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Cannot Recover the PC after Replacing the Hard Drive with an AF Drive (Windows 7 and Vista)

This document applies to certain HP Desktop PCs with Windows 7 or Vista.
The hard disk drive (HDD) industry is migrating from the traditional 512-byte sector drives to those with 4096-byte sectors. Drives with the larger sector size are known as Advanced Format (AF) drives.
Customers using original HP supplied recovery discs on systems that have had the 512-byte sector drives replaced with a new Advanced Format HDD may experience issues and may not be able to re-image their system. The most common issue customers will see is that they will not be able to use their current recovery media if they try to install Windows Vista or Windows 7 on AF Drives.
You can find out if a hard drive is an advanced format drive by finding the Advanced Format logo on the main label adhered to the drive.
Figure : Advanced Format logo
Hitachi hard drive label showing the AF logo enlarged and called out
HP computers with Vista:
HP will offer traditional 512-byte sector drives through the support life of the products. If you use an AF HDD, you will not be able to use HP recovery media to load your operating system.
  • If you are still under a support contract HP will be able to provide you with a 512-byte sector drive.
  • If you need to purchase a 512-byte sector drive, contact HP and you may be able to purchase one.
  • You can purchase a current operating system from a retailer as long as it is supported on your system.
  • You can do a backup using off the shelf tools to clone your old drive.
HP computers with Windows 7:
  • Any Windows 7 system manufactured before October 2010 will need new recovery discs.
  • HP has created new recovery media for those Windows 7 systems. Contact HP support to order media.
  • Windows 7 systems manufactured after October 2010 should be fine.
If you have any questions contact HP Support at http://www.hp.com/support.


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