how do i replace a missing boot manager?

By breeze7206 ·
I have a windows vista home premium laptop, an Acer aspire 5100. Long story short, I tried to change my password and windows explorer stopped responding briefly while changing the password. now my old password doesn't work and what I was changing it to doesn't work either. short of buying expensive software, the only option I had was to reinstall windows. The directions for the recovery discs (3 total. 1 "system" and two "recovery" discs) say to insert the system disc, reboot, and hit F12 when the splash screen comes up. Nothing happened when I hit f12. I have already used these discs not even 2 months ago and they worked like a charm then.
I formatted the hard drive and tried it then and when i hit f12 at the splash screen i get a message that says that the bootmgr is missing. I can't even make it boot from disc by changing the boot order in the BIOS.

why is it saying that I'm missing the boot manager?

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Acer laptops have a custom configuration on the HDD

by OldER Mycroft In reply to how do i replace a missin ...

Usually the HDD is partitioned into 3 areas.

PPQSERVICE Hidden (Recovery) Partition.

Usually to recover the system to factory settings, by invoking the Recovery Partition, you would press Alt+F9 immediately after power-on BEFORE the splash screen even appears.

The F12 method is to invoke the Vista Recovery method which is also stored within a hidden area of the HDD.

But you formatted the HDD, so the Boot Manager that would've been invoked by either of the previous methods, no longer exists.

What did you format the HDD with? This is usually only possible by using the install disc - the disc you claim won't work.

Did you format the entire HDD or only the C SYSTEM partition?
I only ask because you'd really have your work cut out to manage to delete a hidden partition. There is every chance that the hidden recovery partition is still valid on the HDD.

Have you ever bothered to read the Owner's Manual? There are instructions in there, telling you how to restore the laptop HDD.

You seem to be recovering your system rather frequently - what was the reason for doing so only 2 months ago?

Edit for typos

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hard drive

by breeze7206 In reply to Acer laptops have a custo ...

I formatted it using another computer. I took the hard drive out and put it in an external case and completely wiped it. it's essentially just like when I took the drive out of the box (which wasn't long ago).

And I bought the laptop from someone else so I don't have the manual. The laptop didn't even come with restore discs from the factory, you have to buy them.

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Is it not illegal

by darpoke In reply to hard drive

for an OEM to supply a machine without restore disks or, at the very least, the OS you paid for with the purchase?

If not, it should be.

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apparently not

by breeze7206 In reply to Is it not illegal

I have heard that acer provides an option to create your own restore disc using their "eManagement" tools that they install with the computer, but it's something you have to do on your own. It never asked me to do it so I didn't know it was an option. And acer also only offers for sale the recovery discs for systems younger than 3 years.

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RE: "laptop didn't even come with restore discs" ...

by OldER Mycroft In reply to hard drive

That's because Acer's have a hidden recovery partition.

Or at least yours did, until you "completely wiped it".

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Try invoking the hidden Recovery Partition ...

by OldER Mycroft In reply to how do i replace a missin ...

It may not have been destroyed if you only formatted the HDD. You can only format whatever the system can 'see' - usually systems don't recognise the Recovery Partition exists, particularly when it comes to formatting.

Immediately after you power on, BEFORE any splash screen, hit Alt+F9 to activate the restore to factory condition.

You might need to activate the Recovery Partition within the BIOS first. Acer usually sets it to OFF by default to prevent someone hitting the recovery combination by mistake.

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I'd be surprised

by darpoke In reply to Try invoking the hidden R ...

if it still existed.

OS X makes use of a hidden partition on its boot volume. A 200MB EFI partition facilitates things like recognising startup key combos and holds the shell used in Single User mode. This partition is completely hidden - it shows up in neither the Finder, the Disk Utility, nor the Activity Monitor. No GUI tools will see it, in fact - you have to run <font face="Courier">diskutil list</font> in Terminal (<font face="Courier">disktool</font> won't show it as it has neither a mountpoint nor a partition name) just to see the durned thing.

The reason I mention this is that I wiped a Mac Mini to install FreeBSD and these partitions were not only accessible in the partition manager, I managed to wipe them and had to reinstall OS X just to be able to insert rEFIt so that I could select non-Mac/Win OSes.

Don't mean to be a joykill but I suspect that partition is dead and gone...

[edit: clarification]

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It isn't the original Acer drive

by breeze7206 In reply to Try invoking the hidden R ...

It's a replacement hard drive that i put in the computer about two months ago. It took me forever to even get windows to try to install and involved copying the files off of a windows dvd onto the hard drive and then inserting it into the laptop, since even when windows does work properly this acver doesnt seem to want to boot from a a cd or dvd.

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Copy bootmgr from other computer

by breeze7206 In reply to how do i replace a missin ...

could i copy the boot manager, or maybe even all of the OS files off of a working laptop onto the hard drive of my currently useless Acer?

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Try removing

by Jacky Howe In reply to how do i replace a missin ...

and re-inserting the Optical Drive. It may then detect your DVD.

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