How to re-enable Recovery Media creation on Lenovo T530

I had to restore a Lenovo T530 laptop running Windows 8 back to Windows 7. I tried to use the recovery media that I put on an SD card but, the laptop couldn’t boot from the SD card. So, I decided I would just recreate the recovery media using DVDs.

I went to another T530 laptop running Windows 7 to create the recovery media but, was presented with the following message:

You can have only one copy of the Microsoft Windows operating system.
The Product Recovery Media Creator will exit now.

Apparently, I had already created recovery media from this machine. Setting aside the stupidity of this tactic or it’s implied meaning (creating recovery media = piracy), I needed to trick this machine into letting me do this.

A quick Google search shows just how common this problem is and fortunately a fix. Unfortunately, many of the results are for older Thinkpads that reference a file that no longer exists. Fortunately, the latest fix was found in this forum post on superuser.com.

To fix, just run this command from a CMD prompt:

echo 0 > Q:\FactoryRecovery\RECOVERY.INI:Done

After running go back into ThinkVantage Tools and retry creating recovery media – it should work.

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20 Responses to How to re-enable Recovery Media creation on Lenovo T530

  1. Adam Kemp says:

    I had the same issue with a Thinkpad X240, although the recovery.ini existed in the same location, running that command didn’t have any affect. I navigated to Q:\FactoryRecovery\ , opened service_done and changed the 1 to a 0, saved and closed. I could then run the recovery creator, it said it couldn’t find the files for the data media but if I just selected boot media it worked ok. However the data media is required to save the Windows 7 recovery image.

    • pkopalek says:

      I just ran the command, from a CMD > (run as administrator), del Q:\FactoryRecovery\service_done.ini and then I could immediately make another set. The M72z in question literally wouldn’t boot from the USB recovery disc, so I had to make DVD’s.

  2. Richard Nicholas says:

    I had the same issue with a Thinkpad X220, although the recovery.ini existed in the same location, running that command didn’t have any affect. I navigated to Q:\FactoryRecovery\ , opened service_done and changed the 1 to a 0, saved and closed. I could then run the recovery creator, it said it couldn’t find the files for the data media but if I just selected boot media it worked ok. However the data media errors

  3. Alik says:

    Thank you so much .. just as simple

  4. Randy says:

    You are awesome ! this helped me out of a bind

  5. Tim says:

    This worked great for me too since I have the version without the service_done.ini file. Although I too get an error if I check for the Data Media. Does anyone know a fix for this.?

    • jchaven says:

      Check the registry. You may need to change the value of the registry entry, HKCU\Software\Lenovo\Factory Recovery\done, to 0.

      See this post: http://superuser.com/questions/384658/why-can-i-only-create-one-factory-backup-from-my-lenovo-thinkpad

      • Tim says:

        That file and location doesn’t exist for me.

        We have 12 of these laptops. It seems that after going the the create process once that it changed the “cdrivebackup.wim” to a bunch of .swm files. Because I see on the other laptops that I haven’t done this on still have .wim files.

        I’ve also read about some other people experiencing this too. I’ve tried using imagex to change them back into .wim but it keeps failing around 5-60% saying access denied.

        I’ve used 7zip to extract and them archive back into .wim but I don’t have a option to compress the file so now it’s to big to fit in the recovery partition. This is so freaking aggravating.!

  6. Tim says:

    Update.

    To cover a little background. We have 12 Lenovo Ultrabook T440. About 10-15 Lenovo X220 Tablets and about 40 Lenovo E32 Workstations.

    My issue has been with the T440s. I want to say that when I was setting up the E32s, the one I was testing on, I sat back to factory many times. This laptop was used during testing of a new upgrade to our company software. That project is done and I wanted to set these back to factory and then setup them up to be used out in production. I’ve found that booting to the recovery with F12 rarely works so I’ve just been using a USB thumb drive to create the recovery. So I did this and it created fine. I sat it back to factory and then I formatted the USB and used it for another laptop thinking each recovery is specific to each laptop with license key etc. During the setup I had some install errors and was just going to start over. I went to make the USB recovery and that’s when I got the message above posted on the page. I don’t have the “service_done.ini” file that other sites have mentioned, using the command here got me a step closer. I no longer got that pop-up and the recovery wizard would run. I checked both “Boot Media” and “Data Media”. I would then get an error along the lines of Data no available or something. I found that if I chose just “Boot Media” it would create the bootable part of the thumb drive but the data wouldn’t be there and wouldn’t pick up on the recovery drive either.

    Digging deeper into the Q: I showed the hidden files and noticed that I have 6 “cdrivebackup*.swm” files about 2 GB each. I noticed on one of the other laptops that there was just one cdrivebackup.wim file. I see in the Recovery.ini there are commands referring to both. I don’t understand the commands totally but it seems to be a either or kind of thing. I had originally thought that the recovery process took the .wim file and split it into .swm files and saved it back to the Q: drive and that this was another step in their process of keeping us from using a workaround. But those commands look like they should work for whether you have a .wim file or a .swm files.

    Anyways. So I begain looking into how to merge the swm files back into a wim file. I came across a blog that said to use this command.

    imagex /capture c:\data\splitmerge\source c:\data\splitmerge\output1\splitmerge.wim “splitmerge” /COMPRESS maximum

    But it kept failing around 50-60% with a access denied. I found another that said you could use 7zip. I looked into that and saw that you can extract the swm files with 7zip and then archive them back into a wim file. But I couldn’t use any of the compress options for some reason. So now the file was way to big to fit in the Q: drive. Which I looked at expanding and Windows would let me do it.

    So back to the drawing board. I kept thinking imagex must be the way to go since it’s the program used in the first place and I know of its common use with wim files from some past testing I did once before. I read one blog where a guy was using a Win 7 bootable USB with imagex on it to run from the PE enviroment or something like that. I had so success with that, kept getting “the subsystem needed to support the image type is not present”.

    I found another simpler command talked about on another page.

    imagex /ref Cdrivebackup*.swm /check /export Cdrivebackup.swm * Cdrivebackup.wim “Lenovo_Recovery”

    This created the wim file just fine and at the right size. I placed it in the Q drive and the wizard ran just fine. I booted to the USB drive and got to the point of recovery and it said data not found. Ahhh.! So close.

    I looked into the USB drive and noticed it converted the files back to swm files. I deleted those and just copied over the wim file and tried again. Success.! The recovery worked and everything seems fine. This was a heck of a ordeal to go through for this. It looks like from now on I can just use the recovery wizard to make the boot media and just copy the factoryrecovery folder over to the USB drive and that should work. I haven’t tested it by just by looking at it, it should.

    Well I hope this helps the next person out who encounters this. Good Luck.

  7. Carl says:

    FYI they’ve changed this from the recovery.ini file to service_done.ini

  8. Recovery.ini file reset worked fine for me on an E73 workstation…thanks!

  9. Said Ibrahim says:

    Thanks for DOS commend it’s working perfectly.

  10. smk says:

    it work on t450, thankyou

  11. Jon says:

    Excellent, this worked on a T460p.

  12. Mike says:

    Brilliant. It was D: drive for me.
    Went into the sub directory and typed: echo 0 > Recovery.ini:Done
    That worked for me.

  13. Greg says:

    Worked great on a Lenovo T460 on Dec 04 2016 THANK YOU

  14. BloeMeeeeeBill says:

    TLDR Typical MS forcing OEM to screw over legit users and make them jump through hoops. It absolute BS you can’t just download this recovery images when needed. Instead I have a brand new 16 GB USB flash drive that is going to rot in a drawer for 3 years until I need it.

  15. Wesson says:

    It works like a charm. Many thanks.

  16. Chris. says:

    I changed the drive letter of the partition to Q. Worked great.

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