Sunday, April 12, 2009

Repair Install in Vista

I’ve heard a number of tech experts including the esteemed Mr. Lloyd Case from Extreme Tech podcast as well as others like Steve from the Podnutz podcast state that there is no way to do “repair install” in Windows Vista similar to XP, or all recent editions of Windows for that matter. Actually Microsoft has given Vista users a way to repair Vista with the install DVD, they're just hiding it a little. And although Vista doesn’t make it obvious like it used to be, it still exists.

So here’s where they're hiding it, you get a repair install in Vista by doing a “In-Place Upgrade”.

1. Start the computer boot to Vista OS.

2. Insert the Windows Vista DVD in the computer's DVD drive.

3. Use one of the following procedures, as appropriate:

If Windows automatically detects the DVD, the Install now screen appears. Click Install now.

If Windows does not automatically detect the DVD, follow these steps:

a. Click the Start Button, type Drive:\setup.exe in the start search box and then click OK.

Note: Drive is the drive letter of the computer's DVD drive.

b. Click Install now.

4. When you reach the "Which type of installation do you want?" screen, click Upgrade to upgrade the current operating system to Windows Vista. Please make sure the edition of Windows Vista is selected correctly.

I didn’t get these instructions by reading a 1000 page manual, I got them from Microsoft when I needed tech support installing SP1. I followed the instructions and it worked great for me. Of coarse if you’re doing anything this extreme make sure you have a full backup and are using the correct disk. If you have SP1 already installed you need have a SP1 disk to do what Microsoft calls an In-Place upgrade (Repair install) in Vista.


SEBO said...

In most cases you are doing the repair because nothing else works and you are a Vista No Boot:(

Mark said...

True enough but in certain cases like problems installing a service pack which is exactly how I found it, it does work.

Anonymous said...

I have been fighting with Vista for months and now the installing of Sp2 ,the files are missing or corrupt.I tried scan /now and everything else so now it's the Upgrade,My Dell disc was pre sp1 and they were no help,so I contacted Microsoft and they sent a replacement upgrade disc sp1,my problem now is which Product Key to use ,my original or the one on the envelope that the replacement disc came in?They said do not put in the Product Key to begin with but wait until the end to activate,when,how,where and which Product Key do I use,I'm a novice at this and very leery and confused ,any help is appreciated!I now see since Sp2 caused a crash that Task Scheduler files are bad also ,so I might have to do Clean Install if this fails ,do I use same Replacement Disc,and which Product Key?Thanks, Steven!

Mark said...

Steven, Thanks for your comment/questions. The product key you use I believe should be your original, but either should work. OEM Windows licenses are tied to your specific motherboard. When you do a repair install of Vista and your disk is pre service pack you need to go to programs and features and click on view installed updates and uninstall the service pack/packs that are not supported by your install disk. This is a fairly straight forward procedure and works well in my experience.
You can do the full install without activating Windows, once installed you have 30 days to activate Windows and you will be prompted to do so just click on the screen prompting you and use your original product key. If you need to do a clean install, use the second disk it has SP1 and will take less time to update. Once you do either your in- place/upgrade or clean install run Windows update until your are totally up to date. You can hold off on SP2 for now but updating your system needs to happen ASAP for security reasons.
Hope this helps, if you have any more problems feel free to ask via the comments.