System recovery options

Discussion in 'General Technical' started by Ebs93, Oct 17, 2008.

  1. Ebs93

    Ebs93

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    OK this is a hard problem to understand but here goes. I was just doing some work as normal when the computer suddenly started closing all my programs and restarting. I was so confused and then it started showing something about configuring updates so i turned off the computer because i was panicking. I turned it back on and it gave me the option to start windows automatically so i did. the next thing it did was go o system recovery and told me my computer was unable to start. i tried to restore it but it still goes back to system recovery every time i restart it although it does say 'windows is unable to start' anymore. is there anyway anyone can help? I've tried PC restore (but i don't have any back up files) , memory check, command prompt and the only other option is to restore it back from when it was in the DELL factory (which i am not ready to do yet)... any answers? thanks

    N.B. whenever i tried to restore the system to a specific point it says its successful but always goes back to system recovery options.
     
    Ebs93, Oct 17, 2008
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  2. Ebs93

    WAW8

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    The first thing is what happens when the default of automatically installing updates is left set. Vista gets tired of waiting for you to do the install, so it decides to shut everything down and do the updates itself. Sounds like you shut off the machine before it finished the updates. That probably corrupted Windows Update -- which is why the machine displays the message on the screen to NOT turn the computer off!!



    By panicking, you've left the machine in an unstable state. It goes back into recovery because it's trying to repair the damage you did by turning it off.



    Given that it won't boot properly anymore, you only have a few options. First, if you have access to a Vista DVD, you can boot using that and attempt to do a System Repair. If that works and the machine can reboot, it may attempt to finish doing the updates. Let it finish this time! If it doesn't attempt to finish the updates but otherwise works OK, go into Windows Updates and turn off automatic updates. That will stop the first problem from happening again.



    System Restore (in Vista) really doesn't do what the term implies -- it does not completely restore your machine to a prior state. I know this for a fact because I have verified it through testing. When you do the restore, it really only resets some of the system files. When that finishes, it notices again that the windows update function is corrupted and tried to fix it.



    The most destructive option is the full system recovery -- the option provided by the machine vendor to restore the machine to the state is was in when you unpacked it. This is not a Vista feature, it's a feature provided by the vendor -- and it's nearly always invoked OUTSIDE of Windows, typically by pressing a function key. This ALWAYS works because it completely wipes the drive of active partitions and restores the machine to the state is was in when you unpacked it. It simply overwrite the existing partions using a compressed image file the vendor supplies. It completely ignores the files systems or any settings -- which is why it always works.



    If you've tried the full system recovery option and it doesn't work, you need to contact the vendor. In that case, they will need to restore the machine for you.
     
    WAW8, Oct 17, 2008
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  3. Ebs93

    Ebs93

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    hi thanks for replying. the thing is i have a vista dvd rom for this computer i am using right now but its home basic, the dell computer in my living room (the one with the problems) uses home premium but when i put the CD in it still works so i dunno if its gonna downgrade my product if i try and repair it. Another thing is where is the system repair button when i reboot from the disc? i only see repair my computer and then when i click on that it goes to the same options as before. i know the only other option is to wipe everything off my c: drive but i am trying to avoid this :(
     
    Ebs93, Oct 18, 2008
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  4. Ebs93

    WAW8

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    You didn't say if the Vista DVD is retail or OEM. In both cases, the DVD comes with more than one version of Vista. It also allows you to install any version you want. But in the case of the retail version, you can only activate the version you paid for because the product key is specific to a version.



    OEM is slightly different because there are two very different schemes for activating OEM versions. In the case of your Dell, they have an encrypted area in the BIOS that will activate their OEM versions. This allows you to recover their versions (essentially a factory reinstall) without having to reactivate. But the Dell OEM version also comes with drivers and software that the store-bought OEM version does not.



    So ... if you have an OEM DVD, you might be able to reinstall the Home Premium version on the Dell from the DVD and you won't have to reactivate. But then, you will lose the Dell-provided stuff (drivers and apps).



    The best best, since the machine just keeps restarting no matter what you do, would be to contact Dell and have them walk you through a recovery. Unless you reformatted the hard drive, there is a compressed Dell image hidden there that they can use to restore your machine to factory-fresh condition.
     
    WAW8, Oct 18, 2008
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  5. Ebs93

    Ebs93

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    hi thanks for your advice. i have decided to reformatt the the drive (my important information was all on my USB before this happened so its all good) its working perfectly well now and i think it was just corrupted files. thanks for everything and you can mark this post as solved.

    have a nice day
     
    Ebs93, Oct 19, 2008
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