I hope to recover Vista to a hard drive, but need help with the process.
I have a four-year-old Dell desktop with Vista that fails to boot. I have attempted various diagnose and repair processes, but none finds any solvable problem, and none finds any identifiable hardware problem or physical defect with my hard drive.
In the interim, I removed the hard drive and connected it to another computer (I boot off the other computer's original hard drive) to use the files on the "unbootable" hard drive and that works perfectly fine, so my data is intact, and the drive does work -- but the hard drive simply won't boot.
I believe I need to reinstall Vista, but I don't want to disturb the data files, or any of the programs that currently exist and presumably work fine. How do I do this? I am a novice at this. I see things about new partitions -- is this necessary and how is it done? Can I simply install "over" the original install, or do I leave the "bad" install alone and create a brand new "good" one?
I didn't create a Vista Install disk (and I don't think one was sent with the computer), so I need to get one; I'm in over my head here, but I am certain it would have been a Dell OEM disk. Am I limited to using a Dell OEM disk, or will any OEM (HP, for example) work? Can I use a "standard" Microsoft non-OEM disk?
Is there anything else I need to do? Again, priority #1 is not affecting the data or programs currently on the hard drive.
Thanks in advance for your help. Please let me know if any additional information is needed.