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Windows 7: Repair questionable, unfinished installation, or start all over again?

28 Oct 2015   #1
Clairvaux

Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit (OEM)
 
 
Repair questionable, unfinished installation, or start all over again?

I'm trying to build a clean installation to use as a zero-day image for future system restores. I haven't finished installing, and already problems are cropping up. Is there a way to repair the present system, without starting all over again ?

Stage reached
  • All Windows Updates installed, except 19 deliberately excluded (for pushing Windows 10, doing telemetry or being obviously irrelevant ; blocked some Windows Update Client updates).
  • All drivers (last versions).
  • Various system customizations.
  • Almost no application software (except a few to help with install).
  • Data not yet restored.
Problems
Windows running slow
Some actions that were immediate with my previous, 5-year old install now take several seconds or more.
In Control Panel
  • Device and Printers is not populated before the green loading bar finishes.
  • Same thing for Installed Updates (except for .NET updates which are displayed immediately).
  • Turn on or off Windows features displays a wait message for a very long time before the contents appear.
In Windows Explorer
I have 2 removable disks. One connected through USB 2.0, the other through SATA in a rack. When I click on either, I have to wait for the folder structure to appear (at least the first time). This takes more time on the USB disk than on the SATA disk. I'm positive there was no delay at all with the SATA disk in my previous install.
In the System Tray
It takes ages to have the Safely Remove Hardware menu appear, after clicking the appropriate icon.
Waking up from Sleep difficult
PC often hangs up when waking up from Sleep. Restarting needed. This one happened with my previous install. Reinstalling was supposed to correct this...
Disappearing Internet Connexion Properties
The Sharing tab of my Internet connexion displays this :
Quote:
"Windows cannot display the properties of this connection. The Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) information might be corrupted. To correct this, use System Restore."
I did not do this, for fear of uninstalling some Windows Updates or drivers, or removing system customizations. Executing winmgmt /verifyrepository returns the message : WMI repository is consistent.
Possibly relevant circumstances
  • Windows Updates were difficult and frought with incidents. At least one install was interrupted by shutting off the PC while message said you shouldn't do so.
  • Several Windows Updates were refused.
  • Many cycles of installing/uninstalling drivers, with possibly unhealthy results. A registry scan by C-Cleaner shows many allegedly faulty entries (I took care not to clean anything, however).
  • Drivers replaced by more up-to-date versions.
Many thanks in advance !


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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31 Oct 2015   #2
copiman

Windows 7 Home Premium
 
 

First off I'm not familiar with zero-day image. The only zero-day I know is a zero-day attack. Anyway, and this is just my opinion, if I did an install of 7 and had a lot of issues I would do a clean install again versus trying to repair. This way I would have a clean slate to work with. Be careful where you get the 7 install from. There are tons of places to get 7 downloads from. Also, I personally use drivers from only the manufactures web site.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 Oct 2015   #3
bigmck

Windows 7 Home Premium 32-Bit - Build 7600 SP1
 
 

You are far better off in starting the Install again. It does not take that long. It is good to have a zero-day backup but you also need to backup at least every week. In three years, you don't want to go back to your zero-day and lose all of the files that you have obtained. This is a good free backup to use. It makes the backup automatically ever how often you want.
Macrium Reflect Free
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

13 Nov 2015   #4
Clairvaux

Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit (OEM)
 
 

Thank you, Copiman and Bigmck. That's what I ended up doing, reinstalling from scratch (once again...).

Now, some of the troubles I listed have disappeared, or disappeared to some degree. This may have been the result of :
  • An opposite driver strategy. Whereas I had previously installed the most up-to-date drivers and the biggest available list of drivers / related utilities, I now installed the oldest set of drivers available (meaning the one closer to the original set I had when building my PC in 2010), and I kept the list of drivers / related utilities to a minimum.
  • A smaller number of (inevitable) back-and-forths, cycles of install-uninstall-reinstall after running into glitches during the process.
Disappearing Internet Connection Properties
This, I discovered, could be corrected without reinstall, just by creating a new Internet connection with the appropriate wizard.

Waking up from Sleep difficult
Not sure about this. I thing my PC now sleeps normally, but it remains to be confirmed.

Windows running slow
  • System Tray / Safely Remove Hardware : now working normally.
  • External USB disk + rackable SATA disk slow to show up completely in Windows Explorer : still a problem.
  • Installed Windows Updates slow to show up : still the case. Maybe a bit quicker to populate.
  • Turn on or off Windows features slow to show up : got back to normal right after reinstall (not populated right away, but almost). However, now, it's probably slower than it was before reinstall ! Only thing I did in-between was : installed some application software (probably irrelevant), and installed some extra Windows Updates. I suspect the latter are the culprits.
  • Devices and Printers slow to show up : still have to wait for the green loading bar.
The conclusion of all this (tentatively and un-demonstrably) is that Windows Updates is Microsoft pumping malware into Windows . All right, let me put it this way : after many, many reinstalls in short succession, I am convinced that five years' worth of Windows Updates (however necessary they may be) distinctly make Windows 7 slower and less responsive.

I still have zero user data restored on this machine.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by copiman View Post
First off I'm not familiar with zero-day image.
Just a personal expression, meaning : your golden safety net. The cleanest and most complete image you keep (mutually exclusive concepts, admittedly), in order to fall back on if nothing else works.
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by copiman View Post
Be careful where you get the 7 install from. There are tons of places to get 7 downloads from.
To the risk of sounding nave, I've never come across them. Just heard about them... I only have my W7 original DVD, the bootable flash drive I made out of it, and an .iso downloaded from Microsoft just in case.
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by copiman View Post
Also, I personally use drivers from only the manufactures web site.
There are conflicting theories flying around on this. The manufacturer of what, by the way ?

In my case, I discovered that downloading the drivers recommended by AMD (the manufacturer of my Asus motherboard chipset and graphics) amounted to bloat, overkill and maybe maladjustement. AMD pushes to you the biggest set of drivers / utilities / whatnot it can find to this day. This may be a strategy appropriate for gamers who try to milk the last drop of power from hypercharged graphic cards, and need the most up-to-date software environment for their games. But it goes against the strategy I adopted for this reinstall, with seemingly better results (for me). I only do boring things, like Internet browsing and office work.

Also, AMD has an agressive install strategy, pushing its graphics management software into your System Tray, and squatting one of Windows Explorer's menus with no obvious way to flush it out. This is my computer, thank you very much, not some free advertising space which is up for grabs.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by bigmck View Post
You also need to backup at least every week. Macrium Reflect Free
I couldn't agree more. I image everyday. Everything. System and data. With Macrium Reflect Professional v.5 (now Macrium Reflect v.6, Home Edition and upwards). My processor is idle most of the time and hard disk space comes cheap, so why bother ?

Macrium has a silly user interface (not much changed in v.6 from what I can see), but everybody agrees that it is rock solid, and that's what you need first and foremost from an imaging software. The free version is already full of features. The first-level paying version for home use does not come cheap, however it has one extra feature which is highly desirable : encryption. You don't want external disks getting lost or stolen, with all your personal history and data available to everybody.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Nov 2015   #5
bigmck

Windows 7 Home Premium 32-Bit - Build 7600 SP1
 
 

It was hard for me to tell in your lengthy post. Are you having any problems now? I hope you installed everything before you put any drivers in. The Windows 7 CD has close to 100% of the drivers that you will need. You should install first and only add the drivers that are needed. == If you have any questions, let us know.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Nov 2015   #6
AddRAM

Windows 7 Pro x64 Windows 10 Pro x64
 
 

The problem is when you start piling on all the updates and crap, windows runs a bit slower.

Personally I hate adding updates to the system, I notice a slower boot time after all those initial updates.

When I first install, the 4 colors don`t even get a chance to come together, after a few dozen or so updates, they come together and pulse for 2 to 3 seconds.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Nov 2015   #7
Clairvaux

Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit (OEM)
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by AddRAM View Post
Personally I hate adding updates to the system, I notice a slower boot time after all those initial updates.
Thanks for the confirmation.
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by bigmck View Post
It was hard for me to tell in your lengthy post. Are you having any problems now?
My point was, I now consider my install okay-ish from this point. However, there are still problems, which I detailed in my post. What I don't know is whether they are bugs or features, although I suspect the latter. However, if anyone has a solution to offer, I'd be very glad to accept it !
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by bigmck View Post
I hope you installed everything before you put any drivers in.
Not sure what everything is. I did this :
  • Started from a previous image, which includes a custom install of Windows 7 + entering Audit Mode + disk partitioning.
  • Added drivers.
  • Added Internet connection.
  • Added customizations (Start Menu...)
  • Prepared Sysprep (User accounts, product key...).
  • Sysprep command.
  • Added Windows Updates.
  • Added application software.
Yet to be done : restore user data.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by bigmck View Post
The Windows 7 CD has close to 100% of the drivers that you will need. You should install first and only add the drivers that are needed.
I am confused. I've read many conflicting opinions on the subject, but there are many people stating very strongly that you should prefer non-Microsoft drivers. This time, I mainly used the drivers which came with my motherboard's DVD, plus one or two from Asus' site (I'd need to check that). I cannot even surf the Internet straight out of the Windows 7 DVD : the network driver is lacking.

Of course, there's still a bucket-load of drivers that Windows installs anyway right from the beginning, does not ask you about, and which don't get replaced by anything else, right ?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Nov 2015   #8
bigmck

Windows 7 Home Premium 32-Bit - Build 7600 SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Clairvaux View Post

Of course, there's still a bucket-load of drivers that Windows installs anyway right from the beginning, does not ask you about, and which don't get replaced by anything else, right ?
Windows has most of the drivers on the CD. The Internet driver has to be installed, but I think that was the only one that I had to install. Everything worked with just the Windows drivers. If things work with the Windows drivers, then there is no need to install any specific drivers.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Nov 2015   #9
Callender

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1
 
 

Well a couple of things that I can think of are:

Try using this tutorial and see if things improve:

How to Optimize Windows 7

RE: AMD Graphics Driver. I have found it better just to install the driver and skip Catalyst Control Center entirely. When installing select the 'Custom' installation option and untick the 'Catalyst Control Center.

If you must use Catalyst Control Center:

Go to registry (remove the Wow6432Node for 32bit Windows)

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\ATI\ACE\Ba ckup\Settings\MOM\Components]

(for 64bit windows)

or

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\ATI\ACE\Backup\Settings\MOM\Components]

(for 32bit windows)

Change the "Dashboard" value from 0 to 1

This allows the CCC UI to be run on a separate process than the CCC core components.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Nov 2015   #10
Clairvaux

Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit (OEM)
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Callender View Post
RE: AMD Graphics Driver. I have found it better just to install the driver and skip Catalyst Control Center entirely. When installing select the 'Custom' installation option and untick the 'Catalyst Control Center..
Thanks. Yes. That's what I do. (To be continued)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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