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Thread: Satellite L500-1DT: HDD Recovery of Win 7 is stuck in endless reboot loop

  1. Satellite L500-1DT: HDD Recovery of Win 7 is stuck in endless reboot loop
    #1
    frank
    Guest
    This is a detailed bug report so please bear with me.
    If you can help, or can confirm you've had the same happen to you, I'll be grateful.

    I've owned several Toshiba laptops before and I even used to work for Toshiba so rest assured I like the machine. But I've got a problem with its recovery software. I just bought a laptop, Satellite L500-1DT with Windows 7 64 bit, on behalf of a non-techie who lives elsewhere. Since I know from experience that I will occasionally have to field panic calls along the lines of "it's become too slow", "how do I get rid of the accumulated junk", "maybe it's got a virus" and so on, the first thing I checked was the automatic recovery, i.e. how to bring the HD back to "as new" state.

    So I booted into the machine, answered the questions until I got into the OS proper, and then ran the "make a recovery DVD" program. Double layer DVD verified ok. With the freshly made DVD, I swapped the supplied HD for a spare I had (much smaller: only 40 GB instead of 320) and booted the rescue DVD hoping that it would remake me a clean system on the blank drive.

    It did repartition the drive according to its scheme, with more or less half the space for Windows and the other half for Data including the recovery files. It did install the system in the Windows partition. It then rebooted into the installed Windows 7 to finalize the installation. There, trouble began: an endless loop of reboots for hours until I stopped it.

    Loop:
    * reboot
    * black screen with bright 4-colour windows logo "starting windows"
    * black screen with light blade and "setup is preparing your computer for first use"
    * blue "welcome" white screen with "please wait" and horizontal bar with green blob, saying "Finishing the installation may take several minutes. Please dont interrupt or shutdown the computer!"
    * blue screen saying it's shutting down

    Repeat the above forever.

    I have seen it reboot way over 10 times over the course of several hours. And every time it pretends it's the first time it does that. Surely that's not normal!

    I tried stopping it with ctrl-alt-del and task manager but the white screen would go on top of even the task manager, making it hard to kill any processes or even inspect what they were. I stopped it by holding down the power button until it switched off. Then when it rebooted it said if I wanted safe mode. I tried that. It went into the routine above and at some point it said it couldn't proceed with the installation if it was in safe mode. So it rebooted into regular mode and then... finished! It finally broke out of the endless loop!

    Then it asked me all the usual questions about language, registration etc, as it had done the first time I had turned it on. This seemed good. I finally got back into a newly installed OS and all seemed fine, except I later discovered that some programs that were there before were not installed.
    With bravery bordering stupidity (*) I even re-did the procedure on the supplied hard disk instead of my spare one: first I nuked the windows partition, then I did rescue from the HD (with F8), not with the DVD I had made. Result: similar rigmarole, with endless reboots.

    After I stopped it, it sort-of-worked, as above, but now some other programs were missing, notably the Toshiba DVD player.

    (*) motivated by: better try this now, with the computer here and all my tools and other computers ready at hand, than when the computer is away at its owner's home and that's the only thing left to try with me at the other end of a phone line. Been there before.

    Now, that specific one (DVD player) I could download from the support page and it installed fine; but what else might be missing or not working that I didn't notice? Clearly the restore process isn't working as it should.

    Am I the first or only one to whom this happens? Am I doing anything wrong? Is there anything else I should try?

    I need to make sure this restore procedure works flawlessly while I still have the computer in my hands. If it doesn't, there's no chance I'm going to be able to do a remote reinstall for my non-techie once I am asked to clean up the laptop over the phone a few months from now.

    Thanks in advance


    [Update: while looking for the right place where I could post this I found that other people are reporting the same problem. It's definitely a bug in the distributed recovery software for W7-64, not an isolated problem of my machine. See for example
    http://forums.computers.toshiba-europe.com/forums/thread.jspa?threadID=49421&tstart=0 where user kwarc is describing the same symptoms with a Satellite L505.

  2. Re: Satellite L500-1DT: HDD Recovery of Win 7 is stuck in endless reboot loop
    #2
    Master
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Poland
    Posts
    4,758
    Hi

    First of all I have to say that I was able to recover my unit trouble free.
    The Win 7 installation went smoothly and everything was installed properly.

    Back to you issue:
    For me it sounds like something wrong with the installation… maybe some partitions of the HDD were muddled up… maybe the HDD should formatted again and then you should run the recover procedure.
    You have to test it…

    Regarding the DVD player:
    As far as I know there is no DVD player for Win 7 64bit. There is only a update available for Win 64bit. So you will have to install the DVD player for Win 7 32bit version and then to update it using the patch released for Win7 64bit.

  3. Re: Satellite L500-1DT: HDD Recovery of Win 7 is stuck in endless reboot loop
    #3
    frank
    Guest
    Hi PauPau and thanks for replying.

    >First of all I have to say that I was able to recover my unit trouble
    >free. The Win 7 installation went smoothly and everything was
    >installed properly.

    Glad your recovery went ok. Would you mind providing some more details please?

    1) Was it the 64 or the 32 bit version of Windows 7?

    2) Was it HD to HD or DVD to HD?

    3) Did you restore to the same HD that came with the machine or to a new one?

    4) Did you wipe the HD before restoring or did you let the recovery
    program do that for you?

    5) How many times did your computer automatically reboot AFTER saying
    "Setup is preparing your computer for first use"?

    6) What model number of laptop?


    >Back to you issue: For me it sounds like something wrong with the
    >installationâ?¦ maybe some partitions of the HDD were muddled upâ?¦ maybe
    >the HDD should formatted again and then you should run the recover
    >procedure. You have to test itâ?¦

    Well, I was confident this had little to do with it because the
    recovery program did recreate new partitions but anyway, just to be
    sure, I have redone it this morning and still no joy.

    * Taken a known good HD that worked fine until now

    * Wiped it completely: not just reformatted but removed all partitions

    * Mounted it instead of the original internal HD

    * Booted from the recovery DVD of W7-64 made from the original HD

    * Ran the recovery program accepting all the defaults

    * Now it's in the cycle of reboots I described yesterday: it's already
    done at least 6 reboots as I write.

    >Regarding the DVD player: As far as I know there is no DVD player for
    >Win 7 64bit. There is only a update available for Win 64bit. So you
    >will have to install the DVD player for Win 7 32bit version and then
    >to update it using the patch released for Win7 64bit.

    I'm afraid this is incorrect (perhaps obsolete info): there was a
    Toshiba DVD player in the computer as supplied and fortunately I could
    find the replacement file on the support page for my model, under W7 -
    64 bit / DVD Player. The file is at

    http://support1.toshiba-tro.de/tedd-files2/0/dvdpl-20091202160349.zip

  4. Re: Satellite L500-1DT: HDD Recovery of Win 7 is stuck in endless reboot loop
    #4
    frank
    Guest
    I am glad to report some unexpected SUCCESS!

    I left the computer at what it was doing when I wrote the previous
    post. I came back to it an hour later or so (I had stopped counting
    the reboots, though occasionally I'd hear that typical chime from the
    other room, saying it was doing one more cycle) and I noticed
    something slightly different: the white screen with "finishing the
    installation may take several minutes" had a blue blob, not a green
    blob, in the progress bar, and the blob was rectangular rather than
    rounded. Very odd! Something different had happened, like a change of
    theme. And a little while after that, the process really finished and
    I got to the white screen that asks about what language etc etc, like
    when I first turned on the new computer.

    Great!

    All I can conclude from this experience:

    Even a reinstall that works will DEFINITELY involve many reboots that
    seem to be getting nowhere. Apparently, progress is being made, even
    though it looks like the process is stuck in a loop of reboots.

    It would just be nice if it said something like "Before I finish
    restoring, I'm going to have to reboot 26 times, please hang on; now
    doing cycle 8 of 26". (Numbers are made up.) It doesn't, but just
    knowing about it is helpful.

    Perhaps worth redoing the install once more and making a note of how
    long it really takes from beginning to end when it does work.

    I still don't know if the process I described in the first post was
    really stuck because of some other error or whether it would have
    ended eventually. If I wanted to be really sure I could re-restore
    everything on that hard disk once more.

    I have no idea whether wiping all partitions from the disk before
    reinstalling did any good or not: it shouldn't have made a difference
    since, as I said, I noticed that the first thing the restore program
    did was redo all the partitions itself. On the other hand we have
    experimental proof that the restore can work on a HD without any
    partitions.

    Thanks again PauPau---the most useful thing you said, for me, was the
    data point that for you it had worked. That's what made me try again
    and leave the computer on indefinitely through the innumerable
    reboots, just in case.

    I'll repost a definitive answer on how long a successful restore
    process should take once I get round to redoing it on the supplied 320
    GB HD.

  5. Re: Satellite L500-1DT: HDD Recovery of Win 7 is stuck in endless reboot loop
    #5
    Master
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Poland
    Posts
    4,758
    Thanks for the feedback and great that it worked!!

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