Basically I had to stop in trying to fix that problem because I found that Windows wouldn't boot. It said I needed to insert the disk and repair the install, however I didn't have it anymore. I had to hunt another up and buy it.
Now I have booted from the disk and tried to repair the install twice. The first time it just didn't work, the second time it said this is a problem that cannot be fixed by the automatic repair.
I am running Windows Vista Ultimate 64bit OEM.
What I am wondering is, is there any way to get the system to boot again without losing all my files? Do I have to add a new hard drive and install Windows to that? What about upgrading to Windows 7 Ultimate? Can I reinstall Windows Vista Ultimate without losing all my programs? Will reinstalling Windows even work?
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Microsoft might give you a new key. They will deactivate the old key though, if they give you a new one. You create the partition on the drive when you install windows. Just partition off the old files. (is they are 89gb then give them a 90gb partition). Install windows on the new empty partition.
I had the same problem which brought me to this thread. The PC in question for me is an HTPC with no important data so I opted for a fresh install. After installation including entering the validation code included with the discs, I loaded various drivers and software and to my surprise, all of my data was still on the drive! My version of Windows is the Win 7 Family Pack Upgrade.
It's probably harder for OEM PC owners because the restore discs are images rather than install discs.