Any way to restore my system?

#1
Hi,
I was installing Linux on some laptops with Windows pre-installed and all of them but one had XP. When I got to the one with Vista I completely forgot to partition the hard drive in vista and instead used Linux installer to do that as I did with other XP machines. This laptop(HP Pavilion dv6000) had 2 partitions (C,D) with Vista on first one, the other being recovery. Using the Linux installer I resized Vista partitions and created a new partition where I put Linux. Now, I have grub menu showing windows but when I try to boot Vista it freezes only showing the Vista logo. Linux is bootable and works like charm. Is there any way to recover Vista? I tried pressing F11 at bootup to start recovery proces but no matter how or when I press I always end up in Grub menu. I also downloaded vista recovery cd, but after it loaded all files all I got was a black screen. I also have an older vista recovery cd that came with my Dell laptop but its the "Basic" version while the one installed is "Premium" so I am not sure if I can use it.

thanks for your time.
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#2
Hi Vegas, welcome to NST.
This sounds like it might be due to Vista being an early adopter of the new partitioning standards which the industry has defined for the current generation of large-capacity HDDs.
Unfortunately, most other OSs and partition managers, still use the old standard, and repartioning a Vista system with one that was set up with the other, could have led to the original partition boundaries being unfindable.
Your old Vista recovery DVD, sounds like the way to go. Unless you're very unlucky and Dell edited it somehow, Vista distributions contain all varieties from Basic to Ultimate. It's the product key on the PC (not the DVD) which will determine the the correct version to install.
In fact, if you skip entering the key at installation, it will ask you which version you want. Of course, at validation time, if you've installed one you haven't paid enough for, it won't be authorized.
 
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#3
With this DVD, will I have to reinstall it or is it able to just recover without losing any data? Because I don't think Vista got messed up much, its probably just the Vista boot loader. It says this on the reinstallation DVD: The software is already on your computer. Only use this DVD to reinstall the operating system on a Dell PC.

I have just tried to use the reinstallation DVD and it got stuck at the very same point as the recovery cd from this website. I start the computer, it prompts me to boot from CD/DVD so I hit enter. It says windows is loading files and when its done it takes me to the loading bar like when you start it normally. However it doesnt take me to the login screen it gets stuck either with blue screen and cursor or that colorful Vista background and a cursor.

One more thing I dont understand is why nothing happens when I press F11 to enter the recovery mode. I never did anything to the recovery partition.
 
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Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#4
I think the format you did has realigned the partition boundaries, hence you can't find anything.
The DVD reinstall option I mentioned would be a clean reinstall not a recovery I'm afraid.
Stick around a while and see if anyone else knows of a way to reformat to your original boundaries, but sorry, I don't.
 
#5
thanks anyway, but I'm confused by that DVD. It doesn't give any choice it just wants to boot the system, I was expecting it to offer me a choice of reinstalling the system or something but now its completely useless.

Addendum:

so is this what you would suggest?
"If so, you need to find a friend with a Vista DVD and reinstall Vista using your own PC's key (not the one on the DVD). That's perfectly legal."
Does it matter which Vista version I will use for that? Will I be able to keep the recovery partition and use it in the future or will I have to wipe out my whole hard drive?
 
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mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
#6
You can use any retail Vista installation media because it'll only install the version that your product key (from the back of your PC or bottom of the laptop) unlocks. You can keep or remove whatever partitions you like from the disk partitioning screen during setup.
 

Vegas

New Member
#7
Do you know why I can't run the recovery disc? It freezes right before giving me the options to repair my system. I'm just afraid that the original Vista DVD will do the same thing and I won't be able to reinstall it.
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#8
The recovery disk looks for valid Vista systems to repair. Your problem is that it can't locate one.
When you run a reinstall with a full Vista DVD, it won't need to look for anything. It's exactly the same as starting with a blank disk. You can either reformat with a 3rd party manager and install Vista into one of the partitions you've already defined, or you can let the Vista install reformat the disk, in which case you'll be back where you started and must remember to use Vista's shrink facility to make a new partition, otherwise you'll be back with the same problem.
 

Vegas

New Member
#9
Thanks a lot for the info. One more and hopefully last question: since the recovery disc cant locate my Vista, do you think it will possible to repair the system or is it necessary to reinstall it from scratch?
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#10
Vista doesn't do repair installs like XP. It's start over from scratch I'm afraid. (though at least you get a nice ,tight, clean, fresh system for a while)
 
#11
so I downloaded Vista DVD from a torrent and burned it, but sadly I didnt get much further.It got stuck at the exactly same spot. I also noticed that right before it freezes there is some hard drive activity. I don't understand it. I'm trying to boot from DVD, there shouldn't be any.
 

JustinW

Super Moderator
Staff member
#12
Similar posts in the past with similar symptons were caused by failing hard drives. Get to the partitioning screen as if you were going to perform a clean install and verify that it even detects your hard drive.
 
#13
I suppose my hard drive is working well since I can still boot into Linux without any problems and this laptop is about 2 months old. The problem is that I cant even get to the screen that says install Vista. All I get is the colorful background.

Look at this guide: Windows Vista Install Guide
I never get to the picture 3, where you can choose language a only get the background thats behind it and a cursor.

Maybe formatting the whole drive using Linux live cd could help?
 
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Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#14
Vegas, the ISO download on this site is a repair disk, not a full Vista installation DVD. Is that the one you said you'd downloaded ?
You need a full Vista DVD from somewhere (borrow one if you haven't got your own). Use your own key when you install it.
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#16
If you can't get into the install options, it must be a duff download. A bootable Windows installation disk shouldn't need anything on the HDD, to function correctly. (otherwise you'd never be able to install it at all).
Where did you download a full installation disk from ?
Have you tried to see whether it boots on another PC ?
 
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#17
Its a polish dvd that I found on mininova and I tried it on my Dell laptop and it works just fine. I was thinking that maybe even the original Vista dvd first checks for current installations and so maybe the the system or the recovery partition that is there now is somehow interfering with it.:angry:
 
#18
OK, I formatted Vista partition and that allowed me to run the dvd. I have one more question though. I have one partition C on which I have both the system and my personal data and second D which is recovery partition. Can I create a new partition so that all my user data were on it? If so, how?
 

JustinW

Super Moderator
Staff member
#19
If you wan't to move your data from drive C: onto it's own data partition, create it with free space on the drive and copy your data to it. Vista's disk management allows you to extend and shrink volumes to use space as you want to. If the complete drive consists of C: and D:, shrink the C: volume to create new space and then use the now available free space to create a new partition to store your data.
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#20
You can also easily move Vista's "special" user folders (pictures music etc) from C:\Users\userid\ etc, by right clicking, selecting properties, then the location tab, and move them to your new E:\ (or whatever you call it)