Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Restore a Toshiba Laptop Without System Restore DVD's (Windows 7)

So you either have created a bad set of Restore Discs or didn't create any at all (shame on you) and need to restore your Toshiba Laptop to factory condition. This is a method will allow you to perform a factory restore without the DVD's. Hat tip to NextClick on for the info on this helpful procedure.

This is assuming that the original hard drive is still readable.

Boot the PC using a Linux Live CD and copy the directory that contains the .SWM files off the hidden recovery partition to a USB drive. Also copy the program imagex.exe to the same directory.  imagex.exe is part of the Windows 7 Automated Install kit and can be downloaded from Microsoft .

You will also need a Windows 7 repair CD to launch the imagex.exe application

Here are the instructions for performing a Factory Restore:


  • Insert the Repair CD into the CD Drive and the USB drive into a USB port then power on the PC. Tap the F12 key until you are in the boot menu. Select the CD / DVD drive from the list.
  • When prompted to press any key on the keyboard to boot the CD. You will be prompted to select a language (default is US) click Next.
  • From System Recovery Options select 'Use recovery tools that can help fix problems starting Windows'.
  • Select Command Prompt
  • In the Command Window type DISKPART
  • From the DISKPART prompt type 'list volume' without the quotes and take note of the drive letter for your USB drive. It will likely be 'F'. Then type exit.
  • Type the drive letter followed by : (ex: f:) to get to the recovery files
  • use the cd command to get into the directory containing the .SWM recovery files (ex: cd ZZIMAGES\ZZIMAGES\) you can use the dir command to see a list of files in the directory you are currently in.
  • Once in the appropriate directory run the following command:
    imagex /ref PREINST*.SWM /apply PREINST.swm 1 c:\
    This will write the factory drive image to your hard drive ERASING all data currently on the drive.
  • When process completes type 'exit' to close the command window.
  • Next run 'Startup Repair' from the menu then restart your computer. The computer will boot and run through the setup routine just like when it was new.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Restore missing "Compressed Folder" option to the XP Send To menu

Quick little trick to restore a missing option to the Send To menu on XP, occasionally this disappears from some of our XP Pro machines.
This simple command:

rundll32 zipfldr.dll,RegisterSendto

 will re-register the option under your Send To menu when right clicking a file.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Using Appdeploy Repackager to Create Custom Spark Instant Messenger .msi installer

Since I started using LUP (Local Update Publisher) to manage my software deployments I have been trying different methods of creating .msi packages that can be used for enterprise deployment. Some of the packages that we use like the Spark Instant Messenger do not come as an .msi and need to be re-packaged. A handy tool for doing this is the AppDeploy Repackager application performs a before and after "snapshot" of your system registry and filesystem, it then looks for changes to the  system and builds a "recipe file" that it uses to create a custom .msi.

First you will need to obtain the  spark installer .exe from Jive software

Next, launch AppDeploy Repackager and select 'Create an MSI setup based on system changes. Select the location of your Spark setup exe that you downloaded from Jive and click next.

Next you will be presented with a list of registry hives and directories that will be monitored and used to create your  msi installer. I just accept the default and click Next.


Appdeploy will now scan your system to get a "before" snapshot of the registry and file system

You will the be prompted to launch the installer application, click "Next" and install the application as normal.

Once the installation has been completed you will be prompted to take a "Post Installation Snapshot" this will be compared to the other snapshot to look for system and registry changes.

 At this point you can drop in any "custom" files needed for your installation. In our case we use a custom spark.vmoptions file containing info to redirect Spark's home directory to our users roaming profile home directory. It will pick up this file and include it in the .msi installer. Pretty handy..

Contents of spark.vmoptions:


Click next and the comparison will begin, once completed you will be presented with a review screen to allow you to include or exclude certain items from your installer. I just accept the current values and click 'Next' on the next two screens.

Almost there! On the final screen you will be asked to select the executable files that you would like to create Desktop an Start menu icons for. Select Spark.exe from the drop down menu then click Select to choose an icon and placement.

 Click next and your package will be created in the following directory:
C:\Program Files\AppDeploy\Repackager\Packages

You can now copy this package to a handy location and use it for network deployments via LUP or the package deployment application of your choice!