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recovering l386 folder from hidden recovery partition

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  • recovering l386 folder from hidden recovery partition

    Hello all, forgive me if this has been covered -- I searched and couldn't find anything, and I haven't found a resolution to this anywhere else of the web. I do some private work with home users. I am vexed by the fact that most vendors don't provide home users with a real Windows disk. When I have to rebuild someone's drive, I'd prefer to do a clean install of Windows, instead of using the restore disc and installing all that crapware that has to be removed. If it is a Dell machine, then end user usually will have a real Windows disk, if they haven't lost it, that is. But most of the vendors don't provide OS discs these days. On some vendors machines, I can the find the i386 installer files buried in the Windows directory, and I can burn those on to CD to have a clean and legal install for the user. But on many machines, they have these hidden recovery partitions that are difficult to even get in to, and the various files are scatters all over the partition, presumably to make it difficult for techs to do what I want to do. So, does anyone know a way to get though this and recover the actuall installation files. Or, would it be possible for me to buy a Windows OEM disk for reasonable price from a vendor that would work on any of their machines with the end users legal licence key. Or, do I have to be a large company to be able to afford what they would charge for this?
    Thanks, Gordon

  • #2
    Re: recovering l386 folder from hidden recovery partition

    Oh, that should be I386 folder -- hit the L key instead.

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    • #3
      Re: recovering l386 folder from hidden recovery partition

      Two things:

      1. The installation media you use is unimportant as long as the customer has a valid product key. You can use your installation CD or use theirs, it doesn't matter. The installation media is not unique, the product key is unique.

      2. Your preference for doing a clean install is great... for you. Don't impose your personal preference on your customer. If they purchased the computer and got a recovery CD that installs a bunch of crapware, so be it. I would use whatever installation media they have and use it to restore their computer to it's "out of the box" condition.

      It's like ordering a steak in a restaraunt, the chef cooks it to my liking not his.

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      • #4
        Re: recovering l386 folder from hidden recovery partition

        I agree with you, their preference is what matters. And, certainly, using the restore disc makes my job easier. But there are people that do prefer a clean install without the garbage. So in that case, I can use any XP Home retail disk and that will work with the their OEM licence key? I thought the keys for OEMs were specific to the OEM XP issued by the vendor, and not the retail versions. I'm wrong on this? I hope so. It will make my life easier.
        Thanks, Gordon

        Originally posted by joeqwerty View Post
        Two things:

        1. The installation media you use is unimportant as long as the customer has a valid product key. You can use your installation CD or use theirs, it doesn't matter. The installation media is not unique, the product key is unique.

        2. Your preference for doing a clean install is great... for you. Don't impose your personal preference on your customer. If they purchased the computer and got a recovery CD that installs a bunch of crapware, so be it. I would use whatever installation media they have and use it to restore their computer to it's "out of the box" condition.

        It's like ordering a steak in a restaraunt, the chef cooks it to my liking not his.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: recovering l386 folder from hidden recovery partition

          As long as the customer has a valid product key you can use any installation media you like.

          Imagine if Microsoft had to create a unique CD for every product key?

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          • #6
            Re: recovering l386 folder from hidden recovery partition

            Originally posted by joeqwerty View Post
            As long as the customer has a valid product key you can use any installation media you like.

            Imagine if Microsoft had to create a unique CD for every product key?
            I know it's out of the question for a unique key for every CD, otherwise MS would definitely do it to stop piracy. But I was sure that the OEM editions were totally different sets of keys then the retail. Could that have been back in the Windows 98 days? I'm sure I remember having that issue then -- oem keys not working with a retail CD.

            Anyway, I'll soon be doing a rebuild for some friends of mine, who have an e-machines box, with no OS CD, so I'll give this a try. Thanks for pointing me in the right direction on this.

            Gordon

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            • #7
              Re: recovering l386 folder from hidden recovery partition

              XP OEM CDs are different than retail CDs. While Windows is the same, an OEM key won't work on a retail CD, and vice versa. Also, a Compaq OEM key won't usually work w/ a HP OEM CD.
              ** Remember to give credit where credit is due and leave reputation points where appropriate **

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              • #8
                Re: recovering l386 folder from hidden recovery partition

                Well then I'm completely wrong. My apologies as I've never run into this before. I've installed Windows hundreds of times using various OEM and Retail CD's and keys and don't think I've ever had any problem.

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                • #9
                  Re: recovering l386 folder from hidden recovery partition

                  Originally posted by joeqwerty View Post
                  Well then I'm completely wrong. My apologies as I've never run into this before. I've installed Windows hundreds of times using various OEM and Retail CD's and keys and don't think I've ever had any problem.
                  My guess is that you are probably right. This may have been a thing that was happening with some of the Windows 98 OEMs so may years ago. I'll give this a try with a XP home in the near future and post you on this.

                  Thanks, Gordon

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