Why can't I I use my HP Recovery Discs on new hard drive!

By tay916 ·
I have an HP Pavilion a1140n Media Center 2005 Desktop PC. I had the PC serviced because of meltdown. The technician determined it was the hard drive and replaced it with a Western Digital 1TB drive but could not recover the data from the old drive. I tried to use the HP recovery disks but I get the error message "this CD is not for this computer"! I talk to HP online support and the bottom line is I was told I would have to purchase a new operating system because the recovery discs won't work on a new disc drive. Specifically, here are the last several chat lines with Steve, the floor supervisor for HP online support:

Steve : The only solution for this issue is to buy the retail version cds Thomas

Steve : I can understand your concerns but we cannot much in this regard other than getting the retail version cds .

Thomas Yates : You have not explained why you can't give me the CD's that belong to the product key QX3CH-CKRFM-WBQ9B-VQY2W. That's what I bought when I purchased the computer.

Steve : Though I provide you the cds which belongs to product key QX3CH-CKRFM-WBQ9B-VQY2W will not work as you changed the harddrive

Thomas Yates : Why not?

Steve : HP shipped hard drive have special chip which can identify the recovery disc where the normal hard drive dont have.

Thomas Yates : Now I see! What a terrible thing HP has done! Forcing someone to buy a new computer or operating system because of a hard disc problem. I will have to write to corporate and tell them just how I feel. Thanks for your time. But I will not buy another HP anything! So long!

So, now I have a worthless computer with a new hard drive.

Is this really true? Can a manufacture withhold the operating system and in effect, make the computer they sold you inoperable? Is there any other solution to be able to use the recovery discs?

Call me aggravated!

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All Answers

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Same Issue...sort of

by CHopwood In reply to Why can't I I use my HP R ...

I also had a meltdown, but was able to reformat the harddrive. I have the recovery disk set. I still have the OEM drive mounted...however, I still get the same error. This leads me to believe that it is simply microcode on the drive, not a "chip" as your friendly Tier 1 guy told you. Guess I know not to call HP tech support on this one.

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Support line will say anything these days

by cmatthews In reply to Why can't I I use my HP R ...

Think about what HP said. The HD has a "special chip which can identify the recovery disc"...
Would someone explain how a chip can take the active role (like a host CPU) and go out and ID a recovery disk?

1) For economy of scale, the restore disks are mastered by the thousands, so they're all the same.

2) It sounds like the reverse may be true, where the CD will ID a portion of the HD serial number (eg: WD may make a special run of serial numbers just for HP)

3) If the old disk is still somewhat readable, ghost copy over what you can. There are options for continue on error (It could be that the 'special chip' is really a signature partition on the drive)

Yes, this would raise my ire too - Good luck!

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Same problem but with a dell

by madox99c In reply to Why can't I I use my HP R ...

I can under stand where you stand. Hp, Dell and other prepackaged computers store recovery info on the hard disk. I learned this when I tried to load my win me os (yes ME) on a computer I put together myself. It would not install. They do this so you can't make copies of your os and give it to friends. I was told that the recovery disk had the sn# of the unit it was going in to. This is why I have been building my own pc since 98. All I can think of is for you to buy an upgrade cd (matching your OS) and install that way.

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This depends on Local Country Laws

by OH Smeg Moderator In reply to Why can't I I use my HP R ...

But personally I feel that what you where told a pile of Bull S##t.

HP use standard Drives exactly the same as you get for the maker. However here I would wounder if the 1 TB Drive actually works with the existing hardware.

Generally speaking just changing a HDD is not enough reason to require a new M$ License I think you have other changes here as well. To test your Hardware use a Live Linux Disc which you can either download from here

Or you can buy a Linux Mag at your Newsagent with a Live Linux on the Cover Disc. Normally you need to change the M'Board for this error message to appear.


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Great informtion!

by tay916 In reply to This is why

Thanks for your input! This is great information. I will let you know how it turns out. BTW! I will never buy another HP anything as stated in my post.

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If you have a set that will install the licensed OS,

by oldbaritone In reply to Why can't I I use my HP R ...

if you have problems entering the legitimate key, try calling MS support. When I had a similar situation, they have given me a different key that installed OK.

They will ask for several numbers to verify the legitimacy, such as the product code number burned into the CD near the center hub. If you're trying to use a bootleg copy, that's not going to work.

On the other hand...

Another option - send the PC back to HP for repair. Expensive, but may be a wash when you factor in the price of a retail-box OS. Of course, in that case you'll still have the same exposure if the next HDD fails.

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oldbaritone is right

by Varseller In reply to If you have a set that wi ...

Get your hands on a set of the OEM CDs (there are 2 for Media Center 2005) and do a clean install. Use the HP product key you have and you shouldn't have a problem with Microsoft if this is your first reinstall. Actually, the activation may go through automatically without a hitch when you first try it. If you do have to talk with a Microsoft rep, simply tell them that your HD died and you had to replace it. As long as the HP model number you give them is right you'll be fine. I've done this countless times without a hitch. The only annoying thing about not being able to use the original recovery disk is you have to load all the HP drivers manually.

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Yes they can

by Choppit In reply to Why can't I I use my HP R ...

When you bought your PC you entered into an OEM license agreement with Microsoft which ties your Windows license to the hardware. To enforce this the manufacturer, (presumably under pressure from Microsoft) will lock the installation to one (or more) hardware IDs (BIOS etc). So Microsoft are just as much to blame for the situation you find yourself in.

"Can a manufacture withhold the operating system and in effect, make the computer they sold you inoperable?"

Yes, they can withhold *their* operating system from you, because you never really owned it and you accepted their terms by using it.

Now would be a good time to try Linux to see if you really need Microsoft at all

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