Question can't boot recovery usb drive

Sep 29, 2019
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I have been having problems with my windows 10 pc for months now. It infrequently crashes, mostly while playing games fullscreen. Its sometimes days between crashes then they happen frequently.

I can't even remember all the things I've tried to fix it, but I'm pretty sure its an issue with my GPU driver conflicting with windows.

I wiped my GPU drivers with DDU, then reinstalled from the manufacturer's recommendation. It didn't work.

I then went to try and update windows to find that windows update is broken. From there I tried to manually updaye from the windows site, that failed to update also.

I tried literally every option in the advanced repair menu you get after the restart, there were no restore points/images and every repair option failed and reverted.

I tried downloading windows 10 and reinstalling, it also failed and reverted.

I have twice used an external hard drive to make a windows recovery usb bootable, I tested it on a working pc and it works fine.

Bothe times on my pc it fails to boot and goes to a black screen saying "invalid partition table".

While fiddling with partition settings I marked the wrong drive on my internal hard drive as active and now it won't boot either.

The fix for marking the wrong drive active appears to require booting up an external drive so apparently while trying to fix my problem I have shut out all access to my pc.

I've read various help posts on several sites but most of the time its this error for s main drive, not an external recovery drive.

I don't know all the specs from memory but its got 8 gb of ram in 4 sticks, ati radeon 5000 series graphics card and an asus motherboard if thats any help. Its a pretty old pc but i recently got a samsung SSD and I've replaced the PSU a couple times over the years.

Leaving aside the crashes for now I'd really just like to get windows updated and functioning properly. Why can't my computer boot windows recovery usb?

edit I just saw someone make the recovery drive like I did and then list an alternate way with "rufus" and the windows 10 iso. I will probably try that tomorrow if nobody posts a better idea.
 
Last edited:
Sep 29, 2019
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I made a long post that was apparently deleted when I tried to edit it, so here is a condensed version.

Windows won't repair or update itsself. I tried making a recovery usb from a 5 tb external hard drive but my computer wont boot it up. It says invalid partition. It works fine on the computer that made ot though.

I can't remember all my specs and I'm locked out due to setting the wrong partition as active. Its got 8gb, ati radeon 5600 series, asus motherboard if that helps. Also a pretty new samsung 1 tb SSD.
 

howtobeironic

Prominent
Jun 16, 2018
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I'd recommend using a USB drive when doing recovery disks(The problem might be caused because of your BIOS being in CSM Support/BIOS mode instead of UEFI, since the harddrive is definitely formatted in GPT which doesn't boot with MBR. And you shouldn't try to format it to MBR, or you'll be able to use only 2 TB of it.) Yeah, Rufus is a reliable program that I have used a lot of times for USB bootable drives. Try these:
1)Make a USB drive using the Windows 10 Download Tool and try it. (You might need to switch to UEFI mode on your motherboard, google it.)
2)If not, run the downloader again, make it download the ISO only and write on disk using Windows 7 USB/DVD Downloader Tool.
3)If not, do the same as Step 2 with Rufus.
4)Try removing your computer's drive and put in an external case to connect it to the working PC.
5)Download Macrium Reflect on the working PC, create a rescue USB, plug into the other PC and back up your stuff using it, then download Ubuntu, burn onto USB with Rufus, and have it format the drive.
 
Sep 29, 2019
9
1
15
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I'd recommend using a USB drive when doing recovery disks(The problem might be caused because of your BIOS being in CSM Support/BIOS mode instead of UEFI, since the harddrive is definitely formatted in GPT which doesn't boot with MBR. And you shouldn't try to format it to MBR, or you'll be able to use only 2 TB of it.) Yeah, Rufus is a reliable program that I have used a lot of times for USB bootable drives. Try these:
1)Make a USB drive using the Windows 10 Download Tool and try it. (You might need to switch to UEFI mode on your motherboard, google it.)
2)If not, run the downloader again, make it download the ISO only and write on disk using Windows 7 USB/DVD Downloader Tool.
3)If not, do the same as Step 2 with Rufus.
4)Try removing your computer's drive and put in an external case to connect it to the working PC.
5)Download Macrium Reflect on the working PC, create a rescue USB, plug into the other PC and back up your stuff using it, then download Ubuntu, burn onto USB with Rufus, and have it format the drive.
Hi, thanks for responding. I actually did format it into mbr while trying to get it to work. Formatting is only temporary right? I don't really care if the 3 extra tb are temporarily gone, I'll be a little mad if I bricked them though.

My first usb creation attempt was making a recovery drive, my second attempt was what you listed first a installayion media drive.

Lastly this morning I made a windows 10 iso drive with rufus. I made it mbr since the drive was already mbr. I also clicked the legacy fix switch for rufus.

It boots to the same screen as the "invalid partition table" screen, black with a blinking white cursor, except this time there is no text, just the cytsor in the top left. I don't think I can interact with it, esc and enter do nothing, neither does typing.

I found some windows help tutorial for making things with rufus so I'll walk through that once more.

Other than wasting space and having to make sure ots the right format a large external hard drive shouldn't be a problem right? I will happily buy a smaller USB if there is actually a difference.

I'll probably go out later and get a external case so I can fix my SSD with the working computer if this last attempt with rufus fails.

So with number 5 the first half is just for saving my data right? I don't care about anything on the drive, way too annoyed to care about settings or re-installing right now and I don't keep important stuff on my PC.

The second half you are saying I should download linux to format the drive? Then re-install windows on the newly formatted drive?

Thanks for your help.
 

howtobeironic

Prominent
Jun 16, 2018
162
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Now, first off MBR/GPT partition tables are not permanent, format it to gpt and voila, you get that 3 tb back.
For using a USB HDD for bootable media, well, there's not much saying against it, would work or not, since 1)I haven't ever tried that 2)Rufus doesn't like it as well, since the mode to write to internal drives/HDD storage is experimental. So getting a small USB (8 GB is ideal) or borrowing one for a day might help this. Number 5 is yes, a save-the-data-and-nuke-everyting-else approach. When you take an image with Macrium Reflect you can mount and copy from it like it's a HDD, lets you save data and get rid of windows installation. If you want to go overkill you can use DBAN (Darik's Boot and Nuke, a disk wiper, just make sure that you choose the right disk, or better, plug all drives except that one) instead of Linux. But the resulting drive will be uninitialized and unformatted, so you'll need to have windows setup do it for you.
 
Sep 29, 2019
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It took all day but I finally got a fresh wiped windows 10.

I didn't get ot to work with your steps specifically but you reminded me that we have an old pc that I could use to help instead of buying an external case for my SSD.

In the end the only thing I could het to boot was the dvd drive on the other pc, mine wouldn't work and neither did three different ways of making the external drive into a windows flash drive.

You may have been right about rufus not working fully with it, even though the first attempt booted up flawlessly on the pc that made it. It is a near new touchscreen desktop though.

Looking at all these tutorials using newer bios versions was making me want to smash something. Reading "just go turn off secure boot" for the fifth time when my ancient bios doesn't have it was very obnoxious.

I was using really old dvds and the first one wouldn't write, the second one failed and the third one installed windows. All from the same stack.

It installed without formatting and moved all my data to windows.old so I only lost installed programs too, its even better than I was hoping for.

Thanks for your help. If anyone has a similar problem I guess I can try to help.
 

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