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Windows Vista fails to start after system restore on HP Pavilion

Posted on 2012-03-14
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Last Modified: 2012-08-13
My hard drive crashed this morning and I have replaced it with a new one.

I've used the system restore DVD's I burned after purchasing my computer.  The restore DVD's went through the entire process with no errors.

After completing, the software states that the computer will restart and windows will begin the configuration process.  This is where I run into trouble.

I'm receiving the following error
"windows could not complete the installation.  To install Windows on this computer, restart the installation"

I'm not sure if this is relevant to the problem or not:  the computer's original operating system was VISTA, but I was entitled to a free windows 7 upgrade because it was released a month after purchasing the computer.  This came on a separate DVD which I have not yet tried to reinstall.

The system is an HP Pavilion.

HP wants $50 to tell me how to fix - figured I'd try this first!
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Question by:BLCSwimmer
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 37723128
What is somewhat common (at least on Lenovo boxes with the same process) is that the creation of the System Restore DVD's goes bad. Unfortunately, without testing, you do not know this until it is too late. I cannot say for sure, but that is likely what happened here. Try the restore one more time just to see. If you can boot with another DVD, try deleting all partitions on the new hard drive before the second restore.

Since you have a valid Windows 7 DVD, and since Vista has been orphaned by Microsoft, you might try installing Windows 7 instead. It does work better.

... Thinkpads_User
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Author Comment

by:BLCSwimmer
ID: 37723180
This is actually my second time through the process.

The first time I tried installing windows 7 and got the same message - though I didn't try it without partitions.  How do I remove the partition?
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John Hurst earned 1500 total points
ID: 37723194
You need a bootable DVD of some sort. The beginning of a retail Windows 7 DVD has the capability to remove partitions. FDISK (pretty old by now) will remove partitions as well.

See if the Windows 7 DVD boots, and then see if you can stop it or if it stops to ask questions. You may be able to delete partitions there.

Ultimately, if you have no support, it may be worth the $50 to HP to get you going. I used them once and they said no fix = no billing. In my case, they got me going.

... Thinkpads_User
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Author Closing Comment

by:BLCSwimmer
ID: 37728890
Well I did end up calling HP - that was a complete waste of time and money.  It took two calls. The first call they insisted on having me replace the keyboard and mouse with the factory installed one and disconnect the second monitor i was using.  Next I had to repeat the restore process again (for a third time!) and wait 24 hours for them to call back.  I understand the need to isolate components, but really!  When they called back the next day and I told them them I had purchased a drive from Stables,  they told me my only option was to return the hard drive and purchase an HP branded one before they would go any further with diagnosing the problem.    I gave up with them at that point - flushing my 60 bucks down the drain!


Fortunately I discovered that the new hard drive was the culprit.  It's apparently a newer format.  I found something on line suggesting to change the bios configuration from Raid to AHCI.  Once I did that the restore worked fine.  I'm just hoping this won't cause other issues down the road - though so far so good.

Not to rant on HP's service but it seems to me that when you're paying a non-refundable fee, they should be willing to do more than flat out refuse to assist with anything if you don't have factory installed or hp branded components.  

anyway thanks for the help.  While I can't say you solved my problem you did start me on the right track and I'm up and running  again.
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 37728899
Thank you. I was pleased to assist, and thanks for the followup. It is hard to condemn a new hard drive from this distance, but I am really pleased you got going. ... Thinkpads_User
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