Friday, November 23, 2012

Hiren's Boot CD HBCD menu missing when booting on Vaio Z3

I wanted to back up my Z3 using Hiren's Boot CD.  I have done this before, and it worked well.

(I recommend Image For Windows, available on Hiren's, but you should buy a licence.  IFW seems to be one of the only programs out there that can actually do a bare metal restore.)

Oddly enough, when I booted the Z from the USB stick, I did not see Image for Windows.  In fact, I did not see any programs at all.  Mini Windows XP ran fine, but all the programs were missing!

Scrounging around the File Manager turned up nada.  It looked like the USB stick was not there, even though the machine had booted from it just fine.

The conflict in my case was an SD card that I had added to the system.  It seems Mini XP got confused after boot and replaced the USB stick drive with the SD card.  XP was not capable of reading the SD card owing to the large capacity, and essentially got stuck, unable to locate or load any of the Hiren's apps.

Removing the SD card (as well as the uber-small Sandisk Cruzer Fit I had added for extra storage) fixed the issue.  On that boot, Mini XP correctly loaded the Hirens HBCD menu application as well as a bunch of other stuff related to Hiren's.

So - if you have problems with Hiren's Mini Windows XP not loading Hiren's apps, try removing all of your other USB storage devices first.

Note that I was able to plug in an external USB hard drive for the actual backup - an essential for my Z, as Hiren's 15.1 doesn't support the network adapters in this machine.  So you may be able to plug in other USB drives after booting.

[Update]:  Ran into the same issue on another machine - this time a desktop that does not have USB thumb drives or SD cards inserted.  I was not able to find a fix for that issue.

[Update 2]:  Has the same problem re-occur on my Z3 (SVZ13), even with other USB drives / SD cards removed.  Oddly, when I switched the Hiren's stick to the other USB port, it started to work.  I don't know if this is consistent behavior or not.  On my machine, the USB port closest to the front appeared to be the 'working' one.

Also, with Hiren's on the 'wrong' port, MiniXP could not recognize my Sandisk 64 Gb USB stick.  It saw it, but claimed it was only 8 Gb big, and unformatted.  With Hiren's booting 'right', it found it without issues.


  1. I have the same problem on a stationary computer. I have only the USB drive plugged in. So when I boot Mini XP I cant see the HBCD menu.

  2. I know this post is a year old, but I had the same issue on a Toshiba Satellite. I found nothing on google for this issue either. After playing around with it, I was able to solve the issue by changing a setting in the BIOS for the HDD from AHCI to Compatibility. This fixed the issue for me. Hope this helps :)

  3. Yes its somewhat old but people are still posting fixes for machines using Hirens Boot CD. I am having the same problem you guys are. Mini XP does not always load the extra tools including the HBCD Menu on its desktop.

    I did find that Mini XP does not load the HBCD Menu if Hirens if booted from a USB stick, but if booted from a CD will load the tools on my system. I have Gigabyte UD5h mobo with an SSD for the C drive.

    I have an HP m6 lappy that has a crappy bios and has to have Legacy Mode enabled to boot from any other source. Once Hirens is loaded and Mini XP begins to load its desktop, the system shuts off. I cannot find anyway to solve the issue.

  4. With USB booting, I found that if you put Hiren's on a partition other than the first partition of the USB drive, you get the missing apps problem. Windows can only mount 1 partition of a USB drive.

  5. Hi All, i also found same issue, i.e. after boot from CD the mini xp do not show the, HBCD tool, i browsed whole computer also could not find it.
    to fix it i used winrar and extracted the Hine's boot cd 15.2 iso image to a folder, it contained the HBCD.exe tool. Copied that folder into a pen drive. Then after bootin my pc with CD mini xp connected this pen drive to the pc, broswed pendrive, copied folder to local harddisk of locked pc, and ran the HBCD from there, and it worked exactly as given in you tube link,
    This Hiren's CD tool is Awsomely great, all the best to all Thanks Shree Ammu

  6. I was going nowhere with WinSetupFromUSB_1-4 that I used in the past with HBCD ... but this version HBCD 12.5 mini XP appeared everytime without the HBCD menu
    ....And then I found this similar but working way :) :

  7. Hi all,

    I appreciate everyone chiming in to keep this information relevant and helpful. Thanks!

  8. Hi, I have a Dell Inspiron 3646 desktop with Windows 8. I have tried to use Hiren's Boot CD 15.2 to reset my password via Mini XP.
    I turned off Secure Boot and UEFI and enabled Legacy Boot.
    Changed AHCI to ATA in BIOS and had to press F7 while Mini XP was loading so that it would not freeze on starting up. It loads the desktop but I am unable to use my mouse or keyboard (both USB connected). I changed keyboard and mouse to no avail.

    Please help

    1. Solved it, changed USB 3.0 compatibility to Auto in BIOS settings.

    2. Confirmed. You cannot run this on USB 3.0, as soon as i moved it to a normal USB port it booted up perfectly.

    3. Confirmed as well. Had the same problem. Disconnected the usb stick from the usb 3.0 port and replaced it in a 2.0 port, rebooted the pc and it came up perfectly with all applications available. Anyone test a usb 3.0 thumbdrive with a 3.0 port to see if it still does the same thing?

    4. Hate to bring this back up but I can confirm this as well, so the final conclusion here I believe is don't use a USB 3.0 portI noticed Mini XP seems to load faster in a 3.0 slot so it could be that it just loads too fast for Mini XP.

    5. I download Hirens from here and install on 3.0 usb flash... at the end I can run only winPE from this flash

  9. Ironically, I came back to my own post while debugging this on an Aspire M5 laptop.

    This PC only has USB 3.0 ports. I found that sticking a cheap-ass USB 2.0 hub between the PC and the USB drive fixed the issue.

    So, if you want to keep using Hirens, go snap up a simple USB 2.0 hub before they all disappear.