vista recovery disc

I downloaded this off the website syccessfully and burned to a disc successfully. My laptop, I believe may have a virus, and so believed that this disc would solve my problems. My laptop won't start. When I turn it on it goes to a black screen telling me windows has failed to start. I then have two options:

lauch startup repair
start windows normally

I have tried both. The startup repaird takes me to a screen (after about 10 minutes of waiting) with several options, all of which I have tried with no success. These are options such as command prompt, and system restore. When I try to start windows normally it tells me that I am missing certain files and so I need to insert my backup disc so it can repair itself. I do not, however, has a backup cd as I have a laptop and so I believe it came with a partition for me to create these backup discs.

I have followed the instructions for the vista recovery disc. I changed my BIOS settings to boot from the cd/dvd drive and after another 10 minutes of loading it takes me to a screen where I have a couple of options:

Install Windows Vista
Repair windows vista

I chose repair to begin with, and this took me back to the screen telling me that I needed to insert my backup discs. I then went back and clicked install instead. It asked me for my product key, which I entered from under my laptop, and it said it wasn't valid, I have checked it several times, so I'm not sure if it has something to do with authorising it. So, instead, I chose to ignore the product key and clicked next, it then came up with an error.

I do not know what else to do, or if I am doing anything wrong. I'm verging on desperate as it's warranty only ran out last month and I don't want to pay a lot to the company to restart it as I don't want to lose all of my files.

If it takes 10 mins for the recovery disc to get to startup repiar - that doesn't sound promising.

The recovery disc does not contain installation files - no point in clicking Install Now.

It only contains the Repair Options - which you have found.

Which files does it say are missing?

What makes you think it is a virus?


Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
Hi Amelia, welcome to NST.
You can't use our recovery disk to Install or reinstall Windows. It contains none of the necessary installation files.
It's for gaining access to an OEM PC which has no portable recovery media, (just an onboard recovery partition), in the event that the boot process gets broken and the internal recovery partition is inaccessible.
In your case, you appear to be able to boot, but the OS is broken when you do.
You need to get yourself a bootable copy of a Linux distro and use it to make sure all of your user files are safely copied to external storage.
When you're happy that everything you value is safe and sound, then we can see what can be done to fix the PC, hopefully without losing anything, but without any tragic consequences if a reinstall proves to be your only solution.
Can you say what the make of PC is.
We might be able to advise how to access the onboard recovery.
It doesn't say which files are missing, it just comes up with a box saying I need to insert a backup disc, and I think it may be a virus as it started to slow down frequently when before it was really quick rapid with loading. I've never really experienced a virus so don't know what to expect, but I had the blue screen before randomly and it started fine again after that, then all of a sudden a few days later this happened.

Thanks both

I will also download Linux, didn't really think about that one, so hopefully should work and I should be able to retrieve everything I need. Also, I have an acer aspire laptop 5920 series.

I'm not too fussed about any of the programs on there as I have all of the discs any way, it's just a few files and photos that I need to recover, so the linux should help me with that front. I'll update on here how that goes. Thanks again
ok, downloaded that OS system and I'm now on my laptop and it's working great! Thanks, problem, I must have overwritten all of my files...I'm not brilliant with computers, and I can't find anything that was on here before...a shame really, guess it teaches me the lesson to back things up, anyone know if there's still a chance I may be able to retrieve these things? Or have I just deleted everything.


Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
You didn't install Linux on your HDD did you !!!! ?
You were supposed to boot Linux from the CD ! (first option "run without changing your system" or words to that effect)
Then access the existing broken system and rescue your data.
If you chose "install" then ignored the warning "proceeding will destroy the entire contents of your HDD", then that's exactly what will have happened. (irretrievably)
Assuming you didn't do that, and just aren't familiar with the Ubuntu desktop, what you need is the "places" link (top left)
That will open the Linux equivalent of Windows Explorer and you can navigate to your HDD and the folders and files it contains.


Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
Use "system" then "partition manager" and you should get a picture of what partitions are on your HDD.
Hopefully, if you've just overwritten your old Windows C:\ disk, but left the Acer recovery partition intact, we might still be able to get your PC back to factory condition. (though your user data will be long gone unfortunately)
My sincere apologies for having led you into this mess. I should have been more explicit in my earlier post about how to use the Ubuntu CD.
Press the key it tells you to press at the first splash screen you come to, to enter your BIOS.
Put your CD/DVD drive (or whatever your particular BIOS calls it) first in the boot sequence/boot order. Save the changes, insert the Ubuntu CD, and exit the BIOS.
Wait till the Ubuntu thing loads up. You'll see a screen where you have to enter your language (default is English). Get past that, and I think the next screen is where you select the "Try Ubuntu with no change to my computer" option. (of course all of this is assuming you even managed to download and burn the ISO to a CD correctly)
Once you get to the Ubuntu desktop (live session), then click the "Places" menu at the top of the screen. Next, go to "Computer" and you will see your partitions. Hopefully you will be able to figure out which partition contains your files, so you can recover them to external storage...otherwise, I guess you're out of luck. :wink:
Hi Coolname,

I fear it is too late. Looks like Ubuntu has actually been installed.

It might have been safer to use something that has a bootable File Transfer Wizard.

Paragon do a bootable free Rescue Kit Express - that has a file transfer Wizard on it.

Free data recovery 9 hard disk partitioning

File Transfer Wizard - Retrieve valuable information from disks when system fails to boot and save it to another hard disk/partition or save on CD/DVD
I haven't got that app. - but I think it is similar to the one in my DB10 Server edititon:

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Hi Coolname,

I fear it is too late. Looks like Ubuntu has actually been installed.
Could be, but I figured I would provide the step-by-step process just in case. :wink: He really hasn't clarified one way or the other. Besides, it may help future users with the same problem...
thanks guys for all your help, sad to say I have overwritten it all. Terry60 not your fault, I should have read it in more detail.

Although I can't find the partition manager, is it under a different name? I go onto the system tab and I can chose either administration or preferences but neither of those have it in.
thanks guys for all your help, sad to say I have overwritten it all. Terry60 not your fault, I should have read it in more detail.

Although I can't find the partition manager, is it under a different name? I go onto the system tab and I can chose either administration or preferences but neither of those have it in.
Are you booting from the Ubuntu CD, in the live session, or are you booting from the installed Ubuntu on your HD? Ubuntu does not install the partition manager when you install ubuntu on your computer, but its included in the live session. And IIRC, it goes by the name "Partition Editor" or something like that (its been a while since I used it).


Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
Sorry, it's under "administration" and I think Jake is right about it being called editor rather than manager.
(This is all from memory, I don't boot Linux that often, so recall is less than perfect)
I'm booting it from my hard drive
Ok, so please boot from your Ubuntu CD, select the "Try Ubuntu with No Change to My Computer" option, after the select language screen, and then you will be able to access the partition editor, or access your partitions to retrieve your files, using the steps i mentioned before.