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Repairing Windows 7 from the recovery console

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The cleanest most true to vanilla OEM disks I've ever found were Dell's. I've used them on all brands and never had a problem with anything as long as the COA was still readable.
-Stoic Joker (March 03, 2014, 05:28 PM)
--- End quote ---

+1. They (up to Win7 at least) do seem to work on most brands I've tried and (mostly) will install without issue if you have a valid product key to enter from a COA sticker.

The real hassle, however, is finding and getting all the drivers for the specific make and model of the PC or laptop. It's not always easy to find exactly what you need. It largely depends on how well the support section of the manufacturer's website is arranged. I'm also starting to run into situations where some drivers (older or model specific) either aren't available for download at all - or aren't without an e-mail request since the file isn't kept in the public download area. (This happens a lot with bug fix firmware for consumer-grade routers too!)


People us poor support techs a big favor and make a set of friggin' product and recovery disks for your machine? And if you haven't already, do it now? Pretty please? With sugar!

Hi, i have the same problem and i find some good advices here. Thanks

Definitely agree on the Dell Windows discs. The polar opposite IME would have to be Sony. It's not necessarily that the basic Sony recovery media I've dealt with was notably worse than most OEMs in terms of being tied to their hardware. The bigger issue was all the additional work required to install all the extra software and drivers to make their proprietary hardware work. Of course that was compounded by the PITA process for getting replacement media 40hz alluded to.

In 2003 I got a Sony's multimedia computer via a home owner's insurance claim after a lightning strike killed my desktop. It was actually a lot nicer than the unit it was replacing because they had to find me something with a DVD burner, at and at least 512MB RAM, and a second 160GB hdd.

It came with something like 7 or 8 recovery CDs. There was the basic Windows restore disc, a 2 or 3 disc set of Sony applications, and either 1 or 2 more sets with third party software. The software on the extra discs was packaged for use with their proprietary restore program which ran in Windows but was designed only to initiate a full factory reset IIRC.

If you wanted to reinstall a particular component you had to find the correct disc and folder with the installer in it by trial and error. Neither the discs or the folders gave you any real indication of what software they contained and I don't believe the executables for their software had any kind of meaningful names either. Most of the contents of those discs could only be replaced if you ordered a full replacement set for something like $80 and waited at least 2 or 3 weeks for delivery.

I won't even get into the Hell I went through researching the proprietary TV Tuner and MPEG-2 capture card.

Time for an update.

I ended up giving up on repairing Windows on this laptop. A friend brought a MS DART repair disc (well USB stick) over - it's good to have friends with academic licenses. I got as far as determining my initial hunch was correct. The last time Windows loaded correctly it was completing a VPN client install which followed installation of GoToMeeting and a VOIP client.

It was the first time I had gotten to play with one of those repair discs so at least that was kind of fun. I particularly liked the Autoruns management console. I was hoping the fix might be as simple as stopping the runonce entry for the VPN client but it didn't seem to make any difference. I ended up deciding to do a clean install and put a copy of the old one on a second partition. I kind of hate to do that but she had so much software installed I didn't want to think about finding half of what she might want.

However the plan has changed since then because that clearly would have been too simple. I offered to look at her husband's laptop which was telling him it didn't have a hard drive. I was pretty sure it didn't because he apparently lost his temper one time too many (in his defense it has Vista) and pounded the keyboard with his fist - directly over the drive. After looking up the computer's specs and realized they were almost identical to his wife's laptop I foolishly offered to move her hard drive to his computer and make one good computer.

Just the restore turned out to be more work than I anticipated due to Dell's decision to go with a WIM setup for factory restore and do away with their old Ghost-based system. I'm not complaining about that. It's the right way to go. Unfortunately it also means installing the retail Windows 7 upgrade wiped out their restore option from Windows' advanced boot menu. I could install from the Windows disc except, contrary to what the sticker on the sleeve says, there is no COA on the computer so apparently I'll have to get the key from the image on the restore partition. At least now I know that should be no problem.

Before I get started, though, I have a couple questions about the Win7 install I'm hoping somebody here can answer.

The first one is pretty simple. If I understand correctly, as long as Vista is already installed I should have no problems doing a clean install by booting into Windows setup because it checks for the previous version prior to the partitioning step. In theory I might be able to boot the Dell Vista install on the second (HP) laptop and do it from there but I'd rather avoid that. As similar as they are internally, I'd rather sidestep any potential issues completely. Does that sound right or am I making it harder than necessary?

The second question is the one I'm really concerned about. The Win7 upgrade has already been used on the Dell machine. How much of a pain is it likely to be to get Windows activated on the other laptop? I didn't have any problem on my computer when I replaced my motherboard with a different model that had a different, but similar, chipset. I'm not sure, off the top of my head, which components are relevant here but I'm guessing the HP unit is further away from the Dell than that.

If nothing else the HP has a lot more IO ports. The Dell has USB x3, SVGA, RJ-45, and a memory card reader. The HP has all that, with a different card reader of course, plus HDMI, eSATA, Firewire, an infrared sensor, and a dock port.

Changes in the chipset will indeed trigger the Windows activation system. And it sounds like the HP is too different from the Dell. Luck of the draw there.

What is the problem of the HD in the HP? Does the hard disk not spin up or it does but isn't recognized?
If so you might want to take it out and check if the HD has standard SATA connectors. If that is also true, then I would carefully check the connectors on the HD itself.

At one point in time I could fix a HD with physically broken, but not completely snapped off SATA connector (the data part) by placing the drive in a an upright position and carefully reconnecting the data cable on the connector and gluing the cable to the drive. Gravity and glue keep the drive running till this day.

You said that the HP drive experienced physical stress from being hit, so there could be an off chance that only one or maybe both connectors are broken.


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