The Windows Vista harddisk partition on my niece Acer Travelmate 6291 went corrupt. Since the dvd drive is having problem with the backup recovery disks, I decided to load the Acer System Recovery partition by holding the Alt key and press the F10 key simultaneously at the white ACER BIOS screen.
To my surprise, the computer prompt me to enter a password string when I clicked on the “Restore to Factory Default Settings” option after the eRecovery has loaded.
Did some googling on the net and found that the password was stored in the “aimdrs.dat” file located at PQSERVICE hidden partition.
Using Ubuntu 9.10 Linux Live CD, I unhidden the PQSERVICE partition by changing the partition type to “HPFS/NTFS (0x07)” from the Paimpset Disk Utility. The original value was “Unknown (0x27)”.
Found the “aimsdrs.dat” file from the root folder of the PQSERVICE partition. Using the Ubuntu ptedit to open the “aimsdrs.dat” file, I recovered the password.
I hidden back the PQSERVICE partition using the Paimpset Disk Utility to “Empty (0x00)”
Using Ubuntu GParted, I recreated the “C:” partition. Then I did a reboot and entered the eRecovery menu.
Clicked on the “Restore to Factory Default Settings” option and entered the recovered password, the eRecovery process restored a fully functional factory image in approximately 10 minutes.
Reboot the computer after the eRecovery and voila, I have a new Windows Vista.
More reading here: