Reinstall.IT – Windows Vista Business on HP EliteBook 2530p

After I had managed to upgrade the Bios on this HP EliteBook 2530p laptop, I had installed an evaluation version of Windows 10 on it, and eventually put on Windows 7 – which was not activated – of course, since I didn’t have a valid license at the time.

Anyway, I did try to find out if I could obtain the recovery disks for this EliteBook, but it seems to be difficult. I could contact HP and fork over a bit of money to have a set of disks sent to me, but it didn’t seem worth it at the time. That is – until I had some software I wanted to use, that just wouldn’t work on Windows 10, 8 or 7. This EliteBook had a Windows Vista Business product sticker on it – so I decided to try to reinstall Windows Vista Business onto it.

Browsing the internet, I managed to find a Vista Business iso file, but you had to register for it – and then I came across this webpage.

I thought I would give this a go, since it meant downloading some 3GB+ of files, which eventually was successful after a couple of tries. I chose to download the 64-bit version, and used the Zotac WinUSB Maker to put the installation onto a USB disk. Ok, it wasn’t without problems.

Firstly, I downloaded the first two required files, which was successful. Then the third file, which was by far the largest – got 95% of the way through then stopped and couldn’t resume. I tried again, but this time, I used a Free Download Manager to do the download, since it can also handle large files and seems more robust during the downloading process. This was successful – great. Then I went to run the X14-63453.exe program as being the next step – but this didn’t complete – came up with an error.


What could this be due to – maybe, because it was running on my 32-bit Windows Vista machine. I copied it over to the network, then downloaded it to my 64-bit Windows 10 machine, and ran it, and it was able to extract all the files – fantastic. Then copy the extracted files to the network, and back to my Vista machine.

Next step was to either burn a DVD or place it on a USB disk. I wanted to use the ImgBurn to make a DVD, and because I was installing so many things on my machine, I decided to try the Portable version of ImgBurn. After downloading it, my Norton 360 antivirus decided that the downloaded file was not trustworthy. Ok – I have a few SanDisk Cruzer Facet 8GB USB Flash Drives, that I bought from OfficeWorks when they were on special at $2.97 each – so downloaded the Zotac WinUSB Maker program. No complaints from Norton 360 this time.

Insert USB disk, ok – done. Drag and drop the drive letter to Zotac – done. Drag and drop the Vista folder to Zotac, done. Click the button to Make USB Bootable – starts to do something, then crashes – a critical error when injecting boot tag.

Back to Google, and find that other people had the same problem, and some bright person found out that you just reformat the USB to FAT32 first, then it will work. So I formatted the USB from NTFS to FAT32, then went through the same process and – voila, it finished without errors.

Alright! Now I plug in the USB disk into the EliteBook, then power up, and choose to boot from USB disk, great news – I get the Windows setup coming through – then after choosing a few options, then asks for the product code or Windows key, which is on the bottom of the laptop.  However, I had taken a photo of it with my camera beforehand, so didn’t have to juggle the laptop to type it in. I chose to not activate automatically when online.

After some time, the installation completed and I was faced with a low resolution Windows Vista screen. When doing an installation like this, it is often the problem that hardware is not recognized therefore drivers are not installed automatically. This was a problem because even the onboard ethernet controller didn’t have drivers. It wasn’t an insurmountable problem as I could downloaded enough SoftPaqs from HP’s support website to get networking going, then download the myriad other bits and pieces before Device Manager stops showing and problem devices.

While this was happening, Windows Update was also running and downloading updates. By the way, this version of Windows Vista was Service Pack 1. I downloaded the Service Pack 2, which was half a gigabyte, but before I installed it, I decided to Activate Windows. I went to the computer properties, then clicked the Activate Windows Now link, and it came up and told me that it couldn’t activate automatically and to use activation via a number of methods. I chose Phone activation, then chose Australia, and I was given a phone number to call and an Installation ID – which was nine groups of 6 digit numbers.

I went to my speakerphone and dialed the number, chose 1 for Windows activations, then proceeded to enter the groups when prompted. After this I got my pen handy, and copied down eight groups of 6 digit numbers – which was entered into the activation screen – and a successful activation. I then started the Service Pack 2 installation – which is ongoing as I am typing this.

So this is a way of reinstalling Windows Vista if you don’t have a recovery disk. It is better to try to get a recovery disk, because there is some software applications installed that you cannot get the downloads for, like Roxio Creator Business and sometimes WinDVD etc.


Reinstall.IT – Dell OptiPlex 980 Desktop

Recently a Dell OptiPlex 980 Desktop came in for me to look at. The hard disk had been formatted and the Dell Recovery CD was unavailable. The case had a Microsoft Windows 7 Professional sticker on it with the code still readable in spite of having “DEAD” written on it in Red texta.

This desktop has an Intel Core i5 processor with 4GB of ram, a fairly reasonable machine manufactured in 2010. I booted with a Ubuntu Linux CD and had a look at it first. I could see 4 partitions, one of which had been formatted with nothing on it – that would be the reason for booting up with an error about missing files. This also confirms that the desktop will boot and that the hardware is working.  It was time to ““.

I had on hand a Windows 7 Professional install DVD. I was interested in whether or not, I could use this to install – so the best way is to just jump right in.

Booting up with this 64-bit install DVD, you get a prompt to upgrade or perform a new install. I chose a new install, then when prompted on the destination, I clicked on Advanced and deleted all existing partitions first, then chose to continue. This then would set up the disk partition as Windows would like it, and without the Dell recovery partition. I let this continue until it was time to enter the activation key.

Drum roll, please! … Entering the key, I chose not to activate on connection to the network, and clicked Next. It accepted it, meaning that the key is a valid key and was good for the 64-bit Windows 7 Professional – fantastic. I choose not to active, because I prefer the customer to activate manually when they connect on their own internet connection. I don’t want too many Windows activations coming from my internet – call me paranoid, if you like.

Anyway, Windows was installed, and came up. I logged in and went to Device Manager, there were a few devices without drivers.

Ethernet controller, PCI Serial Port and PCI Simple Communications Controller. I noted down the hardware ID’s for each of these, as I use the ID to find the right drivers. The Ethernet controller was easy – just go to Dell’s website and enter the Dell Service Tag number, and you get to the support page for this machine. Choose Drivers & downloads, then the operating system, and go to Network. I chose the Intel 825xx Gigabit Platform LAN Network Device Driver. While I was there, I downloaded a few others including the video driver and importantly the latest BIOS update, which was A16 – the current BIOS was A04, quite old it seems.

The downloaded files were put onto a USB disk, and then transferred to the Dell. The BIOS update was run first, it wants to reboot, then do the BIOS upgrade and says that it could take 10 minutes – afterwards I came back to see a blank screen. I left it a bit longer, then it was still the same, so did the BIOS firmware update work or not. I then realized that I had left the USB disk plugged in – that one is not bootable, maybe that was it, so removed it and pressed Ctrl-Alt-Del, then screen blinked then Windows was booting. Feel free to breathe a sigh of relief – I did.

BIOS firmware updates these days should be fairly straight forward, but they did not use to be. Occasionally you end up with a brick, i.e. motherboard that will not boot any more, so manufacturers started coming up with ideas and technology to get around this, by having another boot environment in case of BIOS failure. I don’t think this particular Dell has this.

The PCI Serial Port and PCI Simple Communications Controller drivers was a bit harder to find. There was lots of queries on the internet for these drivers, that somehow could not be found. The hardware ID’s match the vendor 8086 to Intel. Then the Device ID 3B67 and 3B64 on google – told me that I need to find the Intel Active Management Technology driver and the Intel Management Engine driver to resolve these two devices. Fortunately, both searches on Intel actually link to the same download file.

After installation, no more unknown devices in Device Manager. This Dell OptiPlex 980 desktop has been reinstalled.

[NOTE] BIOS updates – you should keep up to date with the latest BIOS updates since this can fix performance and other problems. If a BIOS update goes wrong, i.e. worst case is that the machine no longer boots – there are ways to get around this. Most BIOS roms are stored in Serial EEProm on the motherboard – generally in a SOP8 package and it is possible to obtain in-circuit programmers for this. Other manufacturers have resorted to BIOS recovery mode, or to choose a failsafe BIOS that then allows the BIOS firmware upgrade to be retried.

[NOTE] On the use of USB disks. It is best not to have USB disks bootable in case of virus infection and spreading of viruses. However, a virus that affects the boot sector of a USB disk, will still be a hazard if the USB disk is bootable. I generally don’t make them bootable unless it is for the use of updating firmware or running specific utilities. I keep them separate to my other disks that are used for transferring files.