Asus S56CB Laptop – Windows 8 Reinstallation

(tl;dr at the bottom)

My daughter’s beloved laptop decided to crash on Friday, not 24 hours after we’d made a full backup of her personal files. That’s a little too close to comfort. The backup was because several of her programs as well as Windows Update had begun to misbehave, so we figured a full reinstall was more or less imminent. Not this imminent, though. There’s some difference between “mild hiccups” and “knock-out”, but apparently not enough.

The laptop is an Asus S56CB, which came with Windows 8 pre-installed. There were no installation discs in the box, no user manual, nada. You reinstall from a recovery partition, or at least that’s how it’s supposed to work. If it works. It didn’t.

The prescribed procedure runs as thus:

  1. Press the power button to start the PC.
  2. Immediately press F9.
  3. When the menu appears, press Troubleshooting.
  4. Select Reset your PC.
  5. Lean back for about an hour and watch the computer restore itself.

Or rather, it should run as thus. This is what happened:

  1. Press the power button to start the PC.
  2. Immediately press F9.
  3. When the menu appears, press Troubleshooting.
  4. Select Reset your PC.
  5. “Insert Recovery Media”.

That was odd and undexpected. There was no separate recovery media included in the box. I know for a fact that the laptop has a recovery partition, full of files with one single purpose: to recover the computer to factory defaults without requiring a separate disc. Didn’t matter, the laptop wouldn’t have it.

Long story short (as if it wasn’t long already), I decided to bypass this silliness and downloaded (legally) a recovery disc (that is, an ISO file containing the recovery files which I burned to a blank DVD). So now the procedure ran as thus:

  1. Press the power button to start the PC.
  2. Immediately press F9.
  3. When the menu appears, press Troubleshooting.
  4. Select Reset your PC.
  5. “Insert Recovery Media”.
  6. I Insert the freshly burned Windows 8.1 Recovery DVD.
  7. I lean back for about an hour and watch the computer restore itself.

If only this had been in the manual, inasfar as there was a manual, which there wasn’t, I could have saved five hours on a Friday night. At least my daughter is pleased with the result.

 

The TL;DR

Windows 8.1 on my daughter’s Asus S56CB laptop crashed. Like many others, I got the “Insert Recovery Media” request when trying to run recovery from the recovery partition, although there was no other installation/recovery media included in the box.

  • On another computer, I downloaded the Windows 8.1 installation ISO (not OEM) from Microsoft and burned to DVD.
  • I booted the laptop, pressed F9, selected ‘Troubleshoot’ and then ‘Reset your PC’.
  • When it prompted “Insert Recovery Media” I inserted the freshly burned Windows 8.1 DVD.
  • Recovery continued as hoped, and the computer was done, up and running in less than an hour.

Though the ISO was not OEM, there was no asking for Windows licence key, and everything looked the same as when it was new.

Neither the ASUS user manual nor their support pages were much help at all, and online forums were largely confusing. I finally ended up fixing it by trial and error, and after about five hours my daughter and her laptop were playing happily again. I leave this here in case anyone else is looking for a possible simple solution to the same issue.

Relevant links:

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