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Thread: Vista on hidden partition

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    LeeLii's Avatar
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    Question Vista on hidden partition

    Hi everyone!
    There is something I want to do, but I'm not sure is it possible. I purchased a laptop with Vista Business and it is on hidden partition. The problem is, I have a hard disk of very little capacity, of about 70 gb and Vista is already using 30 gb!
    I purchased xp and I want to install it on the laptop, but before installing it, I want to format the disk to get as much space as possible. I don't want to permanently lose Vista because I want to install it on my desktop computer and I think it would be a waste because I payed for it. The question is: Can I somehow transfer Vista to desktop computer from that hidden partition or record it on dvd or something else, so I won't lose it when I format the disk and erase that hidden partition with it? Can someone please tell me can it be done and how?


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    tweakwindows's Avatar
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    As far as I know,it's impossible to install your Vista(OEM) on desktop that came pre-installed on laptop.
    But,if you just want to make a image backup,you can do that by using any software like Macrium (free)or Acronis True Image.
    Last edited by tweakwindows; 3rd December 2008 at 04:03.

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    I know about image backup, but can I use it once I delete the hidden partition with the OS and install another OS, and can I use it on another PC?

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    First and foremost, an OEM license is tied to the hardware, in this case you laptop, and you will not be able to use it on your desktop. Just wont work.

    Pls re-confirm. Your OEM Vista installtion would be on C drive and it wont be hidden. And you would have a Recovery partition too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HappyAndyK View Post
    Pls re-confirm. Your OEM Vista installtion would be on C drive and it wont be hidden. And you would have a Recovery partition too.
    Can you please explain that more thoroughly?

    What to do? Because now it is just too much space eaten by Vista. I like Vista and I don't want to down grade.
    Last edited by LeeLii; 3rd December 2008 at 04:58.

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    This is how my Computer Folder looks like, in an OEM laptop.



    On my C drive, which is visible, I have the Windows installation, and on my E drive, which is again visible, I have the Recovery Backup image, provided by my laptop manufacturer HP. You too should have atleast these two drives on your OEM laptop, imo.

    There is no need to downgrade. Check here and see if Free Up Lost Disk Space in Windows Vista helps you meanwhile.

  7. #7
    iMav's Avatar
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    I wonder what do they mean by "locked to OEM hardware". Logiclly, 1 can use the Vista on any other machine and use the 'activate by phone' (not necessary that 1 needs to tell MS that they are installing it on another machine) option. I think 1 can get the copy re-activated under the 'upgrade in hardware' option. Not sure though.

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    There seems to be some confusion.

    1. What you call "hidden partition" is probably your D: which has one folder (often called Recovery). That folder has hidden files. From this Recovery Partition you can burn recover DVD's (you need 2) with the Recovery Disk Creation Wizard. Once you have burnt those recovery DVD's, you can theoretically delete this partition (although I do not recommend this). But given your shortage of disk space, you might want to do that. It has no consequence for the operation of Vista. You just loose one option to reinstall Vista should that ever be required. But you would still have your DVD's. But those DVD's will only work on the system where they were created. The solution that iMav suggests will only work if you do not go online with your system - else MS will find out in no time, especially after SP1 where they have tied that down.

    2. On some systems there are true hidden partitions that you can only see in Disk Management. Those are used to store BIOS diagnostic tools and they belong to the motherboard. But those partitions are usually very small - just a few MB's.

    3. If you ghost your OEM Vista to an external disk with Macrium, Acronis, Norton Ghost or any other, you can only reload it onto the system it came from.
    Last edited by whs; 4th December 2008 at 04:12.

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    Quote Originally Posted by whs View Post
    The solution that iMav suggests will only work if you do not go online with your system - else MS will find out in no time, especially after SP1 where they have tied that down.
    But, once activated with a legit key, will the copy still be rendered useless?

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    I am not sure I understand your question. But the principle is easy - a product key can only be active on 1 system. Yes, you can call into MS and have the key reactivated if e.g. you changed your mobo. I think even if you want to transfer it from one system to another. But that only applies to Vistas purchased from MS. With OEM copies you are more or less stuck on what you have.

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