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I have an HP Pavilion box running Vista and the HD failed this morning. Safe Mode will not boot, and when I try to boot regularly, it hangs with a cursor on a black background at the point where it should show the desktop.

I have run some diagnostics from my handy bootable diagnostic disk, and that confirmed that it is a bad HD, however, the HP Pavilion line comes with a recovery partition and some recovery tools on that partition. I was able to run the recovery/diagnostic tool, so I think that partition is not damaged.

My question is, is there a way to extract a bootable Vista image from the recovery partition, or get HP System Restore to write to a removable drive or a new HD so I don't have to buy a new Windows license?

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Why would you have to buy a new Windows license? Did your Pavilion not come with one of those Microsoft product key stickers? Also, do you have another machine you can stick it into? If you could hook it up to another box, and in fact, the recovery partition isn't damaged, there's no reason you shouldn't be able to make an image of it. – Uninspired Dec 11 '11 at 2:38
up vote 1 down vote accepted

I have never found a way to use the multiple wim files on the HP recovery partition, but you can order a set of HP recovery discs from HP. No need to purchase a new key, just a nominal fee for the recovery media

You can order HP recovery media here

If HP no longer has Recovery Media for your model, order them here

In rare cases you can find the recovery media for your exact model on bittorrent. Post your Full model (Product) number please.

EDIT: If you get a message that says the recovery discs have already been made and will not let you make a second set, see this article to possibly allow it to make a second set.

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I "nuked it from orbit" and got it to boot in factory condition (sadly, with all the crapware still there) and when I tried to make a set of recovery discs it said that I can only make one set per PC. I didn't mention that I am the second owner of this box... +1 for a place to buy new recovery discs, I think that's how I'll have to go – Nate Koppenhaver Dec 12 '11 at 3:51
@Nate Koppenhaver There may be a workaround to allow you to make more than one set of recovery discs, check my edit to my answer – Moab Dec 12 '11 at 3:58
do you know how? (by the way, the model number is s3000y) – Nate Koppenhaver Dec 12 '11 at 4:00
nope. Nothing called hpcd.sys on my system. Maybe it only works on laptops. However, I found an HP tool for creating a recovery USB drive, maybe that'll work – Nate Koppenhaver Dec 12 '11 at 22:06
I found hpcd.sys; it was in the recovery partition, and I was able to make a new set of disks – Nate Koppenhaver Dec 30 '11 at 18:54

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