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Windows 7: Dell XPS M1530 Startup Repair Loop, Offline SFC does NOT function

27 Feb 2012   #51
Z92435

Windows 7, 32-bit & 64-bit (Depends on Which Computer)
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by writhziden View Post
In my experience, the Windows install takes between 30 minutes to an hour. Anything beyond that is abnormal.
Okay. Apparently, most of that hour or so will be spent stuck at the "Completing Installation" phase, making you think that it's not going to go through. So far, I've got the machine trying to download something like 149 updates so that it can get updated as much as possible. Just wondering, we know that a complete reinstall clears out all of the programs and such into "various.old" folders. Yet, a repair install solely acts on the System folder, is that correct?

The reason I'm asking is because while I know that you recommend I just do the whole of Windows, and that's what I'll do if I have to, but I'm wondering if any of the programs' settings or linkages will be destroyed by that replacement? I mean, I do have the original "System", "System32", "RegBack", and the Spybot Regs backed up, but the important thing here is to making sure that the programs' associations and such as maintained. But, I'm not well versed enough to know if any installations shove things into either the "System" or "System32" folders or not. Care to guess and enlighten me?


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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27 Feb 2012   #52
writhziden

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit
 
 

The installations do put files into those folders. That is where program drivers go, registry entries, some .dll files, etc. But if the old installation still has all those things intact, then you shouldn't be overwriting too many things if any. The majority of software will not overwrite Windows files because it would change how Windows functions, but there are some exceptions. Without knowing what is installed on the computer, it is difficult to say whether copying files over will cause the system to stop working as it should and programs to stop working as they should.

Now, overwriting the registry is obviously going to have an adverse effect on how the programs function. How old are the .reg backups that you have? If they are fairly recent, as I assumed they were since you had just updated to 7, then those should sort out the software issues through the registry. I do not know how much overwriting the software might have done to Windows, but if you run the software, it should (hopefully) give complaints as to what files it is missing or are not as it expects, and you can go back to the old Windows folder and try to find those or find them from the system image you took.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Feb 2012   #53
Z92435

Windows 7, 32-bit & 64-bit (Depends on Which Computer)
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by writhziden View Post
The installations do put files into those folders. That is where program drivers go, registry entries, some .dll files, etc. But if the old installation still has all those things intact, then you shouldn't be overwriting too many things if any. The majority of software will not overwrite Windows files because it would change how Windows functions, but there are some exceptions. Without knowing what is installed on the computer, it is difficult to say whether copying files over will cause the system to stop working as it should and programs to stop working as they should.

Now, overwriting the registry is obviously going to have an adverse effect on how the programs function. How old are the .reg backups that you have? If they are fairly recent, as I assumed they were since you had just updated to 7, then those should sort out the software issues through the registry. I do not know how much overwriting the software might have done to Windows, but if you run the software, it should (hopefully) give complaints as to what files it is missing or are not as it expects, and you can go back to the old Windows folder and try to find those or find them from the system image you took.
Writhziden,

Okay, so what you're saying is that while every program installation obviously does shove things into the "Windows" folder, when I do issue the replacement command, they most likely will NOT be wiped out, as long as they're individual files, rather than changes in an existing component of Windows itself. And, being that most third-party software are so against overwriting components of Windows itself, it's more likely to be adding another file or entry to the folder, rather than altering something existing. For example, much like how if I have {A,..., Z, 1, 2, 3} in the set, <X>, but just {A,..., Z} in the set, <Y>. When I use robocopy to move <Y> into <X>, while all entries between A to Z will be replaced, but {1, 2, 3} will not be changed at all. Is that right? If so, that makes total sense. If you wish, I can certainly provide you with a list of programs that was installed originally to see if anything could prove to be troublesome for the procedure.

Regarding the .reg backups that Spybot made, they were made maybe two or three days before the disaster happened, and I'd installed maybe two to three Windows update after they were made. Thus, I do not think that there's much discrepancy at all. Furthermore, all of the software that I did install or update between the time it was made and when it crashed are actually re-installable, so I'm not worried about that point at all. The point that I am slightly concerned about is that when I did carry out the reinstallation, it apparently nuked a whole truckload of drivers for the machine, which left quite a few things being labeled by that hateful little yellow question mark on device manager. I know what we talked about in the previous paragraph states that if those drivers existed in the originally installation, they shouldn't be touched. But, I still find myself wondering if I should just go ahead and re-install all of the drivers before I do the transplant. I would need to get the drivers from Dell, which would be for the Vista OS, and may be old, as you saw on the minidump logs. Is that better than just leaving it as it, or should I hunt down more recent drivers? If I should driver hunt, do you have any recommendations on where would be a good place?

Currently, I've got the donor all loaded up with all of the current updates via Windows Update, and I've got the Windows edition of Macrium Reflect Rescue Disk in the machine and am making yet another image to put on my TB drive, just in case something goes haywire. One can use the Macrium CD to selectively restore files or folders from the image, right? If so, being that I've got two of them and a buttload of back up files, I should be set for most of the issues.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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27 Feb 2012   #54
writhziden

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit
 
 

And yes, your variable set example is correct.

You will want to check the Hardware IDs for the devices missing drivers and use the Dell site to get those drivers. I think this is the best route. If you do a Google search for the Hardware IDs, you should be able to determine what hardware is missing drivers.

And, yes, you can mount the system image as a virtual hard drive through the Macrium CD, and you can pull files or folders off that virtual drive and put them on the actual hard drive.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Feb 2012   #55
Z92435

Windows 7, 32-bit & 64-bit (Depends on Which Computer)
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by writhziden View Post
And yes, your variable set example is correct.

You will want to check the Hardware IDs for the devices missing drivers and use the Dell site to get those drivers. I think this is the best route. If you do a Google search for the Hardware IDs, you should be able to determine what hardware is missing drivers.

And, yes, you can mount the system image as a virtual hard drive through the Macrium CD, and you can pull files or folders off that virtual drive and put them on the actual hard drive.
All right. Now that the imaging is done, and I've installed all of the drivers I can find onto the donor drive, hopefully that will get it up to snuff so that a successful transplant can be done.

I just had a crazy thought: What if I robocopied everything from the "Windows" folder in the donor drive into the "Windows" folder in the donor drive's "Windows.old" folder, then moving it to the original drive? Maybe that'll get things closer to the original contents? Hmmm. Better try out the robocopy command once by making a copy of the "Windows" folder, so that I can do a easy recovery via rename if things do go bad.

Update: Lord. How long does a robocopy take? The screen never stops moving, but it's been like an hour already. Cloning and making an image neither took this long. Bah. Just saw something about multi thread that others are talking about using robocopy with. Should I try inputting that command when I do the formal brain transplant? Would that speed things up?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Feb 2012   #56
writhziden

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit
 
 

I usually let robocopy run overnight, but that is due to copying 50-100 GB of items. I wouldn't think the Windows folder would take more than an hour or two... How long did it end up taking?

And the multithreaded option would be faster. I did not know about that feature, so thanks for that info.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Feb 2012   #57
Z92435

Windows 7, 32-bit & 64-bit (Depends on Which Computer)
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by writhziden View Post
I usually let robocopy run overnight, but that is due to copying 50-100 GB of items. I wouldn't think the Windows folder would take more than an hour or two... How long did it end up taking?

And the multithreaded option would be faster. I did not know about that feature, so thanks for that info.
All right, Dr. Moreau-Frankenstein checking in here. As guano insane as this is, the first robocopy (i.e. Making a duplicate of the donor "Windows" folder") took seven (7!) hours. Being that cloning and imaging the entire disk, rather than just the Core OS files each took about an hour, I'm rather surprised that it took that long. Currently, the second transplant Robocopy is underway, with the donor "Window" folder being copied over to the original "Window" folder. Taking a tip from others online and your recommendation, I've enabled the MT option, setting it to 98 (/MT:98. Min or not specified is 1, and Max is 128). Here's hoping that it won't take seven hours for this transfer to complete.

Being that this transfer is from a filled folder to another filled folder, rather than an empty one, a lot of the log are labeled with "EXTRA file/folder", which means that those are folders which does not exist in the source folder, as far as I can tell via my google-fu. Now, I'm a bit afraid that it's not actually going to copy over much of anything, which would render the transplant procedure meaningless. Here's hoping that it'll start stating something other than the EXTRA files/folder soon.

I'll be in touch when there's more development. Wish me living monsters.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Feb 2012   #58
writhziden

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit
 
 

You may need to add the /IS (include same) flag and /IT (include tweaked) flag. You can stop the current copy with CTRL + C if you'd like.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Feb 2012   #59
Z92435

Windows 7, 32-bit & 64-bit (Depends on Which Computer)
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by writhziden View Post
You may need to add the /IS (include same) flag and /IT (include tweaked) flag. You can stop the current copy with CTRL + C if you'd like.
Wait, wait, wait. So, what's the command going to be like?

Robocopy /s /r:5 /w:0 /xj /MT:98 /IT /IS E:\Windows C:\Windows

I've got the Windows Installation CD in D:, the donor drive mounted via USB cradle as E:, and the original drive back in the machine as C:.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Feb 2012   #60
writhziden

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit
 
 

Yes, that should work. Let us know if it spits out any errors with those flags setup.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Dell XPS M1530 Startup Repair Loop, Offline SFC does NOT function




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