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Windows 7: need win7 recovery help

19 Sep 2015   #1
gteague

win7 64-bit pro
 
 
need win7 recovery help

hi folks: rank newbie here with first post after finding you on a google search. i'm a decades long computer 'professional' (and microsoft beta tester, ironically enough!) recently outsourced () and am a linux and mac user by choice, but have used windows my whole career because of work requirements. (!)

anyway, i run win7 64-bit pro under vmware on my mac because i'm a ham and there is basically no native support software for radios (aside from chirp) for the mac. vmware runs win7 brilliantly, btw, and it's great to have a whole windows system as just one file and just another window on the mac desktop.

but i digress, i breathe! sorry.

i recently found a great deal on a refurb thinkpad from newegg which i meant to use as another display for my radios and as a backup system for power outages. it came with win7 pro 64-bit with the license key in the battery compartment.

all good so far, right? until when i powered it on, despite every trick i knew, the windows install seemed to be corrupted. ubuntu v14.x.x ran just fine on it using a 'live' usb stick.

i called lenovo who refused to help since i was running refurb. lenovo, i'll remember that well if i ever need to purchase a new computer.

i called newegg who said they'd gladly refund my money, but they were out of the deal. and let me tell you, this thing flies on ubuntu and windows after i gave it 10gb of memory and tweaked some stuff. worst case i simply install ubuntu and forget about the rest i guess.

i called microsoft and they were equally unhelpful, saying that even though i had a license key, it was for an oem product and they could not provide me a link to an iso on which i could use the key and referred me back to lenovo. whom i'll never call again, btw.

so i rooted around the internets and despite a few links to isos for win pro, none panned out and it made me nervous visiting some of the shady places anyway. but finally a friend who repairs thinkpads for a living gave me a link to an iso for windows ultimate.

now, we are at the crux of the problem! thought i'd never get there, right? [g]

ultimate won't accept my license key. so i rooted around again and found a 'downgrade' procedure which is how i ended up here. but first i tried all the methods of doing this and, if i was guessing, i'd say microsoft has closed this door.

so i'm coming to you for help. obviously i do not want to pay over half the price of this computer for a license since i already paid for one with the purchase and i don't want to transfer my other license to this machine.

any options offered will be investigated. i have my ubuntu installation ready to go and in fact i will install it on one partition even if i can get a windows install.

oh, and for all i know about the licensing (nada) my key might well be slaved to that one corrupted set of files and i can never use it again.

thanks! /guy


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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19 Sep 2015   #2
UsernameIssues

W7 Pro SP1 64bit
 
 

There is a file on the DVD call ei.cfg. That file determines which version of Windows is offered during installation. If you remove (or hide*) that file, you should see this during the installation:



On a 64bit version, you won't be offered Starter.

* see the info here: winisoutils - Windows ISO Disc Image Utilities

Try these steps:
Create an ISO file from the W7 Ultimate DVD.
Run the ei.cfg removal tool from the link above against that ISO file.
Burn a new DVD with the modified ISO and try the install.

If you would rather use a USB stick...
...make the USB bootable
...put the W7 Ultimate files on it
...delete the ei.cfg file.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Sep 2015   #3
gteague

win7 64-bit pro
 
 

that's the screen i was missing according the the youtube video i was watching. i have the iso on a bootable usb now. just to be clear, if i remove the ei.cfg file from there and start a new install i'll be offered the 'pro' install and i won't have to 'downgrade' afterwards?

i was working on installing ubuntu when i got your reply, but i'm putting that on hold for now and immediately trying this. many thanks! if it works i'll come back and thank you and mark it /solved/.

i've tried that license key so often in the last two days it would be a miracle to me if it actually worked!

/guy
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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19 Sep 2015   #4
gteague

win7 64-bit pro
 
 

oh, i have win7 running now. should i run /setup/ from the usb or actually reboot into it? tks, /guy
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Sep 2015   #5
UsernameIssues

W7 Pro SP1 64bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by gteague View Post
...just to be clear, if i remove the ei.cfg file from there and start a new install i'll be offered the 'pro' install and i won't have to 'downgrade' afterwards?
Yes.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by gteague View Post
oh, i have win7 running now. should i run /setup/ from the usb or actually reboot into it? tks, /guy
Boot to the USB or DVD.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Sep 2015   #6
gteague

win7 64-bit pro
 
 

tks! windows is spinning like a drunk hamster. i'll report back .... /guy
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Sep 2015   #7
gteague

win7 64-bit pro
 
 

**** Activation Successful *****

never sweeter words in the land were heard!

i have to note though that i jumped the gun and started a setup using that 'downgrade' utility before you posted the boot notice. and i had already changed the registry keys as well.

i literally can't thank you enough my friend! you've saved me at least $100 to pay again for what i originally paid for. this was a lenovo refurb and you'd think they would have given enough warranty to cover the os at least.

now to go research how to keep my nice new install from being attacked by windows 10. i may be back ....

grazie millione! /guy
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Sep 2015   #8
UsernameIssues

W7 Pro SP1 64bit
 
 

My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Sep 2015   #9
gteague

win7 64-bit pro
 
 

again, thanks! i had already set to 'let me choose whether to download at all', but i'll uncheck the 'recommended ....' as well. /guy
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Sep 2015   #10
gteague

win7 64-bit pro
 
 

i just wanted to come back here about 12 hours after i started on this task and profusely thank @UserNameIssues for the clue that solved my puzzle--that file to remove. i've spent the hours since i last posted here getting win7 installed into a 200gb partition on the thinkpad. i just set it up minimally for now and then got screen sharing working between it and my mac so i could use the large keyboard and 27" display to do the heavy lifting. i didn't immediately have a hard drive ready to do a backup to, but i did a full backup to a usb stick and i still have my iso image on another stick and now i know the secret to a re-install if necessary.

and then i turned to ubuntu and the 100gb partition i'd set aside for it. the absolutely most worrisome event of the night with a couple of hours of research first was the linux install. i fussed and fussed with the partition manager trying to determine whether ubuntu was going to install into my partition or whether it was going to try to budge in with the windows install on that partition. i read install howto's until i was blue and no definitive answer. so, at the end i decided to trust ubuntu to do the right thing and indeed it did--utilizing the 100gb partition for its install and leaving windows entirely alone. it installed grub, the boot loader, in the mbr space and that of course allows me to choose which os at every boot.

i didn't do much setting up of ubuntu as it took another hour to figure out how to allow screen sharing with the mac. but finally i got that working too and got screen shots of each os running on my mac desktop. <winning!>

and yet again thanks! /guy


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