Not even sure what to call this question???

Discussion in 'Recovery & Backup' started by longcruise, May 9, 2017.

  1. longcruise

    longcruise

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    I have a Dell 3400 that I got from a university that was upgrading their networks. It runs Vista business.

    It won't boot up and can't find the hard drive at boot up so I think I need to replace the hard drive. Once I do that, will need to re install Vista but I don't have any kind of disc. It is licensed and the license is attached to the computer.

    Any suggestions on how I go about doing this?

    Right now I'm working off a linux Ubuntu system booting from a DVD but that is limiting and I need to get back to the old vista system. Data is not a problem. I have all my important files on an external drive.
     
    longcruise, May 9, 2017
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  2. longcruise

    mike shupp

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    mWell ,,, if you're going to install a new hard drive, it isn't as if you HAVE to install Vista. However, assuming that's your preference ... you can google "Vista installation iso" or just head over to the Internet Archive (https://archive.org/) and search for Windows ISOs. This will give you several downloadable iso images, which have multiple versions of Vista (Hope, Home Premium, Business, Enterprise, Ultimate). Install one of them using a valid 25-character authorization code, and see if works.

    One caveate: To you and I the various authorization codes look equally random. but in fact they are not. Try to install Vista Ultimate with a code for Vista Home Premium, for instance, and after a couple of weeks, your system will reduce its capabilities to those of Home Premium (it doesn't work the other way, sorry). So if you've got an authorization code for Vista business, stick to installing Vista business.

    A second caveate: you've probably only got a couple of days -- if that much -- to do this. Microsoft seems to have kept the authorization system going for a while, so valid copies of Vista can be installed, but I dunno how long that will last. (There is an automated authorization procedure, so people don't have to hit sit around waiting for would-be Vista users to call them, but ...). Once that goes down, trying to get your operating system authenticated won't work, and Vista will downgrade to very limited capabilities. There are ways to stretch out this "trial" period, but basically you're not going to get beyond 2 or 3 months. SO DON'T WASTE TIME!
     
    mike shupp, May 11, 2017
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  3. longcruise

    longcruise

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    Thank you so much for your help.

    Another source has suggested to me that the problem could also be the motherboard so it may be time to simply upgrade the desktop.

    Thanks again for your willingness to help.
     
    longcruise, May 12, 2017
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  4. longcruise

    mike shupp

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    Well yeah, it's not like I'm out of pocket for responding to your post, so there's that. Secondly ... some MS operating systems have impressed me over the last 30 years or so, and some haven't. The world isn't going to weep over the demise of Windows 95, Windows ME, Windows NT 4.0, Windows 8.0 and so on. Other hand, DOS 6.22 and Windows 98 SE and Windows 2K and Vista and maybe Windows 7 ought to be respected, remembered, and kept in use (I'm still mumbling to myself about how Windows 10 ought to be categorized),

    So I sort of like Vista, you understand. It isn't perfect by a long shot, but it merits admiration as an operating system which attempted to be artistic rather than utilitarian or ... I dunno, the best term I can come up with is gemutlich, which is German rather than English, but which seems to describe Win 98 better than anything else I can point to in the Oxford English Dictionary. (Not to snarl, by the way, I actually really like Windows 98. and have a bunch of games and applications which won't run in other operating systems.)
     
    mike shupp, May 13, 2017
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  5. longcruise

    AVS Richard

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    I have a HP laptop, an "Entertainment" model, given to me by a friend that did boot after I replaced the CMOS battery, even into Windows Vista (once I reset the Windows password). But diagnostics showed the hard-drive was corrupted and failing. I removed the drive and put it in a docking station attached to my Vista desktop. There I made a full-disk image copy of it, then I tried to repair and recover it, making more image-copies along the way. The drive had corrupted data, even the partition table had to be reconstructed as best as I could. The recovery partition was a goner. But the drive failed completely before I could finish so who knows. I was just going to make a bit-by-bit image when it died. She never made recovery discs, HP even put a big start menu item on it saying "Make Recovery Discs!" (which didn't work for me because: no recovery partition). She couldn't remember her password? I was able to recover all my friends' personal files -- which some "geek squad" types would've charged her hundreds of dollars to do -- So I restored the last image-copy to a new hard drive and worked on that. I had to repair the registry to get Vista to work. I compared the files to the registries from the various copies I'd made (and even my Vista desktop) using ZtreeWin and managed to piece together the hives using what looked like uncorrupted files. (sometimes easier to extract some files from a backup image to a neutral location than it is taking ownership and all that). It actually worked ok (some things wouldn't work, like the event viewer) but I found the computer useful for playing CD's and many things like ripping my CD collection. (the only PC I ever had with a remote control for "entertainment" functions) It could play even copyrighted DVD's using its HP software. And it has two drive bays for two hard drives. How many laptops have that anymore?

    Finally, like a year ago or more, I installed Windows updates, as I had been able to many times, but then it wouldn't boot far beyond POST anymore. By booting into safe-mode, I was able to get it to say something like, "There was a problem updating Windows" then it locks up.

    If I live long enough, I'm going to remove the hard drive to the docking station again and restore it using the most recent Disk-wizard image-copy backup, and never try to do any more Windows updates! Or if I finally give up on the laptop, at least to recover my user data, like my CD-collection.

    BTW, none of all that ISO downloading etc was of use, the OEM activation code on the sticker would not be valid, unless HP would provide a factory ISO or recovery discs, which they do not.

    I approached all this as a challenge, not a waste of time and money, and I did many things I had never done before, and learned many things in the process. But the aggravating thing that gnaws at you nonetheless is it was all so easily preventable! Like the first time the thing is started it prompts you to make recovery discs. When you set the Windows password it tells you to remember it. And subsequently, how many times are everyone urged to make a full-disc image BACK-UP! -- A backup that includes the operating system and hidden partitions -- At least even just once! They even give free the software to do it and make it easy to use. I wonder how many of the perfectly good computers thrown away are just because the hard drive has failed?
     
    AVS Richard, May 22, 2017 at 8:22 PM
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  6. longcruise

    mike shupp

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    AVS Richard I wish you were here so you could watch while I tipped my hat to you, several times. I might even go out and buy a hat to perform the ritual properly!

    I don't know though about bum hard drives as an excuse for throwing out computers. I use desk PCs, and have lots of experience at adding and replacing disks. The killing thing for me is a failed power supply -- once it's clear starting or running the system is going to be a pain, it's time to inventory what components I can hang onto, such as disks and monitors and sound cards, and which I might as well upgrade. And usually I throw out the case and motherboard and CPU and at least one hard drive which still works but is just too damned small to bother with any more. (My first Win 98 machine had a 6 GB disk, which seemed preposterously large at the time.)

    Well, "usual" means half a dozen times or so. I've had ten OCs over the years, starting with a Kaypro II in 1982, so I guess I'm not that profligate a computer consumer. And I think of myself as resourceful but I'm clearly not in your category. Again, my respects.
     
    mike shupp, May 24, 2017 at 8:46 AM
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  7. longcruise

    AVS Richard

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    Interesting history, but 1982 Kaypro... I think your age is showing :) Well, my first computer was an IBM 360 model 20 with 8K of memory, no disk or tape drive, no console screen or keyboard. Turning it on was called a "Power on restart." Booting it up is called an IPL (Initial Program Load, which does initiate a "bootstrap" program). To start an application program (they're called "jobs") I had to dial in the load address, using knobs, then push the load button to feed in punched cards containing the program. It could run just one job at-a-time. I/O was all punched cards, and a line printer. Actually, before that, in school I programmed on a Univac 9200, an IBM clone. I had a job for a while programming "Unit Record Equipment" e.g. IBM 407 etc. by wiring control panels, which I learned when with the Army Security Agency. As the obsolete equipment broke down and our drug addicted repairman left with no replacement, we rented time on the 360 from the Ethiopian Navy and converted all the jobs for the ASA Field Station to Assembler and RPG (Report Program Generator, not Rocket Propelled Grenades).
    But my first PC was an Atari 65XE, which I still have. I attached a 30Mb HD to it and even ran a BBS on it in the 80's. I wanted an Apple II, but the Atari was a similar/better 6502 8bit computer at a fraction of the cost. I loved it.
    Anyway, At least you have the sense to get rid of them. I still have every PC I owned: AMD 386-DX25 Windows 3.1, 486-DX4/100 dual-boot Windows 95/NT4.0, AMD K6 Windows 98. All retired but they all still work, I think. My Pentium4 running XP still works, except its only working function is to beep an error when powered on. Fixing it is on a 10 year old To-Do list. When it went down I hurriedly just went to Office Despot and grabbed an on sale Acer AMD Athlon running Vista. A couple years later its WD Caviar drive failed. Hurriedly again, I went to Worst Buy and got an on sale ASUS AMD Athlon Windows 7. I just needed a running computer to put a new replacement hard drive into and put my Vista image-copy on to restore my Vista. It may cost as much to buy a new computer to use to fix-it-yourself than just pay to have it done, but then you have a new computer! These low-priced, off-the-shelf brand name computers are a quick solution, but the cases tend to be very small and they run too hot. I've put fans every place a fan can be put -- including above and below each hard drive -- to keep the drive temperatures in the 30-35 Celsius range. Heat is the death of them, I believe. But with two computers you need a LAN, with more than that you need a NAS. More complexity = more problems. Maintenance becomes a job. Going to and from different computers and operating systems can be confusing for some people. For anyone really. On a whim, I got this black-friday sale ASUS AMD laptop just to see what Windows 8 was all about, (to 8.1, now Win10). Disappointed with Windows 8, It all made me want to build my own dream computer from the ground up. Fearing Windows 7 might disappear, I bought the Windows 7 Pro version for it. But the time it goes by, and we have to work by priorities. Truth-be-told, I also get lazy sometimes. Black-friday again, so for a toy I got an $89 Nextbook Windows 10 tablet. But connect one via HDMI to a real monitor or even a TV, and a powered USB hub for a USB ethernet dongle (I don't care for wireless much, so I wired my whole house with CAT-6) and for a USB mouse, keyboard, portable HD and external CD/DVD drive, a tablet can be much more than a toy. You might forget it's just a tablet sometimes. I've not noticed any way to backup the "C: drive" in the tablet. If it's not actually a "disk drive" in any real sense, maybe it can't be restored either. I think maybe can be "reset" to factory condition from its ROM, then run Windows update and reinstall your applications and drivers. Tedious, but if it gets a ransom-ware virus or something... watcha gonna do. Gotta go, TTYL.
     
    AVS Richard, May 25, 2017 at 8:54 PM
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