VOGONS


First post, by 9646gt

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So my Multimedia S610 came in the mail and as I feared the original HDD was replaced and the tattoo was not backed up. As a result, when I use the 175525 it boots a restores everything, but multiple drivers are missing, first boot shows multiple errors for missing files (mostly for the antivirus I would uninstall anyway), and of course system credentials are missing. I know this is super easy to restore if you ever created a backup, but obviously that was not something the previous owner did. I heard the information to assist in restoring the tattoo is stored in BIOS DMI. Is there a way to recreate this hidden sector so I can do a proper restore or am I out of luck? There used to be a very knowledgeable guy for this stuff on UKT support but you can no longer create an account there and there has been no activity in about three years.

EDIT: I DO have a Packard Bell Multimedia R501 that still has the factory drive running Windows. Can I make a disk from there?

Reply 1 of 8, by chinny22

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Packard Bell Club... what to do! seems like it may be interesting. (I dont own a PB so never tried this)
Of course you can always find generic install media and drivers as a work around as well

Reply 3 of 8, by Jasin Natael

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I think he is referring to imaging the partition of the original hard drive.

I've only ever heard it called "tattoo" when referencing the glorious Packard Bell's.

Reply 4 of 8, by dionb

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Not quite. The "tattoo" was a special encoding kept in both hidden sector on HDD and in the CMOS DMI. The restore CDs would only work if there was a copy of the tattoo on both and the copies matched, and it also told the installer which drivers and programs to install.

It was a form of copy protection, but obviously raised issues when either HDD or motherboard were replaced. That's why there were tools like TATTOO.EXE to copy the tattoo from the one to the other. Originally these tools were hard to come by, but practical need trumped excessive protection and eventually they were included on the MasterCDs.

Exactly how the system worked, which tool you needed and how to get it depended on both the release and the MasterCD version. The description in chinny22's link applied to 'Hercules' Win98FE systems from late 1998 and early 1999. If this system dates from them, look on the MasterCD for TATTOO.EXE. If it's there, you're in luck and do TATTOO.EXE /CREATEHSFROMDMI. I forget exactly how it worked and I don't think I have any of the documentation I made to make sense of it when I worked at PB's UK tech support line around the turn of the millennium, but I'll have a dig just in case...

Reply 6 of 8, by Stiletto

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HPs had "tattooing" as recently as 2005 or 2006. Had to use some special utilities from HP when replacing... laptop motherboards? something. I've lost those memories to the mists of time. Yes, they literally called it "tattooing". For a time the company I worked for was an HP Authorized Service Center so I know. Similar mechanism as what dionb said.

"I see a little silhouette-o of a man, Scaramouche, Scaramouche, will you
do the Fandango!" - Queen

Stiletto

Reply 7 of 8, by dionb

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Right, turns out I stil have some of my personal documentation. Of course it's incomplete, as it's intended as an addendum to 'official' internal stuff which I don't have. But it might help a bit. I have things from the 5 years leading up to 2000, so basically early Win95 ("Mona Lisa 16 Format") to WinME ("eMove" 28 Format)

First thing it says in big bold letters:

One VERY IMPORTANT RULE: NEVER use an earlier version of MCD to RemCD a later system. That's asking for missing drivers etc. Just DON'T do it!

So hearing OP has missing driver issues, it's highly likely his MasterCD is too old for the system in question 😮

Next, the tattoo tool - there are different ones (HSUPDATE, MKCONFIG, HSCENTER, TATTOO and EXTHS). Which one you need depends on the 'format' i.e. release of the system. From 1996 onwards, these tools were present in the OEM HDD install, but not on the master CDs until early 1999 (later Hercules 24 format systems). If you have one of the older systems, you need a "Format Service Disk" or "Tattoo Customer Disk", which is basically just a floppy with the relevant tool on it. Good luck finding one of those...

So first thing we need to figure out here is the type of system. There should be a part number on the back of the case. That's usually a good indication. If you could post that it would let us know what we are dealing with. Also might be a good idea to give specs - those PB systems had completely different model numbers across countries and I for one haven't a clue what "Multimedia S610" contains. Also post the part number of the Master CD you are using. The first three digits of those two should correspond...

Reply 8 of 8, by nec_pb

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Good luck finding one of those...

I downloaded those when the FTP support sites (ftp.nec-computers.com and ftp.packardbell.com) sites were still a thing.

Get them here: http://www.mediafire.com/file/jrmzqiv8y2z4xol … nec_pb.rar/file