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Old 03-07-2009, 05:53 PM   #1
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Restore or reinstall Vista?

I'm having a couple of problems with my notebook which runs on Vista. Now I've backed up everything to my external HD and I want to reinstal the OS but I was wondering which method would be best:

1. Format the partition followed by a clean Vista install
This would probably be the best option. However, my computer came with Vista pre-installed (the serial number is on the back) so one of the problems is that I don't have Vista on a dvd. I could probably borrow a copy somewhere, but will it still work if I install it from someone else's dvd and then use my own serial number?

2. Get HP on the phone and nag them into sending me a recovery disc
Obviously, I've been an idiot for not making any of my own. I could probably get them to send me a recovery disc, but that would require me to a) phone them, and b) wait for the disc to arrive and I want to have the computer fixed by the end of the weekend.

3. Use the recovery partition with HP Recovery Manager, or restore the partition from BIOS
Problem is, I've partitioned my harddrive. Will the Recovery Partition turn it back into one partition? Also, I've never used this function so I have no idea about how reliable it is.

That's all I guess. We appreciate your input
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Old 03-07-2009, 06:40 PM   #2
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Hm, I tried asking Acer for an XP disk when I wanted to reformat, and they wanted money for it.


I reformatted my laptop not long ago, and somehow it reinstalled XP (I know you have Vista) without a disk. I have no idea what to do about partitions though, theyre a knob, and Id like to get rid of the one on mine.
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Old 03-07-2009, 06:50 PM   #3
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It shouldn't affect the partitions - I don't think it did when I used the Recovery Partition on my Acer with xp. Recovery Partition is good because it has all the right drivers, etc.
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Old 03-07-2009, 07:16 PM   #4
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Once you go into restore mode off the Recovery Partition in the BIOS, it will give you the option to select a partition to reintstall the Windows system files to, such as:

HARD DRIVE 1 (250 GB)
PARTITION 1: NTFS: C
PARTITION 2: NTFS: D
PARTITION 3: FAT32: E RECOVERY PARTITION

So you can choose the partition where you have Windows installed currently, or you could use a partition tool like Partition Magic to merge the two ones back into one partition and then format and install Windows on that.

Of course be extra careful not to fuck with the recovery partition in any way.
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Old 03-08-2009, 12:14 AM   #5
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I'm not good with partitions and whatnot so I don't know if this will work. On a few computers I've worked on that came with the OS and drivers partitioned, I would boot up the computer normally, then shut it down "wrong" by holding down the power button. Then turn it back on and it gives me a screen acknowledging that it was improperly shut down and gives me a "Repair My Computer" option at the top (if you reboot and hit F* for the Safe Mode menu, this option is sometimes available there but on some computers I can only get it to show up if I shut it down wrong). One of the repair options is a reinstall of Vista. I think this one even moves the user's data (like Music, Pictures, Documents) into a backup folder and keeps it.
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Old 03-08-2009, 01:01 PM   #6
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The problem with using a Vista disc is that the product key for your PC won't work (at least according to this). Retail discs don't accept OEM keys.

My HP laptop came with a recovery partition and pressing F11 on startup will start system recovery.

My bet would be to either phone HP (yes they will likely want more than just the postage for it!) or find someone with the same model of laptop and use theirs. It sucks really. Why they can't just bung a 50p DVD alongside your shiny new £600 laptop is madness. And why won't a retail Vista DVD work with a OEM product key? It's the same software, less in fact, since HP add stuff. I guess they make too much money from people who forget to create a recovery DVD.
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Old 03-08-2009, 01:03 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Liesje View Post
I would boot up the computer normally, then shut it down "wrong" by holding down the power button.
You can do this by keep pressing F8 while the PC boots. Less risk of actually causing more damage. Well worth a try, but at some point you know you'll want that backup DVD!
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Old 03-08-2009, 03:38 PM   #8
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^ Like I said, I've tried that but on some PCs all I get are the Safe Mode options and it won't give me a Repair option unless it thinks the computer actually needs to be repaired. So annoying! At least if I'm reinstalling the OS anyway a hard shut down isn't going to make things any worse than they already are.
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Old 03-08-2009, 03:38 PM   #9
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You can also do online chat. I never call Dell or HP, just do online chat to get the parts or the packaging I need.
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Old 03-09-2009, 03:50 PM   #10
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Sorry misread your post. I have a feeling that repair option depends on your installation, and might actually be using the hidden partition.
When I purchased Vista boxed I needed the DVD to get the repair menu, yet my laptop that came with Vista has it under the F8 options.

Either way, sooner or later you're going to want a Restore CD. boo to HP for not including them.
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Old 03-09-2009, 06:37 PM   #11
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Boo is right. I made mine right away, but my computer came with XP and I now use Vista Business, so I'd have to reinstall from those discs and lose all the customization I've done. That's the main reason I haven't sent mine in to get some hardware issues repaired. I bet they will reinstall XP or put their version of Vista Home on it. I backup all my files, but that's not what takes so long to put back.
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Old 03-10-2009, 04:54 AM   #12
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If you have Vista Business they you should be able to use the built in backup to take a snapshop of your entire hard disk... obviously if the problem with your PC is driver related and they fix it, you restoring it will not help matters - but if it is a hardware issue, then once fixed, you should be able to restore the image exact. I think you can backup to DVD too, but a removable hard disk is a better option, much quicker.

When I was at Uni I worked in PC World (big chain of computer shops in the UK, Walmart style operation) and we always had to get signed consent before we wiped a PC so I'd imagine HP are the same.


That assumes you can turn the thing on of course....
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Old 03-10-2009, 01:16 PM   #13
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It needs a new keyboard (space bar squeaks), new LCD (several dead pixels), new battery (2.5 yrs old and holds charge for maybe 30 minutes). I've been putting off sending it in b/c I bought it from CompUSA and they tanked. I'll have to call someone on the phone and demand they honor the warranty, whereas before I could have just dropped it off at the store and asked the person NOT to reinstall my OS.

I'm a laptop repair technician and I have my customers sign waivers about what I can/cannot do without consent but anytime I've turned in a computer under warranty I think they have the right to restore the OS to the original state just to rule out anything else. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't.
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Old 03-10-2009, 03:13 PM   #14
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Best option is clean install so you won't have much chance of any 'bugs' or mistakes that may (re)occur. As you don't have a recovery disk, though, and you would try this option, I would try to get one from HP. But, since you don't want to wait that long, I suggest using the recovery partition. Usually your OS runs smoothly after doing this (especially with new notebooks). This way you can also still create a recovery disk afterwards, and opt to do a clean install later on if you would still want that.
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