Fix Vista MBR without installation disc? MBR 3 error.

By Debbie23
Jul 19, 2011
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  1. Never got an installation CD for Vista - just HP OEM recovery partition, so no Vista recovery console.

    On startup post screen, see a brief "MBR error 3" message. This doesn't prevent Vista from booting, but may be affecting some prgms like Norton Ghost (not positive).

    I've done a little research - supposedly some utilities that will fix MBR, boot sector, etc. (one example http://trinityhome.org/Home/index.php?content=3.4_BOOTSECTOR_REPAIR_1&front_id=12&lang=en&locale=en). Know nothing about them - if likely to create worse problem than trying to fix.

    Maybe there are better, well known tools to do this (besides having Vista install CD)?

    I'm sure I could d/l a torrent copy of Vista, but I've got more than a couple of reservations on what (bad) it might actually contain. Since I'd only be using it to repair, not install Vista, I wouldn't feel like I was pirating it. Doesn't mean it's safe to do.

    Thanks.
  2. superty12

    superty12 TechSpot Enthusiast Posts: 432

    Would you happen to have Acronis TrueImage installed?
  3. LookinAround

    LookinAround TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 8,358   +167

    it's OK/legit to d/l just the Vista recovery console (it's d/l'ing a Vista installable version that's piracy and might be problematic). Take a look HERE see if it might help
  4. Debbie23

    Debbie23 Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 68

    superty, Why yes... yes I do happen to have True Image installed (2009).;)
    I have seen one or 2 posts from searching that MBR error 3 msg, but found far more that didn't seem associated w/ TI - so I dismissed the connection (temporarily).

    I'm guessing you also think it's related to TI? If so, is that all it's affecting? So far, haven't actually found a problem from it. Ghost's problems may / may not be related to it. One comment I saw (relating the MBR error 3 to Acronis) said if you "fixed" the MBR, it might break TI. No explanation how.

    LookinAround, I asked about the very procedure (and page) you linked, a few weeks ago, but didn't get any replies. Question was, had anyone tried that method & was it known to be safe?

    I do have the recdisc.exe file in my system folder. HOWEVER, my copy of Vista was imaged by the mfg - HP - not installed, so that method still may not work (if I find out it's an acceptable, safe practice). Also, we're now on Vista SP2 - WAY past final SP1 release - when MS stopped the ability to create a Recovery Disk (so I read).

    Some sites used to host the recovery console for d/l, but seems most have stopped that. There are still many links to the page(s) to d/l it, but no more active downloads. One page said the d/l was suspended, pending copyright clarification(paraphrase). I haven't found another where you can still get it.
  5. LookinAround

    LookinAround TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 8,358   +167

    Re: Recovery Disks
    Oh! Thanks for that updated info! i didn't realize sites stopped providing recovery console d/l. i just double checked the Neosmart site i used to use and indeed, d/l are suspended! :(

    Though also makes me wonder... Some HP's do provide the ability to burn ONE set of recovery DVDs. (see HERE) Browse through your Programs menu if PC Help or any other Windows Backup/Recovery menu item exists that the burn Recovery DD option might be hidden in
  6. Debbie23

    Debbie23 Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 68

    You're correct - but the disks you can create from the HP restore partition are "restore (image) disks" - not an installation CD and also has no recovery / repair ability.

    IF... if I was going to start over, I'd probably get a real copy of Vista or upgrade to Win 7.
    But, at this point, I don't have enough info to warrant the trouble of a complete reinstall of windows - by any method.

    I don't know there's actually anything wrong w/ my MBR (Vista boots fine), in spite of error msg.
    I doubt Ghost not working has anything to do w/ Vista.

    I don't know enough about "CHS errors / problems" to tell if I actually have any (of consequence) or that they have anything to do w/ Ghost's problems. All I know is Vista boots / runs fine & Ghost is the only app I've had any problems with.

    I've been told incorrect reasons for Windows / software / hardware problems so many times, I've learned to get proof that a given problem actually exists AND it's responsible for the issue at hand, before rushing to wipe the drive.

    I can count on 2 fingers how many times Windows actually needed reinstalling in 21 yrs.
  7. superty12

    superty12 TechSpot Enthusiast Posts: 432

  8. Debbie23

    Debbie23 Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 68

    Thanks superty12. Yes, it could be same problem as me. The message doesn't seem to affect anything, so I'll probably take the "if it ain't broke" approach for now.

    BTW, I tried the approach from link in post # 3. Doesn't seem to work for me. After replacing recdisc.exe as outlined, it does start, but hangs at "click to make a recovery disk." It also locks up the PC & process can't be terminated in task mgr. Only reboot closes it.

    But, someone kindly gave me a copy of the Vista Recovery Disk that they'd created off their install DVD. Haven't tried it yet.


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