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I have a Dell Inspiron 1525 laptop running Windows Vista Home Premium. Well, it was running. The hard drive developed some bad sectors and won't boot Windows anymore. Assuming the hard drive needs to be replaced, I'm wondering what my options are to get things back to normal. Using TestDisk, I was able recover all personal files and made a copy of the Recovery partition. The problem is that I don't have a real Vista install disc - it's only a recovery disc. I'm guessing that's not going to work on a new hard drive.

What are my options here? If it's legal for me to use the install of Vista that came with the laptop, I think I'm entitled to continue using it after replacing the hard drive. I just need to find a way to get it back. Can I fake out the recovery process by partitioning the new drive the same as the old one and copying the old Recovery partition there?

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If it's a recovery system of the manufacturer; then you should be able to get it working again by faking the new drive into the same partitioning and marking the recovery partition as the partition to boot from. Make note that just copying the file isn't enough, you also need the boot loader copied so you need to use cloning software that really clones the partition and does not just copy it.

If it's a recovery partition (labeled SYSTEM RESERVED) of Windows, then the answer would be no...

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