Tuesday, November 5, 2013

[Rant] Dell backup and recovery stopped working again on my Latitude 10 Essentials tablet

When I first updates to Windows 8.1 Preview, Dell Backup and Recovery stopped working properly. I could not use it to restore the factory backup image. I resolved it by reinstalling Windows from another Windows 8 32bit ISO. I didn't even have to burn it to a disc or make a bootable USB drive. Simply mounting the ISO file as a disc drive (native feature Windows 8) and running the setup sufficed. After that I downloaded and reinstalled Backup and Recovery software and it worked. 

Couple of months ago, I installed Windows 8.1 RTM on the tablet. Since it wasn't released at that time, I had to use the ISO image downloaded from MSDN to install it. But that completely broke the recovery functionality. When I used it, it would go into the Windows recovery environment and halts there. That's the same thing that happened last time too. I didn't worry about that so much at that time. 

But the tablet is too slow for my needs. It also seems to work erroneously at times. Basically, it doesn't seem to like Windows 8.1 that much. In fact, Windows 8.1 seems to run slower than Windows 8 on it. I even updated the firmware and drivers. Didn't improve anything. So I'm thinking of selling this and getting a newer tablet. Which means, I need to restore it to the original state. Which means, I need to get Backup and Recovery working. 

I tried many times to see if it would magically start to work. Nah! Magic and I never go together.

Then I updated the Backup and Recovery software as a new one that supports Windows 8.1 has come out. That's version That didn't do any good either. I reinstalled Windows 8 32bit from an ISO file I downloaded from MSDN to see if it would fix the issue like it did the last time. No, it didn't want to recreate the joy. However, it let me create the recovery flash drive. Last time, it didn't work either. Still, I couldn't get it to work. One USB port isn't enough on the tablet. The keyboard attached to my desktop PC has two USB ports (v1.1 though) but devices plugged into it stops working after a while when plugged into the tablet. No such issue when the keyboard is plugged into the desktop PC though. Maybe the current given through the tablet's USB port isn't enough to drive more than one device, which means getting a non-powered USB hub won't work either. So basically I don't know how to get it to work without a powered USB hub. Do I need to get one of that too??? These tablets are so crippled!

Then I updated to Windows 8.1 from Windows Store. It took many hours for the entire thing to finish. I didn't have to reinstall Dell Backup and Recovery. But after a while something weird happened. Some executable ran in the background and said it is updating the PE environment. It took about 10 minutes to whatever it did. Then I got a message from Backup and Recovery saying that "You seem to have updated to Windows 8.1. If you restore that factory image, you will go back to Windows 8. But if you wanted to make a backup of Windows 8.1, you should upgrade to Backup and Restore Premium". (The exact message is a bit different, but same meaning.) That upgrade costs $40. I didn't to do that. All I wanted was to make it work. After what it did though, I felt it could have fixed the issues. 

So I opened Backup and Recovery and tried to restore to the factory backup. And it worked. Well, I didn't restore it completely. I canceled it before the actual restore process started. But it didn't halt at the Windows Recovery Environment as before. Good!

Next step, find a service that would give me highest money when I sell the tablet.

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