Microsoft Vista / Toshiba – System Recovery


A family friend has been having problems with her Toshiba Satellite L305D-S5897 laptop.

We think the problem is the hard-drive and so we purchased a new hard-drive and physically replaced the existing drive.

I knew I will need the Windows Serial key and so I looked at the bottom of the laptop and tried writing down that number.

But, the computer is a bit dated and those numbers are no longer so readable.

Captured Windows Vista Serial Key

Googled for avenues per capturing serial keys for installed software.  And, ran into the well written piece by Tim Fisher.  This particular posting is available @

His top 3 choices are:

  • Belarc
  • Magical Jelly Bean Keyfinder
  • WinKeyFinder

In retrospect as I am quite familiar with Belarc, but I see it more as a general purpose tool, may be I should have use it.

But, for novelty I chose WinKeyFinder.

Took out Old, plugged in

I never can find my pack of miniature screw drivers.  And, so visited Best Buy, Lowes, and Target.  Thank goodness Target had a Stanley pack.

Came back home and took out the old hard-drive and plugged in the new hard-drive.

Restarted Computer

Restarted computer and verified that it sees the new hard-drive.

Install Vista

Earlier, I had asked my friend if she had the old Windows Install CD or the Recovery DVDS, but she said No.  And, so like Patty LaBelle and Michael McDonald ( knew I was on my own.

As I have another Vista Install DVD used that one.  And, entered the serial key that I had captured.

Microsoft – Vista – Activate Windows

Once Microsoft Vista is installed, I knew I had to activate it.  So accessed Control panel, system applet and tried numerous times to activate Windows.

But, it kept coming back with the same ominous messages stating incorrect serial number entered.

Called Tech Support


Called Microsoft’s Tech Support Hotline for Product Key (800-642-7676) .  Once we established the fact that my copy of Windows is not a retail version, but an OEM version I was politely asked to call Toshiba.


Called Toshiba; and we established ownership – First & last name and Toshiba Satellite serial number.

But, they decided to take me down the money trap.  They said I needed to pay $30 for a new DVD.  It is like Windows Vista is not even sold anymore, but here they go wanting me to pay for a Product RTM’ed in 2006.


I really do not want to pay for something I already have.  And, so took out the new disk and placed in the new one.

Then tried to use the recovery DVD to create a recovery DVD.  But, unfortunately, it appears that I or someone else might have blown away the Vendor’s Recovery Partition.


So I am stuck and really needs to buy the Recovery DVD from Toshiba, after all.

Purchase Toshiba Recovery DVD by doing the following

  • Launched a browser
  • Visited Toshiba Support @
  • On the “Get Self-Service Help” page, enter “Serial Number”
  • On the “Get Recovery Media” page, enter the last 4 digits of your Part Number
  • On the “Step 3”, select the media desired
  • On the “Shipping” page, enter the Shipping Address
  • On the “Credit Card” page, enter your Credit Card Information
  • On the “Review your order” page, please review the Order

Get Recovery Media – Enter your Serial Number


Get Recovery Media – Identify your Toshiba PC – 4 Part model-part number (Step 2)

Please enter the last 4 digits of your Part Number.

GetRecoveryMedia - IdentifyYourToshibaPC

Get Recovery Media – Identify your Toshiba PC – Please Select Recovery Media for your computer / Select Media

GetRecoveryMedia - IdentifyYourToshibaPC-PleseSelectRecoveryMedia

Get Recovery Media – Shipping Info


Get Recovery Media – Credit Card Info


Get Recovery Media – Review your Order


Installed DVD

Waited for the DVD to arrive.  It took a week or a bit longer.

Two DVDs came in the pack.  Started the computer with Disc labelled Disk 1.  And, made sure to indicate that start-up should be via DVD.  Half-way through the install, asked for Disc 2.

Computer came up and everything is good.

Create Recovery DVD

I know this computer might break again, and so let us go create a “Recovery DVD” and avoid having to pay again when we need one.

Use Toshiba way

Googled for how to create Toshiba Recovery DVD and found a good lead in:

Creating system recovery media using the Toshiba Recovery Media Creator utility

But, I will not follow to the letter, for the following reasons:

  • It covers Windows 7 and Windows 8, but not Vista
  • And, could not find the “Toshiba Recovery Media Creator” nor “Toshiba Recovery Disc Creator” in  my installed Apps.  Please screen shot below:


Install Toshiba Recovery Media Creator

Toshiba Recovery Media Pathways

Recovery Media Creator / as an Administrator

When I run “Recovery Media Creator” as an Administrator, I get:


Recovery Media Creator / as regular user


we are getting:

  • an empty shell

whereas, we expected to see:

whereas we expected to see something like this:


Conclusively, it seems that our default install pathway when we used the Toshiba DVDs did not create a system recovery area.

There is another utility known as “Toshiba Application Disc Creator”:


but, though useful, it only targets Toshiba Applications and Drivers.  It does not cover the OS.

Time to go to work..

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