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What exactly is an OEM release?


DbLH3liX
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I have a Toshiba P200 with a crashed (no longer booting) hdd. It had Vista, and the OEM key label is on the bottom. I know that Vista is no longer around, but what exactly is and OEM release?

While it wont boot in to windows, I can see there is a recovery partition on the HDD if I view it as an external drive connected to another pc.

I know it's now an older laptop but when my dad first got it he was so chuffed and it was so ahead of it's time compared to the desktops we had, and a lot more expensive lol.

I couldnt find the recovery disks (assuming it came with some) and assume this OEM key is for a specific version of Vista, or is this not the case?

Any help would be lovely, thx :)

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Well, if you can see the contents of the hard disk when connected as external drive, the hard disk has not "crashed", very likely you only have some corruption on the "main" volume/file system, it could also be only a trifling thing, like a boot file deleted/overwritten by mistake.

In these cases it is usually worth the time to troubleshoot the issue and repair the booting.

If you believe that the hard disk has issues the "normal" procedure is to clone the disk to a new one "as is" and then repair (if possible) the contents or use the recovery partition to re-install the Vista to "factoiry state" (it is usually possible to use a USB stick with programs to initiate the booting of the recovery partition even if the standard boot doesn't work or to repair just the initial booting sequence) .

It has to be seen, but Toshiba laptops (at least some of them) have a recovery procedure (using the recovery partition) that is initiated from BIOS (by holding the 0 key pressed when switching on), see:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=003hzPvuKtY

otherwise, it is generally possible to boot from USB and start the recovery manually.

In these cases you don't even need the OEM key to install/activate, what is restored is an image, it depends on specific manufacturers but often the actual OS uses (used) a different key (the same for all the laptops of that model/batch) and the OS is pre-activated, the key on the sticker (though usually working with *any* OEM version of the same OS) is actually only there for licensing proof.

 

jaclaz

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A recovery DVD from Toshiba or (as jaclaz says) the recovery image from the recovery partition can be used to reinstall the OS and it should show that it is activated. On the recovery DVD angle, it may be possible that any Toshiba recovery DVD (of the appropriate edition ie Pro, etc) can be used instead of the one specifically for the model, although there are some known instances where recovery media for an OEM cannot be mixed between models and/or countries. I know that when my company worked with Vista, we had to repress recovery DVDs for SP1, so there may be a service pack requirement for the recovery DVD as well.

The key on the COA label is for show, but can be used to activate a System Builder installation using telephone activation.

There is no garauntee that a PC from Vista era onwards came with a recovery DVD. Microsoft always has a requirement on the OEM to provide a recovery solution, be it on CD or DVD and even allowed (at that time) the ability for a customer to download an ISO but said ISO could not be publicly available. And if hard disk recovery was available, a physical DVD was not required to be supplied but was allowed to be sold or provided upon request. Vista was the first OS where Microsoft provided instruction on how to create hard disk based recovery, so it was at this point that OEM PCs stopped shipping with a recovery DVD in the retail space. Some OEMs had a software pre-installed that would let you burn your own recovery CD or DVD.

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Thank you both for the replies :)

So the laptop's drive, when I use it as an external drive using win10 show (I think it was) 4 partitions, however Recovery and what I assume is the OS (the biggest partition) are not readable, ie I couldn't get a list of the files/folders IN those two partitions. Does this mean I have bad sectors on the disk? SMART tells me that the drive was used for 269 days (not long,eh?) so I assume it wasnt correct, but who knows lol

If I DO have bad sectors, and I clone the drive then try to repair the OS now on the clone, won't the bad sectors area on the original drive be a blank area on the new drive? Also what app could I use to restore the OS? (You mention USB programs to do this.) I was thinking that the mbr was damaged and needed rebuilding, but on the original drive my live boot cd couldnt read the files to copy over and repair the boot sector. I'm hoping to repair, rather than factory reset for now as my father has since passed and I'm hoping to recover any photos etc on the drive, if at all possible.

Dad pretty much only used the laptop for emails and some online shopping and sometimes my mum would skype relatives and play some bubble bursting game (!), so it's unlikely he'd installed any dodgy apps...the laptop just refused to boot one day, and so I suspect that the mbr was damaged.

Thanks again for your help.  I'm willing to take the time to restore the OS without factory resetting/reinstall if at all possible. And yet again we learn the value of creating recovery disks .. (which he didnt do).

 

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Well, partitions/volumes/file systems (and the way Windows mounts and accesses them) are complex. 

The fact that (when mounted externally) you cannot access those two partitions may mean both "the disk drive is beyond any possible recovery" or "a minor issue happened and a one or a few bytes were corrupted".

The "standard" procedure remains the same:
1) make an image or a clone (personally I prefer if possible the image)
2) attempt to repair the original
3) if things go worse image back the disk from the image or clone (on the original or on a new disk) and try something else

You can try in Windows 10 to access the disk (externally) and open Disk Manager.

A screenshot of the situation in Disk Manager may be already telling what kind of issue it could be.

The next thing I usually suggest is to get DMDE:

https://dmde.com/

and use it to open the physicaldrive and let it scan/find volumes, as well a screenshot of DMDE "Partitions" view  is needed to understand what could it be.

BTW DMDE has also the possibility to make an image of the disk.

Besides and beyond the recovery (if possible) of the filesystem, you can also attempt recovery of the files (if any) that DMDE still "sees".

Though the tool can also be used to recover "RAW" data (i.e. carve the file system for recognizable files, similar to what Photorec can do) for the moment it is IMHO better to see what can be recovered, hopefully the full filesystem, if not, the files on it (or as many as you can find), because when you need to switch to RAW, even  if you might recover the actual file contents most metadata (filename, dates/times, position in the file system) will be lost. 

jaclaz

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  • 4 months later...
On 7/14/2021 at 6:38 AM, Tripredacus said:

There is no garauntee that a PC from Vista era onwards came with a recovery DVD. Microsoft always has a requirement on the OEM to provide a recovery solution, be it on CD or DVD and even allowed (at that time) the ability for a customer to download an ISO but said ISO could not be publicly available. And if hard disk recovery was available, a physical DVD was not required to be supplied but was allowed to be sold or provided upon request. Vista was the first OS where Microsoft provided instruction on how to create hard disk based recovery, so it was at this point that OEM PCs stopped shipping with a recovery DVD in the retail space. Some OEMs had a software pre-installed that would let you burn your own recovery CD or DVD.

 

some OEMs like Dell & HP at that time did provide some Vista system recovery DVD discs (like for my mom's old Dell Inspiron e1405 laptop and my cousin's old HP pavilion dv6500 series entertainment notebook pc which bundled those Vista DVDs)

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Vista was the transitional stage. Recovery media was a requirement from before that, but Vista was the first that had a Microsoft provided hard-disk based recovery solution. Prior to that, OEMs were using custom third-party solutions such as SoftThinks among others. Large OEMs were the first to ditch providing a DVD and it likely comes down to cost reasons. Since there are minimum order requirements at a replicator, an OEM that sells a large amount of systems like Dell or HP could move more towards the minimum order instead of having to ensure they purchased enough DVDs to match systems. For smaller companies where their forcasted sales figures were at or below this minimum order requirement, those OEMs would just ship a DVD anyways because they had enough stock to do so. And these minimums still exist to this day, so you could potentially find recovery DVDs from small OEMs for Windows 10 and maybe even Windows 11. There has been options for years to use USB recovery but it is more expensive and I have no knowledge of any OEM using that method.

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