Restoring Vista using wrong Recovery Disk

I know this one's waiting for me tomorrow morning so I thought I'd get a bit of a head start...

I had just fixed a friends notebook (Acer 54??) which had a corrupted NTOSKRNL. I ran the (downloaded from this site) Recovery Disk and booted from CD. I went into Repair a couple of times and eventualy it sorted things out (2 re-boots).

Gave the machine back to my friend and didn't think to check the original problem (think it was corrupting files on downloading MS updates) - sure enough it tried to download them again I think and it went back to the original problem.

I tried to fix over phone (silly me!!!) and asked them to put their Recovery DVD into the drive and re-boot. Re-booted and then was surprised at the questions that were coming up, but proceeded along thinking we would get to the Repair option even though it was indicating it was trying to restore the machine I thought it would get to a big "all data will be erased if you proceed!" but none came - and then it flicked up the process time required to complete - and began working on the disk (no huge problem so far). But I didn't realise they had put the wrong Recovery Disk in the Acer (was for an Acer 5315). It certainly didn't come up with the Repair option.

Next thing I new it had started the Restore process. Once I realised I got him to power off the Notebook - thinking this might not be the smartest course of action - but putting the wrong Recovery Disk on was sure to cause major grief.....

Any thoughts on what I need to check on to determine how to fix this problem? If I'm lucky the disk partitions will not have been altered and it might have just started laying down operating system files (I'll assume it begins copying sector-by-sector).

By the way it turns out they do not have a Recovery DVD for this machine, no backups (no vital data anyway) and this machine does not have a Recovery Partition either - as far as I know because I couldn't find one when I fixed the machine the first time.

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I think you'll be very lucky if the system isn't completely unusable.
However, if you've got a Vista DVD, or access to somebody's, it's completely legal to do a clean install from scratch, provided that you quote the VIsta serial number from the broken laptop and not the one from the installation DVD.
Well you are right about this. It is a mess! I have been able to Image the drive and the data is all there. The Op Sys won't boot and part of the directory system has been re-written (eg My Documents) but a lot of the original and recent data is okay. What I need to be able to do is recover the data files back into their directories and then find a way to restore the operating system files without just "blue printing" everything.

I am going to try EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard to see if I can get the files back into their correct folders - then I need to find a way to slipstream(?) the operating system into the various folders. Then see if I can make it bootable.

I am making no bets on this one but it will be a challenge. Any other thoughts?
Good Luck.
I think I'd copy all the "My ........" folders out to external storage, and start again with a nice clean install, then copy all the user data back, but let us know whether you manage to retrieve it.
The problem is all the "My..." folders have been crunched - that is they have 0 bytes in them as the folder name has been overwritten. The underlying data is there and has been recovered under found.000 into dir0000.chk through to dir0062.chk - only a matter of sorting out which belongs where :smile:.

But at last resort I can restore from correct DVD and then copy back all (imaged) user files with date later than original set up of computer. Hopefully I'll be able to find a way to apply most Vista updates as well without having to download them all again.
I can recommend EZBackitup as a very nice, fast, easy to use piece of freeware to tell the PC owner about.
I use it at shutdown every night (and immediately if I've just transferred pictures from my camera), so that all "My .." folder updates and my email folders (or their Vista equivalents) are mirrored onto a separate backup HDD.
If ever disaster strikes, and a reinstall becomes my only option, at least all my user data is, at worst, only a few hours out of date.
Might save you a few weeks work in future !