Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


Windows 8.1 Recovery Won't Recognise External Hard Drive

  1. #1


    Posts : 12
    Windows 8.1

    Windows 8.1 Recovery Won't Recognise External Hard Drive


    Hello,

    After experiencing some malfunctions in my hard drive I decided to buy a more reliable one before my existing hard drive completely died. I've used Windows 8.1's backup and recovery tools to create an image of my existing hard drive in the hopes that I can restore this image to my new drive. The image was saved to a Seagate FreeAgent Desk external hard drive.

    I've swapped the hard drive out now and put my Windows 8.1 recovery media USB drive in to begin the repair by clicking 'Repair your computer'. I then went to Troubleshoot > Advanced options > System Image Recovery as I'm supposed to in order to restore this image. I then select my operating system, which is currently Windows 7 (I've installed Windows 7 temporarily on my new hard drive whilst trying to get this sorted). All whilst this is going on my external hard drive is plugged in to my PC, however at this point the recovery settings won't find a system image. I'm getting the following message:

    'Windows cannot find a system image on this computer

    Attach the backup hard disk or insert the final DVD from a backup set and click Retry. Alternatively, close this dialog for more options.'

    Clicking retry doesn't seem to do anything, so I click Cancel and go through and select the location of the backup. The external hard drive does not appear on the list. I suspect this may be because the recovery environment has not loaded the drivers to use the external hard drive, so I click Advanced to try and find them and no matter what I try I can't get this to work.

    I've checked what driver my external hard drive is using in Device Manager and it's using the disk.sys and prtmgr.sys drivers in C:\Windows\system32\drivers, but trying to select these to load brings up a message saying that these do not contain information about my hardware, so I'm a little stuck.

    Any advice/help on this? Ideally I'd like to use this backup so that I don't have to purchase another Windows 8.1 license and start over from scratch.

    Thanks!

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2


    Posts : 2,690
    Windows 3.1 > Windows 10


    From my understanding of this this post - you are using windows 8 system recovery to restore windows 8 on a system that has windows 7, is this not correct

    another question - what OS came with the PC?
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3


    Posts : 12
    Windows 8.1


    Quote Originally Posted by KYHI View Post
    From my understanding of this this post - you are using windows 8 system recovery to restore windows 8 on a system that has windows 7, is this not correct

    another question - what OS came with the PC?
    It's Windows 8.1, but yes. I had to install Windows 7 on the new hard drive in the meantime.

    The PC originally came with Windows 7, however I was able to upgrade through the recent special upgrade offer to Windows 8, then up to 8.1.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4


    Posts : 2,690
    Windows 3.1 > Windows 10


    use the link in my sig below to create windows 8.1 media, install windows 8.1 on the new harddrive using the windows 8 upgrade key.. then try to recover the system image

    depending on when that system image was taken - take may or may not restore your problem..

    Another issue may be the boot method - MBR or UEFI-GPT

    Unless you know the boot method used before you upgraded windows 7..

    A fresh install of 8.1 can be via MBR or UEFI and unless the System image recovery matches the current boot method - it will fail
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5


    Posts : 12
    Windows 8.1


    Quote Originally Posted by KYHI View Post
    use the link in my sig below to create windows 8.1 media, install windows 8.1 on the new harddrive using the windows 8 upgrade key.. then try to recover the system image
    I don't have the upgrade key anymore, will this be an issue?

    One thing I previously tried before posting was that, as my old hard drive still works, I've been able to grab my Windows 8.1 product key, then un-register it (the idea was to un-register the product key, get a clean install and register the product key on my new hard drive). But when I go through the recover media to install, when it asks for my product key it won't accept it.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6


    Posts : 2,690
    Windows 3.1 > Windows 10


    using the media created in my link?

    the upgrade was a retail purchase..

    the new media will accept that key - assuming the it is not a media center key or you added media center also

    the issue will be activation, since changing the hard drive will result in MS seeing it as a used key on new hardware..

    If you disconnect from the internet, choose activate by phone and follow the phone prompts, when asked it was activated once..
    you will get an activation code, and windows will activate..
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #7


    Posts : 12
    Windows 8.1


    Quote Originally Posted by KYHI View Post
    using the media created in my link?
    I believe so - I tried this a few days ago before posting here and the page linked is the one I used. I'm not at home at the moment so I can't check for certain, let me try this over again and I'll post back with the outcome. Maybe I made a mistake when creating the media?

    Surely, if I un-registered my Windows 8.1 product key, when I'm going to install Windows 8.1 on the new hard drive that key should work?
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8. #8


    Posts : 2,690
    Windows 3.1 > Windows 10


    once again assuming you captured the right key..
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  9. #9



    Trying to Sith things out
    Bamberg Germany
    Posts : 2,288
    Windows 10 Pro 64 bit


    Quote Originally Posted by coleyman View Post
    Hello,


    I've swapped the hard drive out now and put my Windows 8.1 recovery media USB drive in to begin the repair by clicking 'Repair your computer'. I then went to Troubleshoot > Advanced options > System Image Recovery as I'm supposed to in order to restore this image. I then select my operating system, which is currently Windows 7 (I've installed Windows 7 temporarily on my new hard drive whilst trying to get this sorted). All whilst this is going on my external hard drive is plugged in to my PC, however at this point the recovery settings won't find a system image. I'm getting the following message:

    'Windows cannot find a system image on this computer

    Attach the backup hard disk or insert the final DVD from a backup set and click Retry. Alternatively, close this dialog for more options.'

    Clicking retry doesn't seem to do anything, so I click Cancel and go through and select the location of the backup. The external hard drive does not appear on the list. I suspect this may be because the recovery environment has not loaded the drivers to use the external hard drive, so I click Advanced to try and find them and no matter what I try I can't get this to work.

    !
    I had a similar problem once where the ext. HDD didn't show up, it was because in recovery environment windows didn't see the USB 3.0, so after I figured it out I switched to USB 2.0. I was an ASUS with Windows 7 which needed the ASMEDIA 3.0 driver.

    Also a word of warning--If the ext. HDD is MBR and windows image is GPT it won't be able to reimage your system disk either..I just had this problem putting windows 7 back on my laptop.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  10. #10


    Posts : 12
    Windows 8.1


    Quote Originally Posted by Cliff S View Post
    I had a similar problem once where the ext. HDD didn't show up, it was because in recovery environment windows didn't see the USB 3.0, so after I figured it out I switched to USB 2.0. I was an ASUS with Windows 7 which needed the ASMEDIA 3.0 driver.

    Also a word of warning--If the ext. HDD is MBR and windows image is GPT it won't be able to reimage your system disk either..I just had this problem putting windows 7 back on my laptop.
    I've tried USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports on my computer, neither worked.

    How can I check if the external HDD is MBR, or if my image is GPT?
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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Windows 8.1 Recovery Won't Recognise External Hard Drive
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