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MHCG
03-19-2008, 05:18 PM
I just found this website. What a great resource. Anyways, I'm building my "A Bag" for mobile computer repair and I know there will be times when I need Branded CDs to reload some portion of a user's operating system. I'm just wondering where everyone picked up their HP, Dell, Toshiba, Gateway etc Windows 2000/XP/Vista CDs.

MrMille
03-19-2008, 05:40 PM
I suspect most guys build them up over time.

Some guys download them from P2P networks, if they can find what they need.

Others, probably try to use hacked 'technician' 9 in 1 type disks (which are completely unreliable $hite)

I usually tell my clients that if they don't have the disks, or the drive doesn't have a recovery partition; that they have to get the 'recovery' disk themselves.

You couldn't pay me enough money to spend my time trying to do that type of stuff, it simply wouldn't make economic sense for the client.

The other option is to simply buy a retail or OEM version of XP Home for 70 bucks, which is only 20 bucks more than a typical 'recovery' disk costs.

geekhelp4u
03-19-2008, 05:43 PM
For the most part I just use a random Joe XP home or Pro OEM disk not associated with any brand. I then download all the latest drivers direct from the brand website, to insure I start with the newest, not the oldest drivers. When it asks for the KEY, I use the key attached to the case of the computer. In worst cases, I have to call the Microsoft activation line to verify that I am installing on the original machine, but this usually only takes about 3 minutes and is voice activated (don't need to wait on hold or talk to a moron!) I am actually quite impressed with the voice recognition software that Microsoft uses for this!

As for the branded disks, I do like to keep them on hand in case of emergencies or the OEM is acting stubborn for some reason. I bought a few off of e-bay for around $1 a piece, just takes a while to get them this cheap! When I work on a clients machine and the still have the original install disks, I also make a clone of these for my library! I have also torrented a few, although I test them extensively for added crap and virus/spyware before I implement them.

Don't forget nLite is your friend. http://www.nliteos.com/
With it you can make customizable install disks including driver addons, service pack addons, etc...

Remember this when SP3 comes out so you don't have to buy all new disks... just make new ones one at a time with SP3 slipstreamed on!

MHCG
03-19-2008, 06:00 PM
Thanks for the responses. I definitely see the wisdom behind telling the customer it's his responsibility. Otherwise I'd end up either having to charge $400 for a repair or work for next to nothing.

Second question.... I've been looking for a good driver CD/DVD that has hundreds/thousands of drivers for those times you're at a user's home that has no or ridiculously slow internet access? Anyone have a good source? I don't mind buying it, just want to not waste a ton of time reinventing the wheel.


Edit: BTW Geekhelp4u, what was your MOS? I just got out of the Army too. I was a 33W (Military Intelligence Systems Maintainer/Integrator)

MrMille
03-19-2008, 06:06 PM
When it asks for the KEY, I use the key attached to the case of the computer.

Does that technique still work?
Back in the day, people were walking into stores like Circuit City and copy those keys down and using them. Not sure how well that worked either...

What do you use to clone a disk? Alcohol/Nero?

MrMille
03-19-2008, 06:07 PM
Don't forget nLite is your friend. http://www.nliteos.com/
With it you can make customizable install disks including driver addons, service pack addons, etc...

Remember this when SP3 comes out so you don't have to buy all new disks... just make new ones one at a time with SP3 slipstreamed on!

I don't use nLite, but I can see where it would be useful.
For XP3, I have an external drive the run the executable, it only takes a few minutes. Less time than it would take for me how to learn nLite.

geekhelp4u
03-19-2008, 06:46 PM
Edit: BTW Geekhelp4u, what was your MOS? I just got out of the Army too. I was a 33W (Military Intelligence Systems Maintainer/Integrator)

Primary 25U secondary 25B

geekhelp4u
03-19-2008, 06:48 PM
Does that technique still work?
Back in the day, people were walking into stores like Circuit City and copy those keys down and using them. Not sure how well that worked either...

Yes, because MS got smart and once the key was installed, it was registered to the machine itself. Will work so long as you have not swapped out more than 3 things on the machine - mainly the mother board, video card, and lan card!


What do you use to clone a disk? Alcohol/Nero?

either clone cd by slysoft or i just make an iso using magic iso

geekhelp4u
03-19-2008, 06:50 PM
I don't use nLite, but I can see where it would be useful.
For XP3, I have an external drive the run the executable, it only takes a few minutes. Less time than it would take for me how to learn nLite.

Yes, but for a complete install from ground up, it is much faster to install it with the operating system, not install the operating system them upgrade to sp3. The latter would double you install time on a fresh install...

I agree, if you are just upgrading to sp3, no need to use nLite. Just throw it on a flash drive, and update!

P.S. nLite is VERY VERY easy to learn! It takes about 5 minutes to get the hang of it!

geekhelp4u
03-19-2008, 07:03 PM
Second question.... I've been looking for a good driver CD/DVD that has hundreds/thousands of drivers for those times you're at a user's home that has no or ridiculously slow internet access? Anyone have a good source? I don't mind buying it, just want to not waste a ton of time reinventing the wheel.


for this I usally make some DVDs of all the drivers I can find. A great place to start is DriverPacks.net http://www.driverpacks.net/DriverPacks/

Other than that, I use an external drive called drivers, and save every driver for machines I work on under the computer name and model number in this drive.

Additionally, for emergency use, I use http://www.softpedia.com/get/System/System-Info/Double-Driver.shtml

double driver to backup the drivers on a machine before I work on it!

Blues
03-19-2008, 07:28 PM
I tell them I need thier disc key word being thier disc. Now when they turn up nothing I will tell them I will see if a copy I have will work but I can make no promise. I also copy most every disc I can get my hands on so to have them when I am in need of one. I always make sure the customer knows that I am not responsible for having restore CDs. I also direct them to options of for getting a legitimate copy of thier CDs. Primarily the original vendor is the first source and often it is about $20-50 for a replacement of your disc after all most of these CDs or DVDs are vendor specific. The only alternative left which I will order but require payment regardless of weather or not it works as the site makes no promise itself. I have lost the website and need to look for it I believe it was mentioned on this site once before.

geekhelp4u
03-19-2008, 10:07 PM
I tell them I need thier disc key word being thier disc. Now when they turn up nothing I will tell them I will see if a copy I have will work but I can make no promise. I also copy most every disc I can get my hands on so to have them when I am in need of one. I always make sure the customer knows that I am not responsible for having restore CDs. I also direct them to options of for getting a legitimate copy of thier CDs. Primarily the original vendor is the first source and often it is about $20-50 for a replacement of your disc after all most of these CDs or DVDs are vendor specific. The only alternative left which I will order but require payment regardless of weather or not it works as the site makes no promise itself. I have lost the website and need to look for it I believe it was mentioned on this site once before.

I gave up requiring them to get their own disks... especially since new computers don't come with them.. That is why I use the OEM disk and either the serial number on their case, or the serial number their machine is already using. I have worked on over 100 computers with the OEM disk and not had 1 problem! Asking them to supply their own disk (if it was not supplied with the computer) is not part of my job description. I am there to help them, not confuse them! If they knew how to make their own disk, or get their own disk, they probably know how to fix their own problems. I assume everyone is clueless, therefore needs me to do all the work. If for some reason their license key will not be activated by microsoft, I use an OEM disk that is slipstreamed with SP3. Like vista, it does not require a license key, and gives you 30 days to activate. I tell my client they need to purchase a copy of windows xp via the microsoft website, or I can purchase them a copy for much cheaper while they use the 30 day trial. It is only $89.99 for home. I usually show them best buys web site, where they sell it for $199, and tell them I can get it for $125. After shipping, you just made another $25 profit for nothing!

MHCG
03-19-2008, 10:34 PM
Just curious. Do you guys take credit cards? If so, how do you do it?

MrMille
03-19-2008, 10:36 PM
You must have a large collection of OEM disks.
A Dell OEM disk isn't going to work in a Toshiba, right.

geekhelp4u
03-19-2008, 10:39 PM
Just curious. Do you guys take credit cards? If so, how do you do it?

I set up a business account through paypal so I can take credit cards. granted they charge you per transaction, but what little it is, i usually suck it up myself as a good faith token for my clients... usually it only costs me about $5, so hey, they get a small discount!

MHCG
03-19-2008, 10:43 PM
So, what you send them to a website or something to pay their bill?

geekhelp4u
03-19-2008, 11:04 PM
So, what you send them to a website or something to pay their bill?

yea, go to my website and you will see a pay now link!

http://www.geekhelp4u.com

RKDus
03-19-2008, 11:04 PM
I've never used anything other than a Dell disc and I've never had a problem using the key on the sticker, no matter what brand the computer was.

MHCG
03-19-2008, 11:08 PM
yea, go to my website and you will see a pay now link!

http://www.geekhelp4u.com

Is there any kind of "monthly maintenance fee"? How do you handle credit cards there is no internet access available?

Jesse (may need to look into paypal)

MHCG
03-19-2008, 11:10 PM
I've never used anything other than a Dell disc and I've never had a problem using the key on the sticker, no matter what brand the computer was.

It may have been an HP disc, but I have had problems installing OEM disks on other brand computers. It will say something like... "This installation disc is only for installation on XXXX brand computers, please obtain a copy of the disc for this computer."

MrMille
03-19-2008, 11:48 PM
I've never used anything other than a Dell disc and I've never had a problem using the key on the sticker, no matter what brand the computer was.

wow, really?

MrMille
03-19-2008, 11:57 PM
It may have been an HP disc, but I have had problems installing OEM disks on other brand computers. It will say something like... "This installation disc is only for installation on XXXX brand computers, please obtain a copy of the disc for this computer."

That exactly what I was thinking of.

Most installers will scan the BIOS for a string, e.g. Dell, Dell Inc, Dell Computers, and use that to decide if the disk being used is appropriate for the machine.

http://www.oembios.net/