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Windows 7: Win7 'custom refresh' image can't see Windows volume

19 Apr 2015   #1
worstdevever

Windows 7 Professional x64 build 7601
 
 
Win7 'custom refresh' image can't see Windows volume

TL;DR
I moved a patched copy of the Windows 7 Pro x64 installation disc (patched for latest updates and drivers) into a HDD partition, added it to the OS boot menu (WinPE) as "Recovery", and now both it and Windows 7 will boot, but the "Recovery" image doesn't seem to be able to "see" my functioning Windows 7 volume. How can I fix this?

BACKGROUND

This Toshiba purchased in Singapore came absolutely loaded with bloatware -- including some unusually invasive adware (e.g., every webpage on every browser had large injected ads). Having some security concerns with a machine like that, I knew I didn't want to keep the factory-reset either. I removed the factory recovery partitions, clean-installed Windows 7 Pro x64 from a Microsoft disc, then cleared and re-enabled the hybrid RAID caching volume (see my "Further Background" explanation). Then...

WHAT I DID
At this point, I wanted to create my own custom 'factory-reset'/recovery volume. So, I...
  1. copied the contents of my Windows installation disk to a partition;
  2. used WSUS Offline Update (per this guide) to download Windows Updates to a folder;
  3. patched install.wim with the Updates (using DISM);
  4. patched install.wim with all the drivers I had earlier had to manually identify, download, and install (using DISM); and,
  5. followed steps 2-7 of this guide to add an entry for the new recovery volume to WinPE for booting.
WHAT IS RIGHT
  1. Windows 7 boots just fine.
  2. The new 'recovery' Windows 7 installation image boots just fine.
WHAT IS WRONG
When I go into the Windows 7 installation, go to 'Repair', and then 'Choose a recovery tool'...
  • at the top where it says "Operating system:", I see the following error:
Quote:
Operating system: Unknown on (Unknown) Local Disk
  • click on 'Windows Memory Diagnostic', I get the following error:
Quote:
Windows cannot check for memory problems
An error is preventing Windows from checking for memory problems during startup. To run the Windows Memory Diagnostic manually, boot the computer from the Windows installation disc, and then select Windows Memory Diagnostic from the Windows Boot Manager menu.
  • click on 'System Image Recovery', I get the following error:
Quote:
An internal error occurred. The following information might help you resolve the error:

The system cannot find the file specified. (0x80070002)
  • click on 'System Restore', I get the following error:
Quote:
To use System Restore, you must specify which Windows installation to restore.

Restart this computer, select an operating system, and then select System Restore.
  • click on 'Command Prompt', it works just fine. But when I run diskpart, and call list disk and list volume, I get the following errors:
Quote:
There are no fixed disks to show.
There are no volumes.
WHAT I NEED FROM YOU FINE FOLKS

I'm confused as to why the Windows installer can't detect my Windows 7 installation. Is it a problem with WinPE? Is there a change to install.wim (or boot.wim) which needs doing?

(EDIT: Note that both the "custom refresh" installer and Windows 7 are on the same HDD -- neither is on the SSD, which is reserved for caching.)

FURTHER BACKGROUND
The machine comes with a hybrid SSD/HDD which from factory was never functional (at boot, the RAID manager always came up saying that the cache volume was disabled). The supplied BIOS and Intel drivers provided no option for controlling or refreshing the cache (for whatever reason I couldn't get the Intel Control Center for Rapid Storage from Toshiba or Intel). So, after I removed the factory recovery partitions and clean-installed Windows, I identified an HP machine with the same processor and successfully installed the Control Center, cleared the cache and enabled it. Works great now.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
.
20 Apr 2015   #2
gregrocker
Microsoft MVP

 

I don't know why your custom-made bootable installation/repair partition will not show the install for repair. But when installed correctly Win7 will provide System Recovery Options repair options via the F8 Advanced Boot Options menu, so that isn't really necessary.

A much better choice is to save externally a backup image using a flexible imaging program like free Macrium Imaging - Windows 7 Help Forums. If Win7 and/or the hard drive fails you can reimage it in 20 minutes. If you keep a separate data partition (backed up externally) then your data will also be current and waiting.

If you lack an external drive or another hard drive, for now you can save this backup image to a primary partition on the same disk which can then act as a better version of a Recovery Partition. However since the hard drive can fail it is not the best method of saving the image. If it's stored externally then you can replace the hard drive and then apply the image in 20 minutes.

As to the caching partition, these will show you how a reinstall is done to include those even if yours is not exactly the same as either of these:
Install Windows on MSATA (SSD) Drive - Windows 7 Help Forums
Install Windows on System with MSATA and ISRT - Windows 7 Help Forums

Finally, look over these steps which compile everything that's worked best in tens of thousands of Clean Reinstall Windows 7 we've helped with here. Over 1.3 million consumers have used it without a single complaint or return here with problems if they stick with the steps and tools included.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Apr 2015   #3
worstdevever

Windows 7 Professional x64 build 7601
 
 

Thanks for the reply! For lack of time, I will do as you suggest. But for educational reasons (I work in IT), I'd really like to understand what the problem is here. What I did ought to have worked, so far as I understand it. I'm thinking the problem lies in the boot record? I confess boot records and partitions is not my strength. But I'm trying to learn. I'll investigate further tomorrow.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

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 Win7 'custom refresh' image can't see Windows volume




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