Monday, January 4, 2016

How to use Dell Recovery Partition Manually with IMAGEX Utility

Get imagex.exe...

   Option 1:
   Download (232KB)
   The file is inside at: \imaging\imagex.exe
   Option 2:
   Download the WAIK from Microsoft (1.66GB)
   The file is inside at: \\F1_imagex
   Copy it out and rename it to imagex.exe

Boot to something to where you can use imagex.exe with the following command:

   imagex.exe /ref c:\dell\image\factory*.wim /apply c:\dell\image\factory.wim 1 d:\

I had better luck formatting the system partition before applying the image.

If there is sufficient interest in this post, I may flesh it out with more info/instructions on setting up a boot method, etc. Until then, it's assumed people know what they are doing ;)

Props to Brian M.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

HP Pavilion a1630n Recovery of WinXP After Failed Win7 Upgrade

This is how I was able to access and run HP Recovery from the intact recovery partition after an unlicensed copy of Windows 7 had been installed on an HP Pavilion a1630n. If you have the proper Recovery media (discs) for your computer, you shouldn't need to use this procedure. Use your Recovery discs instead.

This computer came originally with Windows XP Media Center Edition. Someone had installed Windows 7 over that, I believe because they may have thought it would solve some issues that they were experiencing. At this point, it was unable to boot into any OS. As I recall, attempts to boot into Windows 7 resulted in a restart loop.

The installation of Windows 7 had somehow removed the ability to enter the HP Recovery application through standard means, which include pressing F10 at the BIOS splash screen.

I can't tell you this will work for every situation, every HP or even every specific model of Pavilion, but it's something you can try, or to at least get ideas from when trying to resolve your own similar situation. It may seem like a lot of steps, but that's only because I have it broken down to pretty much every click, keystroke or command as I try to be as clear as is possible and reasonable. It's really rather quick and simple overall. Yes, you could condense some of the steps if you know what you're doing. Good for you.

Things you'll need:
  • The computer you want to repair.
  • An intact recovery partition. If you're not sure it has this, give it a try, you might get lucky.
  • A valid Windows password, if one is assigned. If you're not sure whether you'll need one, try the procedure anyway, you might get lucky.
  • Some knowledge of DOS/console commands. (or check out the video)
  • The understanding that this will delete all data on your computer. This means your photos, music, documents, etc. Make sure that you have backed up any data you want to keep before doing this. You might be able to alter these instructions slightly to use a non-desctructive recovery method that will, in theory, not delete your personal data, but I have not tested that, nor have I provided instructions for such alternate methods here. Proceed at your own risk.
  • The means to reinstall any programs that did not come preinstalled on your computer originally. This may include Microsoft Office, or even drivers for any after market hardware that has been added, such as a wireless network card or printer. Think about this, because you might not be able to access the Internet post recovery, unless you are prepared. Just saying.


  1. Turn on the computer. At the BIOS splash screen, press the F10 key for System Recovery.
    Next I had some screen that said "Edit Windows boot options for: Windows 7". I don't know what the screen is for or why it came up, but I pressed the ESC key to continue.
  2. Select/highlight "Windows 7" (if it's not already) and press F8 at the "Choose an operating system to start" screen.
  3. Select/highlight "Repair Your Computer" (if it's not already) and press the ENTER key to continue.
  4. Click the 'Next' button on the window titled "System Recovery Options".
  5. Enter the Windows account password and click the 'OK' button.
    If you don't know the password, you can try to continue with leaving it blank. If that doesn't work you might be stuck and unable to continue. Be sure to try all user accounts available in the 'User name' drop-down list, if available.
  6. Click 'Command Prompt', typically the last option in the list.
  7. Change to the D: drive.
  8. CD to the "MiniNT" directory.
  9. CD to the "system32" directory.
  10. Run "Restore.exe". This should open the HP Recovery program.
  11. Select "Start PC Recovery" and click the 'Next' button.
  12. Click the 'OK' button on the useless Welcome screen.
  13. Click the 'Advanced Options' button.
  14. Select "Destructive Recovery" (if it's not already) and click the 'Next' button. Remember, this will delete all data on the computer.
  15. Click the 'Yes' button on the warning about your hard drive being reformatted. The recovery will then run to completion.
  16. Click the 'Restart' button when the recovery is finished.
    For me, this didn't actually restart the computer, but it did exit the HP Recovery program. If your computer does restart, you can skip the rest, otherwise keep going.
  17. Close the "Command Prompt" window.
  18. Click the 'Restart' button in the "System Recovery Options" window.
The computer should restart and boot into Windows XP successfully. Please let me know if this procedure worked for you, or how it may have helped you otherwise. Good luck!

Boot to system recovery options, command prompt, run the following:
Once recovery is complete, restart and you should be good to go.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Doom 2 Master Levels in Doomsday Engine

I looked high and low trying to find a set of dead simple instructions that would help me get the Doom 2 Master Levels to work in Doomsday, but I came up empty. Therefore, I decided to post my own, for all to see. This post makes several assumptions, not the least of which is that all you need are the instructions contained herein. If you need further info, feel free to leave a comment, and either myself or another helpful person may find the time to oblige.

A couple of quick points: I'm using Doomsday Engine version 1.10.4 (frontend version 1.6). I'm using the Master Levels for Doom 2 from Steam.

Naturally, I placed the DOOM2.WAD file within the 'data\jdoom' folder under the Doomsday program folder. I created a subfolder under 'jdoom' called 'master_levels'. You can call this folder anything you want, just place all the Master Levels WAD files within. If you have them all, you'll have 20 WAD files. You may also have the accompanying TXT description files, which you can  place in the same folder if you wish.

If you have Doomsday set up with Doom 2 already, it probably looks something like this:

Click the Shared Settings profile at the top of the list on the left, then make sure you are on the Settings tab, looking at My Addon Folders. Click the plus sign button below that:

Browse to your 'master_levels' folder (that's what I called mine, maybe you called yours something else), click to highlight it, and then click the OK button:

You should now see the path listed in the My Addon Folders box:

Go back to your Doom 2 profile, then click the Addons tab, and then click the Refresh button toward the bottom. Now you'll see the levels listed by file name in alphabetical order:

If you want to play a specific level, click the check box on the left side of the level to select it, then click the Play button in the bottom right:

This next part is a little tricky. The Master Levels contain 21 maps (I know there are only 20 WAD files, one of them has two maps in it), but many of them replace the first map in the game. This means you can't have them all loaded at the same time. For instance, if you wanted to play through them all consecutively, you can't just check all the boxes and start the game thinking you'll go from one to the next.

If you already have experience playing Doom with custom WAD files, this will probably make perfect sense to you anyway. What you need at this point is a list of the custom levels and which maps they replace. Well, here you go:

ATTACK.WAD ("Attack")......................1
CANYON.WAD ("Canyon")......................1
CATWALK.WAD ("The Catwalk")................1
COMBINE.WAD ("The Combine")................1
FISTULA.WAD ("The Fistula")................1
GARRISON.WAD ("The Garrison")..............1
MANOR.WAD ("Titan Manor")..................1
PARADOX.WAD ("Paradox")....................1
SUBSPACE.WAD ("Subspace")..................1
SUBTERRA.WAD ("Subterra")..................1
TTRAP.WAD ("Trapped On Titan").............1
VIRGIL.WAD ("Virgil's Lead")...............3
MINOS.WAD ("Minos' Judgement").............5
BLOODSEA.WAD ("Bloodsea Keep").............7
MEPHISTO.WAD ("Mephisto's Maosoleum")......7
NESSUS.WAD ("Nessus")......................7
GERYON.WAD ("Geryon")......................8
VESPERAS.WAD ("Vesperas")..................9
BLACKTWR.WAD ("Black Tower")...............25
TEETH.WAD ("The Express Elevator To Hell").31
TEETH.WAD ("Bad Dream")....................32

Once you know the level you want to play, you have its box checked and you launch the game, you'll need to warp to that level unless it happens to replace map 1. To warp to a level, you need to enter the command "warp #" in the console. For example, if you want to play Geryon, you'll enter "warp 8" in the console.

One problem I was having that I couldn't find any answers on was how to access the in-game console to warp to a specific level. If your desired level replaces the first map, getting there is easy, no warp required. But if you want to play "Black Tower" and don't want to play through the first 24 levels to get there, you need to warp.

Everything I could find said that tilde (~) was the hotkey to open up console, but that just plain didn't work for me. Here's how I did it. Start Doom 2 from Doomsday like you normally would to play. Go to Options, then Control Panel:

Click 'Console' in the left menu, close to the bottom, then to the right you'll see the 'Activation key' setting:

The default is "tilde", but I had to change this because it didn't work. I used the same key (as tilde) which made it say "apostrophe". I couldn't get it back to say tilde to save my life. Try it and you'll see. Anyway, apostrophe is good enough, same key anyway. Finally, click the 'Close Panel (Esc)' button and you're done. You can play and access the console.

In case you're wondering, like I was, where Doomsday stores this data, it's here:
C:\Users\[Your Username]\Documents\Doomsday Frontend\runtime\configs\doom\game.cfg

The above path assumes Windows Vista or higher. Within the GAME.CFG file, the setting looks like this:

# Key to activate the console (DDKEY code; default is tilde, 96).
con-key-activate 39

Mine says "39" because it's already changed to apostrophe. If you want to change it back to tilde for some reason, since you can't do it in-game you can just edit this value (changing it back to 96), save the file then re-launch Doomsday.

I'd love to hear from anybody that finds this helpful. Let me know if I've got anything wrong or if there's a better way.