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You are using an old PC with Windows Vista installed which, unfortunately, does not want any more know to boot correctly? Is it giving error messages all the time and you can’t even do the most basic operations? Under the circumstances, I’m afraid there is no other solution: you need to restore your computer’s operating system.
How do you say? Are you a landslide with your computer and are you afraid of not being up to it? Be calm! If you follow the instructions on how to restore Windows Vista I am about to give you to the letter, you will be able to get your computer back on track without going into various and possible complications.
So, if you want give it a try, I strongly suggest you take some free time just for yourself and start immediately to put into practice the instructions you find below. Together, we’re going to find out both how to restore your PC to factory settings and to an earlier date. Are you ready? Yup? Great! Ban the chatter and let’s proceed!
Before getting into the tutorial, then go to find out what are the steps that must be taken to be able to restore Windows Vista , there are some preliminary operations that, in the specific case of factory reset, you would do well to do, to make sure that everything goes the right way.
What I am referring to is, firstly, performing a backup of the data stored on the disk computer hard disk: a practice of fundamental importance, considering that restoring the system involves the loss of all the contents of the hard disk.
To make a backup, you need to get an external hard drive (if you don’t have such a device yet, you can consult my buying guide ) and transfer to it your personal files, following the instructions I gave you in my guides on how to transfer files to external hard drive and how to backup your data .
Considering that the OS restore operation could result in the loss of the drivers already installed on Windows, I suggest you make a backup of the latter as well, as I explained to you in my guide on how to make a driver backup .
Please also get the ISO image of the operating system, without which the recovery procedure cannot be implemented, except in the case of the availability of a hidden partition on the PC with all the files necessary to perform the operation in question. p>
If you have the Windows Vista installation disk at your disposal, you can use it directly. Alternatively, you can decide to transfer the ISO to a USB key . But if you don’t already have the OS image file, I’m sorry to tell you but to date there are no other legal systems to obtain the latter, as Vista is an obsolete operating system and it is no longer possible to buy the CD / DVD or download the ISO image from the Microsoft website.
Finally, remember to have the product key of your copy of Windows handy, in when you will be prompted to enter it again during the restore phase. If you do not remember the product key or you cannot find it, before starting the recovery you can recover it using the programs that I have reported to you in my guide dedicated to how to recover the product key .
How to restore Windows Vista to factory settings
Completed the preliminary steps above, let’s get to the real heart of the matter and let’s find out, therefore, how to restore Windows Vista to factory settings .
To begin with, enter the Windows Vista disk in the CD / DVD drive connected to the computer, then restart the operating system. Then wait for the wording to appear on the screen Press any key to boot from CD-ROM or DVD-ROM and press any key on your computer keyboard to boot from the Windows Vista installation disc instead of the hard drive. In case you find it difficult to do so, intervene on the boot order from the BIOS , following the instructions I gave you in my guide on how enter the BIOS .
Then, make sure that the first screen of the Windows Vista disk, the one with the operating system logo and the language selection, is done, and click on the button Next , to confirm the use of Italian ; then click on the Install button, in order to start the wizard related to the installation of the OS.
At this point, enter the product key strong> of your copy of Vista in the field provided and click on the Next button. Then put a check mark next to I accept the license conditions , so as to accept the conditions of use of the operating system, and click again on the Next button. P >
Then select (if necessary) the version of Windows Vista you are using, click on the installation custom option and click on the hard disk icon to format to reinstall your copy of Windows.
Then select Drive options ( advanced) located at the bottom right and click on the Format and OK buttons, to start the hard disk formatting procedure. Subsequently, click on the Next button again and wait for the first part of the Windows Vista installation to complete with the restart of the computer.
The next time the PC starts, do not press anything when Press any key to boot from CD-ROM or DVD-ROM appears and wait for the operating system installation to complete. Within a few minutes, the computer will restart again, after which you will find yourself in front of the Vista desktop and you can finally start using your PC as usual again.
How to restore Windows Vista without CD
You do not have the possibility to use the installation disk of the operating system and would like to understand, therefore, how to restore Windows Vista without CD ? Then stick to the indications that I will provide you in the following steps. I already tell you that this can be done in several ways.
Restoring Windows Vista from USB
If your PC does not have a CD / DVD drive and / or if you are looking for an alternative system to recovery using an installation disk, you can evaluate to restore Windows Vista by creating a USB stick with the ISO image of the operating system.
To do this, firstly, get yourself a empty USB stick (or in any case containing data that you have backed up or that you do not care to lose, as they will then be deleted) of at least 4 GB and connect it to one of the USB ports on your computer.
Then download Rufus < / strong>: a free program and also available in a no-install version, which allows you to create bootable USB sticks for all versions of Windows (as well as other operating systems). To download it, visit the website of the program and click on the Rufus x.x Portable link that you find in the Download .
If you want to use the program on Windows Vista, however, please note that the latest version of Rufus compatible with the operating system is 2.18 , why you need to download the latter: to do this, go to this other web page (the download is done automatically).
When the download is complete, start the .exe file obtained and consent to the execution of the program by clicking on the Yes button (if you are using Windows 7 or later versions) or on that Allow (if you are using Windows Vista). Then press the Yes button again to check for updates.
Now that you see the software window on the screen, make sure that your USB key is selected in the drop-down menu Device / drive at the top (if not, you will do it) .
At this point, if you are using the most up-to-date version of Rufus, check that the Image option is selected in the Bot selection drop-down menu disk or ISO (select) , otherwise select it yourself; then press the Select adjacent button and select the ISO image of Windows Vista.
If, on the other hand, you are using the version of the program compatible with Windows View, choose the ISO Image option from the drop-down menu in the Formatting Options section, click on the adjacent button that depicts a CD player with a disk and select the ISO of Vista.
After completing the above steps, the Rufus parameters will be updated automatically, adapting to Windows View. If this does not happen, you select the MBR / MBR partition scheme for BIOS or UEFI-CSM entries in the Partition scheme and NTFS in the section File system .
Finally, click on the Start and OK buttons at the bottom and wait for the procedure creation of the key with the image of Windows Vista is completed.
Then, if the computer you are using is not the one to be restored, disconnect the USB key (to avoid problems of any kind, you I suggest to safely remove it, as I explained to you in my guide on how to remove USB sticks from your PC ) and connect it to one of the USB ports of the PC of your interest, then turn it on. If, on the other hand, the PC you want to work on is the current one, leave the key connected and restart it.
The next time the system is started, the procedure to restore Windows Vista will start automatically. The steps you have to take at this point are the same as I indicated in the step in which I explained how to restore the system using the installation disk , nothing changes.
Restore Windows Vista from hidden partition
Some pre-assembled computers, especially laptops, are equipped with a hidden partition inside the hard disk, through which it is possible to access useful tools for management and operating system recovery. If your PC has it, you can then use it to restore Windows Vista without having to resort to using the installation DVD or a USB stick with the ISO image of the system.
To access it and to use it for your purpose, turn on or restart your computer and press the key combination indicated for the operation in question that you see appear on the screen shown immediately after the manufacturer’s logo. In most cases, the key combination to use is Alt + F10 or F9 and is indicated with a message such as Press F9 to start [manufacturer name ] Repair Utility .
Once you have accessed the hidden partition on your computer, choose the option to restore Windows to factory settings and follow the wizard on the screen, to proceed. Unfortunately I cannot be more precise, as the options to select may differ depending on the manufacturer of your interest and the model of computer in use. In any case, as regards the reinstallation procedure of Windows Vista, the same indications that I have given you in the chapter at the beginning of the guide apply.
Restore Windows Vista to an earlier date
If you don’t want to restore Windows Vista completely but you want to understand how to bring the PC back to a previous date , perhaps because following the installation of a certain program it has started to “play tantrums”, the operations you need to perform are completely different from those already seen together in the others chapters of the tutorial.
In this case, in fact, you have to rely on the use of restore points, or “archives” that save the state of the computer when they are created. By using them to restore the PC to a previous state, drivers, programs and settings after the chosen date are removed, while the files are not affected.
Clearly, in order to be exploited, restore points must be created in via preventive, an operation that can be performed both manually and automatically by the system, as I explained to you in my guide on how to create a restore point .
Once the restore points have been created, to be able to use them to restore the PC to a previous state, you must proceed as follows: click on the Start button (the one with the < strong> Windows flag ) located at the bottom left of the taskbar , type System Restore in the search field and select the relevant tip from the Start menu .
In the ch and at this point it is shown on the desktop, click on the Continue button, then select the Choose a different restore point option, click on the Next
Then click again on the Next button and then on the Finish and Yes buttons, to start the restore procedure. Keep in mind that the duration of the process can be more or less long, it all depends on the power of the PC and the amount of data and settings to change. Generally, the further back you go with the calendar, the longer it takes to finalize the process.
However, during the recovery, the system will restart automatically and the next time you log in to Windows it will be displayed on your desktop a message indicating that the computer was restored to the selected date.
How to restore Windows Vista from BIOS
Finally, I would like to point out that it is possible to restore Windows Vista also by intervening from the BIOS , the software which I have already mentioned in the previous lines.
If you do not know what it is, I inform you that the BIOS, acronym for “Basic Input-Output System”, is nothing more than a set of instructions software stored on a non-volatile memory that is located goes inside the computer. It is very important because it provides all the basic information to make hardware and software interact correctly and start the operating system.
To restore Windows Vista from the BIOS you can act in different ways: using a strong> Recovery CD or key or a floppy disk or USB key with the ISO image of the operating system . For all the details of the case, you can refer to my guide specifically dedicated to how to format a PC from the BIOS .
Salvatore Aranzulla is the most widely read blogger and IT popularizer in Italy. He is known for discovering vulnerabilities in Google’s sites and
Microsoft. He collaborates with computer magazines and edited the technological column of the newspaper Il Messaggero. He is the founder of Aranzulla.it, one of the
thirty most visited sites in Italy, in which he responds with simplicity to thousands of computer-related doubts. He has published for Mondadori and
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