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Used Vista recovery disks by mistake, now can't go back to Win7

(18 posts)
  • Started 1 year ago by blubanjo
  • Latest reply from germ-x
  • Topic Viewed 443 times

blubanjo
Posts: 8

My four yr old HP laptop came with Vista installed. Last year the hard drive went kaput, so I replaced it with the good HD from my daughter's nearly-identical laptop with Windows 7 installed that she gave me when her screen went bad. She had used it for about 6 months before her screen broke. After installation of her hdd in my machine I made recovery disks. A few days ago, after a restart, Windows wouldn't load....after several attempts and more error messages, I DID have a screen with some recovery/repair/backup options. I made a backup of my files and went to do a recovery using the disks I had made. It wasn't until after I had successfully brought my computer back to life when I noticed I had used my VISTA disks, not Windows 7. I tried another recovery with the correct disks but the system didn't use the DVD I had inserted, so it recovered Vista AGAIN....After much trial and error, I got back to the recovery screen I mentioned above; the one where I inserted the Vista recovery disks in the first place. It started booting from the 1st Win7 Rec disk and I thought all would be well, but on the 3rd disk, at about 85% complete, it froze, then came the error mssg "Recovery Manager could not restore your computer using the factory image. Please contact HP support. Error code: 0xe0ef0003" After more trial and error, another mssg..."Windows Boot Manager Status: 0xc000000f" Now,Vista won't even load and I am now looking at "System recovery Options" with two options...."Use recovery tools that can help fix problems starting Windows. Select an operating system to repair" -AND- "Restore your computer using a system image that you created earlier." With the first option, I am given no choice of an operating system other than Vista...it says "If your operating system isn't listed, click Load Drivers and then install drivers for your hard disks." I had this screen before and after clicking LOAD DRIVERS it asked for, I think, an install disk....I put in the 1st of my Win7 recovery disks and a screen opened to allow me to select drivers, but I was wary of doing so.
My son also has an HP laptop with Windows 7. I made a repair disk from his system which allowed me to get this far. What are my options? I have my win7 recovery disks, HIS win7 recovery disks, his repair disk, and my daughter's Product Key on the sticker on the bottom of her old machine. Any way I can re-intall Win 7 using my daughter's key, or will the fact that my system is now only recognizing Vista going to be a problem with that. Could I make a "system image" disk from my son's laptop and use it on mine?

Thank you for any help. This has taken far too many hours of my time to try to fix.

Posted 1 year ago
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whs
Posts: 17584

Use command prompt from the installation disc and define a primary, active partition on the disk. Then install Win7 into that. These are the commands:

Diskpart
List disk
Select disk n (where n is the number that was given for your HDD in List disk)
Clean
Create partition primary
Format fs=ntfs quick
Active
Exit

Posted 1 year ago
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germ-x
Posts: 5310

If you have good recovery disks you might try formatting your "C" drive and then restoring your Win7 using your recovery disk. You really don't have too much to lose at this point. Hopefully this will work and you won't have to reload all your applications. If the disks don't work then a reinstall is the next step.

Posted 1 year ago
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whs
Posts: 17584

g-x, I think his MBR is messed up. That's why he first needs a proper active partition.

Posted 1 year ago
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blubanjo
Posts: 8

Whs, I don't have an installation disk per se...repair and recovery is what I have....been a long time since I've seen a command prompt. I would gladly try your commands if I see one, keeping in mind I have no concept of partitions.

Germ-x, I'm not sure if they're good disks or not. I made them after my daughter had used her machine for months with inadequate virus control and I've never come across an answer as to whether that can make bad recovery disks. I do have my son's disks, but in the event he would ever need them, can they be used on two different machines? The disks I made only got as far as 85% before failing so I don't know if that's an indication or not.

And I'd be happy to format my C drive. My files are already backed up, so I'm good to go with whatever. I'd need a walkthrough, though.

BTW, what's an MBR?

Posted 1 year ago
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germ-x
Posts: 5310

MBR is your Master Boot Record.
You can try the diskpart as whs mentioned but you can also download a utility called Partition Wizard which boots and has a windows GUI or look.
For the novice I feel it is better and easier since you can see the actual partitions / drives.
http://www.partitionwizard.com.....nager.html
Download PW > burn to a Cd which will be bootable > Change your boot order so your optical device is th efirst boot order > boot your system.
From there you can see if the "C" partition / drive. Format, and set to active and bootable. Save your changes. Reboot and insert your recovery disks once more and hopefully they will recover your image.

Posted 1 year ago
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blubanjo
Posts: 8

I would like to try the above suggestions, but at the moment, with that "System Recovery Options" still up I'm still looking at that 2nd option..."restore using a system image that you created earlier". If I make a system image of my son's system onto a DVD would that work, or no?

Posted 1 year ago
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whs
Posts: 17584

No, an image from another system will not work. Besides, it would be violating the MS EULA.

PS: the repair/recovery disc should have the command prompt too. Else use the bootable CD of Partition Wizard.

Posted 1 year ago
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blubanjo
Posts: 8

Before I posted I called Microsoft and left my # for a callback from tech services. The guy said that a re-install of W7 won't work on my machine because the product key on my laptop goes with a unit that came with Vista. He said a bunch of other stuff that didn't make sense too, so I'm wondering if he's full of hot air or what....

Posted 1 year ago
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blubanjo
Posts: 8

OK, here's what I've got. I made the boot disk and it's in. It shows an icon labelled "Disk1" with its subdivisions underneath, which I assume are its partitions. Two of them. Both only labelled with asterisks, no letters. The first, which I'm assuming has always been my "C:", has capacity of 222GB, its type listed as PRIMARY, status as "none". The 2nd (I guess this one's been my RECOVERY drive...I think it had the letter D: assigned) has 10.88GB capacity, also PRIMARY and set as active. This one's completely full, BTW....it has less than 5 mb free. Both are file type NTFS. I changed the status of the 1st to ACTIVE (I think that's what you meant by "active and bootable") which set the other one to NONE, since only one can be active at a time. What concerns me is the letter. I don't have the option to change the letter...the option is grayed out. Is my utimate goal to format that 1st partition? Should I give that 2nd partition some extra room...I can do that, I believe, and since it's so full it might be a good idea? Or do I format the whole shebang?

Posted 1 year ago
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Lighthouse
Posts: 13598

For installation disk,
http://www.askvg.com/direct-do.....nd-64-bit/
And use the key from the dead laptop, may, or may not work.
The same if you use an image.

Posted 1 year ago
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germ-x
Posts: 5310

The 2nd partition has your factory recovery image on it. If you mess with it you will destroy that image. Since your going to install win7 and most likely the recovery image is of Vista then it doesn't make and difference if you make a change. If your thinking along those lines your best to start from scratch and make one large partition (you can change later) format and install win7. You will still need a product key. If your going to use your daughters key you will have to call MS again and explain the situation and they should allow since her computer is trash.

Posted 1 year ago
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blubanjo
Posts: 8

Thanks for all the help, you guys. I really appreciate it. It HAS been informative.

Here's an update from last night:
I gave the 2nd partition a little breathing room, taking 22G from the 1st partition. Made 1st partition active, applied change and exited. I then had boot (or restart) options and chose "from local disk". This restarted Windows, so I guess the fact that the 1st partition was inactive had been one of the problems. I inserted 1st W7 recovery disk, restarted again, pressed ESC for startup menu and chose RECOVERY, bringing me back to the repair options screen. Did another recovery and it failed again at 85%, inserted PartWiz bootable, changed 1st partition back to ACTIVE again and restarted Windows Vista.

What would be the worst case scenario if I format my entire HD and the recovery (or re-install) doesn't take? Do I then just use my Vista recovery disks so I can at least have an OS? I read somewhere that a recovery doesn't actually install the OS, it just does a deep polish job on the one that's already there to bring it back to factory finish. But then, that wouldn't explain how I installed Vista on this HD that came with W7, would it.

The guy at MS was implying that the product key is actually hardwired into the hardware by the manufacturer, so it's not a matter of someone at MS having the authority to give permission, it just simply wouldn't work. However, he was saying a lot of things won't work, and then would change his story when I told him it's been working for the last year (he said swapping out the HDD won't work...well, yeah, it does).

Thank you for the link, Lighthouse, I'll check that out now.

Posted 1 year ago
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blubanjo
Posts: 8

I downloaded that Win7 installation ISO to a disk. Haven't burned it yet...my current option is to just let the DVD drive do the burning, or I could download one of the recommended burners suggested in an article I just read (CDBurnerXP)...here's what I think I'll do:
Use the Partition Wizard to make a new partition of about 70GB, format it, and install there....set that partition as the bootable partition (or Default Operating System, found it computer's advanced system settings). If the product key doesn't work, I'll still have Vista and not have to recover that one all over again. Any reason this would be a bad idea? What letter could I assign the new partition? Will A: work (also assuming the installation will automatically make a 2nd recovery partition within THAT partition, which would be called B:)?

Posted 1 year ago
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Lighthouse
Posts: 13598

We recommend,
http://www.howtogeek.com/howto.....h-imgburn/

Posted 1 year ago
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germ-x
Posts: 5310

When you made your first drive active did you also assign a drive letter? The last thing you want to do right now is start making partitions. Once you do that you will lose any chance of getting back anything.
If you can boot into Vista your apps and data is still there and it appears to be running ok then why don't you just do a win7 upgrade? This way everything will stay and you will have win7 installed. You will find a new folder named WINDOWS.OLD. Don't delete it until everything is running ok.

Posted 1 year ago
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blubanjo
Posts: 8

No, there were only asterisks showing when I used the bootable disk, and the option to assign a letter (change letter) was grayed out, but after restarting to local disk, Vista came up just fine. I can open PartWiz in Vista and the letters show up there. I backed up all my files before I did my Vista recovery, so all I have now is just a fresh new copy of Vista.... I don't really have anything to lose at this point.
I've been reading about "Dual booting", and it seems it's a common practice to have two seperate OS's in different partitions. This sounds like a viable option for me since I have the issue of the product key....if the Win7 installation doesn't work because of the key, then I can just go back to the untouched Vista.
I read about backing up data before making partitions to be on the safe side but I didn't see anything about anything definately being destroyed.

Posted 1 year ago
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germ-x
Posts: 5310

First, what are you using to make your backup?
You should be making an image of Vista and also will need the image recovery disk.
You can use Macrium, it's free and does a good job. http://www.macrium.com/reflectfree.aspx
Once yo uhave your image you can upgrade Vista with Win7 and if you don't like it then just recover your Vista image.
Dual booting can get you in trouble if not installed correctly. Not really for the novice.

Posted 1 year ago
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