Vista recovery failed


I bought an ex demo Acer Aspire 2920 laptop which has been locked down to prevent any tinkering in the shop (I believe it was Carphone Warehouse in the UK). Vista loaded OK but I was unable to install any software or use control panel as I do not have the admin password, I was advised to use the recovery process using ALT-F10 then got the following error message:-
Windows failed to start. A recent hardware or software change might be the cause.
It then told me to insert the installation disk which I do not have and showed the following messages
File: \windows\system32\boot\winload.exe
Status: 0xc000000e Info: The selected entry could not be loaded because the application is missing or corrupt.
The machine is now stuck in a loop and will not load Windows at all, setup is also password controlled. I have a bootable diag / tools disk which allows me to view the C drive etc but I'm not sure what to do next, should I download the Vista recovery disk and if so how do I find out if its 32 or 64 bit version. On the C drive there is some softare called lockdown2 and various scripts (VBS) which I assume have locked the machine, one is called disablesysrestore.vbs , not sure what to do next and would welcome any suggestions (I don't have major technical skills but can manage most things with help).
Hello Rob, welcome to NST

You should never buy the store floor model of any device. You well need to work it out with the store you purchased the laptop from to either fix it or get a refund. If you got it from a place like Best Buy where they've got a Geek Squad you can probably get them to re-install a fresh copy of Windows on there for you with enough complaint to customer service.
Made some progress Vista now loads

Hi Justin
Thanks for your reply, normally I would agree but I bought this at a liquidation auction to try and save a bit of cash (made redundant April 2008 - good old credit crunch). I have 3 kids under 15 who love using the PC and internet and was looking to upgrade a very old and flakey laptop. In other words I have no comeback with the supplier, the good news is I have made some progress. I have used a utility to remove the passwords and have used the Vista recovery disk to repair it, Vista now loads and I can log in as administrator but I would really like to reset to factory settings and start with a clean version of Vista as the machine still has lots of junk (CFR Geek Squad stuff). Alt F10 does not seem to work now
and I can't start eRecovery, I have tried the Vista recovery disk and after putting in the product key it fails as its looking for the files on the CD drive not the hard drive. I'm not sure if I can change this or if there is another way to reinstall from the hard drive. At the very least I would like it to start up automatically using a user with admin rights, it starts with a user which has very restricted access and I have to change user manually.
Would appreciate any help from experianced members like yourself.
Recovering Vista overwrote any boot time functionality that would allow you to boot into a recovery partition. You might still be able to boot from it by means of software in that install of Windows, but other than that you're stuck unless you can get a real Vista disc from a friend or purchase a new copy of Windows.
How to Recover VISTA from the factory file located in the recovery partition

Here is the way to Recover from the factory file located in the recovery partition, use that if you're not able to boot on this partition. I assume your C: drive has been gparted (delete / recreate as a empty ntfs one) :
You will need your vista dvd / CD for this. Else download one from neosmart web site – vista 32 or 64 bits.

I will be assuming that C: is your Operating system partition and D: is your recovery partition.

1. Boot the computer using your vista dvd / CD.
2. Select Repair. Then select command line.
3. Goto your recovery drive and then to the tools folder by typing following on the command prompt :

cd tools

4. Then type this on the command prompt :

imagex /apply d:\dell\image\factory.wim 1 c:\

5. This will start the recovery process which will complete itself in 10-15 minutes.
path d:\windows;d:\windows\system32

6. Type exit on the command prompt at the end.
7. Reboot your computer from your hard disk.

If still an issue to start, go back to the CD again, do a repair. The CD will detect your installation and must choose to repair the startup. Do that. And reboot. You’re good to go .

Finally, I have to say that the only important thing is to get this factory file, the rest is smoke and mirrors.

:grinning: you're welcome.
Sorted thanks

Been on hols so have not had chance to try your fix, the advice given by last two members did give me an idea. I was able to manually start the Acer eRecovery and burn factory image to DVD, then reinstall Vista from there.
Thanks to everyone for their advice.