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  1. #1
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    Nondestructive Vista reinstall using HP's RECOVERY discs?

    Hello,

    This is my first post here -- I hope I've reached the right place for my question.

    I recently discovered the Windows Secrets website, and Fred Langa's article on doing a non-destructive OS reinstall caught my eye. I have Vista x64 Home Premium SP2, and (as you can imagine) after four years the system is running sluggishly. I've defragged the hard drive, used Disk Cleanup and CCleaner, cut down on the number of running services and startup processes, and scanned my PC for malware using both my regular suite (Norton 360) and various other vendors' Live CDs to make sure that it's not a security issue. After all that, my system still runs annoyingly slow -- too often, opening IE8 or Outlook is like dripping molasses.

    Therefore I would like to try Fred's method, which I understand also works on Vista. The trouble is, Hewlett-Packard didn't provide Vista installation DVDs with my PC. All I have is the recovery partition, and the "recovery discs" that were created way back when the computer first got set up.

    So my question is: Will Fred's method work if I use these "recovery discs," or do I need to somehow track down an actual HP Vista x64 Home Premium DVD to get it to work? Is there a third way (Vista ISO, whatever) to get the method to work? I searched around the forum here, but I didn't find any threads that (to my knowledge) matched my case exactly, and this is the type of situation where I'd rather not start assuming things.

    Thank you very much for any help or guidance you might offer.

  2. #2
    Gold Lounger Roderunner's Avatar
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    Hi JorgeA.

    WSL.JPG

    Try using this tool, after backing-up your pc. http://download.cnet.com/PC-Decrapif...-10636481.html
    George's PC Specs. / Laptop. Desktop.

  3. #3
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    I believe you need a regular installation disk. Unfortunately there is not an ISO file download for Vista similar to the Win 7 ISO file.

    The recovery disks have boot files and will allow access to the Recovery Console, but I do not believe they have the entire installation files.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
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  4. #4
    2 Star Lounger
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    It has been my experience that "Recovery Disks" will restore the computer to the condition it was in when it left the factory. Hardly a non-destructive reinstall.

    A good way to create your own recovery disk(s) is to do the following:

    1. After setting up your new system, turn it on and put in your name and other personal data
    2. Connect to the internet and run Windows Update. You will probably have to do this several times.
    3. Install some sort of anti-malware program and scan the system.
    4. Go through the software installed on the system and uninstall the programs you don't want and all the trial programs.
    5. Install and run an IMAGE backup program. Burn the image to a DVD. Make sure you have a boot disk created by the backup program. You now have a "base" you can use to start over.

  5. #5
    New Lounger
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    Hi,

    Many thanks for your replies -- I'm sorry I didn't get the chance to get back in here 'til now.

    So it looks like I'm out of luck with Fred's idea, unless I can persuade HP to cough up a Vista x64 Home Premium DVD?

    One thing I did get to do this week was to set up a new, faster CompactFlash drive for ReadyBoost to replace my previous one. It does seem to have made a performance difference, but I'd still like to explore Fred Langa's suggestion if possible.

  6. #6
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    You might be able to find someone with a Vista disk, or perhaps find one for sale online. You can use your own key.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


    Sony Vaio Laptop, 2.53 GHz Duo Core Intel CPU, 8 GB RAM, 320 GB HD
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  7. #7
    New Lounger
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    Thanks, something like eBay is an idea. I'm wondering, though, about this part of Fred's article:

    Ideally, you have your original setup DVD tucked away somewhere. But if not, it’s perfectly OK to borrow one from a colleague or friend, as long as it’s the same 32- or 64-bit version as your installation. Ideally, it should also match the general type — retail disk or OEM/vendor-supplied disk — as well.
    (emphasis added)

    If it's not a vendor (HP) supplied disk, I gather that trying the nondestructive reinstall is more of a hit-or-miss proposition?

  8. #8
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    Another option would be to upgrade to Windows 7.
    You should be able to find a decent price at the MS store where you could download and burn an ISO copy to DVD disk.


    When it comes to non destruct reinstalls, it's alway best to have a genuine copy of the OS rather than an OEM.
    Last edited by CLiNT; 2012-07-21 at 00:48.

  9. #9
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    Thanks

    OK, thank you -- I'll see if I can round up an HP Vista x64 Home Premium DVD somewhere, as that does seem to be the safest way to go in order to do this kind of reinstall.

    As far as moving to Windows 7: I'm one of the few oddballs around who actually prefers Vista to Win7!!

    The reasons are mostly of the esthetic type. I have PCs with both operating systems, and I just prefer the richer visual experience that Vista provides, even if it does come at some cost to performance. (The sluggishness I describe above is only a recent development.) I view the Win7 look as a toned-down, "plain Jane" version of beautiful Vista. Since my work involves sitting at a PC screen all day, I'd rather look at something that's more pleasing to my eyes.

    Call me weird if you must.

    Great forum, BTW -- the friendly and helpful reception is very different from some places I've been to!

  10. #10
    New Lounger
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    In my experience (20+ years with my own PC troubleshooting business) I have used my own retail Windows Vista Ultimate DVD's to Restore many Vista OEM and Vista Home laptops and PC's, making sure that I use the correct 64-bit or 32-bit disk. My retail Windows 7 Professional DVD's also work that same magic.

    There is usually an Upgrade option available (non OEM?) early on in theprocess to Repair Windows Vista, if it is available I always try that first as it seems to just replace any corrupted Windows startup files.

    If that is not available (usually the case for HP) then it has to be the overwrite option, using the customers Vista Key from under the laptop, if it is missing, look inside the battery compartment! At least there is no chance of the key details being worn completely off, as has happened twice so far!

    I always do a backup of the \Users folder first, even though in most cases it saves much of the user data to a \Windows.old folder, but of course this does not preserve your programs, or drivers. They will all need to be downloaded and installed.

    The reason for this is that Vista does not use a simple file overwrite method of installation like XP did, instead it lays down a complete Windows Vista image.
    The alternative could be to pay $50 + for a DVD from HP, that includes the original drivers (plus their "junk" software) for that precise model, but you would still need to install all your programs since you first started it.

    I recently found an excellent tutorial "Hot to do a Repair Install to Fix Windows 7" on http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials...r-install.html that explains the process in detail, it also applies to Windows Vista.

    BTW. As most customers have no idea where to find their Key for MS Office, I always used the MagicJellyBean program, or lately MyKeyFinder from Abelssoft (search on Google for them) to record their Key data before starting the above process. I have never tried it but apparently it is possible to find the Key info from the customers (unbootable, but accessible) hard drive in another computer, I have a test PC I use for testing hard drives.
    Last edited by Selwyn.NZ; 2012-07-26 at 01:20.

  11. #11
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    Selwyn,

    Thanks for the link and the details.

    The thing I found attractive about Fred Langa's method is that it promises to reinstall Windows without having to resort to reinstalling drivers and programs, restoring user data, or resorting to other contortions and complications.

    Bottom line: 1) would you say that Fred's method does in fact work for Vista; and 2) if it does work, am I limited to using specifically an HP Vista x64 Home Premium DVD (if I can even find one somewhere), or can I use a "generic" Vista x64 Home Premium retail (not OEM or system builder) disk?

    I'm hoping that the answer to #1 will be Yes, but I'm not hopeful about #2.

  12. #12
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    My experience with the HP recovery process is that it will, whether started from the recovery partition or from the recovery disks, offer a "non-destructive" option. And it will warn you about overwriting before beginning the destructive option. So a "non-destructive" option may still be available to you if you look at the HP option closer. However, you will be returned to the Service Pack level originally shipped, and will need to update from there. And any A/V or other trialware may be re-installed as part of the process. Also, if you have the MS Office product installed, you should make sure to have a method to re-install should that installation also be "damaged" by a similar recovery of the Trial. Not as "clean" a method as Fred's, but it may still be a viable option for you.
    Good Luck whichever way you go.

    JohnBrown
    Halifax, NS

  13. #13
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    Oops, I forgot to answer the 2 questions asked. Fred's method will work for Vista, providing you have a Vista HP Installation DVD of the right "bitness". If it's an HP disk, it should not require a Product Key. If non-HP, it will require your existing Product Key, which should be on your system somewhere. The only "gotcha" you may run into is that, as Fred mentioned, you cannot "upgrade" to an older Service Pack level - ie, if you have Vista HP SP2 now, you cannot use a Vista HP SP1 (or earlier) disk for the install. You can use a SP2 disk to upgrade anything earlier. Good Luck

    JohnBrown
    Halifax, NS

  14. #14
    New Lounger
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    Not sure there is such an animal...

    I noticed several mentions in this thread about acquiring/using a "HP Vista x64 Home Premium DVD" but honestly I don't think such thing exists. If you order discs from HP they will be the same as your original burned copies of the recovery discs. That is to say, they will have the original service pack version (probably older one than you are on now) as well as all the HP crapware. Not much use for doing a repair or reinstall, since you can do the same with your burned copies for what its worth...

    Just a side note here; Dell and some other OEMs used to ship a "proper" OS disc with some of their systems, and I imagine HP may have also at some time in the past. When I say "proper" I mean the disc looked nearly the same as a retail copy, hologram and all, and acted nearly the same. I haven't seen any OEMs shipping such discs for a long time now, so your best bet is to acquire/borrow a retail disc, noting that to do the repair option you want the same service pack level as you are on now.

    Personally I would recommend a clean reinstall for maximum performance boost, but be aware that you would need to back up your personal data first, and download any missing drivers (which should all be available from HP support site). I actually did this with my HP dv9000 series laptop after running three years on the original install, and I must say a clean install from a retail disc without all the crapware from HP made the laptop faster than it ever was, even faster than factory fresh. All you really need is your product key (use magic jellybean to find it if its not on your sticker on your system), then after installing use Control panel > System > Change product key (http://pcsupport.about.com/od/produc...gevistakey.htm) to replace your valid key. Finally reinstall those apps you really need, and restore any personal files from your backed up copy.

  15. #15
    New Lounger
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    Hi,

    Sorry I took so long to reply -- just got back into the office today!

    @pcmechanic:
    Thanks a bunch for the tips and info; that non-destructive reversion to the original state that you describe would sure be better than having to start totally from scratch. Fortunately I do have disks for my most important applications, so I'd be OK in that regard. (Man, you don't miss having those CDs/DVDs around till you think you'll actually need 'em.)

    Almost by luck, I came across this thread on the HP Forum that links to a Dell (!) page from where you can then download a Vista WIM and get instructions to make an ISO. The drawback is that it's SP1, although the writer also gives a link for the SP2 update file -- I'd have to look into how to put these two together into a single working ISO that would enable me to perform Fred Langa's trick.

    @Stumpy842:
    You're right, there doesn't seem to be such an animal as a Vista x64 Home Premium OS installation disk from HP. I called Customer Support, and they insisted that the "recovery disks" are installation disks. Well, yes and no.

    In addition to my Pavilion, I have an HP/Compaq dx7500 that did come with actual, HP-labeled Vista OS installation disks. Trouble is, they're for Vista x86 Business (dang!). I guess I'm OK if I ever need to do a non-destructive reinstall on that machine, but the Pavilion is my main one. I doubt that that x86 Business disk would include the necessary files for x64 Home Premium.

    Not surprised to hear that your HP laptop ran better after you did a fresh install with a retail (not crapware-filled) disk! I'll still keep an eye out on eBay for retail Vista disks, while I investigate the ISO route described above.
    Last edited by JorgeA; 2012-08-08 at 02:15. Reason: clarification

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