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Beginners Guides: Windows Vista Crash Recovery and Repair Install

Beginners Guides: Windows Vista Crash Recovery and Repair Install - PCSTATS
Abstract: What you need to know to bring a crashed Vista PC system back to life. When Windows Vista fails and won't boot, separate the hardware from the software and get it fixed with the help of PCSTATS.
Filed under: Beginners Guides Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: PCSTATS Sep 29 2010   Max Page  
Home > Reviews > Beginners Guides > PCSTATS

Step 2 - Options for Recovering Windows Vista

Surprisingly, Windows Vista's repair options are actually more limited and automated than those of Windows XP. There are a number of new options though. If you were used to the recovery tools available under Windows XP, you will be annoyed to find that none of the old methods work in Vista, especially the 'repair install' that could generally be relied upon to fix most XP issues.

New tactics are required for Vista, so let's help you learn them!

Vista's busted repair install: the 'upgrade installation'

Windows Vista does have a version of the old Windows 98/XP repair installation process, but as far as the scope of this article goes, it's useless. Why? Because it requires you to be able to boot into Windows Vista first. By booting into Vista, inserting the Windows Vista CD/DVD and selecting the 'upgrade installation' option, you can reinstall your system files without wiping your personal data.

Sadly, if you can't get into Vista in the first place, this is not much use.

Booting from the Windows Vista CD

All of the crash recovery options in this guide mentioned below require booting from the Windows Vista CD/DVD to work. Generally speaking, you should be able to insert your Vista CD into the CD drive and reboot the computer, then press any key when the 'press any key to boot from CD' prompt appears. If you do not get this prompt, you may need to change the computer's BIOS settings to allow it to boot from the optical drive first.

To do that, restart the computer and press DEL or F2 at the first screen - called POST screen. Once you are in the BIOS, look for either the 'advanced BIOS options' menu or the 'boot' menu, then set the optical drive as the first boot device and press 'F10' to save and exit.

Repairing Vista without a Windows Vista disk

It has become increasingly common for big-box manufacturers like Dell, HP, Lenovo, Gatewate and Acer to package computer systems without a physical operating system CD. In this case, an 'image' of the operating system CD with software and drivers is generally loaded onto a hidden partition of the computer's hard disk. This approach has several negative effects.

First of all, it's not obvious. As a computer technician, I can't count the number of times I've had a customer return a system to me complaining that it did not come with software. Since it's not obvious, owners are more likely to do things like erase all the partitions on the hard drive, thus erasing Windows Vista and removing any method of reinstalling it to factory spec.

Secondly, it takes up a lot of space on the disk. Imaging a Vista DVD and drivers steals at least 4GB of your hard drive space. There is one major benefit though. Manufacturers that use a Vista image generally include a version of the Vista recovery environment also. This means that you can access all the tools referenced in the article above without a CD or DVD.

If you need to perform a recovery on a system that did not come with a Windows Vista disk, you can generally use the F8 key during the boot process to get to the Windows Vista advanced boot options menu. From here, choose the 'repair computer' option to get to the Vista recovery environment.

This option is not available in user-installed versions of Windows Vista, however.

Windows Vista Service Pack 1 will include a 'recovery disk' creation utility which will allow you to create a bootable CD of the Vista recovery environment. Until SP1 is released, you can (at your own risk) make use of this version which some enterprising users have put together. You will need to make a bootable CD out of the file, see PCSTATS' guide for advice on making bootable disks.

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Contents of Article: PCSTATS
 Pg 1.  Beginners Guides: Windows Vista Crash Recovery and Repair Install
 Pg 2.  Step 1 - PC Turns On, Does Not Boot Up
 Pg 3.  — Step 2 - Options for Recovering Windows Vista
 Pg 4.  Windows Vista Recovery Environment
 Pg 5.  Vista Startup Repair Con't
 Pg 6.  Vista's System Restore Utility
 Pg 7.  Windows Vista Memory Diagnostic Tool
 Pg 8.  Vista Bootrec Console Tools
 Pg 9.  Recovering Lost Partitions Con't
 Pg 10.  Preventative Maintenance: Make Vista Easy to Recover

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