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Nobody likes to be faced with computer problems, but – sadly – problems happen from time to time and it’s often up to you to resolve the problems with your machine. Windows Vista was preinstalled on the majority of computers and laptops sold for years and the computer manufacturers opted to not send along the installation disk with the computer. This means that when Vista has trouble, you’re going to have to do something besides run the program from the disk. Fortunately there’s a lot you can do for Windows Vista recovery.
When you’re locked out of your computer, your Vista operating system won’t start or you keep crashing, your first instinct may be to remove the software and start again. Normally you’d do this through a reformat, but you’re probably lacking the disk you’d need to do a standard reformat. Even if you could just throw in a disk and start fresh, you probably don’t want to jump right to this extreme step. Why? Because you’d lose everything personal on your computer if you wiped out your current operating system.
It’s better to work within the Vista system to try and recover rather than reinstalling the software.
How to Use Vista Recovery
The Windows Vista DVD or disc includes a recovery center that helps you recover your system using an automated recovery. Unfortunately you probably don’t have a copy of the disc since 99 percent of manufacturers don’t include the DVD with the computer. Fortunately, however, there is a way to access the recovery center without having to order your own copy of the Vista disc.
Use the Recovery Manager
Many computers manufactured after 2006 preinstalled the software that would normally be included with the new purchase. This means you don’t have a DVD – you just need to know a simple trick. On many computers that preinstalled the Vista software, you can access the recovery manager during the start-up process on the machine.
If your computer isn’t working correctly, restart. As the computer is starting up, press F11 repeatedly on your keyboard. If the system recovery software is installed on your computer you will see a prompt to either recover the operating system from files stored on the recovery partition or to create a set of recovery discs which means you don’t have to send off for a new one – you can burn your own.
Another option to access the recovery disks for Vista is to download the Recovery Manager software from a website hosting the software you need. If you are able to download the Vista Recovery Manager, you’ll be required to burn the files to a disk on another computer. You can then use the disks on the machine that is having trouble to preserve your data and recover your computer easily.
Finally, if you:
· Don’t have a Vista installation disc included with the purchase of your computer
· Don’t have a way to download and burn the recovery files onto a new disk
· Don’t see any solutions by hitting F11 during start-up on your machine,
You can contact Windows to arrange a new recovery disc.
Ordering a New Vista Recovery Disc
To arrange a new recovery disc, contact the Microsoft Supplemental Parts team at 800-360-7561. The team is available Monday through Friday from 5:00 a.m. to 7 p.m. Pacific Time.
Before you call, however, you’ll need to have as much information as possible. Specifically, you’ll need to have a purchase of proof showing that you purchased a machine with the Vista software installed. If you had a disc that wound up broken or scratched, you should have that on hand as well. If you can find a warranty or certificate of warranty in your paperwork for your computer, grab that as well.
Once you call Microsoft, discuss the replacement software with the support representative on the line. The support representative will ask for information about your computer and possibly ask if you’ve tried certain steps to recover your machine without the disc you’re requesting now. Listen carefully as he or she might suggest something you have not tried or be able to guide you through a process saving you time and money.
If nothing is working and you just need the disc to make your computer functional again, give the representative the information he or she needs about your purchase. Understand that the questions the representative is asking aren’t an assault – it’s a way for the company to be sure that everything is on the up and up and you’re not just trying to grab some free software.
Not that the Vista recovery disc is necessarily going to be free. When you speak with the representative, he or she will also share any replacement costs as well as the shipping and handling fees that you may need to pay in order to have the disc sent to you. There is a chance that Microsoft will have a replacement disc if your computer is no longer under warranty.
Contact the Original Manufacturer for a Recovery Disc
There is one more option to try if Microsoft is asking you to buy an expensive new operating system to replace the Vista that isn’t working correctly on your computer. You can go through the same steps with your original equipment manufacturer.
To learn your original manufacturer, locate the product ID in the paperwork that came with the computer. If the product ID (a long series of numbers and letters) contains the letters OEM, you can look up the original manufacturer on the Microsoft website. You may see the manufacturer’s name directly under the software’s name on the computer information as well.
Contact the manufacturer using phone numbers on the computer paperwork or through the website and repeat the process asking for a system recovery disc. You may have better luck having a free or inexpensive copy of the software sent to you from the manufacturer.
Using the Vista Recovery Disc
Once you have a copy of the Vista recovery software – either a new disc was sent to you, you burned your own or you’ve accessed the files on your machine during start-up – you have a few options as to how to fix the problem with your computer.
Startup Repair fixes problems like damaged system files or missing files. These can keep Windows from starting correctly, and running Startup Repair has the software scan for problems like missing files and then fixes the problem so everything will start up correctly.
System Restore backs up time so that you can restore your computer to a point earlier in time. You can undo changes to your system without affecting your personal documents, emails and photos. You may opt to use system restore to gain access to your files so that you can move them to an external hard drive or back up the information before you do a more drastic fix.
Windows Complete PC Restore uses the System Recovery disc to take your computer back to factory settings using a complete Restore.