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How to use the Windows Vista RM Recovery DVD to re-install Windows Vista
Published Date : 06 Jul 2007   Last Updated : 04 Nov 2010   Content Ref: TEC838573  


You have replaced your hard disk or have erased all files from the hard disk and now wish to re-install Windows Vista.


  • Your computer must contain a DVD-ROM drive or be connected to a USB DVD-ROM drive.
  • Your computer must contain a genuine RM mainboard (motherboard) and BIOS.
  • A genuine RM Vista Recovery DVD.


Before you begin

Most RM Windows Vista computers contain a special hidden recovery partition on the hard drive. This can be used to repair your current system by using the F8 key on booting. It is recommended that you repair your system using this method rather than using the Recovery DVD.

You can also restore the original Windows Vista factory image (or a user image if you have made one) or perform a CompletePC Restore.

Unlike a restore using the DVD image, the above options will leave you with a fully-configured system with all pre-installed drivers and applications.

If you have replaced or erased the hard disk in your system however, and have not previously used CompletePC Backup to backup to DVD-R or DVD-RW media, you will need to re-install from the RM Vista Recovery DVD.

Windows® XP and RM Window Box™ XP Systems

Some RM computers are shipped with a Windows Vista licence and a Vista Recovery DVD but are pre-installed (by special customer request) with Windows XP. If your computer is pre-installed with Windows XP, you should not use the RM Vista Recovery DVD to restore or repair the computer. If you have a Windows XP system and RM Window Box software pre-installed, you should use RMRestor to restore the original Windows XP factory image or use a Windows XP Recovery CD to repair the operating system. (Please see the Other Useful Articles section for information on using the RMRestor utility).

Installing to a new or formatted hard disk from an RM Recovery CD or DVD will not restore the original factory pre-installed software or drivers.

Booting from the Recovery DVD
  1. Place the Recovery DVD in the system's DVD drive (or external USB DVD drive).
  2. Switch on the computer
  3. When you see the prompt 'Press any key to boot from CD or DVD...' press the spacebar to boot the system from the DVD.
    If you do not see this prompt, you must configure the BIOS boot order so that the CD/DVD drive is first in the boot order list.
  4. After the 'Windows is loading Files....' message has finished, you should see a keyboard country selection drop-down list.
  5. Select the UK keyboard by pressing the U key five times.
  6. At this point the recovery environment may detect your existing operating system and offer to repair it or to restore it to a previous state if a system restore point exists. Unless you wish to do otherwise, refuse any such requests.
Initial System Recovery Options form
  Fig.1 Initial System Recovery Options form

The System Recovery Options menu
You should now see the full System Recovery Options menu displayed (see below).
System Recovery menu
  Fig. 2 System Recovery menu

Select the last menu option RM Windows Recovery Utility.

You should now see a window similar to that shown below.

RM Windows Recovery Utility
  Fig. 3 RM Windows Recovery Utility

Restoring the original Factory Image or User Image

If the Factory Restore or User Restore options are available, use one of these options to restore the operating system volume.

Note: When booting from the Recovery DVD, the drive volumes may not have the same drive letters that you were familiar with under Windows Vista. Check the drive letters and the sizes.

  1. If the volume listed in the 'Restore to:' text box is not correct, you can manually change this by specifying a letter and a colon (e.g. D:). In most cases, the target letter will be correct if the existing Windows files can be detected and you should not need to change it.
  2. Select Factory Restore or User Restore.
  3. You will be asked if you would like a clean install. If you answer yes (recommended) the target volume will be formatted before Windows Vista is installed onto it. If you answer no then you may experience some issues after re-installation, but your user files and documents will not be erased from the operating system volume.
  4. A progress bar will show the percentage completed and the time remaining.
  5. You will be notified when the install has completed.
  6. If prompted to make the Recovery partition active (Vista Ultimate systems only) choose Yes.
  7. Remove the DVD and restart the system. Allow the system to re-boot and then shut down automatically (if Factory Restore was chosen).

Partitioning a new disk drive

If you have a replacement hard disk drive, you will need to partition and format it. However, If the disk already has the original factory partitions, do not re-partition the disk (skip this section).

  1. Select the last option Partition Hard Disk 0.
  2. After warning that this will destroy all existing partitions on the (first) hard disk, you will be asked if you want a single maximum sized partition. If you answer No then you will be prompted to enter your required partition size (e.g. 20 GB).
  3. You will now be shown the scripted commands that will be used to partition and format the disk using the Windows® Diskpart program. If you wish, you can manually edit this script (for instance, if you wish to make two partitions and install Windows onto the second partition). Unless you are familiar with Diskpart commands, you are advised not to edit this script.

Note: The special hidden recovery partition that is normally installed by RM at the factory on most Windows Vista systems, cannot be re-installed using the Recovery DVD. However, a CompletePC Restore will restore both the hidden and the operating system partition (Note: The CompletePC Backup/Restore feature is not available on the Home versions of Windows Vista).

Installing from the DVD

The Windows Vista image on the DVD contains an original (vanilla) version of the Vista Operating System but does not contain any of the optional pre-installed applications or drivers that may have been included with your original system. For this reason, if possible, use the Factory Restore option (or User Restore option if available) or Complete PC Restore option (Business and Ultimate only). Only use the 'Install from DVD' option as a last resort.

  1. If the volume listed in the 'Restore to:' text box is not correct, you can manually change this by specifying a letter and a colon (e.g. D:). In most cases the letter will be correct and you should not need to change it.
  2. Select the most suitable choice for your system from the list located immediately beneath the 'Install from DVD' button.
    Note: In some cases there may be only one choice.
  3. Click on the 'Install from DVD' button.
  4. You will be asked if you would like a clean install. If you answer yes (recommended) the target volume will be formatted before Windows Vista is installed. If you answer no then you may experience some issues after re-installation, but your user files and documents will not be erased.
  5. A progress bar will show the percentage completed and the time remaining.
  6. You will be notified when the install has completed, remove the DVD and restart the system.

Possible Issues

If the system fails to boot to Windows Vista, try using the clean install option. This option will mark the target volume as Active (i.e. bootable).

If RM Windows Recovery Utility reports an error when you try to install from the DVD, check that the destination partition is present and formatted (the partition list should show NTFS in the fourth column). If not, then re-partition or re-format (clean) the partition. If this fails, reboot from the Recovery DVD and try again.

After installation, Windows Vista may report that it is not activated. This may occur if you have used the DVD on a non-RM system or mainboard, or an RM system that was not originally licensed for Windows Vista or pre-dated the release of Windows Vista. Check that the Certificate of Authenticity (COA) label on the system has a Windows Vista label and that the system mainboard is an RM mainboard. Please contact RM Support if you have activation issues after using the RM Recovery DVD on a genuine Windows Vista RM system.

Note: A system containing a non-RM mainboard cannot be automatically activated even if using the product key from a Windows Vista RM COA label and using the Internet. You must use an RM Windows Recovery DVD on an RM system licensed for Windows Vista.

More Information

For information on other recovery options, please see the articles listed in the Other Useful Articles section below.

Other Useful Articles

Recovery procedures for RM factory-shipped Windows Vista Systems (TEC830589)
How to use the RM Recovery Launcher to restore an RM computer running Windows Vista/Windows 7 (TEC872330)
How to recover space on the D: volume of an RM Windows Vista system by deleting the backup files (TEC876965)
Information about RM systems pre-installed with Windows Vista® (TEC846230)
How to restore an image on a BitLocker-Ready RM Vista system using the RM Vista Ultimate Recovery DVD (PN 1BU-033) (TEC931883)
RM Window Box and Windows Vista Express Upgrade (TEC839529)

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Document Keywords: repair, fix, install, reinstall, load, setup

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