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Windows Vista system restore without CD


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#1
CMac79

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Greetings!
I have a Dell XPS M1530 running Windows Vista. Not sure if it was viruses or spyware or a malicious program, but somehow Windows is not operating properly. Even when connected to the internet, it cannot connect to Windows update pages and in general Windows update can't function, Windows Defender can't connect, etc.
I want to do a complete wipe and reinstall of Windows, but the DVD/CD drive doesn't work anymore (hardware issue).
I am trying to even get so far as to wipe Windows from the computer, but can't even do that.
Following Dell's instructions for system restore, I press F8 when the computer is starting to get to the Advanced Boot Options, then select "Repair Your Computer."
When I try to log on as a user with admin rights, I get a screen that says "The specified domain either does not exist or could not be contacted."
Any advice on what to try next?
Thanks!
CGM
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#2
phillpower2

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Hi :unsure: CMac79 :)
This may help if you have the legitimate Vista disk that was paired with the laptop; http://www.vistax64....humb-drive.html
It is also possible that you have a failed/failing hard drive, had you installed any new software previous to this happening?
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#3
CMac79

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Thanks for the response.
I"m not sure how it got like this. It happened over 6 months ago and we are just looking at it now. The Vista that came with it was already installed, and the problem now is that we don't have a disc drive with which to load Windows on again. And, it won't connect to Windows update or Windows update web pages...
Any other thoughts on how to trouble shoot?
Thanks!
CGM
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#4
Ztruker

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Are you logging on as Administrator? If not, try that. Should be no password.
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#5
CMac79

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Yep. No matter what name I try as the username, it goes to the screen that says the domain does not exist.
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#6
Ztruker

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Try this:

1. On the Vista PC, login an account with Administrator authority.
2. Go to Computer Management, Users and Groups, Users and enable the Local Administrator account. Reset/remove the password.
3. Right Click My Computer, Properties, Computer Name and change the Domain to Workgroup.
4. Join the PC to a Workgroup, call it whatever you want.
5. Exit and Reboot.


That should get rid of the Domain problem and maybe the factory restore will now work.

ABove from post #4 here: Removing Vista client from domain
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#7
CMac79

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Yep!
Tried that last night, still with no success...
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#8
Ztruker

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Sounds like it's time to replace the CD/DVD drive so you can boot the Vista install DVD to do a Clean Install.
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#9
CMac79

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OK... so no other way to do it other than use a CD? Anyway to use another computer, jump drive, external hard drive, etc.?
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#10
phillpower2

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See post #2 I suggested the thumb drive option as it is more likely that you may have or be able to borrow one than an external HDD, you will however still need to have a legitimate Vista disk to copy/install
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#11
CMac79

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OK, thanks Phillpower2. Sorry- I misunderstood post #2 the first time around.
We have both thumb drives and external hard drive... is the process the same for the external hard drive? It's more likely my external drive is large enough.
Also, we don't have a copy of Vista. I read somewhere I think that it's hidden in your computer somewhere, you just have to access it? If so, can I access it from a working computer, copy it onto the external hard drive/thumb drive, then use that to install on the computer that's not working properly?
Thanks!
CGM
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#12
phillpower2

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The larger external HDD would be the better option although both methods work effectively.
The problem with what you are asking is twofold, the installation on the second computer is
very unlikely to be the same (even if they were identical computers) + there is also the
legal aspect which concerns software piracy, the guidance of Ztruker will be invaluable here.
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#13
CMac79

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OK, assuming I can get the computer to boot up, then is there a way to find the Windows installation info somewhere on the computer's hard drive?
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#14
Ztruker

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I would us a 4GB flash drive. I did this for Windows 7 and created a bootable flash drive I could install all versions of Windows 7 from, 32 and 64 bit. I'm not sure if the procedure for using an external hard drive as I've never done that, but the link Philpower2 gave you has very good instructions for setting up a flash drive.

I did find this: Install Vista from USB "Hard Disk". I has some explicit steps but you need to create a 10B FAT32 partition on the external hard drive to copy the Vista DVD contents to so you can install from it.
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#15
CMac79

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OK so I'm looking for a bit more detail because I'm not quite so advanced technologically... :)

Following post #2, I cannot quite follow the instructions for making the USB thumb drive to install Vista. The computer that is not working that I want to wipe Windows from and reinstall does not have a working disc drive. Can I make the USB from a working computer without a Vista disc?
Then, can I use that USB to install on the bad computer?
Please walk me through it?
Thanks!
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