What media can I restore Vista from?

By markchip ·
My home pc is a Compaq desktop with an oem install of Vista Home Premium. After 18 months I decided it was time to reinstall Windows to spruce things up. My pc had a recovery partition which I booted into from the initial splash screen. The recovery failed as I did not know to unplug all non-essential cables beforehand - network, usb, sound - but then after trying again with these unplugged the recovery still failed on several attempts.

In desparation to get back online I loaded a copy of XP pro which proved very flaky - frequent blue screens and lock-ups. I saw the recovery partition was no longer visible in computer/disk management and instead there was a 147 gig chunk of unallocated space (recovery partition was 8 gig)!!

After then waiting a week for the arrival of two recovery dvds I thought my problems were over but even following the instructions to the letter the recovery still failed four times in succession. My conclusion is that these discs were faulty or flawed in some way OR that my hard drive had a problem. So I tried recovering onto a replacement drive - still a failure!

I have finally got a working install of xp pro but I still want to get vista back on (I actually like it and have had no problems with it at all!!). My problem is this... can I legitimately install vista from a friend's copy and them change the product key from the system window to match the original key on the COA sticker on the case?

Cheers, Mark

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by markchip In reply to RE: [i]the recovery still ...

I wonder whether the additional 1 gig stick of ram I added 3 months ago might be involved here?

Thanks for the detailed suggestions and background - extremely helpful!

Alas no error codes as the final post-reinstall stage which comes after the final "finish", "reboot" prompts is just an endless transfer animation which goes on for at least 9-10 hours!

One thought that was illuminated by your reply is that I had added an extra gig of ram about 3 months ago. I shall try out your ideas with that one pulled out.

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