Hacking Challenges

Recovering an Acer Computer

July 29th, 2008 by Patchy
Last Thursday, my Acer Travelmate laptop crapped out on me and stopped booting Windows XP. I tried everything to fix it: booting into safe mode, using Windows recovery console to fix the boot.ini, fixing the corrupted partition boot sector with Fixboot, and fixing the Master boot record with Fixmdr. I even tried to reinstall windows, but it still wouldn’t boot! So I decided I would just backup all my stuff with a liveCD, format the drive, and use the recovery cd to start all over. Guess what? Acer doesn’t ship their laptops with a Recovery CD; they require you have to burn it yourself when you first get the computer, and of course I was way too lazy to do that. Well after some research I found out there is a hidden recovery partition that the Acer repair people use to fix your computer. If you are having the same problem as me, heres how I accessed the hidden partition and recovered my computer.

1. Boot your computer with the Backtrack liveCD (I used BT2 because it was the only thing I had off hand)
2. Backtrack will automatically mount the hidden drive (sda1). Navigate to it in the /mnt/sda1 folder.
3. Copy mbrwrwin.exe and rtmbr.bin from the /mnt/sda1 folder to the /mnt/sda2 folder (your C drive).
4. Next, you need to run the mbrwrwin install rtmbr.bin command. You can do this a couple different ways: You can use the Windows Recovery Console to run the command, or use a Windows LiveCD like BartPE ( I used BartPE because I already tried to re-install windows and I couldn’t access the recovery console because I wasn’t able to set an Administrator password.
5. Restart your computer, and press Alt-F10 at the Acer splash screen. This will bring you to the Acer eRecovery on the hidden partition, and all you have to do is follow the directions to restore the factory settings. (If you can’t access the eRecovery make sure d2d recovery is enabled in BIOS. You can access the BIOS by pressing F2 at the Acer splash screen).
6. After your computer is restored, burn the damn recovery cd so you don’t have to do this next time!!!

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Posted in News | 4 Comments »

4 Responses

  1. C|0N3D Says:

    I’ve got an Acer too. I found out about this about two weeks ago, but I didn’t think anyone else used Acer computers…
    Thanks for posting :)

  2. CrashOverron Says:

    i work over at RadiosHack and we actually sell a few different Acer laptops =P and ppl buy them so they’re pretty popular

  3. Patchy Says:

    I like my Acer but I don’t like all their “Empowering Technology” bullshit.

  4. Submit Says:

    soon a year since this was posted but.. whatever…
    u know u can just hold ALT and F10 under boot to start the Acer Recovery? maybey u have to enable D2D recovery and F12 recovery in BIOS :)

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