7}  Update MBR code to W2K/XP/2003, Vista or Win7
    MbrFix /drive  clean                  Delete all partitions on the selected disk
    MbrFix /drive  readsignature {/byte}  Read disk signature from MBR
    MbrFix /drive  writesignature    Write disk signature to MBR
    MbrFix /drive  generatesignature      Generate disk signature in MBR
    MbrFix /drive  readstate              Read state from byte 0x1b2 in MBR
    MbrFix /drive  writestate      Write state to byte 0x1b2 in MBR
    MbrFix /drive  readdrive   
                                               Save sectors from drive to file
    MbrFix /drive  /partition  fixbootsector      
                                               Update Boot code in boot sector
    MbrFix /drive  /partition  getpartitiontype 
                                               Get partition type
    MbrFix /drive  /partition  setpartitiontype      
                                               Set partition type
    MbrFix /drive  /partition  setactivepartition 
                                               Set active partition
    MbrFix /drive  getactivepartition     Get active partition
    MbrFix volumeinformation driveletter       Get volume information for partition
    MbrFix flush {driveletter(s)}              Flush files to disk for partition
    MbrFix listpartitiontypes                  List partition types
Drive numbering starts on 0.
Partition numbering starts on 1.

Commands restorembr, fixmbr, generatesignature, writestate, clean, setactivepartition and fixbootsector will ask for confirmation unless /yes is included. All these commands may lead to data loss if used incorrectly or without intention.
If the /byte option is given for the readsignature command, the signature is returned as a byte array instead of as a DWORD. Writesignature requires the new signature to be specified as 8 hex digits.
If /vista is used with the fixmbr command, a Windows Vista MBR is written, if /win7 is used, a Windows 7 MBR is written instead of the default Win2000/XP/2003 MBR. The Vista or Win7 MBR should work with the other OS'es.
When fixing boot sector of a chosen partition, the wanted OS version must be specified. For now, the only valid choices are WIN98, DOS5 and DOS6.
The purpose of the fixbootsector command is to insert boot code for loading DOS from a partition created and formatted as FAT using the Windows 2000/XP/2003 tools, since those tools inserts boot code for loading NTLDR.

Return codes:

The program reports an errorlevel as 0 for OK and other values for errors.
The exception to this is the ReadState, GetPartitonType and GetActivePartitions command which returns the state as a return code as well as printing to stdout. Any errors for this command are returned as negative values because of this. The DriveSize command returns the drive size in MB, and 0 in case of error.

Why do I need this utility?

Well, I was testing Windows Embedded XP using a virtual PC, and was booting Windows PE from a CD-ROM to partition a brand new harddisk (quite cheap, since it was virtual !). Using the diskpart.exe utility (found in Windows XP and Windows Server 2003, available as a download for Windows 2000), I created the partition, made it Active, assigned it a drive letter. I then used the format.exe utility to format it to NTFS (format C: /fs:ntfs).
DISKPART> detail part
Partition 1
Type: 07
Hidden: No
Active: Yes

 Volume ###  Letter  Lable       Fs     Type        Size     Status     Info.
 ----------  ---  -----------  -----  ----------  -------   ---------  --------
* Volume 1     C    WinXP        NTFS   Partition    149 MB   OK        System            
I then mounted a network drive to my physical computer and copied the boot.ini, ntldr,, windows folder, program files folder, etc. from the Windows Embedded XP image directory. Everything to make it boot.
Well everything should be OK, so I rebooted the (virtual) computer and expected it to boot up Windows Embedded XP.
But not so! It just sat there with a nice black screen. No error message at all.
Some investigation later on the Internet, I found this very informative page by Daniel B. Sedory:, containing a wealth of MBR info. The info on one of the pages states that the MBR code is installed on the drive when the Windows setup program runs and no MBR code exists already. Hmm.., seemed to be right on the mark.
I searched further on the Internet, but the only utilities I found which could install MBR code was for other operating systems, like FDISK.exe /MBR for DOS (but I wouldn't boot to DOS...) or the fixmbr command in the Windows 2000/XP/2003 Recovery Console. Didn't want that either. Wanted something to work on a Windows 32 bit platform, to be able to fix the problem in other cases when using Win PE and just plain copying in the operating system files. So, then I was left to make the utility myself!
Problem solved: After booting up Windows PE from CD again, the command   MBRFix /drive 0 fixmbr /yes   solved it all. Embedded XP booted like a charm.


C:\> MbrFix /drive 0 listpartitions
# Boot Size (MB) Type
1  Yes     151001    6  DOS 3.31+ 16-bit FAT (over 32M)
2          1623   12  WIN95 OSR2 32-bit FAT, LBA-mapped
3             0    0  None
4             0    0  None

C:\> MbrFix /drive 0 savembr Backup_MBR_0.bin

C:\> MbrFix /drive 0 restorembr Backup_MBR_0.bin
You are about to Restore MBR,
are you sure (Y/N)? Y

C:\> MbrFix /drive 0 fixmbr /yes

C:\> MbrFix /drive 0 fixmbr /vista /yes

C:\> MbrFix /drive 0 /partition 2 fixbootsector WIN98 /yes

C:\> MbrFix /drive 0 /partition 2 setpartitiontype 14 /yes

C:\> MbrFix flush            (flush all drives)

C:\> MbrFix flush cde        (flushes C:, D: and E:)
C:\> mbrfix readsignature

C:\> mbrfix writesignature 473d4f07


Readstate and Writestate:

The commands readstate and writestate use a byte at offset 0x1b2 to store state. This was changed from offset 0x1b0 used in earlier versions to be compatible with Windows Vista MBR. These commands are only useful in a scenario where you use Windows PE to roll out other MS operating systems, and you have no other place to store information about where you are in the installation process. This location in the MBR is unused as far as known, from the days of DOS 3.30 until Vista.


Daniel B. Sedory, for his compilation of information on and for his feedback on the program.

User License Agreement:

The program is delivered AS-IS, that is without any form of guarantee. You may freely use the program for any legal purpose, and you may freely distribute it, except for commercial purposes, as long as this file is distributed along the program file. If re-distributed (CD/DVD-compilations or similar, on Web-pages, or with other non-commercial products), credit should be given to Kåre Smith and Systemintegrasjon AS.
Incorrect use of this program may cause loss of all data on your disk-drives. The same applies to any bugs in the program. All use of this program is at the risk of the user. Systemintegrasjon AS does not accept any liability for any damage the program might cause.
If you do not accept these terms, you must delete the program, MbrFix.exe and MbrFix64.exe, at once!


Fixed bug in the fixbootsector command, which always wrote to drive 0.
Added support for Windows 7 MBR.


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