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Old 12-29-2006, 07:28 PM
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TopCatGr58 TopCatGr58 is offline
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Question Another tough computer question?

Hey there again,

Different problem! I've got 2 Dell laptops that I got a couple of years ago, are working just fine. However, they were sent with only the OEM windowsXP installed on the HD's, there were NO system disks.

IF the HD got corrupted beyond software repair, then there is a special BOOT partition that the BIOS will recognize and with a special key press during boot, it will access that special partition, re-format the NTFS partition, and re-install the OEM software onto it.

Problem is I know HD's don't last forever, and "WHEN" it does actually die, I would like to be able to perform the OEM OS Re-install myself, after purchasing a new HD! However, I don't have the install discs cause they are in that special partition only!

I don't think DELL will send me copies of the OEM Windows XP, that's why they only installed it on the HD!?

I've been doing a bit of research on Partitions, I ran Fdisk just to find out about these partitions, there are 3: 1= Non-dos of ~16MB; 2= CP/M type of ~ 2.259GB; 3 = NTFS-A of ~26GB!

Was wondering about trying to get the files from the Non-NTFS partitions, but don't know what style/format they are, and still don't know about how to reinstall it onto a new hard drive as well as HOW to get them OFF of the current HD?

I usually back up just my data files that I create, cause I usually have the OS and other Installation disks for a full install IF the worst happens, like my Desktop system. SO...I don't know about how to use an Disk IMAGE type backup?

How could I backup the Existing OS so that I could get a NEW HD to work, boot up, etc. with these same laptops with the same hardware? I would only have access to a Win98Boot Disk(CD) that I've already tested and used to run Fdisk?

Am I going to have to buy an expensive backup program for this?

I know that I can install WinXp onto a Fat32 formatted HD if I have to, and I could partition it into several smaller logical drives to reduce cluster size and waste. I don't remember if WinXP has a tool to convert Fat32 to NTFS .....AFTER the OS is installed?

Okay, I'll shut up now!
T.C.
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  #2  
Old 12-29-2006, 07:45 PM
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TopCatGr58 TopCatGr58 is offline
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Addendum,

I was able to make an XP boot CD-rom on my Desktop, however when I use it on the laptop, it comes up Windows Millenium, so I guess that's what MS uses, since it's the easier OS to use that works with NTFS!?
T.C.
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  #3  
Old 12-29-2006, 07:51 PM
mro mro is offline
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cheep?

May try this
http://www.thefreecountry.com/utilit...andimage.shtml


mro
btw
can go from fat32 to NTFS,
but not otherway
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Old 12-30-2006, 04:10 AM
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strom strom is offline
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Check the sticker with windows code on the bottom of the notebook. If it says OEM/DSP, its the OEM version of windows.
Now.. use any p2p programs or get a friend to burn you a version of their OS. If you downloaded it, you do not need the pirate key that came with it. You have your licences legally anyway. Install that version of windows, use your own key and you are done.
The OEM windows wont activate any other way, only by phone. Something MS came up with. Kinda stupid, but no worries. Its quick. So, to be prepared for the worst, do the following:
1. Burn yourself an installation CD of windows XP OEM (home or pro, whichever you have)
2. Download drivers for your laptops and burn those. At least for the network adapter.
3. Burn a backup of user files... mails etc... and you are done.

You can ask dell to send you the ceedees. If they dont, ask microsoft. But I think MS might want some $$$ for that. Not that much, but having a CD that has win xp written by hand is cheaper. And not illegal IMHO.
As far as partitions go... you can try norton ghost. Put the DOS version on a floppy and choose local partition to image, put the image on CD or DVD... if you have the burner in the laptop. I can make a boot CD/DVD with ghost on it and it will burn the image on it. And it knows how to span CDs, so no worries if it wont fit on one CD.

LP
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Old 12-30-2006, 06:14 AM
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FWIW, I've had Dell send me the CD for Win XP - they want to charge you something like $5 for the pleasure but don't always charge it. You did "pay" for the software - nothing wrong with asking for a physical copy too. Here in Canada, Dell customer service is pretty good if you phone them. Luck!
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  #6  
Old 12-30-2006, 08:26 AM
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There is another way, quite round-about and time consuming, but it works.

I run Nero ROM burning software. If you go to the Nero site they have instructions for creating an install CD (bootable) using both a generic file that is downloaded from their site (os specific, they have files for all the common Windows OS) and files on your PC. I don't remember all the details, had to make an XP disk a few months back. Have the instructions printed out, but they are at work and I am not.

What you end up with is a bootable OS cd that preserves the computer's 'system state', which is a set of files that contain the computer's ID and some license information. When you reinstall the OS you will still have to use the license number that is on the tag on your pc.

What you don't get is the particular drivers for your system. Dell typically has a 'drivers' directory, with sub directories for system, video, and device drivers. Make a copy of this folder, I guarantee you will need it! Once the system is rebooted (after reformatting) your Device Manager will end up with a lot of question marks; you will need to reinstall drivers and use the path to your backup 'drivers' disk. (Typically you will need to reinstall video, ethernet, and sound drivers.)

I've not yet found a simple way to preserve all the partitions of the OEM installation, but it may be possible with Partition Magic or some other drive utility; I've not investigated this option.

I've only done this once, with XP Pro, so YMMV.
Another option to look into is the disk-imaging program known as Ghost. The program creates a master image of your hard, typically on a server but can also be another PC, and a bootable floppy client disk. Reformat the PC, boot with the floppy, connect to the Ghost master and run the program. Ghost will retore your hard drive to match the master image. Ghost is udes to set up new PCs to a standard configuration - it will reinstall applications as well as system files - and to re-configure systems that have been corrupted due to viruses or hardware failures. I used this program several years ago when I was in charge of computer labs at the University of Wisconsin - Whitewater campus, and it works well. (The Mac side had a similar program called Assimilator.)

Good luck.
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  #7  
Old 12-30-2006, 05:51 PM
mainlylinux mainlylinux is offline
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I would also contact dell and even pay to get the disks. I have to disagree about getting the pirate version; they usually get broken eventually by Microsoft and you might not be able to run windows update.


If you just need a machine to surf the web with you could always throw a copy of Linux on it for free, but you may loose functionality.

It's a real mess the kind of hoops you have to jump through to get windows back on to some OEM installations.


I think they should have to send you the disks for free, or offer them as a download, but that's just my $.02.

Expect things to get worse in this regard with Windows Vista - I hear they've "upgraded" the anti-piracy stuff in that version.


Dan
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  #8  
Old 12-30-2006, 09:57 PM
mro mro is offline
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Quote:
Expect things to get worse in this regard with Windows Vista - I hear they've "upgraded" the anti-piracy stuff in that version.
Expect it to call home every time it boots up and has a connection.

As long as my programs keep doing what I want, will put off any up grade. Have been thinking of trying loonix agin. Got a little space under my desk for another box and one free spot on the KVM...


mro
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Old 12-30-2006, 10:06 PM
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TC
if DELL won't give you a disk.
There is a program by Norton called "Ghost". If you have older laptops they probably only have 40 or so GB of drive space.
You will need an external HD and a USB adapter. HDs aren't that expensive and you can probably get one that will image both of your drives onto one HD. If you have USB 1.1 it will take longer than USB 2 but it does work.
Ghost will make an exact copy that when loaded back on in the event of a failure will boot just like the day you backed it up.
There is no loading disc after disk and looking for all the updates and trying to set up all the files again, it just loads right on.
We use it at work to back up operation consoles and it works slick.
Just my thoughts, I have my pc Ghosted.

Ed
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  #10  
Old 12-30-2006, 11:40 PM
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  #11  
Old 12-31-2006, 06:16 PM
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TopCatGr58 TopCatGr58 is offline
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Thanks for the info and links!

I contacted Dell, my XP sticker doesn't have the OEM in it, just the 5 section key! They said that they would send me the OS discs! I'm not holding my breath! I will only be getting one set of discs for only 1 of my laptops, since the other one that I had received by ERROR 2 years ago from DELL...long story...I posted about how I tried to return it, etc., but Dell had tagged that Svce tag/unit as "LOST".

However, both computers are the exact same model, same software, etc., so I won't have any problems using the same disk for both of them, cause MS won't know that it's a different machine for the activation phases for either one!

I've got the other driver and software discs, and I don't mind doing that kind of install WHEN the HD fails!

But I'm still trying trying to make a bootable CD/Setup disk according to the instructions on the link MRO provided, but have run into problems! One website and program ImgBurn isn't available. So...I'm trying to make a boot/setup CD using NERO. I've made one before with Win98 boot floppy and it worked in being able to access the rest of the install files on the CDrom.

But the instructions for this W2K type says to use a bootimage file that I downloaded for that ImgBurn prog...the file is in the *.bin format. My Nero prg wants a boot image file *.ima ?

Also, the Nero help/directions are not very clear? I used a WinMe boot floppy that WinXP created as the Floppy Emulation for the boot cd, it booted, but it wouldn't show the rest of the Setup files on the CD that I had added to the CD aside from the files on the boot floppy. My Win98 boot CD worked because it loaded the CDrom drivers as part of it's boot process. The WinXP/Me boot files didn't provide the CD drivers part!!

The CDRom is IDE/PNP and will run a boot CD. What emulation do I use so that when the CDboots, it will be able to see the rest of the disc to access the setup files??

BTW, Jerry, I went to the Nero site, couldn't find any reference to those boot images? And I'm still not sure how to set up the program, Floppy emulation, Hard disk, NO emulation???
T.C.
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Old 12-31-2006, 07:29 PM
mainlylinux mainlylinux is offline
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TC - there is a program called Acronis True Image that works very well for doing what you want to do. It will create a "clone" image CD/DVD that doesn't need to be bootable because the Acronis program creates a bootable CD for you.

When you go to restore the clone image, you first boot the Acronis CD, then insert the image CD/DVD. The Acronis program restores the image onto your hard drive, or a new hard drive, and it includes the boot information. After the restore process you simply remove any CD/DVD and the system will boot up exactly as it was when the clone image was made.

The program is about 40 bucks I think - I bought it 2 years ago. Worth every penny - I've used it a bunch of times!!


You also get the ability to do a full image backup from within windows, without needing to shutdown and reboot from CD.


The Acronis program is like ghost - but easier to use IMHO.

Dan
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  #13  
Old 12-31-2006, 09:44 PM
mro mro is offline
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identity crisis???

Quote:
originally posted by TC
However, both computers are the exact same model, same software, etc.,
Not that easy to fool Microsoft

XP looks at several pieces of hardware on your PC.
One of em is the network card which may be same make/model as in other PC but has it's own identification, (so do P4 cpu's and above but MS may not be aloud to access it)

While could work, wouldn't bet on it....
probably will not allow access to fixes on there site


mro
btw
sorry that site didn't get the job done
I'll send ya a PM
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  #14  
Old 01-01-2007, 09:33 PM
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TopCatGr58 TopCatGr58 is offline
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Possibly figured a way!

Hey MRO and others,

After more research, found out about doing an Install without necessarily having to use an actual boot image from W2k and such!

First, I copied *ALL* of the files from the I386 folder onto my 1GB USB stick to transfer to my Desktop! It filled it and still needed more! Friggin' SP2 upgrade files I guess! Then I also created a folder for the DRIVERS, and a text file with the WinXP CD Install Key! However, I found a way around that as well.

Made an extra copy of the WPA.DBL file currently on the Laptop, it was in the System32 folder. After completing the Install, I don't select to Activate it, reboot in safe mode and copy that file back into the Windows\system32 folder....it is what Windows used to keep track of the activation, since it was the same machine I'm just reinstalling this onto!

Okay, also had a Win98SE boot floppy that provides access to the CD drive. Since the amount of files I had were over 700MB worth, I created a BOOT DVD instead using the boot floppy for the boot portion in Nero. Then I added the other files onto the remaining space of the DVD, had plenty left over!!

Also forgot to mention, that since this would be done only in the event of a total HD failure, I'll also have access to FDISK to create the partition and format the drive prior to doing the install. It would be FAT32, but the SETUP provides for changing to NTFS, but I would prefer to do that AFTER the install, that way I have access to the new HD incase of install/file copying hangs as mentioned below!

BTW, I was using a spare Computer and HD to do this test install, will erase it once it's done since I won't want to try to activate it, the activation work around below will only work for the EXACT SAME computer and hardware that was previously installed on!

Then, after burning it, I used it to reboot the computer. The computer thinks the CDrom drive is Drive A, but it also thinks its Drive E, the actual CDrom drive letter it was given during boot, Diagnostics were loaded to a RamDrive "D". So, just changed to access drive E:, and then RAN the WINNT.EXE from the I386 folder, and it went into WinXP personal Setup mode, it copied lots of files for the preliminary process, but hung somewhere when it was to copy the files from the CD\I386 folder onto the Temp folder C:\$WIN_NT$.~LS\I386 folder.

BTW, during install, it considers this an UPGRADE install, and so I needed to have on hand an old copy of WIN98SE on CD so that it could check to make sure that I had a previous version of Windows, before it would continue with the install!

So...I rebooted again, using the CDrom/Floppy emulation, and then ran the copy process to copy the I386 files onto that temp folder....cause I got an error message from Setup to do just that! It's still copying, only ~6,000 files, but once it's done, I'll reboot from the HD, and it "should" finish doing the install of XP!?

So, at least I think I have a backup that will work IF I don't get the OEM Setup disks from DELL. I'll probably still install NERO on my laptop, and perform a recovery full backup as well, just will take lots of CDs!! Thanks again for everyone's help, ideas, etc.! Computer's are fun!!!!!
T.C.
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  #15  
Old 01-01-2007, 10:39 PM
mro mro is offline
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Computer's are fun!!!!!

TC, da XSive Hacker

Now come over and fix this old POC amd duron dell junk.
Stuck a NIC in it, set it up (has ME on it).

It's so slow that it times out sometimes going to a web page and I've got it hooked up to a 10/100 switch attached to a cable router.

All other PC's on my network connect almost instantly.
Last thing I need to check is the ethernet cable. Make my own and could be I have a wire switched? Cable tester is at work tho, so will check it out latter.


mro
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