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Jun 24, 2010

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How I Successfully Recovered My Acer Aspire Laptop!

Amazon When I got my Acer Aspire 7736Z laptop it has Windows 7 installed on it. I wanted to install Windows XP on it because it supports many software applications I like that Windows 7 doesn't support. So I set the laptop to boot from CD in BIOS and popped in a Windows XP disk, and rebooted it.

Throughout the process I had so much frustration that I decided to get recovery CDs from Acer and recover my laptop to factory state, during which process I also had massive frustration

Read on to find what issues I encountered and managed to solve!

Issue #1: Blue Screen of Death
I had the laptop boot from CD and rebooted it and it got to loading files from the Windows XP disk I put in the DVD-Rom drive. Then all of a sudden I saw this blue screen saying something like:

A problem has been detected and windows has been shut down to prevent further damage to your computer.
If this is the first time you have seen this stop error screen, restart your computer. If this screen appears again, follow these steps:

Disable or uninstall any anti-virus, disk defragmentation or backup utilities. Check your hard drive for configuration, and check for any updated drivers. Run CHKDSK/F to check for hard drive corruption, and then restart your computer.

Technical information:
STOP: 0x00000024 (0x00190444, 0x866663A0, 0xc0000102, 0x00000000)

I researched this issue and found it's due to WIndows XP not being able to read a SATA drive. To resolve it simply go to BIOS and set SATA mode from AHCI to IDE then reboot. I did and I no longer saw this blue screen of death.

Issue #2: Infinite Loop of Booting
So I got to the point where Windows seems to finish the first part of installation, and it's prompting me that it'll restart and finish the last part. When it rebooted, however, it read from CD again and got into Windows XP installation from scratch again. This was happening because the system was told to boot from CD. So I took out the CD and rebooted. Then it just went into the infinite loop of initial Acer screen, a flashing cursor, initial Acer screen, a flashing cursor.

Let's Recover My Laptop to its Factory State!
Looks like installing Windows XP is a no go. I decided to get Acer's eRecovery disks and get my laptop to its original state. A few days later I got those disks in the mail.

Those CDs should include one System CD, three recovery CDs, and one language CD. The process of recovering is simple: insert System CD and have your laptop boot from CD, and insert the recovery CDs as prompted by the dialog. Sounds simple right? WRONG!! When I inserted the first recovery disk I got this exact error:

FAIL to format Disk 0 partition 1
I clicked OK and the laptop rebooted and I was back to square one How frustrating!!!

Issue #3: Post Acer Disk Formatter CD ISO Image Does NOT Work
I called Acer support again and they asked me to download the Post Acer Disk Formatter CD ISO Image and burned the image onto a CD. This should be the first CD to run and is supposed to format your disk properly. I booted from this CD and followed the instructions from the dialogs and it prompted me to insert the first recovery disk which I did and it gave me the same error:

FAIL to format Disk 0 partition 1
So we are back to square one. Why am I not surprised? There are always setbacks like this hindering a smooth recovery process. That's just a fact of life isn't it

So back to how to solved it. I realized that I still have SATA mode set to IDE in BIOS. I popped in my Windows XP disk again and got to the point where it asks me which partition to install the operating system on, and I saw only C drive.

I immediately deleted that partition with key D and key L and quit the setup process. Then I changed SATA mode to AHCI in BIOS.
Then inserted "Post Acer Disk Formatter CD ISO Image" disk, then 1st recovery disk, and voila! The error is GONEEEEEEEEE! Then I proceeded with the second disk, then third, etc. as prompted. And I got my Windows 7 back! Woohoo

If you have a troubled Acer laptop and are trying to recover it to its factory state, chances are the recovery CDs Acer sent you won't work without some finesse. Hope you've got your answers from this post. If not describe your problem here and I'll see if I can help you!
Please leave a comment here!
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