HowTo reformat/restore your EP121 using USB (No external optical drive needed)

Discussion in 'EP121 Slate' started by MechTeq, Sep 26, 2011.

  1. MechTeq

    MechTeq Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Hey Hey Everyone,

    First post! MOOOOO!:)

    Figured I would enlighten some of you on how to go about restoring your EP121 without the need for an external DVD-ROM! Searched for quite a while and tried several methods, but it wasn't until I went 'Back to Basics' that I figured it out! So to save all of you some time and money, I'm gonna share the steps!

    1. Get your ASUS EP121, the two included recovery discs, a USB keyboard, and (preferably) a 16GB Flash Drive<---(You can pick these up for $20 or less and you can also use it to store those files you don't use very often and save your 64GB of disk space)

    2. Go to a Windows PC (Did not try another OS) and pop DVD into the tray and plug in your flash drive!

    3. Navigate to your DVD drive >> right click >> Explore...

    4. Open AIRECOVERY

    5. Select the Flash Drive on the drop down list if it isn't already selected (This will delete all of the files on your flash drive so if you have anything you need on it, move it now.)

    6. Click next...

    7. Drink some beers, cause the process takes about 20-30 minutes.

    8. When prompted, insert disc 2 and click continue.

    9. Drink a few more beers, about 20 minutes to go.

    10. A prompt to "Insert Disc "ASRDVD_1" will appear. (I couldn't find this disc, so I just slapped disc 1 back in.) Put Disc 1 back in, press "next".

    11. The AIRECOVER Application will show "Setup Complete"

    12. Take out your Flash Drive, Put both CD's back into the sleeve, and pull out the EP121!

    13. You're gonna want to plug in your EP121 so that it doesn't die during reformat.

    14. At this point, you should hook up a USB Keyboard.

    15. Power on the EP121 while holding down the 'ESC' button

    16. If all goes well, you should be greeted with a blue AiRecovery screen asking if you want to restore.

    17. Using the volume +/- to select and the Home Button, begin the process...

    18. Drink more beer.

    19. When the EP121 is done with recovery, it will attempt to restart itself and return to the beginning screen. Do Not Worry, if you're to this point, your system has reformatted.

    20. Click 'Cancel' and remove the usb flash drive.

    21. Follow Windows 7 prompts to complete setup. Use 'Tab" on keyboard to change fields if you did not plug in a USB mouse. Otherwise, plug in a USB mouse in place of the Flash Drive.

    22. You're all done! Enjoy your fresh install of Win7!

    23. Drink a beer.

    Cheers!

    Travis
     
  2. bahaya

    bahaya Pen Pal - Newbie

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    This is great, especially the beer parts! Thanks!
     
  3. Thibault

    Thibault Pen Pal - Newbie

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    My attempts stopped at step 4.

    I could not open airecovery, I got an error saying that airecovery could not run on this platform, the platform was my PC running windows XP SP2, and you did you make your attempt on a windows 7 PC ?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 16, 2015
  4. Thibault

    Thibault Pen Pal - Newbie

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    yesterday I tried on a windows 7 PC of a friend, a sony notebook bought in january 2010.

    Though the laptop was seeing my USB key perfectly well, AIRECOVERY never detected it, it did not detect either another key I had with me.

    what a BS this recovery tool by asus

    may be some one could upload somewhere (rapidshare etc) an acronis true image of the well formatted usb key so that I could download it and restore it to a usb key
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 16, 2015
  5. hunter99

    hunter99 To Old Now

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    You didn't mention it, so:
    Get rid of any crap that some USB sticks come with, encryption,utility programs, auto start,etc. Also sometimes that stuff is in a small boot partition.
    Reformat to just one partition that is FAT32. Not NTFS, MUST BE FAT32.
    Also at least 16 gig key and Win7 machine MUST used. Not XP. I had same problem until I did this. Good luck, you'll get it.
     
  6. Thibault

    Thibault Pen Pal - Newbie

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    thanks a lot for replying

    the notebook I used yesterday was a windows 7 notebook
    both usb keys I tried were just formatted usb keys, quick formatting default formatting in windows 7 should be fat 32, I will double check.

    the first one was 16 GB

    I just made another kind of attempt :

    unplugging the power of my fixed hard drive on my desktop pc (with a DVD player), plugging the new 120 Gig SSD in a sata hard drive box and try to boot from the DVDs supplied by asus (hoping it would recover on the msata 120 GB SSD) :

    no way the asus supllied DVDs are not even bootable (do not buy a usb DVD external drive)

    => they can only be used at creating a usb key with windows 7 (and also vista according to asus support)

    that means when it works !

    => my advice :

    make a bootable usb key when you can keep it on a usb key of if you want to reuse it make an image of it with acronis (or drive image XL) to be restored in case of need
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 16, 2015
  7. hunter99

    hunter99 To Old Now

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    "unplugging the power of my fixed hard drive on my desktop pc (with a DVD player), plugging the new 120 Gig SSD in a sata hard drive box and try to boot from the DVDs supplied by asus (hoping it would recover on the msata 120 GB SSD) :

    no way the asus supllied DVDs are not even bootable (do not buy a usb DVD external drive)"


    See Users Manual page 12 last line.
    I used instructions on page 13, no problem.
    Don't have a USB optical drive but others have used one.
    Good luck and keep trying.
     
  8. Thibault

    Thibault Pen Pal - Newbie

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    first of all thanks for your support

    my attempt friday evening did not work, may be because my usb key was in a fat32 primary active partition (I previously tried to copy usb file from the DVD and make the thumb drive bootable using acronis disk director 10 but in the end without any success)

    I have no other win 7 PC, so in the end I went to my supper market with my DVDs and asked if I bought a 16 GB usb key there if I could use a Win 7 exhibition PC to transfer the DVDs to the usb key and they kindly said yes.

    I bought a 16 GB usb and Airecovery recognised my USB key, I was relieved.

    traumatised by the failure of the evening before I did not dare touch anything.

    I was very surprised that airecovery process took 0 % of CPU and used only 3800 kB of Ram, from very sparse time to time the usb key was blinking incating some activity.

    after 1 hour of waiting, the process airrecovery.exe had been continuously at 0 % of CPU , though the screen was displaying recovery disk in creation, so I felt it was stinking and would probably not work.

    I decided to kill the process, and open the DVD drive, it resulted in the software aksing me to introduce the 2nd DVD, which I did, to my surprise the status bar became green and indicating progression for the first time I ever saw.

    after 20 minutes the software asked me to introduce the DVD number 3, I put the number 1, no way, I realised it worked well for DVD 2 but not for DVD 1 by comparing the content of the usb key and the DVDs in turn, I copied manually the DVD 1 to the key, but I felt it was artificial and would probably not work [N.B asking to enter DVD number 3, and the rest show the very poor quality of asus solution to create a recovery USB key].

    I took my USB key I had brought with me, I had previously removed the bootable feature, and started all over again with it, this time the first DVD worked, I think I may know why :

    during the process airrecovery.exe takes the fat 32 usb key and formats it with NTFS and gives a label HDrecovery. For windows 7 it is a new drive and it subsequently opens a windows explorer window or rather proposes to do so.

    The first time, I was traumatised and did not want to not anything by fear it would not work again, the second time when this message appeared I open the suggested windows explorer window and when I subsequently saw the green status bar progressing I felt I was on a right track. the software in turn asked me to enter DVD number 2 and the key was made in 30 minutes as a whole.

    I spent 2 hours and 30 minutes in the supermarket doing that only for that result

    I used it the very evening it worked, but it was not the end of my difficulties, but those pertained to the upgrade of the SSD so I'll put them in another thread

     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 16, 2015
  9. Thibault

    Thibault Pen Pal - Newbie

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    N.B I undesrtand 1 reason why copying the DVD to a 16 GB fat 32 usb key could not work :
    the file size limitation for fat32 is 2GB and there are 2 files over 2GB in the DVDs
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 16, 2015
  10. slatehmb

    slatehmb Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Hi guys,

    I am not able to generate a USB recovery disk since the following message appears every time I have tried to run AIRECOVERY.EXE from the Slate´s recovery DVDs:
    " there is no USB mass storage device attached to ... "

    See, I am using a Sandisk 32GB USB flash drive like that:
    FAT32 formated
    Just one primary partition

    What in hell am I doing wrong ? Are Asus recovery disks useless ?

    I am completely disapointed with this dumb machine because I have tried to resize the SSD, so as to avoid data and system files together, and after that I ended up with a brick (no MSWindows boot, no bios setup control, no response from Asus official support).

    Thanks a lot by any help.
     

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