Talk:Rescue and Recovery

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"It is not known how to invoke Rescue and Recovery once GRUB has been installed in the master boot record."

See ftp://ftp.software.ibm.com/pc/pccbbs/thinkvantage_en/tvtrnr3_1027en.txt, Consideration 6:

 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 R and R uses some very specific stuff in the MBR. Maybe Google will help you find some further info (has someone ever looked at the R and R enabled MBR in depth?)

Paul Bolle 13:43, 9 Oct 2005 (CEST)


Having special data in the MBR means less room for code, which may explain why the preinstalled MBR ignores the Active bit and (as far as I can tell) always boots the first partition. The latter means GRUB can't be installed in a partition boot sector either...

--Thinker 14:06, 9 Oct 2005 (CEST)


Why not? If the RnR-MBR always boots the first partition, just go back to the classical recommended partition layout (from the times that LILO didn't support LBA) and create a tiny first partition (that you can i.e. use as /boot partition, which has certain advantages). Install grub into that partition.

Wyrfel 14:44, 9 Oct 2005 (CEST)


I saw posts about the R&R software (or at least some versions thereof) assuming that the Windows partition is the first one.

--Thinker 14:52, 9 Oct 2005 (CEST)


Another hack you might try is to "rebrand" your first partition to some Windows type (I guess you should choose NTFS) without any other change to the fs! (So in reality it's still an ext3 fs or whatever.) If R and R is _non_ destructive (I wouldn't know!) it would be interesting to see how deeply it really checks the first partition. (It shouldn't check too deeply, as it should be able to "rescue" a messed up Windows partition, shouldn't it?)

But chances are this is a pointless hack ...

Paul Bolle 15:16, 9 Oct 2005 (CEST)


Is that true? That would mean you'd have to keep the Windows installation for the R&R system to work. In that case the only way to go would be installing grub4dos on that windows installation.

Wyrfel 14:56, 9 Oct 2005 (CEST)


Another idea/question. Shouldn't it be possible to copy an NT boot sector to a file via dd and chainload that file from GRUB? This way grub could go to the boot sector of the first partition and boot the NT boot sector that may then sit on a Linux filesystem, which in turn would boot the first partition.

Wyrfel 14:59, 9 Oct 2005 (CEST)


Could you please elaborate, Wyrfel? You lost me here ...

Paul Bolle 15:18, 9 Oct 2005 (CEST)


I think chaining GRUB from Windows will work (I don't know about grub4dos, but there's the trick of copying over the GRUB boot sector into a file and telling NTDETECT to load that.)

The trick with putting GRUB into the Windows boot sector and chaning into a copy of the original also sounds like it might work.

Alas, I can test neither, since I eliminated RNR from my disk after it stopped working even with the original MBR restored. No idea why. IBM sure didn't work very hard to make RNR 3.0 compatible with the standard partitioning and boot conventions...

--Thinker 16:12, 9 Oct 2005 (CEST)



I mean the reverse approach of this.

Copy the NT boot sector into a file, place that file on a linux partition, boot into the file via grub. I don't know if this could at all work. First, grub might not be able to chainload a file, though i believe it is, second, the NT boot sector may not like to be a file. AFAIK, the NT boot sector knows the partition it is suppossed to find NTLDR on. So it wouldn't depend on being the first sector of the same partition.

Wyrfel 01:27, 10 Oct 2005 (CEST)


Success booting R&R from GRUB

The method mentioned on the article (changing the partition type to 0x0b) worked for me on my T42.

You can do that with GRUB:

 parttype (hd0,1) 0x0b

You can add that to a GRUB menu entry that boots the recovery partition, which otherwise looks like this:

 title           IBM Rescue and Recovery
 root            (hd0,1)
 chainloader     +1

(Note that the Access IBM does not work during boot any more -- you have to explicitly choose the R&R partition from the GRUB menu. Good enough for me.)

I think that the recovery partition type is set to 0x12 to hide it from your Windows installation. The preinstalled MBR probably changes the partition type when you press Access IBM, and changes it back on next boot.

Grub for dos is the best solution: http://freshmeat.net/projects/grub4dos/


More advice (which didn't work for me without the partition type fix):

Accessing the Recovery Partition if Linux has been installed and the F11 button no longer works]

Set the IBM Predesktop Area (in the BIOS) to “Secure”. Boot using the SUSE DVD. Shrink the Windows partition as required. 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 (you do prefer GRUB to LILO, don’t you?), make sure you install it into the boot sector of the boot partition. Set this partition as active. Leave the MBR alone.

The issue and solutions need to be summarized and added to the main article.

--Thinker 19:26, 9 Dec 2005 (CET)


Tried to do just that. Please correct hings if i got something wrong. Wyrfel 14:46, 31 January 2006 (CET)


R52 MBR for those who want to dissect it.

Hi there, I had the issue regarding the blue screen while trying to boot the IBM R&R partition, but the type-changing trick worked. I made a complete factory restore, and I was happy to discover that it fixed the MBR in such a way that the R&R PreDesktop area now works at all times. I've now made a backup of this MBR in case something ever happens (like accidentally putting a better boot loader in it ;-)). It looks quite different compared to a classic Windows XP made MBR, so it might be worth to take a look.

Anyway, for those interested, the R52 MBR can be downloaded here.

81.240.31.97 10:21, 28 Oct 2005 (CEST)


Thanks for the information. Question: "works at all times" here means:

a) when pressing the Access IBM / ThinkVantage / Whatever button

b) when booted by GRUB (chainloaded by NTLDR?)

c) ?

Paul Bolle 20:52, 28 Oct 2005 (CEST)


Yeah sorry, I could have been more verbose on that part. Actually, what I meant was that pressing the "Access IBM" button launches the R&R area successfully, regardless of the partition being of type 0x12 or 0xb. I'm fairly sure that if anything is changed in the MBR, R&R will be broken once more. I guess some very specific stuff is initialized within the master boot code. I can't risk experimenting with it for now, as the laptop in question isn't mine to begin with.

Also, note that pressing the button doesn't give any other options, apparently. It just immediately boots the R&R partition. When the MBR was tampered with, pressing the button would give a boot menu, where one could choose to enter the BIOS menu, or boot another device. The only way to boot into R&R was to use a separate bootloader (in my case, a GRUB boot CD).

81.240.31.97 23:19, 28 Oct 2005 (CEST)


It would be rather nice to dissect and discus that MBR. But I'm not sure whether we should encourage to do that on ThinkWiki. Any opinions (other than mere slogans such as: "We should have freedom to tinker!") on this subject would be greatly appreciated. Admins?

Paul Bolle 01:03, 30 Oct 2005 (CEST)


Concerning the encouragement, it should in any case be clearly mentioned that tinkering can cause (serious) damage. For as far as legal issues go, R&R is a trademark, but APS is as well. Reverse engineering is a legal issue in some countries, but not in all. People who dig into this should be aware of their legal situation. That said, i think it's an interesting issue that might shed light into the MBR in general. If the final result gets provided here as a way of how to build a compatible GRUB MBR or something the like, i see no issues with the publication. I think, however, that discussing the fiddling (reverse engineering - if so) process here is not without concerns, because afaik this has legal issues in some countries.

Wyrfel 02:03, 30 Oct 2005 (CET)


I accidently killed my bootsector when I installed Linux, so this image comes in verry handy to restore the "Access IBM" button function. How can I write this image back onto my disk?

--84.63.23.253 22:58, 5 Dec 2005 (CET)


Hello, dealing with a new T43p (installing Ubuntu 5.10) and struggling with the AccessIBM "thing".
There seems to be a way to backup the "special" IBM MBR, and that would give a lot of peace of mind because one could restore that instead of reinstalling everything from the CDs. How can that be done? Just a plain dd on /dev/sda?

I have checked the SUSE Linux, WinXP & Access IBM on the ThinkPad T43 thread on SharadWare, whose bottom line seems to be: don't touch the MBR, put grub in a linux partition and make that the bootable partition.

However, if I do that it does not start with grub. I have posted a longish note there my post.

One of the main outstanding questions to me is: does AccessIBM boot alright if/when called from GRUB if this latter is installed in the MBR?
If so, then I will be happy to go with a normal grub-in-MBR.

Does anybody know the answer?
Thanks

--GF 00:08, 19 Dec 2005 (CET)


FYI I have just come across this page on the IBM site:
Recovery repair diskette, it seems to make it possible to restore the MBR to the factory installed status, namely it states "This package can also be used to reenable the F11 function as long as the service partition has not been removed from your hard drive."

It could be the lifesaver for heavy-testing moments, because based on my readings more or less the solution seemed to be to reinstall everything.

I have not tried this yet, and I hope I will not need to, but since the system (t43) is new I could invest some time in this... I will keep you posted.

Only question... the instructions are for creating a floppy, but there is not floppy driver in the T43. Will it be ok to create the floppy on any other windows box?

GF [t41, t43p] 01:04, 19 Dec 2005 (CET)


I have tested the Recovery repair diskette on my T43, which was not booting the Rescue and Recovery partition anymore. I have successfully created and used the disk with an USB floppy drive. Everything works now again the same way it used to when the laptop was shipped. The tool on that floppy will offer two different major options:

"1. Repair the current master boot record" and
"2. Replace the current master boot record.".

The first option did not fix the problem with the Rescue and Recovery partition on my system. When selecting the second choice, there were three new "sub-options":

"A: Supports the newer IBM Rescue & Recovery ...",
"B: Supports previous versions ..." and
"C: Supports only the main operating system environment.".

For my system the choice A was successfull.

--217.146.157.238 10:30, 12 Jan 2006 (CET)


Hmm... I just tested this on my T43. The starting point was that I hosed the original MBR by installing grub onto it. "repair the current master boot record" did repair the MBR, but the IBM rescue & recovery was still unaccessible from BIOS (Access IBM). However, replacing the MBR did the trick, so I can boot from grub into linux, winXP and IBM rescue and recovery. The Access IBM key works from BIOS.

Diagnostic tools only

Anybody know how to run the hardware diagnostic tools only from the R&R backup CD's? I can boot off the R&R diagnostic CD, but in order to run diagnostic hardware tests, the cd asks to reboot the system, which will then repeat the process. I do not have the R&R partition on my hdd (backed up before putting Linux on the hdd.) --gsmenden 10:50, 30 Jan 2006 (EST)