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Installing Windows, when you have no CDs, or recovery partition.

Posted on 2013-10-29
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Last Modified: 2013-11-04
I have an old Sony Vaio, model # VGN-FZ348E
Windows Vista Home Premium

The hard drive crapped out and I plan to install a new one. Problem is, I don't have the recovery CDs or partition (since the HD is dead) if there even was one.

How can I install Windows without having to go out and get a retail version? And without having to buy the CDs from Sony.

Normally I would look for a torrent of the OEM Windows CD for the manufacture of the computer, but have not had any luck in this case.

Thanks
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Question by:Jonathong
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Lee W, MVP earned 500 total points
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Sony should have included a tool to allow you to make backup copies of the system.  If you didn't use that tool, then you need to contact Sony and request media.  If they have any.  And they'll likely charge you a fee.  Hopefully a reasonable one, but a fee nonetheless.

Otherwise, you need to buy a new copy of Windows.
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by:John Hurst
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I am doing something similar with my Lenovo X230 and Lenovo shipped me recovery DVD's - no issue.

Also, you have mentioned obtaining an OS from a torrent and we cannot support such a venture in Experts Exchange. You need legally licensed operating system (and the key on the computer is for Sony's OEM license).

.... Thinkpads_User
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by:Jonathong
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Thinkpads:
I understand, however downloading a copy of a CD that I otherwise own a product key for should be ok right?
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by:John Hurst
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The license on the computer is Sony's OEM license and so far as I know the key won't normally work on retail downloads. You can try it to see, but it won't always work.

... Thinkpads_User
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by:Nick Rhode
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What will most likely occur for using a retail copy vs the Company OEM license is microsoft key will not activate automatically until you call them and do the 7 minute automation of saying and typing sets of numbers in order to re-validate that copy of windows.  The only thing your not getting basically is all the garbage software that normally comes with it and drivers.
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by:marsilies
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Vista installation DVDs have every edition of Vista on them, they're just labeled differently. For example, a retail DVD of Vista Home Basic 32-bit also has the 32-bit editions of Home Premium, Business, Ultimate on it. It's the key you enter during install that determines which edition is installed.

OEMs can make OEM-specific installation discs that don't follow this rule, but more often nowadays the only discs they offer are recovery discs. Sony may never had made OEM-specific Vista install discs.

You just need to find/borrow a copy of almost any edition/type of Vista (Home, Home Premium, Business, Ultimate, Generic OEM, Retail, Upgrade, etc.) and use it to install. As NRhode pointed out, the product key on the OEMAct COA on your laptop will let you install Vista, but it won't activate online; you'll have to activate over the phone.
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by:McKnife
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+1 for NRhode
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by:McKnife
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Just for the record: you would not need sony's help. Take any vista dvd, make it install the right edition, and activate it via phone using the key that came with your laptop.
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