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Windows 7: Boot disk failed. How best to rebuild PC without losing user data?

14 Jul 2013   #1

Windows 7 Pro 64 SP1
Boot disk failed. How best to rebuild PC without losing user data?

My PC has just crashed and won't reboot. It looks like there is an error on the boot disk and given the past history of this PC and this drive I don't think it's worth trying to recover it.

The PC was built with an 80Gb boot disk with windows installed and a 1.5Tb data disk with the user directories and files. I'm pretty sure it was built by following this procedure

I was thinking of replacing the boot disk with a new SSD. Is this reasonable? If so are there any particular recommendations for an SSD or are they all good?

Most importantly though - what process do I follow to be sure I can install Windows 7 on the SSD without losing any of the user data? My reading makes me think it's not straightforward.

Any guidance would be appreciated.

My System SpecsSystem Spec

14 Jul 2013   #2
Microsoft MVP


Unplug all other drives during install, decide if you want to maintain the User folders on the data drive and if so you can either reinstall using that same tutorial method or move the Active User folder shells to HD after install using User Folders - Change Default Location.

Look over these same steps which will assure a perfect Clean Reinstall - Factory OEM Windows 7 and make sure you don't forget anything. After install you can also plug back in the 80gb to access any data you need like Bookmarks, mail or other Program data.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Jul 2013   #3

Windows 7 Pro 64 SP1

I don't believe anything will be recoverable from the 80GB system drive but I will have a look.

So do you mean I should remove both the old 80GB system drive and the 1.5TB user data drive and only have the SSD installed? Or do I leave the user data drive installed?

I have previously used Kari's technique for changing where all the user directories are created but after reading the "Clean reinstall" directions above I wonder if it isn't better to leave them on C: and just add the folders on the user data drive into the libraries?
My System SpecsSystem Spec

14 Jul 2013   #4
Microsoft MVP


Yes, I would first try adding the data partition's User folders to Library - Include a Folder
and specify that folder as the default download location in each's Library's window. See how this method works for you before deciding to move the User Folders - Change Default Location.

I have never tried moving User folders during install method so can't comment on it other than to say we know of a major problem with moving the User folders if you intend to use Windows Backup Imaging which will insist on the data drive then being a System drive included in image. The Library method solves this. If you don't use Windows Imaging you can move User folders.

I personally move mine to Skydrive folder on each of my PC's so that they are sync'd via the cloud, a modern method that can also be considered if you want to simultaneously sync them while backing up on the internet. Sync, Backup and Store your Files to the Cloud with Skydrive - Windows 7 Forums
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Jul 2013   #5

Windows 7 Pro 64 SP1

All done, PC has been rebuilt and is working fine.
Took a while to decide which sata port to connect the SSD to no issues during the install.
Followed the process for changing the default location without any trouble. As you say it also solved the problem of Windows system images copying the data drive as well. Now the system image is just the C: drive.

Slowly working my way though the tuning to best support an SSD based system drive.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Jul 2013   #6
Microsoft MVP


Stick with the same tools and methods in Clean Reinstall - Factory OEM Windows 7 to get and keep a perfect install.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Boot disk failed. How best to rebuild PC without losing user data?

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