Difference between revisions of "Rescue and Recovery"

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m (0x1c is "hidden FAT32, LBA-mapped" according to Andries Brouwer (google for it))
(As far as I know "sharadware" is not reallu authorative)
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* [ftp://ftp.software.ibm.com/pc/pccbbs/thinkvantage_en/tvtrnr3_1027en.txt Rescue and Recovery Readme]
* [ftp://ftp.software.ibm.com/pc/pccbbs/thinkvantage_en/tvtrnr3_1027en.txt Rescue and Recovery Readme]
* [http://www-307.ibm.com/pc/support/site.wss/document.do?lndocid=MIGR-46088 IBM page about accessing the Recovery Partition if Linux has been installed and the F11 button no longer works]
* [http://www-307.ibm.com/pc/support/site.wss/document.do?lndocid=MIGR-46088 IBM page about accessing the Recovery Partition if Linux has been installed and the F11 button no longer works]
* [http://sharadware.com/2005/07/11/suse-linux-winxp-access-ibm-on-the-thinkpad-t43/#comment-165 original GRUB R&R boot success report on SharedWare]
* [http://sharadware.com/2005/07/11/suse-linux-winxp-access-ibm-on-the-thinkpad-t43/ how to keep the AccessIBM functionality]
* [http://www-307.ibm.com/pc/support/site.wss/document.do?lndocid=MIGR-54483 IBM Rescue & Recovery repair diskette]
* [http://www-307.ibm.com/pc/support/site.wss/document.do?lndocid=MIGR-54483 IBM Rescue & Recovery repair diskette]

Revision as of 21:40, 28 June 2006

Rescue and Recovery

Rescue and Recovery version 3.0 consists of a bootable partition containing various system recovery tools, including full recovery of the preinstalled Windows XP partition. It can be activated by pressing the ThinkPad, Access IBM or ThinkVantage Button during system boot. It contains a FAT filesystem (labeled "IBM_SERVICE"), and has partition type 0x12 ("Compaq diagnostics" in fdisk).

As opposed to a Hidden Protected Area Recovery partitions are ordinary partitions, accessible through the partition table. As they are ordinary partitions they are accessible by ordinary partitioning tools. They should be dealt carefully with.

Proper MBR

Tinkering with the default MBR and the Rescue & Recovery partition puts risk to your system. It can result in rendering the system completely unusable and severe data loss. You follow any instructions described here on your own risk.

Consideration 6 of the Readme states:

"The Master Boot Record (MBR) must be configured properly for the Rescue and Recovery application to function properly. When possible, the Rescue and Recovery application attempts to ensure the proper configuration of the MBR. This can only occur if the Rescue and Recovery application is installed after other applications that requires the MBR."

Apparently, the MBR is not "configured properly" if LILO or GRUB have written it. The following is the case:

  • the default bootloader seems to ignore the active bit and always boots the first partition instead
  • the default bootloader contains code to catch a press of the appropriate button during bootup and boot the R&R partition in that case
  • before booting the R&R, the default bootloader changes its partition type to 0x0b, otherwise it changes it to 0x12 (to hide it from Windows)
  • the R&R software assumes that the first partition contains Windows
  • the R&R partition needs to be of type 0x0b (FAT32) for the R&R software to work

Since neither LILO nor GRUB catch the press of the button (an undocumented mechanism anyway) it is not possible to invoke Rescue and Recovery by pressing the appropriate button during system boot, once LILO or GRUB have altered the MBR for their boot procedure.

The IBM provides a program to manage the R&R bootloader. It is located in C:\Program Files\IBM ThinkVantage\Common\BMGR. It can select the partition to boot, and also allows for rewriting the R&R MBR if it was overwritten.

MBR written by GRUB

If the MBR was written by GRUB you can still use GRUB to boot the Rescue and Recovery partition. However if you leave its partition's type to 0x12 (Compaq diagnostics), this will result in an error message "c000021a, Fatal System Error" if you try to boot it. To avoid that and to make sure the recovery partition always is of the right type, add a line to change the partition type to 0x0b to the recovery partition's entry in your /boot/grub/menu.lst. Assuming your recovery partition is the second partition, it should look like this:

 title           IBM Rescue and Recovery
 root            (hd0,1)
 parttype        (hd0,1) 0x0b
 unhide          (hd0,1)
 chainloader     +1

Also add an unhide line here because we are going to hide the recovery partition on every boot of Windows, so we need to unhide it, when the recovery partition is booted. This is because if we don't hide the partition when booting Windows, it would be visible and accessable there and that's not what we want. So, assuming that Windows is on the first partition, the Windows entry should now look like this:

 title           Windows
 root            (hd0,0)
 hide            (hd0,1)
 chainloader     +1

GRUB in a partitions boot sector

A way to have your Access IBM button still functional on bootup, is to create a separate /boot partition, install GRUB to that partition and make it active. This will leave the MBR untouched.

If the above finding is true that the MBR ignores the active bit, that partition has to be the first one. In most recent Linux distributions - for example Ubuntu - it is not easy to create /boot as first partition and shrink the Windows partition. In that case the Windows bootloader can be used to boot Windows and Linux, preserving teh Rescue and Recovery functionality. See below.
  • In the BIOS, set the IBM Predesktop Area to 'Secure'.
  • Boot your Linux distribution's installation CD.
  • Follow the instructions and go through the regular installation process.
  • Create a primary partition for /boot (the other stuff can go into the extended partitions) and when the time comes to install GRUB, make sure you install it into the boot sector of the boot partition.
  • Set this boot partition as active.

Using NTLDR to boot Linux

It is possible to configure the Windows bootloader to also boot Linux (installed on separate partition). This allows to preserve the Rescue and Recovery functionality at system boot (as MBR is not modified), Windows XP (booted via its native bootloader) and Linux (booted from its own partition by Windows XP bootloader). A quick and dirty howto, regarding applying this procedure to Ubuntu Dapper Drake installation can be found here.

Older versions of Rescue and Recovery

Some Thinkpads (e.g., T23 and T30) do not come with a Recovery CD, but also do not support the Hidden Protected Area. These ThinkPads have an older version of Rescue and Recovery preloaded on the hard disk to implement the factory recovery function. Most of the comments above also apply to the older versions, with the following differences:

  • The recovery partition type is 0x1c, hidden FAT32, LBA-mapped (or 0xc when unhidden).
  • The boot manager program is in C:\IBMTOOLS\RECOVERY and only runs in a 16-bit DOS environment
  • The IBM Predesktop area runs atop of Windows 98 (command-line) instead of WinPE

External Sources

Models featuring this technology