Is Vista System repair destructive?

Posted on 2009-04-28
Last Modified: 2012-05-06
I have a HDD with Vista Home Premium on it and I placed it in new hardware. When I start it I get the "Safe mode" menu and a message saying to insert the Vista CD and run system repair. My question is this, does running the Vista Repair do anything destructive to the data, and/or application settings on the system when it runs? The HDD was working perfectly in the old hardware, but the client wanted new motherboard, RAM, etc. and does not want to go through the angst of having to reload everything.
Question by:Stephen_Hicks_JCS
    LVL 19

    Expert Comment

    The process should not be destructive - although it may replace any system files you have modified.

    Do you dual-boot the machine?  
    LVL 2

    Expert Comment

    Windows Repair is designed to replace Core Windows files.

    What you will lose is any Windows Updates you have done on the machine, including Service Packs.
    You will also lose any System Restore points (Previous Registry Changes) when doing a Repair.

    Programs should remain installed, though some may not function properl;y until relevant windows updates have been installed, or some may not function as the program itself may have replaced a common file, which would require repair/reinstall the application again.

    If you do not do a repair and instead reinstall windows, then most if not all data will be lost, depending if you format or not.
    LVL 12

    Accepted Solution

    Start-up/ Repair is kicking in due to the new hardware Vista found and can't be avoided. However, it may not work.  There may be a security problem.  If Vista is OEM version a new license may very well be required  as replacement of mobo is considered to be a new computer.  If Vista is retail version, there s/b no problems with installation itself, but re-validation would be required via Microsoft Genuine Validation site.  Clicking on link DOES NOT cause validation to start.
    Microsoft Genuine Advantage
    See this post at CNet from March 25, 2009 - it has this quote along with links -
    "...  Please note that OEM Vista is NOT transferable without permission from (and maybe a fee paid to) Microsoft. When you activate the OS with Microsoft, MS will know the hardware ID of the motherboard that will run the software, and will not allow it to be activated on another mobo - which might be an issue should your mobo die for whatever reason. ..."
    Regards. . .


    Author Comment

    I have found out that the Vista version is an upgrade applied to Windows XP by the client.
    I have tried the Repair and it said that it could not do it.

    LVL 12

    Assisted Solution

    by:John Griffith
    Hi -
    If the XP was OEM (making Vista OEM upgrade) it will be an up-hill struggle with MS as they will most likely insist that the hardware replacements constitute a new computer and your client will need to purchase full retail Vista.
    If the XP was full retail, the Vista upgrade would carry that status forward.
    I do think a re-install is inevitable because the registry would not have the current proper hardware configuration stored in it.
    If this is OEM version, you can use a full retail version Vista DVD (must be SP1 if system is SP1) and try repair again.  If you are able to boot into the system at all  - like SAFEMODE - run SFC - the System File Checker.  SFC is the same as a repair except for boot manager.

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