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The computer does not recognize the Windows Vista installation disc

This article describes the steps that you can take to troubleshoot the problem when you cannot install Windows Vista from a CD or from a DVD. Problems may occur if there is a problem with the disc or with the drive. This article contains steps to help you resolve possible problems.

This article is intended for a beginning to intermediate computer user.You may find it easier to follow the steps if you print this article first.
Symptoms of the problem
When you try to use a Windows Vista installation disc, the computer does not recognize the disc. For example, the disc appears to be empty in Windows Explorer. Or, when the disc is in the drive and you start the computer, you are not prompted to start from the disc.
Cause of the problem
These problems may occur if one or more of the following conditions are true:
  • The disc is damaged or defective.
  • The disc is not genuine.
  • You insert a Windows Vista DVD in a CD drive instead of in a DVD drive.
  • The disc drive is not configured as a startup device.
  • There is a problem with the firmware of the disc drive.
Steps to resolve the problem
To successfully install from the Windows Vista installation disc, follow each step until the problem is resolved.

Step 1: Determine whether the disc is damaged or defective

Inspect the Windows Vista disc for physical damage, such as scratches. Or, insert a different startup disc in the drive, and then use that disc to start the computer. For example, try a Microsoft Windows XP CD, or try an installation disc that was provided by the computer manufacturer. If you can use a different disc to start the computer, the Windows Vista disc may be defective or damaged. If the disc is defective or damaged, obtain another disc from the place of purchase or from Microsoft.

Step 2: Make sure that the disc is genuine

Genuine Windows Vista discs have a hologram printed on them that says "genuine media." If your disc is not genuine, obtain a genuine Windows Vista disc, and then try the installation again.

Step 3: Make sure that the disc is in the correct disc drive

Insert the Windows Vista disc in the correct type of drive. If you are using a Windows Vista DVD, make sure that you insert it in a DVD drive and not in a CD drive.

Step 4: Make sure that the disc drive is configured as a startup device

To configure the computer to start from the disc drive, view the documentation that is included with the computer, or contact the computer manufacturer.

For information about your hardware manufacturer, visit the following Web site:Step 5: Update the firmware of the disc drive

The disc drive may require a firmware update before the Windows Vista disc can be read correctly. Contact the manufacturer of the drive to obtain updates for the specific device model. If updates are available, download the update. Then, upgrade the firmware on the drive.For information about how to contact the manufacturer of the drive, click the appropriate article number in the following list to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
65416 Hardware and software vendor contact information, A-K

60781 Hardware and software vendor contact information, L-P

60782 Hardware and software vendor contact information, Q-Z
Step 6: Install Windows Vista from a folder on the hard disk

Copy the contents of the DVD or CD to a folder on the hard disk, and then install Windows Vista from that folder. To do this, follow these steps:
  1. Right-click Start, and then click Explore.
  2. In the Start Menu window, click the drive that contains the Windows Vista disc.
  3. On the Edit menu, click Select All.
  4. On the Edit menu, click Copy.
  5. In Windows Explorer, create a folder on the hard disk where you want to copy the installation files. To do this, follow these steps:
    1. In the Start Menu window, click the hard disk. Usually, the hard disk uses the letter C.
    2. On the File menu, point to New, and then click Folder.
    3. Type Windows Vista Flat to name the new folder, and then press ENTER.
  6. Double-click the Windows Vista Flat folder, and then click Paste on the Edit menu.
  7. After the files are copied from the Windows Vista disc to the Windows Vista Flat folder, double-click Setup.exe.
  8. Follow the steps in the wizard to complete the installation.
Microsoft provides third-party contact information to help you find technical support. This contact information may change without notice. Microsoft does not guarantee the accuracy of this third-party contact information.
For help with CD or DVD drive problems in Windows Vista, visit the following Microsoft web page:

Article ID: 933173 - Last Review: 04/12/2007 22:40:54 - Revision: 1.5

Windows Vista Home Basic, Windows Vista Home Premium, Windows Vista Ultimate, Windows Vista Business, Windows Vista Enterprise, Windows Vista Starter, Windows Vista Home Basic 64-bit Edition, Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit Edition, Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit Edition, Windows Vista Enterprise 64-bit Edition, Windows Vista Business 64-bit Edition

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