Get Recovery/Installation CD's

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Thread Starter
Dec 29, 2012
New Years Resolution: Get control of my computer.

My computer is running Vista and one thing I don't have is resotration CD's. They are lost.

So, I have been told that Microsoft does not provide replacements unless you can show an origninal receipt. That is not going to happen.

So what are my options?

1. Is there anyway to use Vista to create what I need?
2. What is this back-up partition thing I am reading about? Can somebody explain it?
3. Other options?



Trusted Advisor
Spam Fighter
Jan 14, 2010
You have this topic running

in our Malware forum where kevinF80 is helping you

You cannot possibly effectively continue to reply to the somewhat complicated and involved procedures on the topic in Malware and on this one as well
Whilst I presume it is a different computer, as this you say is Vista, and the other is XP, it is nevertheless best leaving this on hold until you complete the topic in Malware


Malware Specialist Coordinator
Aug 27, 2003
I moved this to the Vista forum as it's not really a security issue.

I don't really see any reason why this can't be addressed at the same time since we're talking about a completely unrelated matter on a different computer. :)
Sep 21, 2007
If yours is a brand name machine like DELL, often they allow you to purchase a Windows DVD specific for that machine at a low price.


Mar 23, 2005
If Vista was pre-installed on the new PC do you have a Recovery partition? If so, have you created your one copy of Recovery DVDs or CDs?

Or did you buy/use a Retail Vista installation DVD?


Trusted Advisor
Spam Fighter
Jan 14, 2010

1. The main weakness of any computer is the lack of a backup - on a secure medium.
That really is an external hard drive
Backup to DVD - and the DVD can be lost, scratched, etc.
Backup to flash drive is not recommended it is not meant for long term storage

2. The second point I wish to draw to your attention is that an image is a backup, but a backup is not necessarily an image.
SHOULD your internal hard drive crash - either through a failing data disc or problems with the read-write head - any recovery partition on that drive is - in short - useless

3. If the drive itself does not fail, but the data becomes corrupted, then there are occasions where no matter what the level of expertise recovery from that data is not possible.
In those circumstances WITHOUT a full image backup on an external drive - you are looking at either
A. recovery from the partition on the hard drive if one exists - and that itself is not corrupted
B. recovery from the reinstallation disc mentioned by my colleague lunarlander

In either of these cases you are recovering to either - the condition the computer was in when it was sold - as in the case of a Dell, Toshiba etc - where the drive has the recovery partition
you are using the Dell etc reinstallation disc and the effect is the same.

4. THEREFORE you need a complete system image on an external drive.
It is of course like insurance - you may never need it - but if you do it is invaluable.
I would recommend ANYONE running a computer with any data they value to have that data backed up on an external drive.

5. Now I said before that an image is a backup, but a backup is not necessarily an image.
As an example if you were to copy your PICTURES folder to an external drive - that is a backup,as it is with any other of your personal data.

A COMPLETE SYSTEM IMAGE allows you to restore the whole drive to the condition it was when the image was created.
ALL your data, your programs, and the Windows operating system are AS THEY WERE before the crash
That is so, whether the image is restored to the present drive OR to a new drive, if the reason for the restore is the failure of the drive, as against corrupted data.

6. On Vista Business, Ultimate and Enterprise a full system image may be created using the utility provided on the Vista installation
See this

On other editions of Vista a complete image cannot be created using that system but there are many FREE programs that do the job just as well.

A. Easeus

B. Macrium


Of those I prefer Easeus, but that is my personal opinion.

7. SO to summarise that part - a system image allows you to recover the whole setup as it was when the image was created
The recovery partition on the hard drive - usually found on branded computers such as Dell, Toshiba etc OR the OEM reinstallation media DO NOT allow you to do that.

8. I mentioned earlier that you can backup your personal data and gave the example of your pictures simply by a copy and paste
So lets now consider that you have created a system image
Two weeks have passed and you have since the image, added to your computer, pictures, music, documents.
These of course are not in the image.

Therefore, after creating the image, you continue to backup, whatever you consider needs it, by copying to the external drive.

I presume, although this topic was addressed to securing Vista, that you also want to do the same on the XP computer.
When you create the image, the program will offer a name - you simply add to that XP or Vista.

In respect of your copy and paste for your personal data you do not simply paste files to the root of the external drive
YOU create folders - you name them - whatever you wish (Docs, Pictures, Music etc ) and XP or VISTA - and I add the date, changing it as I make the backups

9. I have explained that the system image provided on the Vista OS is only available on the three editions.
HOWEVER a backup (not an image) and restore is provided on all Vista editions, but is not configurable as an automatic backup on Starter and Home Basic

PERSONALLY I never set automatic backup - I like to do it manually and see it working and check it.

10. I recommend you create
1. A COMPLETE SYSTEM IMAGE using either Easeus etc or the Vista image software if you happen to have Ultimate etc.
2. A complete backup using Vistas inbuilt procedure
3. YOUR day to day or whatever copy and paste of your personal data.
If you do that, you will have secured the system AND I can assure you that there are many people who come to this site for help and regretfully rue the day when they did not bother to do this.

11. With an image, you cannot select WHAT is restored - you can only restore the whole image
That is why you must still have separate backups.

12. This will help explain the procedures I have covered up to now

13. YOU asked about ordering the Vista disc and my colleague lunarlander posted advice you re an OEM disc.
If it is not OEM but a Microsoft Vista installation, then if you really want the disc, although as you say you do not have the receipt, please see this

Other proof, besides the receipt is acceptable.
I have NO IDEA if Microsoft still provide Vista installation discs and if the installation is on a Dell etc they certainly will not as explained in the link.

14. The Vista installation CD from Microsoft is also a repair disc, that allows you to access startup repair and the other options including command prompt

On OEM computers that do not have the disc provided, or is only a reinstallation disc, these options are usally available from F8 - advanced boot options and on that screen "Repair Your Computer" provides the options shown in the link.

Finally I wish you the best of luck with my colleague in the Malware forum, on the XP computer.
I think I have provided all you need and with that information and the other help provided here, from colleagues you should have all you need to ensure that in the event of a problem, whether it is the simple deletion of a picture or document in error or a more serious problem, you can recover - as you want to - rather than simply to the condition it was in when new.

When you get chance if the computer is a named make post that, and the full model details and I will complete my advice to you

Good luck


Trusted Advisor
Spam Fighter
Jan 14, 2010

I mentioned to you my reply on this topic while you were engaged with the topic in Malware
On that topic on 3 Jan you posted
So, let's leave this at rest for a couple of days as my online backup service downloads.
Would you kindly reply to my detailed explanation I prepared for you on this topic.
Additionally at your convenience, you have not gone back to the Malware issue to finalise that matter.

A reply to both would be appreciated


Thread Starter
Dec 29, 2012


First and foremost, I greatly apoligize for not keeping up on this thread. Ihave been trying to catch up on a ton of stuff. I hope you understand.

Secondly, I greatly appreciate the detailed answer. That is exactly what Iwas trying to figure out.

For those following this thread - the story:

I just lost an old computer (running XP) to a virus and I am now up andrunning on a "new" computer. This "new" computer is a handme down from somebody who does not have restoration CDs and such. This"new" computer runs Vista. It is VistaHome Basic. So, no enterprise option.

However, this "new" computer is fine and healthy and running. AllI am trying to do is figure out how to backup the PROGRAMS.

Why back up the programs? Because Microsoft only allows three installs and Iran out of installs on most of my programs. When I was setting up this"new" computer the programs said "sorry, your have installed methree times." As it turns out, I was able to call MS's automated systemand it gave me an accommodation for another install.

So, I want to backup the PROGRAMS.

Your post perfectly describes how to do so.

To summarize:

1. I am going to image the computer. This image, as opposed to a backup,will provide a second copy of my entire computer. To the point, it providesinsurance to installed programs. If Ineed to reestablish a computer, I can reestablish from this image. I will not have to reinstall programs fromthe original CDs.

2. Vista Home does not allow you to do this, so I will use be using the freeprograms that you recommend to do so.

Thanks so much for this. I greatly appreciate this answer. It solves a lotof problems for yours truly.

So, I think this is solved?


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