Regarding IT

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

MBR to boot to Recovery partition

Pressing F10 during bootup (specifically, after BIOS POST and just before Windows boots) will boot to the Recovery partition to allow recovery of the Operating System partition. Re-partition the disk and this will stop working.

A custom Master Boot Record (MBR) is used to check for F10 and boot to the second partition instead of the first, and re-partitioning will reset the MBR to the default.

Poking around on the HP QuickPlay partition revealed MBRInst.exe in the root folder. It can re-write the MBR to get back the F10 feature, and exposes more options to control how it works, like providing a prompt and countdown.

I've tested it in a Virtual Machine, and it works, but did not play with all the options. Don't dare do it for real, as I don't really need the Recovery partition at this point...

Chicken!

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