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HP Notebook PCs - Recover Windows Vista Operating System Using HP Recovery

This document covers how to recover an Compaq/HP Notebook PC originally configured with Windows Vista Operating System.
For notebooks originally configured with the Windows 7 operating system, see
Recover Original Windows 7 Operating System Using HP Recovery .
For notebooks originally configured with XP or any other operating system, to verify that you are using the proper recovery procedure, see
Overview of Recovering or Reinstalling The Original Operating System .
For answers to frequently asked questions on recovering the operating system, see Recovering a Notebook To It's Original Operating Condition - FAQ

Why perform a system recovery?

Reasons for performing a system recovery to restore the computer to original operating condition include:

  • The Windows Vista operating system files were accidentally moved, deleted, or corrupted, and cannot be repaired.

  • The notebook PC is infected with a virus or other form of malicious software that cannot be removed by anti-virus software.

  • The hard disk drive is corrupted, contains no data, or is not responding.

  • Remove all the existing user files and programs before giving the PC to someone else.

Performing a recovery returns the computer to its original condition. It removes all software and files saved to the hard drive, reinstalls the original operating system, and then runs an initial setup to install the default programs. Depending on the computer model, there are four ways to perform a recovery. The complete recovery process can take 4 to 6 hours or more to complete. For best results, the computer should be connected to the internet, and it will restart several times during the process. Do not turn off the power or interrupt the recovery process until the Windows desktop appears.

WARNING: Because the recovery process deletes all the existing files and programs, HP recommends that you do the following actions before doing a system recovery:
  • Perform all of the other troubleshooting options to return the computer to the proper operating condition.

  • Perform a complete backup of all important data and files.

HP does not provide recovery discs with newer PCs, because the user can create personal recovery discs during the initial setup of the computer.

NOTE: The HP Recovery Manager restores the PC to the original licensed operating system. If the operating system was upgraded to Windows Vista from XP, use the recovery discs to restore the PC back to its original XP factory settings. After the PC is restored to its original condition, it can be upgraded to Vista once again.

When is a system recovery complete?

There are two parts to a complete system recovery process. First, the operating system is installed and the computer is returned to an operating condition. Second, the computer unbundles the software and sets up the basic operating conditions. During the set up you will be prompted to select settings such as language, date and time, and type of network to use. After you have selected the settings, the computer will restart and prompt you to login to the computer. The system recovery process is complete.

It will take several hours to perform a complete system recovery. The computer must remain connected to an AC power supply, and the recovery process must not be interrupted. The computer will restart itself during the process but must not be shutdown. and the Windows desktop may display at various times.

After completing the system recovery, it is extremely important to obtain and install updates for the PC and its software, which has been released since the manufacture date of the PC.
  • Launch the Windows Update function to install the latest Microsoft updates.

  • Launch HP Update or HP Health Check to install the latest HP BIOS and updated drivers. Or you can search for updates on the HP Drivers and Downloads support page.

Recovery discs are not shipped with computers using the Recovery Manager

HP does not include recovery discs with computers that are shipped with the HP Recovery Manager. However, the Recovery Manager can be used to create a personal set of recovery discs. In the event that the hard drive crashes or the computer system becomes corrupted, you can use the personal recovery discs to restore the system to its original condition.

CAUTION: The HP Recovery Manager allows the creation of only one (1) set of recovery discs, and the discs are unique to the individual PC. The recovery discs cannot be used to restore the operating system to another PC.

Because the personal recovery disc includes only the files needed for your specific computer, you can perform a recovery in less than an hour. See Create a set of operating system recovery discs .

If you choose not to make your personal recovery disc, and you order a replacement recovery disc from HP, it will contain information needed for multiple models, and a recovery can take up to four to six hours or more. See HP Notebook PCs - Order Recovery Discs for Windows 7, Vista, or XP

Create a set of operating system recovery discs

HP Recovery Manager allows you to create a personal set of recovery discs. When you select the Recovery disc creation process, the HP Recovery Manager examines the PC and determines how many blank DVD discs will be required. Depending on the model, you will need up to ten or more CD-R or CD+R discs, or up to three DVD-R or DVD+R discs. The creation process can take up to an hour or more. Do not interrupt the creation process.

CAUTION: The discs must be either CD-R, DVD-R, or DVD+R. Do not use CD-R/W or DVD-R/W read/write type discs because the creation process will fail.

Create a set of operating system recovery discs by following the steps below.

  1. Click Start
    and enter Recovery in the search field. Select Recovery Manager from the list to open the HP Recovery Manager window. Allow the action to continue, if prompted.
    Alternately, click Start
    , All Programs , Recovery Manager , and then Recovery Manager . Allow the action to continue, if prompted.
  2. Click Advanced options , Recovery disc creation , and then click Next .

    The program will appear to pause for about ten minutes while it examines the computer and calculates how many DVD-R or DVD+R discs are needed.

  3. When prompted, put a blank disc in the optical disc drive and follow the on-screen instructions to create the recovery discs.

    NOTE: If a disc is inserted before the Insert Disc prompt appears, and the Recovery Manager does not recognize the new disc, press OK to clear the error message, then eject and re-insert the blank disc. In the event that this happens, no data loss will occur nor will the computer be damaged. It simply "pauses" the recovery process until the Recovery Manager can identify the blank disc.

After all of the recovery discs are created, label the discs and store them in a safe place. If the recovery discs fail during the creation or become corrupted, you can order replacement recovery discs from HP.

Three ways to recover the PC to the original operating condition

You have a choice of three ways to run a recovery and return your computer to its original operating condition. The recovery process can take an hour up or more, and is not complete until the prompt to login to the computer displays. When the recovery is complete, be sure to run the Microsoft Windows Update and the HP Health Check to install all updated drivers and software.

Restore the PC to its original condition with the HP Recovery Manager from within Windows Vista

If the PC can be started and opens to the Windows desktop, you can use the HP Recovery Manager on the hard drive to restore the PC to the original factory condition by following the steps below.

  1. Click Start
    and enter Recovery in the search field. Select Recovery Manager from the list when it becomes available. Allow the action to continue, if prompted. The HP Recovery Manager opens.
    Alternately, click Start
    , All Programs , Recovery Manager , and then Recovery Manager . Allow the action to continue, if prompted. The HP Recovery Manager opens.
  2. Click Advanced options , System recovery , and then click Next . The PC will restart and reopen the recovery manager.

    Alternately, if Advanced options is disabled, click Next , and then System Recovery . The PC will restart.

  3. When the PC restarts, select the System recovery option and click Next .

  4. If prompted to use the Microsoft System Restore program, click No , and then click Next .

  5. When prompted, select the Back up your files first (recommended) option, and then click Next . Follow the on-screen instructions.

  6. When prompted to Recover without backing up your files , please STOP before clicking Next .

    WARNING: This is the final opportunity to change your mind about recovering the PC and deleting all the files and programs. Once you click Next , the restore process cannot be stopped
  7. If you are satisfied that you want to begin the recover process, click Next . The PC immediately begins formatting the hard drive and destroying all data.

The recovery process may take up to several hours and will return the PC to its original condition. Any custom settings, drivers, software programs and updates, and/or hardware updates are lost and must be reinstalled.

Restore the PC to its original condition with the HP Recovery Manager if Windows Vista is not accessible

If the PC cannot launch into Windows, it may still be possible to use the HP Recovery Manager on the hard drive to restore the computer to its original operating condition. The Recovery Manager can be launched during the start up process by following the steps below.

  1. Press the Power button to start the PC, and then press the f11 key when the standard BIOS prompts are displayed on the black screen.

    NOTE: Pressing the f11 key during the startup on a computer with an HP factory image will start the system recovery process even if the prompt is not displayed.
    • If the HP Recovery Manager can access the recovery partition on the hard drive, a prompt to backup the user files before beginning the recovery is displayed. Follow any on-screen instructions.
    • If the HP Recovery Manager cannot access the hard drive to fix any system errors, you will need to use the personalized recovery disc that you created to recover the hard drive to its original condition.
    • If you have not created the personalized recovery disc, or the discs are corrupted, you can order a replacement recovery disc from HP.

  2. When the Recovery Manager starts, follow the step-by-step recovery instructions shown above.

Resolving a common recovery issue.

If the original operating system is changed to a non-Vista OS, the Recovery Manager cannot be launched from either the desktop or by pressing the f11 key on startup. You can use the recovery disc to restore the computer to the original operating condition in Vista. If using an non-Vista OS, you can use a third-party partition manager program to reclaim the hard drive space.

Restore the PC to its original condition with the recovery discs

If the PC cannot access the Windows desktop, and the Recovery Manager cannot be started by selecting the f11 key on start-up, you can use either the personalized recovery disc that you created, or you can order a replacement recovery disc from HP, to start the PC and restore the hard drive to its original operating condition.

NOTE: Performing the recovery process using the personalized recovery disc that you created may take less than an hour, while using replacement discs ordered directly from HP may take four to six hours and includes several restarts.

If the HP Recovery Manager on the disc can access the hard drive, it will attempt to repair the recovery partition. If successful, a prompt is displayed to continue running the recovery using the Recovery Manager on the hard drive.

Use the recovery discs to restore the PC by following the steps below.

  1. Insert the recovery disc in the optical disc drive and start the computer.

    If the computer is running, insert the recovery disc and immediately click Start and select Restart to force the computer to start from the recovery disc.

  2. When prompted, Press any key to boot from CD or DVD, press any key on the keyboard.

  3. Allow the recovery disc to start and load the required files while the Microsoft loading screen is displayed. It may take several minutes to load the required files.

  4. When the HP Recovery Manager window displays, click Advanced options , System recovery , and then click Next to open the Recovery Manager.

  5. Follow the on-screen instructions and perform the required actions.
    NOTE: Do not interrupt the recovery process even though the computer may restart and the Windows desktop may display at various times.
    • When prompted, follow the on-screen instructions to Backup the user files.

    • After performing the backup, when prompted, re-insert the recovery disc, and then click Next to continue the recovery process.

      A status box is displayed to indicate the status of the recovery and the estimated time remaining.

    • If you used multiple discs when you created the personalized recovery discs, follow the prompts to remove the first disc and insert any requested discs.

  6. When prompted to Insert the Supplemental driver disc , take one of the following actions:

    • If you purchased a replacement recovery disc from HP, and it included a Supplemental driver disc, insert the disc and click OK or Next . The recovery program checks the supplemental disc and installs the specific needed files.

      After the Supplemental files are installed, a prompt is displayed to remove the Supplemental disc and insert the original recovery disc.

    • If you purchased a replacement recovery disc from HP, and it did not include a Supplemental driver disc, click Skip or Cancel . The recovery program will ignore the request and install the next file on the recovery disc.

    • If you created a personal recovery disc, press Next to continue.

  7. Continue following the on-screen instructions to complete the recovery process.

NOTE: If you have not created a personal recovery disc, or the recovery disc fails or become corrupted, see HP Notebook PCs - Order Recovery Discs for Windows 7, Vista, or XP for additional information.

Backup and restore important files

The Recovery Manager displays a prompt to make a backup copy of your files before it performs any action that may erase or delete any files. HP recommends that you make backup copies of your files on a regular basis, and that you store the backed-up files on a CD/DVD or other external media in a separate physical location, away from the computer.

Doing scheduled backups will help you to recover some, if not all, of your information in the event that something happens to the original files on your PC. It is important to decide which files you want to save. Make a list of important information that you cannot easily replace. This list will help you to determine which files to back up, and also give you a reference list in the event that you need to retrieve the files.

To use the HP Recovery Manager to back up your files, see HP Notebook PCs - How to Back Up User Files .

Reinstall specific drivers or applications

The HP Recovery Manager can install, or reinstall, individual hardware drivers and software that shipped with the specific PC model. There may be other unsupported third-party applications that are factory-installed on the PC. Consult the manufacturer's installation instructions for any third-party programs that were purchased separately.

Use the Recovery Manager to install individual drivers or applications, or reinstall corrupted applications, by following the steps below.

  1. Click Start
    and enter Recovery in the search field. Select Recovery Manager from the list when it becomes available. Allow the action to continue, if prompted. The HP Recovery Manager opens.
    Alternately, click Start
    , All Programs , Recovery Manager , and then Recovery Manager . Allow the action to continue, if prompted. The HP Recovery Manager opens.
  2. Click Advanced options , Software program re-installation or Hardware driver re-installation , Next , and then follow the on-screen instructions to reinstall the desired software programs and hardware drivers.

After installing the driver or application, restart the computer.

Restore computer settings to an earlier point in time using the Microsoft System Restore utility

The HP Recovery Manager prompts you to use the Microsoft System Restore utility to restore settings and applications to an earlier point in time when the computer was operating properly. In some cases, setting up a new program can cause problems by installing drivers that conflict with existing drivers. The Microsoft System Restore utility makes it possible to restore program settings to an earlier time when the computer was operating properly.

The HP Recovery Manager and the Microsoft System Restore are different utilities and they produce very different results.

WARNING: The Microsoft System Restore utility uses restore points to return system files and settings to an earlier point in time. If any updates or programs were installed after that restore point, the updates and programs must be reinstalled.

Use the HP Recovery Manager to access the Restore utility by following the steps below.

  1. Click Start
    and enter Recovery in the search field. Select Recovery Manager from the list when it becomes available. Allow the action to continue, if prompted. The HP Recovery Manager opens.
    Alternately, click Start
    , All Programs , Recovery Manager , and then Recovery Manager . Allow the action to continue, if prompted. The HP Recovery Manager opens.
  2. Click Advanced options , Microsoft System Restore , Next , and then follow the on-screen instructions.

  3. If the Microsoft System Restore utility is not turned on, or if there are no specified restore points, System Restore prompts for the creation of a first system restore point. To create a restore point, click open System Protection , Create , and then follow the on-screen instructions.

  4. When prompted to choose a location to store the Microsoft Windows Recovery restore points, select either the C: drive or an external storage device.

    NOTE: Do not select the HP_Recovery drive partition as a storage location! HP_Recovery is small partition on the hard drive. Attempting to store files on this partition may cause an error.
  5. If there are one or more Restore recovery points available, click Choose a different restore point , Next , and then select a Date and Time when the PC was operating correctly. Follow the on-screen instructions.

  6. Allow the PC to restart to complete the Microsoft System Restore.

If you do not wish to use the HP Recovery Manger, you can access the Microsoft System Restore function by following the steps below.

  1. Click Start
    , All Programs , Accessories , System Tools , and then System Restore . Allow the action to continue, if prompted. The Microsoft System Restore utility opens.
  2. Follow the on-screen instructions to restore the PC to a previous restore point.

Check the condition of the PC and installed files

The HP Recovery Manager can access Microsoft utilities to check the condition of the memory and files on the hard drive. The utilities can correct errors before they cause serious problems.

You can perform a Computer Checkup by following the steps below.

  1. Click Start
    and enter Recovery in the search field. Select Recovery Manager from the list when it becomes available. Allow the action to continue, if prompted. The HP Recovery Manager opens.
    Alternately, click Start
    , All Programs , Recovery Manager , and then Recovery Manager . Allow the action to continue, if prompted. The HP Recovery Manager opens.
  2. Click Advanced options , Computer Checkup , Next , select the desired type of checkup from the list, and then click Next . Follow the on-screen instructions.

    • Microsoft Memory Test - the PC restarts to perform the test.

    • Check Disk for the Windows Partition - runs the check disk (CHKDSK) utility on the primary partition.

    • Check Disk for the WinRE Partition - runs the check disk (CHKDSK) utility on the partition reserved for the Recovery Manager partition.

    • Open a Command Prompt - opens a Command Prompt window for the purpose of running additional Windows utilities. Log on as the administrator to run the utilities.

Do not remove the HP Recovery Partition

In an attempt to reclaim additional space on the hard drive, some users want to remove the HP Recovery Manager and the recovery partition. HP does not recommend the removal of the recovery partition from the hard disk drive.

If it is critical to reclaim some of the storage space on the hard disk drive, HP recommends that you create the set of operating system recovery discs before making any changes. In the event of a hard drive failure, use the recovery discs to recovery the PC to the original operating condition.

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