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Restore failed - Error code=3

(The system cannot find the path specified.)

A picture of the Restore failed - Error code=3 error message on a Acer z5600 All-In-One PC

Roughly once per week, my mother manages to completely destroy her OS partition on her out-of-warranty Acer z5600 All-In-One machine. Usually I simply boot into it with a real operating system loaded onto a USB key, I move the data over to the D drive, and then run a restore of C from the system partition.

But last week, apparently not content with the status quo, my mom managed to corrupt the system restore partition as well. This meant making the $25 purchase of Acer Recovery Disks, glacially shipped by Fedex (but that's another story) to a mail drop in Michigan because apparently, Acer Canada won't ship recovery disks to Canada.

As per the instruction sheet that came with the disks, I first popped in the System Disc and hit F12 to boot from CD-ROM. Over the next little while, I was instructed to load each of 3 Recovery Discs and watched as a dialog showed what looked to be like hundreds of little image files move over to c:\images_tmp_dir.

Then after a half-hour of Recovery CDs loading, this was the helpful message I received:

Restore failed - Error code=3 (The system cannot find the path specified.)

That's it. So I restarted the process. 30 minutes later...same message. I thought maybe it was because the D drive was full of data, so I made space on D. Same result. A search of the Internet for this particular error turned up nothing. I repeated this exercise in futility at least two more times over the next week - always the same results (because of course, because I was repeating it, duh.) Finally, I prepared to make the $25 dollar phone "one-time_support" call to Acer Support, but before doing that as a last resort, I booted the box up again with lubuntu on a USB key and:

1. I moved everything from the SYSTEM_RESTORE partition to D.

2. I deleted a remnant folder from C (I think it was 'IMAGES_TMP_DIR') so that C was completely empty.

I don't know which of the above two steps was the one, but after that my restore completed successfully.*

So I hope Google will quickly spider this little tip to save someone else a $25 dollar phone call to Acer Support.

* ...to WTF... French?! Why French?! Ah. Because I received TWO language CDs in the Acer Recovery pack that at first glance looked identical. At the time I chalked it up to a mistake on Acer's part, much like the mistake I made buying this Acer product for my mom...but closer inspection revealed a very small difference in the printed part number: LD.CAF64.W71 vs. LD.CAE64.W71. Dicks.

Restore failed - Error code=3

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