Solved Vista dwngrded to XP -what happens restored to factory?

January 25, 2014 at 13:10:22
Specs: Windows XP
I have a laptop from a person who is friends with a person who bought it from another person... see where this is going? LOL. The sticker on the laptop says Vista, but it's running XP SP3. The guy wants the computer wiped so I was going to restore to factory settings, but I'm wondering if the HP_Restore partition is going to be Vista or XP? I found the XP key using a magical jellybean app and it's an OEM key, which I thought was kind of strange, or is it? Is there any way to tell what version of Windows is on a restore partition? I don't have an XP install/recovery disk. I got to the second screen of the restore process and then chickened out and it never told the version of Windows it was going to restore to. TIA!

See More: Vista dwngrded to XP -what happens restored to factory?

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✔ Best Answer
January 25, 2014 at 17:55:51
OK, didn't realize you were doing this for an oldtimer. Here's the QuickSpecs for the Compaq 6910p: http://h18000.www1.hp.com/products/...

If you don't have an XP disk, you can download the ISO to create one from here: http://www.gegeek.com/documents/3DC...

You'll then have to convert/burn the ISO to a CD. Use the XP Product Key that you retrieved for the installation. I recommend wiping out ALL the partitions, then creating 2 new ones - one for Windows, the other for data storage.

Drivers can be found HERE.



#1
January 25, 2014 at 13:56:48
Boot off a Linux disc then explore the recovery partition. You should be able to figure out which OS it is. Which would you prefer it to be? Since XP is in it's waning days, I would suggest wiping the entire HDD, recovery partition & all, then installing Win7 or one of the Linux distros based on Ubuntu (Mint or Zorin). Vista is OK provided you tweak the hell out of it.

http://techreloaded404.blogspot.com...

http://deny120025.wordpress.com/201...

http://distrowatch.com/table.php?di...

http://distrowatch.com/table.php?di...


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#2
January 25, 2014 at 14:12:29
Oooh, I have a Linus boot disk around here somewhere. That's a great idea. The guy is in his 70s and his wife is going to use it for web surfing and saving photos. I don't think they want to put any money into it, they just want all the junk off of it. Honestly, he probably wouldn't know the difference in Vista and XP, but it's an older computer and I just figure it will run better on XP. I guess I could just clean it up by hand, but I just thought restoring to factory settings would be easier. :-)

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#3
January 25, 2014 at 15:06:45
I don't think there's an easy way to determine what the Recovery Partition OS is… Having an OEM key for the XP installation isn't unusual… Many people go for that version as a way of saving money. OEM can only be used with the computer onto which it was installed… It can't be transferred to another computer… Apart from that it's more or less the same as a retail copy.

A Vista key won't work with an XP installation, and visa-versa.

You could simply try the default routine to restore Vista? - via the recovery partition - if it's still there? But you need to know the key combination which depends on the make/model laptop involved.

I think if you look at the drive as is - via XP Admin tools - you may be able to see the Recovery Partition (but not what's in it)? If it is still there it will be labelled (very likely) PQ something or other…; and indicated to be a "hidden" partition? The Linux disk may show similar - and allow the inspection of bits 'n pieces in there to determine which OS it is (but I wouldn't count on it…). Depending on how XP was installed depends on what happened to that Recovery Partition (if it's still there).

If you post the model details here, it may be possible to find (and point you to) a source for the recovery disk set. Often it can be downloaded as an ISO and burned to a DVD; then boot with /use that DVD to rebuild Vista OS again… Similarly to advise the correct key combination to activate/use the recovery partition - if it's still there (and ideally Vista)?

I'm not sure I would drop Linux (in any variant) on an elderly couple; as it's rather different in many ways (even with a GUI) to windows OS… But who knows - they might get across it well enough to use emails, save photos etc.?


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#4
January 25, 2014 at 15:35:48
So I put in an old Knoppix boot disk that I had and the recovery partition shows, but no files are showing up. :-( To maybe clear things up a bit, I was able to pull an XP key out of the registry using that piece of freeware I mentioned. I could restore to Vista, but I'm pretty sure the old guy is expecting it back with the same OS it had when he gave it to me (XP). And the Vista key is on sticker on the bottom of the laptop. I wouldn't dream of installing Linux on it for these people. :-) If I enter the boot menu at startup I get an option to run recovery and it starts the recovery wizard, but I'm afraid to go any farther because it never says what version of Windows it will restore to and, like you said, if the downgrade to XP corrupted the recovery partition, then it may not even work, I'm not sure. I'm far from a computer guru, just know enough to get me in trouble most of the time. What would y'all do? Thanks!

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#5
January 25, 2014 at 15:48:04
Go to the HP support page for that model. It will tell you what OS it originally came with. That will be what's on the restore partition. It's not likely that was changed.

Or if he wants it wiped, maybe you can instead just clean out whatever the previous owners installed.


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#6
January 25, 2014 at 16:06:59
Post model number etc. here and folks can assist more easily.

I seem to recall that because of the way the hidden partition (and its files) is "created" etc… it will show as empty when viewed by most (all) systems…


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#7
January 25, 2014 at 16:47:37
It's an HP Compaq 6910p. The partition is not really hidden. It shows up as D: HP_RECOVERY but the files and folders seem to be locked somehow so you can't view them. You just get an HP branded warning message not to do anything to the files.There's also a hidden folder on C: called System Recovery, but I can't access it either even with permissions set to allow all. Maybe it's from the XP install? Anyway, it's really not that big of a deal, I was just curious as to the best method for future reference. I can always just uninstall and delete file/folders by hand I guess. I've just never had this type of situation before. Normally I just have people wanting me to upgrade to a new OS or restore to the same one that came on the computer. I've never had one who wanted an older version restored than what came on the computer. Thanks!

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#8
January 25, 2014 at 17:55:51
✔ Best Answer
OK, didn't realize you were doing this for an oldtimer. Here's the QuickSpecs for the Compaq 6910p: http://h18000.www1.hp.com/products/...

If you don't have an XP disk, you can download the ISO to create one from here: http://www.gegeek.com/documents/3DC...

You'll then have to convert/burn the ISO to a CD. Use the XP Product Key that you retrieved for the installation. I recommend wiping out ALL the partitions, then creating 2 new ones - one for Windows, the other for data storage.

Drivers can be found HERE.


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#9
January 25, 2014 at 18:23:05
As i said earlier - in the typical recovery partition the files are sldom viewable... That partition is created by the manufacturer and is meant to be reasonably secure - against poking around and even messing up the whole collection.

I would restore it to Vista if possible. And then tweak Vista to approximate (resemble almost completely) XP. I seem to recall there were a few very simple things to do and then it looked like XP and worked as such.

From hp manual...

Initiating a recovery from the hard drive recovery partition
To initiate a recovery from the hard drive recovery partition, follow these steps:
1. Back up all personal files.
2. Restart the computer, and then press f8 before the Windows operating system loads.
3. Click a recovery option, and then click Next.
4. Follow the on-screen instructions.

See if it work; as you have nothing to lose?

If there are files, photos etc. on the drive that might be saved... Copy them to dvd first. And check the copies on at least one other working system.

Bearing in mind support for XP stops in April but for Vista continues (at least for now...), installing XP might not be the best choice. If (when...) you get Vista back in OK... Be sure to install MS security essentials package too. It's a reasonable package, and will be easier for the intended user(s) to manage - in terms of updates?

message edited by trvlr


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#10
January 26, 2014 at 05:38:39
As trvlr suggests; you've nothing to lose; install Vista.
At least it's supported until 2017.
No telling how things will go with XP after April this year. Could be a lot of hype, but it's probably not worth the risk, especially for the average, 'click-click' web surfer.

I'm surprised the Restore partition - or at least, the route to it - wan't blitzed when XP was installed. If it is still working as it should, then you'll get Vista back.

One way or another you'll wind up with either XP or Vista - whether from the Restore part' or from a disc.

A pity you didn't have a licence key from a scrap Win7 PC.
For certain, Win7 would run better than Vista.
Microsoft have all versions of Win7 for download, On their Digital River site:
http://www.w7forums.com/threads/off...

Vista is a bit more complex. If it wont restore and you can't get hold of a disc, have a peek here for set up files and procedures::
http://dellwindowsreinstallationgui...


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#11
January 26, 2014 at 06:55:09
If the recovery partition is in a separate drive/partition (indicated earlier as D: ?) then there is a good chance it is intact. The default location for XP etc is C: and unless that was changed (and it appears not from the information provided thus far) then again - D: may well be intact...

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#12
January 26, 2014 at 09:18:57
Thank you all so much for your help. I ran the factory restore feature and it ended up at xp sp2. Go figure. I guess I should just leave the D: RECOVERY partition alone since it may have xp on it in case they need it again. So I just installed the sp3 patch from one of the links that riider had posted. Now Windows Update won't run from the Microsoft website, but that seems to be a common issue according to Google search results. Maybe the auto updates will work. Until April anyway. :-) I don't know how I'll pick just one of you for the answer. Thanks again.

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#13
January 26, 2014 at 09:46:39
hmmm… Quite how the D: recovery partition became XP is a mystery; especially if the original OS was Vista - and that D: recovery partition was almost certainly for Vista?

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#14
January 26, 2014 at 10:58:40
Yup! A Mystery. But never mind. It's solved for now.

Did it register with the key?
Has it restored to XP SP3?

Had an acquaintance on another forum restore their XP laptop. It took about 3 hours before the updates decided to show their presence, then virtually cooked the CPU in the process.

Set updates to auto/download install. It takes aeons for them to register before they even display as available. Must be at least a couple of GBs-worth of updates to deal with.
(How those still on dial up cope, I'll never know!!)

It's likely there'll be several 'Updates failed to install' messages but eventually, after a day or three, they'll settle in.

(installing XP is one of my pet hates. Give me Vista or Win7 anyday)


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#15
January 26, 2014 at 12:49:36
These might be of interest if you are sticking with XP:

http://www.computing.net/howtos/sho...

http://www.computing.net/howtos/sho...

Always pop back and let us know the outcome - thanks


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#16
January 26, 2014 at 17:42:11
Thanks again you guys. Windows did register fine and about halfway through today it prompted me to install Windows updates. I went through that iteration twice and now it seems to be happy. My experience with older folks ( no disrespect intended) is that they'll figure out some way to mysteriously toast the OS or something in a few months and then I'll be doing these same steps over again. Lol. Then I'll talk them into an upgrade our something. I'm wondering if the XP recovery was on c: and the Vista recovery on the D: partition and it just defaulted to the most recently installed version. No clue. I have a CS degree but it was all programming. :-)

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#17
January 27, 2014 at 02:19:50
At least it is again a working system. So well gold stars and done there for you.

A recovery partition is designed to reset the system to whatever OS details, files etc. It contains... Logically an XP one will give XP, and. Vista one Vista - at least?

To make any future fixes (rebuilds to XP) easier...i would recommend either create bootable disc image, or some other form of backup. Then if need arises, simply "restore" the image/backup you make from the current freshly rebuilt installation. I have used Acronis with success in the past; and there is a similar utility from Easus. Older versions of Acronis which are compatible upto and including XP may still be about fot very few pennies; and might worth consideration - rather going for the latest which will cover upto Win-8 as well? Possibly other regulars here will proffer other similar utils and maybe even a "freebie" too?


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