If I understand it correct, Dell Media Direct overwrites the boot sector
information on your hard drive to boot to a minimal OS, which can then read
information on your hard drive. Since your hard drive is encrypted, it would
not work anyway; not to mention the extraordinarily bad idea it is to give
attackers that steal your computer a one-button passwordless highway to your
If system recovery does not find your hard drive then you are probably in
pretty lousy shape unfortunately. If you have a WinPE disk you can boot from
one of those. If you don't have one, you can build one on a different
computer for free. There is a step by step walkthrough in the Vista Security
Book in my sig, and a slightly abbreviated version at
You can then boot from that and see if you can use diskpart to rewrite the
system volume on the hard drive. I will caution you that System Recovery on
the Vista DVD should be able to do the same thing so your success rate may be
sub-optimal. It almost sounds to me like Dell managed to screw up the boot
Your question may already be answered in Windows Vista Security:
> Hi. I'm in such deep trouble over this.
> I tried installing Dell MediaDirect 2 through the booting method. Apparently
> that corrupted something in my C drive and now I can't boot Vista Ultimate.
> Unfortunately I'm using Bitlocker which encrypted the whole drive. I tried
> system recovery but it doesn't detect any HDD, so I had to use command prompt
> to load the drive offline. It didn't detect any recent recovery points (even
> though I'm sure there are some). I tried to run the system check tool in the
> Vista DVD booting diagnostics. It reported that there was a file system error
> or something and that it recovered it but the problem persists. Now I can't
> even format or install Vista in the same drive! When the laptop tries to boot
> up Windows, it says
> "A disk read error occured.
> Press Ctrl+Alt+Delete to restart"
> The last time i backuped my PC was 5 months ago and I know I should do
> backups every 1 month. The 5 months-work is very vital. If any of you have a
> solution, I'd be very grateful to hear from you.