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Windows 7: Resurrecting previous Win7 install


05 Jan 2011   #1

Win7 Pro 32-bit, Win8 Pro 32-bit
 
 
Resurrecting previous Win7 install

I'm afraid I already know the answer to this ... but in the hopes that I'm wrong, I'm going to ask it anyway.

My five-year old PC motherboard shorted out this weekend -- leaving me with a dead box.

I have recent backups (using Macrium Reflect) of both my Vista install and my Windows 7 install, and BOTH are still resident on the main hard drive.

Problem is that since the Mobo is LONG out of production, I've bit the bullet and will be replacing is with a new Mobo, processor, memory, audio, and video hardware (new Mobos come with the latter builtin).

That means I can't simply plugin the drive, reboot, and be up and working.

I've read some info on Paragon's Virtualization Manager -- which appears to be able to migrate an install from one set of hardware to another -- but I'm guessing you need to do the "from" migration first, which I can't do because my machine is dead.

So, I have three questions I hope someone can answer:
1) Migration -- apart from reinstalling from scratch, is there any way to resurrect my previous install?
2) Installation -- I have both the 32-bit and 64-bit Windows 7 Pro DVDs, and am thinking about installing using the 64-bit. Have read the post about doing a clean install using an "upgrade" DVD (which mine is), so I presume that will go well -- as long as I don't enter a product key.
3) Reactivation -- I'm presuming this will fail (since I already activated the 32-bit version) -- but will an online attempt, or call to MS, take care of this for me? Or am I facing the prospect of having to buy a new copy of Windows 7 Pro?

Thanks in advance for any help in this.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
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05 Jan 2011   #2
Microsoft MVP

 

Your best bet is to clean reinstall. Paragon Adaptive Restore CD can remove all drivers from a HD OS to try to start it on new hardware, or Acronis 10+ with Universal Restore can do the same thing during imaging, however nothing beats a clean fresh install following these steps to make it purrfect:

If you need to retrieve your files from the HD, you can browse into it using the Install DVD or Repair CD with this method: Copy & Paste - in Windows Recovery Console or use Paragon Rescue CD.

Then unplug all other HD's, wipe the HD of all code to get cleanest install: SSD / HDD : Optimize for Windows Reinstallation

If you install to wiped HD, the installer will issue a 100mb System Reserved boot partition which conveniently places the Repair Console (normally only on the DVD or Repair CD) on the F8 Advanced Boot Tools menu. So I would choose Custom Install and then Drive Options to partition as you wish and format: Clean Install Windows 7

If you have Upgrade version and wipe the HD, skip inserting the key during install and do one of the workarounds given here for installing to a wiped HD: Clean Install with a Upgrade Windows 7 Version

The installer is mostly driver-complete, with newer arriving quickly via optional Windows Updates. Just in case, have your Ethernet/Wireless driver on flash stick or CD so you can get online to Update quickly. Then enable hardware driver auto-updating: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/w...-your-hardware

Any drivers then missing in Device Manager can be found on the Support Downloads webpage for your model computer or device. Driver Install - Device Manager

Install updates and then programs slowly over time to gauge performance after each. Don't let any programs write themselves into msconfig>Startup as they slow startup, become freeloaders on your RAM/CPU and can spy on you. I only allow AV and gadgets. Startup Programs - Change

Use a lightweight free AV like MS Security Essentials which works perfectly with Windows 7 Firewall. http://www.microsoft.com/security_essentials/

When it is finished, clean and order the HD perfectly using state-of-the-art free CCleaner then Auslogics Disk and Registry defraggers monthly.
CCleaner - Free software downloads and software reviews - CNET Download.com
Auslogics Disk Defrag - Reviews and free Auslogics Disk Defrag downloads at Download.com
Auslogics Registry Defrag - Free software downloads and software reviews - CNET Download.com

Then save a Windows 7 Backup image externally so you never have to reinstall again, just reimage the HD or replacement using DVD or Repair CD. Backup Complete Computer - Create an Image Backup
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Jan 2011   #3

Win7 Pro 32-bit, Win8 Pro 32-bit
 
 

gregrocker:

Wow -- thanks for all the useful feedback.

But, what can you tell me about my third question? This is an Upgrade DVD, not a full version. In the off chance I have to call MS, do you think they will honor my activation request? OR do you think I'll be forced to buy a new Windows 7 Pro retail version?

I'm asking because if I have to do that (purchase a new DVD), that drives up the cost to the point that it would be cheaper to just buy a new machine that comes with Windows 7 Pro 64-bit already installed.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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05 Jan 2011   #4
Microsoft MVP

W 7 64-bit Ultimate
 
 

Hello Mark.



If the version you have is a MS regular upgrade DVD you will have no problems when activation time comes using one of the work-arounds listed in the upgrade tutorial as long as there is only one Windows 7 activated with that upgrade key at a time and you have 120 days to activate.

Activation Trial Period - Extend Up to 120 Days
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Jan 2011   #5

Win7 Pro 32-bit, Win8 Pro 32-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Bare Foot Kid View Post
... as long as there is only one Windows 7 activated with that upgrade key...
That's the rub ... there already IS a Windows 7 version activated with that key -- the 32-bit version present on the hard drive.

So basically, I would be doing the following:
1) "Moving" the activation from the old PC to the new PC
2) Changing it from 32-bit to 64-bit

Actually, I tried calling MS earlier today but it appears you can't get to someone without entering the key info on the screen, and since this PC is activated, I didn't want to do anything that might deactivate it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Jan 2011   #6
Microsoft MVP

W 7 64-bit Ultimate
 
 

The actual issue occurs when both installs are online at the same time for the MS servers to pick up, if you install the 64-bit and the old 32-bit is 'history' you should have nothing to be concerned with.

If you are able to get the 32-bit running the key can be removed from that install from an elevated command window using this command, slmgr -upk
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Jan 2011   #7

Win7 Pro 32-bit, Win8 Pro 32-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Bare Foot Kid View Post
...If you are able to get the 32-bit running the key can be removed from that install from an elevated command window using this command, slmgr -upk
Wow -- thanks. Didn't know that.

Learn something knew here every day!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Jan 2011   #8
Microsoft MVP

W 7 64-bit Ultimate
 
 

Glad I can help and be sure to post back with updates as they occur.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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