Toshiba Laptop recovery using .SWM files

Machine: Toshiba Satellite L450D-11V

Problem: Faulty hard drive, new drive to be installed. Customer has no recovery discs and Windows COA label with product key is worn out so would like to find a way to reinstall Windows 7 without buying a new license.


The recovery partition contained eight ‘.swm’ files which we managed to save to a USB hard drive.

The files were:


Booted up with Windows 7 DVD disc, chose Repair and Command Prompt.

At this point, USB drive was D: and blank hard drive was C:

The executable file ‘ImageX’ (the tool for working with .wim and .swm files) was also on the USB drive. If you don’t have ImageX, Google it – it’s available for download.

Changed command prompt from C: to D:

Ran the following command to merge all .swm files into a single ‘.wim’ file:

imagex /ref 10739XSP*.swm /export 10739XSP.swm 2 boot.wim

This created a 6.5GB .WIM file which was the whole Windows 7 preinstalled partition.

Then ran the following command:

imagex /apply boot.wim 1 C:\

This applied the image to the partition C:\

At this point it would not boot so we ran StartUp Repair from the Windows 7 DVD

Then we ran the command:

bootrec.exe /fixmbr

At this point Windows 7 started and began setting up all the other preinstalled software that Toshiba includes.

Several reboots later and all is running perfectly!

The following is from a comment below this post from Frank K. It is very detailed and shows how he was able to use a similar method to restore his Asus laptop:

“I had the same problem and your solution worked for me.
Another solution was to copy the recovery-partition to the new disk and let it do the restore, but the partition copied with Acronis did not boot. Therefore, I was happy to see your solution how to restore a system with swm-files and without booting from a disk with the recovery partition.

For an ASUS notebook I had to made some minor changes, I changed
imagex /ref 10739XSP*.swm /export 10739XSP.swm 2 boot.wim
imagex /ref asus*.swm /export asus.swm 1 boot.wim

Asus-Files are named asus[1-3] and contain only one image (C:)

Your command
imagex /apply boot.wim 1 C:\
then worked fine for me, too.

What I did in detail:
1. I took a new HD (500GB), connected it to a working Win7-PC via USB, created two “classic” partitions (MBR, not GPT), C: 400 GB, D: 100 GB.
2. I copied the contents of the Recovery-Partition (all swm-files and Imagex.Exe) from the original HD (I was lucky so far, the C:-Partition showed drive errors already) to D:-partition on the new disk.
3. I created the boot.wim – file, see command line above.
4. Then I installed the new HD in the Notebook and booted with a Win7x32-DVD.(It has to be x32, Imagex did not work for me with x64.) Select Repair Options and Command Prompt. (The Selection “Restore from a Win-Image doesn’t work, it can´t find the boot.wim)
5. Select drive D: at the prompt and start the image restore with ImageX’ apply-option (see command line above).
This takes some time.
6. When finished, I entered
bootrec.exe /fixmbr
but this did not work for me, the computer didn’t boot.
I started with the Win7x32-DVD again, go to repair options and select the item “Fix startup problems” (I do only have a german DVD, so I don’t know the original english name for this function, but there is one selection that fixes startup problems.).
This did correctly activate the partition and the MBR-Information. It shows a log when the mbr is fixed.
I rebooted the machine and it started perfectly, initiating the standard Windows welcome at first start.
Now I’m installing updates etc.
At a later time I deleted the now no longer needed D-Partition and extended the C-Partition to use the whole disk via Disk Management in Administration.
Normally, I have a C-Partition for the OS and D: for Programs/Data, but most of the users mess these things up, so for those who don´t care I create a C-Partition only.

I looked at many descriptions on the internet, complicated, not working, frustrating – your fix is the only one that worked for me, THANKS!

Sorry for my poor English, but I hope many other people can benefit of your solution with these extra hints.”

We fix laptops everyday at our laptop repair shop in Kent. Hopefully this site has helped you!

Programs blocked when Vista starts

Stop Vista from preventing programs from running at startup.Fun with Task Scheduler!

So, we had a PC which has an unsigned EPSS.exe (Enterprise Pro Surveillance System CCTV DVR Client) file that is set to run when Vista boots up.

MSCONFIG keeps blocking the executable from running but we want it to run because we know it’s safe and it is needed to run on this PC. Clicking the ‘Allow this program to run’ option just allows it to run once.

MSCONFIG does not assume that it is safe to run it on every boot so we set off in search of a way to run it without restrictions and this is what we found out there…

Continue reading “Programs blocked when Vista starts”

Removing NetIntelligence from Home Access Laptops

Home Access from Becta Grant
Home Access Grant

After replacing the hard drives in their Home Access laptops, a number of people have contacted us (probably because of our popular Acer Extensa 5235 post) about an issue with the parental control software that is installed on these machines.

From what we gather, some of (perhaps all) the Home Access machines were bundled with NetIntelligence parental control software.

Here is an excerpt from an enquiry we received: Continue reading “Removing NetIntelligence from Home Access Laptops”

Install ATI Display Drivers ONLY

Short post but maybe useful to some…

I was sick of installing Catalyst Control Center and all the other crap stuff that it seems you must install to update the drivers on your ATI graphics card so this is what I did.

Download the correct driver update from ATI/AMD’s website. Mine was 12-4_vista_win7_64_dd_ccc.exe

If you don’t already have it, download and install 7Zip from (this is is a bit like WinZip and Winrar etc but it’s free, open-source software without toolbars and other crap).

Use 7Zip to extract the contents of the file you downloaded from ATI (e.g. right-click on 12-4_vista_win7_64_dd_ccc.exe) and choose ‘7Zip > Extract Files’

The drivers you want are in: OUTDIR\Packages\Drivers\Display


Parent Password for Home Access Laptop

Home Access from Becta Grant
Home Access Grant

At our Kent laptop repair shop, we recently did a complete system recovery on an Acer Extensa 5235 that had a dead hard drive.

This was one of the ‘Home Acess’ computers provided by Becta the now closed government funded grant scheme to help low-income families own a computer.

The client had neglected to make her recovery DVDs whiled the system was up and running.
Usually if we don’t have the recovery DVDs or CDs we can install an OEM version of Windows using the product key on the Windows sticker attached to the laptop, resulting in a nice clean Windows install without all the crap that the manufacturers install alongside Windows. However, the Home Access laptop in our care didn’t have a product key on the sticker.

The license sticker reads: “Windows 7 Pro Natl. Academic Only OA” with a few tracking numbers and bar codes on it. Not very useful for installing Windows!

Luckily we had created a set of 3 recovery DVDs on an identical model that had come in months ago – just in case!

So Windows installed – no problem there, but… When it was time to log into Windows, we were presented with two preconfigured user accounts – Learner and Parent. Learner had no password and was a ‘Limited Account’ which basically means we couldn’t install anything or even update Windows using that account. Parent was a password protected administrator account but we had no password since the client had misplaced the original documentation provided by Comet. Continue reading “Parent Password for Home Access Laptop”

Windows 7 won’t Log Off or Shut Down

Windows 7 Shutting Down
Shutting down......still shutting down....

After spending ages disabling things like sound card, LAN, Avast Internet Security, Malwarebytes and everything in MSCONFIG, we still couldn’t get the Packard Bell iMedia desktop to log off or shut down. This was a machine running Windows 7 perfectly for the last six months.

Apparently MSCONFIG cannot disable all third-party services because there were still quite a few running on reboot.

Avast and Malwarebytes were then completely uninstalled but the machine still would not log off or shut down.

Process Explorer was then used to find what else was running when the machine started up in Normal Mode.

Turns out the culprit was something called Rapport from a company named Trusteer. There was no way to disable the Rapport services but once we uninstalled it all our shut down problems vanished.

Hope this helps someone else from wasting a few hours!


* Update- Another Rapport problem on an unrelated system…

Today (25th October 2011) we got a Toshiba laptop in that would consistently ‘blue screen’ (BSOD) everytime it was booted into Normal Mode. In Safe Mode it booted fine. The BSOD referenced: “A Driver has overrun a stack-based buffer

The dump files were analysed and it was found RapportEI.sys was the cause of the blue screen fault. The Safe Uninstall tool from the Trusteer Rapport website was used to uninstall Rapport because the Windows Installer would not run in Safe Mode. Consequent Normal Mode boots successful. (This system is running ESET Internet Security – not sure if this is relevant).