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Windows 7: repair install

03 May 2012   #1

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64bit
repair install

Lenovo B570
Win7x64 HP SP1

FIRST: I have read the repair tutorial from this forum. It indicated that I cannot perform a repair because I have an OEM installation.

factory configuration:
  • hard drive
C: exactly what is expected, the working partition of the HDD
D: factory partition, containing executable files for various factory installed utilities
  • factory feature
One Key Recovery, allows the option of restoring to factory settings or user provided image, documentation does not address the opportunity to select what to restore, it is all or nothing

I have a recovery disk which I burned shortly after configuring user accounts and passwords. Additionally I have image and file backups created by Windows Back Up. (I have been very busy with college courses and not had the time to set up Macrium. The semester is now over.)

My research to date has indicated that I cannot perform a repair install using an OEM disc or a recovery disk burned from an OEM operating system. Therefore, I am here in an attempt to repair my OS while keeping files, programs, user accounts, and home network settings.

Here is the problem which makes me believe that the OS needs to be repaired. During the boot process, the computer freezes immediately before the log on screen. The only recovery is a hard shut down using the power button. The problem is completely random in nature with no perceivable combination of events leading up to the failure. It may occur multiple times in a given day, wait a day or two, or wait a couple of weeks before manifesting again. This makes troubleshooting very difficult. I have been experiencing this problem for several months, but opted to wait until the current semester reached completion. I did not halve the time to study and repair this machine.

Here are the things I have attempted to use to repair the problem:
  • chkdsk, no problems found
  • start up repair, no problem found
  • update graphics driver (Lenovo support recommended removing the graphics driver and reloading it. Microsoft found a driver update at the same time; so I chose to try that.)
I don't know how to restore selected portions from a backup. Furthermore, I am not confident that I can successfully locate all the files, programs, settings, etc. that I wish to retain. What do yo recommend? Is there a way that I can preserve the settings described above? I prefer to avoid the time and effort to install programs again and perform all the tasks necessary to restore this machine to the home network.


My System SpecsSystem Spec

03 May 2012   #2
Microsoft MVP


You cannot run a Repair Install with the Factory Recovery Disks, but you can run one on Factory OEM with the latest official installer with SP1: Windows 7 SP1 ISO from Digital River My Digital Life.

Burn your licensed version and bit rate to DVD or write to bootable flash stick using Windows 7 USB-DVD Download Tool

You might also be interested in getting the much superior Clean Reinstall - Factory OEM Windows 7. Most tech enthusiasts will not run Windows 7 with the corrupting factory bloatware larded on it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 May 2012   #3

Win 8 RP, Win 7, XP

sfc scan can repair system files (if errors found):
sfc /scannow - on administrative command prompt.

sfc can be run several times if errors are reported - one scan cannot fix all errors at once.

If sfc does not find errors then one of the installed programs could be the problem - see what is started automatically and try to get rid of all unnecessary start-up items not really needed.

Check all running services - are there non-Microsoft services which could be stopped (and disabled) ? More and more utilities install services just to startup faster when launched.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

04 May 2012   #4

MS Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-bit


First, I recommend making a System Image backup using Windows 7 Backup and Restore. This is the only system image backup program that I use and I have also restored from such an image.

With a system image created by Win 7 Backup and restore, you can always extract anything from the image since the image is stored as VHD files, one for each partition you backup. I recommend backing up the entire disk and not just the C drive.

You will need an external USB drive. Backing up onto the very drive you want to backup is a little silly since then if the hard drive fails, your backup is also gone.


Following procedure is going to put a file on your desktop named LogonTimes.txt
Upload that file please.

# Places LOGONTIMES.txt on your DESKTOP
# ***************** NOTE ************************************
# if you receive this error msg:
# Get-WinEvent: The system can not find the path specified
# you need to update your PowerShell
# you must be using Powershell 2.0 or later.
# To determine your Powershell version:
# Run PowerShell
# enter following $host.version
# you should see at least:
# Major Minor Build Revision
# ----- ----- ----- --------
# 2 0 -1 -1
# If you do not see the above, update your Vista/Win 7.
# ************************************************************
# STEP 1 *****************************************************
# RUN PowerShell as administrator
# ************************************************************
# **************** NOTE **************************************
# to PASTE in powershell--
# --RIGHT-CLICK (Ctrl V does not work)
# ************************************************************
# STEP 2 *****************************************************
# COPY following lines; PASTE into Powershell
# Include the two EXIT statements in the copy & paste
# ************************************************************

$events = Get-WinEvent -FilterHashtable @{logname='application'; id=4101; level=4} `
-verbose:$false -erroraction:silentlycontinue
$events | format-table -property timecreated,message -auto -wrap `
> $env:userprofile\desktop\LOGONTIMES.txt


# ******************* THAT WAS EASY **************************
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 May 2012   #5

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64bit

Thanks everybody,

various replies:

gregrocker --
I am taking time to read/study your links. I am aware that I cannot run a repair install. I am looking for the equivalent of a factory install to prevent the need to install and configure MS Office Pro 2010, Visual Studio Express 20210, and other smaller programs again. Removing the bloatware is much easier.

sfc reveals no problems.

I have image and file backups saved to an external drive using Windows Backup, and I have a recovery disk. My computer savvy is not great enough to be familiar with power shell. I want to take a closer look before attempting it. Yes, I understand that you have provided script which can be pasted. I just want to know what to expect in case of problems.

Bottom line:
Because of slow internet speed, the installation process for VS express took over five hours (including updates). Installing Office took over three hours (including updates). The download for theISO promises to take hooouurrs also. This does not include the smaller programs, user account settings., browser settings, etc. I will go to great lengths to avoid this extra time and work instead of repairing the OS if reasonably and reliably possible .

Maybe I have missed something in the replies. That is why I am taking more time to read and understand the links before continuing.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 May 2012   #6

MS Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-bit

Just do it. Your computer will not explode or implode.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 May 2012   #7
Microsoft MVP


You can in fact run a Repair Install, just not using the Recovery Disks. You'll need to download and burn to DVD or write to flash stick the latest official Windows 7 installer ISO from the link I gave you and burn it with the tool i provided. How could you take from this the continued misimpression that you cannot run a Repair Install?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 May 2012   #8

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64bit

individual replies follow this:

I greatly appreciate the time and knowledge you are sharing with me. With all due respect for your advanced knowledge, I ask you to be patient with me. I am attempting to gain an understanding as well as accomplish a task. I find computers to be fascinating and am trying to increase my knowledge base in all areas I come in contact with. Everyone has to start somewhere. If my only goal was to accomplish the task, I would pay a shop and be done with it.

If my inspection of your instructions gives me the correct understanding, the script will produce an error log to use for troubleshooting start up problems. The intent is to have it easily accessible from the desktop. Is that correct?


You asked,
How could you take from this the continued misimpression that you cannot run a Repair Install?
At the time of my previous post, I had only done a quick read of your tutorial links and followed a few links inside the links to get an overview. The warning section of How to Do a Repair Install to Fix Windows 7 contained so many "you can" and "you cannot" statements that I did not have them mentally sorted out. I have the correct understanding now.

There is something that I would like for you to help me get a clear understanding of. Does the USB containing the ISO have to be dedicated to that purpose only? The reason for my question is that I have two 4GB flash drives which contain data and an empty 32GB flash drive. I see two options in preparation here. The first is to transfer all data from one of the 4GB flash drives to the 32GB flash drive and use the 4GB flash drive for this task. The second option is to use the 32GB drive for this task and use the remaining unused space for other data. I do not posses a deep enough understanding of ISO files and bootable media to make this decision. Does this make sense?

My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 May 2012   #9

MS Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-bit

carrying out the script will help us to help you.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 May 2012   #10
Microsoft MVP


I would use one of the 4gb flash sticks for the installer, writing the latest ISO linked previously to stick using the Windows 7 download tool.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 repair install

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