a customer of mine has an HP Pavilion 9500 with Windows Vista as a pre installation. She did not make Recovery DVDs. The computer crashed.

I deleted the folder $tfxlog and the blue screen vanished, but now the laptop is booting into a black screen.

I tried to use Recovery DVDs of HP 6820, this didn't work. I tried to use a Windows Recovery DVD to check for errors, which says it is repairing the hard disk, but actually the action lids are off no activity, even if you let it work for 24 hours.

I tried to connect the hard disk to another computer to transfer files and check the hard disk using chkdsk, but there is only one partition shown with no files on it. All partitions are probably hidden.

What to do? Is there a way to display the partitions anyway?

I'd appreciate any help.

what i do in this situation is use a retail copy of win vista same version as there and just use there key, you will need to get drivers from HP

Given that HP ALWAYS come with a recover disc (no need to make one), would be encouraging the client to first dig through her cupboards to locate that original disc.

As posted above, you can - in a bind - use a retail copy (as long as it is the same version of Vista pre-installed) to get Vista up and running, but this is not going to help in the long run. If she has truly lost her original restore disc, at some point she is going to have to purchase a new copy of Windows, either through HP directly, or off the shelf.

Thank you for your replies. When I try to install a fresh copy of Vista, I get a "Hard disk error". Setup or chkdsk tries to solve this issue, without success. I have to format the HDD, but then I need to get the data of the customer out of the disk before formatting.

When I connect the HDD (SATA) to another computer as a slave (or secondary HDD) then I keep getting one partition with a few data (the disk has actually 3 partitions, c where windows and the data are located, d with about 2GB, e with about 8 GB containing Windows Vista Recovery).

To solve the problem I need to get the HDD connected to another computer and get the data out first. Afterwards I would try to chkdsk the HDD with Windows and Norton Disk Doctor. If nothing helps, I can still format the drive.

Any suggestion how to bypass the HP lock and gain access to the data on the HDD?

The new laptops do not come along with DVDs anymore. You have the option to create a set of recovery disks. Only once and only one set. The poor customer did not know and did not make any recovery CDs.

All suggestions will be followed and are highly appreciated.

I forgot to mention: I got the computer with the famous blue screen when you get an error. There was no way to get the blue screen away. I tried to make a system restore with no luck!

I found out (Google!) that there is a problem with tfxlog.dll and the hidden folder and the entire files within the folder $txflog. I managed to delete the folder easily, I should have made a bkp of it. Well. After restarting I got a blank and balck screen. When I call the recovery programm of HP I get a blue screen, the propt box appears for a second and vanishes, and that's it, nothing happens (I let it in this state for about 4 hours).

Later I will try to copy the same folder from another computer, maybe I manage to get rid of the black screen. All suggestions are highly appreciated.

Update: I actually managed to copy the deleted files from another computer onto the corrupt one. After I did there was no change at all in the behaviour of Windows. Still showing the command propt for less than a second and the blank desktop - for hours. There is no change at all.

Final action:
after trying hard for a few days to solve this problem, I was finally not able to boot the laptop with the recovery manager. Either the F11-button is not funtioning, or there is something else wrong. It was not possible to call the System Restore programm.

As I already described: it is not possible to slave the hard disk to any other computer in order to back-up the files. What I did was boot up with a Linux and copy the files with 2 GB USB stick. It took hours!

I tried to format the hard disk, it was not possible. I was not able to install Windows XP, as the hard disk was not recognized. I tried to use a Windows Vista installation CD, and guess what, even that did not work. It hang every time I tried to make the installation. After being in this branch since 1993, this is the first time the computer did what it wanted and not what I wanted. I contacted HP and asked them for a solution. There is no reply until this moment. It is a shame they are deliberately hiding the partitions with our data on them. For the moment the laptop is put on ice until I receive the ordered recovery DVDs. I am not sure if they work, either.

My suggestion to anyone who wants to obtain a laptop from HP: think it over before you make a decision. You can usually connect a hard disk with a corrupt mbr to any other computer and extract your data. This is not possible on this model of HP. I don't know if other laptops have the same "security issue", but test it before you obtain it. Try to slave the HDD to any other computer, if you can see the real data, then don't hesitate to buy it. Otherwise you may lose a lot of data.

My guess in regards to slaving drive to another machine could come down to two possible issues:

  • HDD is cooked, meaning no matter what system you plug it into, you're screwed!
  • You are running into some type of authentication issue
    • Pre-installed, OEM copies of Windows are often tied to hardware-based authentication (SLIC Keys and the likes)... ALL OEM copies of Windows are in fact tied to a single machine, meaning good luck transferring to another machine at any point. Even though you are only slaving the drive, you may be hitting a wall because of this.
    • Also, if drive has been encrypted using BitLocker, this may also be causing the grief

It is a shame they are deliberately hiding the partitions with our data on them.

Guess what? ALL major manufacturers do. Partly to comply with OEM EULA's (as well as to help prevent illegal OEM copies of Windows from appearing on all those Torrent sites), but also to make the partitions more "stupid proof". That hidden partition contains all those important Windows install files, and by hiding it away, it basically ensures that your average idiot doesn't accidentally delete it while trying to be clever ;)

As to your final words of warning... is going to be harder and harder to get a pre-installed laptop/notebook hard-drive that will slave to another machine, short of formatting it while it is healthy and installing a full retail build of Windows. If you leave it until your drive is failing, it will likely be too late.

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