Thursday 28 June 2007

Lenovo Rescue & Recovery experience

One of our clients started purchasing Lenovo laptops a while back via a friend of one of the partners.

The laptop in question is a T60 1951-58U. Its 60 GB Toshiba manufactured hard drive, yes Toshiba makes them, crashed. No FAT/MFT, and our data mule took over an hour to boot up with the Toshiba drive slaved to the system. We did manage to get the data back!

Our client made a Rescue & Recovery image to an external USB hard drive over a month ago.

The laptop is under warranty, but we supplied a new Seagate Momentus to get them up and running quickly. Or so I thought.

Reading through the Lenovo Rescue & Recovery documentation, we booted the laptop up via the USB hard drive, ran the Rescue & Recovery utility and initiated a system restore via the image stored on the USB hard drive.

We ran that "restore my entire hard drive from the backup image" as many ways as we could to get it to work.

The Rescue partition happily made its way onto the new hard drive, as did the Windows partition, but it would not boot. There was no guarantee that everything was there either.

Reboot the system once the recovery was finished, and we were greeted with a blank screen and a cursor blinking in the top left corner - every time we tried to do a full restore from image on the system.

What part of simple did we miss here? There were absolutely no clues as to why the backup image would not take.

It is, after all, Lenovo's native restore utility. One who follows the instructions contained in it to restore the system should not have to sit there looking at a blank screen with a blinking cursor after mucking around with the system for an hour.

We called Lenovo's warranty support line and the person we spoke to didn't even know the Rescue & Restore utility could do that!?!?!

After telling us that it was not possible for 15 minutes, the "support technician" finally put us on hold for 10 minutes after which they came back and told us with utter lack of conviction that we needed to do a factory image restore from the CD/DVD disks first.

We were fortunate that our client had a few of these laptops in their office as we were able to generate the DVDs from one of them.

So, we are running the image based restore now, after running the "Restore to Factory Default Condition" three times. Yes, the first two times the Rescue & Recovery utility kept crashing during the factory restoration process. :(

A huge disappointment for us towards Lenovo.

The final run through the image restore portion has finished. And, guess what?

The laptop is back to where it was at when the image was made.

Given the amount of grief we had getting it there, it would have been quicker to rebuild the thing.

Lessons learned. :D

UPDATE 07-06-29: We found that the machine account was no longer in synch with the SBS server, so the SBS server would not allow the user to logon giving a "not connected to the domain" error message.

We had to break the domain relationship, create a new machine name with the SBS wizard, and reconnect the system to the domain via that SBS/connectcomputer site.

Always make sure you know the local admin password. If you don't or are not sure, change the password in Users & Groups on the local machine.

We were fortunate that the user's existing domain profile was actually picked up when they logged in to the SBS domain for the first time after breaking the domain relationship. Thus, no desktop preferences or domain profile settings were lost.

A couple of OST "Out of date" problem messages from Outlook were encountered. All the user needed to do was close and reopen Outlook and hit Send/Receive to fix it.

Philip Elder
Microsoft Small Business Specialists


Alex said...

For recovery use next program-ost recovery,convert all information from Microsoft Exchange (files with the .ost extension) into files of the Microsoft Outlook mail client (.pst files) - OstToPst procedure,can use the ost to pst conversion tool to easily move your messages, contacts, notes, meetings, reminders, tasks and all other information,effectively convert all information from the local Microsoft Exchange storage into a Microsoft Outlook file - ost pst conversion (Microsoft Outlook .pst converter),allows you to convert Ost Pst data not only from good, but also from corrupted OST files - .OST file recovery software.

Anonymous said...

Just stumbled across your blog while searching Lenovo drive cloning issues.
ISTR that when I used R&R to migrate my T61 XP to a larger drive I had a similar problem (blinking cursor for all my efforts).
It's a known bug:
Perhaps that helps - or not.