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Windows Error Recovery reboot loop


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#1
DonnaB

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Hi,

I'm trying to help a friend out with her laptop. I brought it home over a month ago to Activate Windows for her after an out of state Tech Shop reinstalled the wrong OS due to an infection. I started a topic in the Vista forum that explains what happened along with a more detailed issue of the problem and why she can't return the laptop for it to be corrected by the Tech Shop.

When I brought the laptop home the only issue was that Windows was not activated. After a few boots, installing Belarc to get the Product key for the OS software that was installed (and found to be a default product key) I decided to just reinstall and use the key on the bottom of the case with the disc the Tech Shop left in the drive by mistake. But now I can't get past the Windows Error Recovery screen.

Is this a possible malware issue? Hardware maybe?

On a fluke I was able to finally access the Windows Memory Diagnostic Tool which found no issues as noted in link to Vista thread above. Haven't tested the HD, though she said a new one was installed last Spring early Summer which doesn't mean anything to me because hardware can fail at any given moment for no reason.

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,

Donna
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#2
JSntgRvr

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Possibly a driver issue. Is the OS installed the one on the sticker? Lets take a look.

You will need a USB (Flash) pendrive.

For x32 (x86) bit systems download Farbar Recovery Scan Tool and save it to a flash drive.
For x64 bit systems download Farbar Recovery Scan Tool x64 and save it to a flash drive.

Plug the flashdrive into the infected PC.

Enter System Recovery Options.

To enter System Recovery Options from the Advanced Boot Options:
  • Restart the computer.
  • As soon as the BIOS is loaded begin tapping the F8 key until Advanced Boot Options appears.
  • Click on Repair your computer menu item.
  • Select US as the keyboard language settings, and then click Next.
  • Select the operating system you want to repair, and then click Next.
  • Select your user account and click Next.
On the System Recovery Options menu you will get the following options:

Startup Repair
System Restore
Windows Complete PC Restore
Windows Memory Diagnostic Tool
Command Prompt

  • Select Command Prompt
  • In the command window type in notepad and press Enter.
  • The notepad opens. Under File menu select Open.
  • Select "Computer" and find your flash drive letter and close the notepad.
  • In the command window type e:\frst.exe (for x64 bit version type e:\frst64) and press Enter
    Note: Replace letter e with the drive letter of your flash drive.
  • The tool will start to run.
  • When the tool opens click Yes to disclaimer.
  • Press Scan button.
  • It will make a log (FRST.txt) in the flash drive. Please copy and paste it to your reply.

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#3
DonnaB

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Hi JSntgRvr,

Thank you for coming to my aid.

Is the OS installed the one on the sticker?



No. The sticker displays Vista Home Premium. The Systems window, Belarc report, and Welcome screen displays Vista Home Basic.

I downloaded 32-bit version and dragged/dropped to my flash drive. Inserted into usb port on problem laptop, rebooted and straight to the Windows Error Recovery it went. None of the F1-F12 keys work. Can not boot to Advanced Boot Options menu.

:(
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#4
JSntgRvr

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In your position I would backup what you can from the computer,wipe the hard drive and reinstall Home Premium. It won't validate windows unless is done that way. I don't know if the CD you found in the laptop is a complete install or an upgrade, but if a full install, then you have the license for it. I would go for it.

Backup, then drop the Home premium DVD in the laptop, would it attempt to format the drive? Keep the COA handy just in case.
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#5
Ztruker

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DonnaB's thread in the Vista/Win 7 forum is here: This Version of Windows is not Genuine
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#6
JSntgRvr

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Yes, I read that thread. The activation was attempted with the original COA which was intended for a different version.
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#7
DonnaB

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The activation was attempted with the original COA which was intended for a different version.


Please allow me to clarify:

When this laptop first came into my possession I did try the original COA found on the case for the Vista Home Premium and was informed by Windows it was not the correct COA for OS installed.

I downloaded Belarc Advisory to verify what OS software version was installed which was found to be Vista Home Basic. I then tried the product key that was displayed within the Belarc Advisory report for the installed OS software for which I was then informed by Windows that it was a "default product key" that I am sure the Tech Shop guy used (when he installed the wrong OS) that was for temporary use only.

I don't know if the CD you found in the laptop is a complete install or an upgrade,


It is an upgrade disc. I'm thinking the Tech Shop guy did not have a Vista Home Premium disk so he installed Vista Home Basic and was going to use his upgrade disc to upgrade it to the Vista Home Premium version, though obviously the job was not finalized before she picked up the laptop on her way of out town to return home and the Vista Home Premium upgrade disc was forgotten about and I now have possession of.

I do not have a Vista Home Premium retail disc in my possession. If I am correct, I can only use the VHP upgrade disc to upgrade the Home Basic to Home Premium. It can not be used to reinstall the OS. Am I correct?

There is nothing to back up. Nothing to lose.

At this very moment I have the upgrade disc in the drive. The AutoPlay dialogue window is displayed. Run setup.exe is highlighted yet the cursor is froze solid in the middle of the screen and the Enter key does not function when pressed.

At least I know the drive is working! :lol:
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#8
JSntgRvr

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I do not have a Vista Home Premium retail disc in my possession. If I am correct, I can only use the VHP upgrade disc to upgrade the Home Basic to Home Premium. It can not be used to reinstall the OS. Am I correct?


No, especially if you do not have the COA for the upgrade.
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#9
DonnaB

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No, especially if you do not have the COA for the upgrade.


Ho boy! This guy really left her in a mess didn't he? :angry:

I'm going to wait for her to contact me back and get the name of this Tech Shop. Maybe if I/we call he will make good with his services and correct this. May have to ship it to him which is much cheaper than taking it to a Tech Shop here having to pay for what he should fix for free.

Hm...I do have another Vista Home Premium upgrade disc of my own that has a legit COA on the original package that I doubt that I'll ever use. I wonder?

First I'll call him.

Thanks again JSntgRvr. I'll let you know what happens.
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#10
Ztruker

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If you can get the upgrade DVD to boot, try it, you have nothing to lose. I believe it will accept the Vista Hone Premium key on the COA attached to the computer.

You can do a Clean Install with an upgraade version of Vista:

Workaround Discovered For "Clean Install" With Vista Upgrade DVDs
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#11
DonnaB

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Hi JSntgRvr,

Thought it appropriate to inform you that I got this laptop working and upgraded to Vista Home Premium with the upgrade disk and the COA found on the underneath on the case.

Not sure how I got past the Windows Recovery Error screen loop but I had put it in the closet a few weeks ago, retrieved it today since I had a bit of time to work with it and it booted right into the Activation screen, I clicked Ask Later, it booted to the desktop and I then slipped the upgrade disk into the CD-ROM drive and upgraded the OS from there.

Now to install an AV, SpywareBlaster, Java, Foxit Reader, etc. I should be good to go so I can give it back to my friend.

Thanks for coming to my aid. I truly appreciate your help.

Donna :)
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