The Midlife Geek

Ramblings of a middle aged engineer, runner and open source enthusiast

Repair Samsung NC10 MBR

I removed Ubuntu from a Samsung NC10 yesterday, now the F4 recovery option doesn’t work. Please excuse the lack of screen shots on this Howto but I couldn’t think how to capture from the recovery manager and camera shots look rubbish.

It would appear that Samsung uses a custom Master Boot Record (MBR) – so for Grub all is well because you can choose to boot into the recovery partition and away you go. However if you have followed any of the usual guides to removing grub (such as running an XP CD to a recovery console and typing fixmbr) F4 will not launch the restore tool.

System Rescue CD is a great tool to have handy on a USB key. You can, so booting into it run this command:

fdisk /dev/sda

Now pressing “p” should show you that the recovery partition is 1, so type “a” then “2”, “a” then “1” to make it bootable. Now write the partition table by typing “w” then reboot. At this point you will boot into the recovery manager and be able to recover but the F4 key will not still not be available at boot and of course trying to create a backup will not work either (as Windows will be booted on restart).

Once Samsung Recovery Manager III has loaded up, press Ctrl+Alt+F10 – I had no idea there was a management mode until I read this page (French) but be aware its only available from the recovery partition. It asks for a password – “secos” (without the quotes). Once in management mode, click the “Image” tab and select “Export” then “Select Location”, I used “D:”. Click “Start” and accept the dialogue box that comes up. This is a backup of the recovery partition.

Once this stage is finished, select the “Tools” tab, insert a spare USB stick and click “Admin Tool USB”. It will format the USB stick and then install some utilities. It takes a couple of minutes. Once finished click the close button in the top right and it’ll ask if the computer should be turned off – say yes.

Boot with the USB key we just made, bringing you to a completely different recovery menu. Click “MBR Fix” and then close the application.

Now when you reboot you’ll notice that the MBR has been repaired and F4 once again boots into Recovery Manager III.


  1. can u plssss tellme wat should i do b4 loadin samsung recovery solution? I dint understand the part regarding the system Rescue cd.
    My f4 is not working as i uninstalled ubuntu by applying the fixmbr in the recovery console of windows. And later when i booted into windows i deleted the partition of ubuntu. Now i am not able to use samsung recovery solution. It shows an error sayin recovery area of your computer not found. And when i try during the boot using F4 it doesnt work. Plsssss help me. I am messed up..:(

    • You could also use the Live Ubuntu USB/CD you used to install Ubuntu. Just load it up and open a terminal, then

      sudo fdisk /dev/sda

      . Type p then press enter, you’ll see a list of drive partitions – one will have an asterisk in the “Boot” column. You type a then enter and enter a partition number to boot from that partition. Samsung recovery is usually the first but you might need to try others.

      The MBR that you installed using fixmbr just boots whatever partition has the bootable flag set, so you’re changing that to the Samsung Recovery Partition.

  2. Hii..

    Thank you for the reply. I tried using the Live Ubuntu CD and typed the command in the terminal as you said. My samsung recovery partition was sda3. The windows system partition of 100mb was first(sda1) and the windows partition was sda2. Then came the hidden recovery partition.
    As u said i typed a then enter and entered the partition number 3. After that i pressed w and saved. Then i rebooted my laptop after removing the live ubuntu cd. But windows booted up instead of the recovery partition. Can u tell me what went wrong with it?

    Also my samsung recovery solution is uninstalled in windows 7 and i tried to re-install it but i am coming up with an error saying “Y parameter is not an integer value” and the installation is getting failed.

    • You’d need to ask Samsung as to what that error message means.

      Un-installing in Windows should only effect the Windows application – I can’t see your partition table and it might be a slightly different configuration for Windows 7. Have you made sure that only one partition is bootable? Have you tried other partitions?

  3. Andrea Plazzi

    2012-04-09 at 11:00 pm

    Very useful post. I have the very same problem and I really used your info. Unfortunately, at the very last step, the “Admin Tool USB”-formatted USB key doesn’t boot. It’s the same I used – and then re-formatted – with System Rescue, and it worked like a charm. So I’m stuck with it until I’ll find the time to retry with a different USB key. I can only hope that does the trick. Thanks again.

  4. waldschraat

    2012-08-29 at 9:24 am

    Excellent! Thanks a lot! 🙂

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