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Windows 7: Almost everything "has stopped working"

12 Jul 2014   #1
ndb

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit 6.1.7601 SP1 Build 7601
 
 
Almost everything "has stopped working"

Hi, I'm new to the forum and looking for some help. My computer has become unreliable with few programmes able to load. The programme will try to load and the will say "_____ has stopped working". This started a few days ago. I will do my best to give you a summary of what I've done and what may have caused the problem.

I have switchable graphics and tried to update both drivers. I did this from the respective website's though not the HP website and later discovered incompatibility issues so tried to revert back. I also have run System Mechanic 12.7 but now think this may have done more harm than good. I think it's this rather than a virus. Norton has limited functionality but doesn't seem to have found anything serious. Strangely, the fingerprint reader is no longer working either. Thanks peeps.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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12 Jul 2014   #2
ignatzatsonic

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit
 
 

You "tried to revert back".

By doing what exactly?

Did you attempt to use Windows built-in restore points, going back to a point in time before you switched drivers?

Agreed--System Mechanic may be causing problems. I'd ditch it.

About drivers: generally, the advice is to not try to fix something that isn't broken--if existing drivers are doing what you need, stay with them. Was there an over-riding reason why you changed drivers?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Jul 2014   #3
ndb

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit 6.1.7601 SP1 Build 7601
 
 

Hi ignatzatsonic, thanks for your reply.

Sorry for not being crystal clear. What I meant was that I tried deleting the updated drivers I'd attempted to install and re-install the driver's available from HP's support website.

I also tried using the restore function but that doesn't seem to have helped. There were several microsoft updates that I agreed to just before or after (sorry, can't recall which) my error with the graphics drivers so I think it restored to the point just before update. The trouble is once the laptop booted up and I'd logged on System Mechanic started automatically doing an analysis. It said there was damage to the hard drive and registry. I just trusted it would fix it but as I said I now suspect it's done more harm than good. I think I will indeed ditch it.

So I'm wondering what I need to do to get my laptop working properly. I fear I may have to do something drastic like a complete system re-install. Obviously, I'd like to avoid that. I just don't know how.

If a re-install was the only fix, would there be an alternative option like upgrading to windows 8/and or using this as an opportunity to get a SSD and putting everything on there (my laptop has space for two internal hard-drives). Even if I don't get windows 8 or SSD I was thinking a complete re-install might be a good idea as I've had the laptop for three years now and wonder if that could also improve it's performance. It's just the hassle of losing installed programmes. Is there a way around that?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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12 Jul 2014   #4
Ztruker

Windows 10 Pro X64
 
 

The laptop should have a built-in recovery partition you can access via Start menu or via a Fn key during boot. That's one way to restore it to it's factory new state. Make sure you backup anything you don't want to lose first though as it will wipe out everything.

According to the manual for your computer:

Quote:
When using the dedicated recovery partition, there is an option to back up pictures, music and other
audio, videos and movies, recorded TV shows, documents, spreadsheets and presentations, e-mails,
Internet favorites and settings during this process.

To restore the computer from the recovery partition, follow these steps:
1. Access Recovery Manager in either of the following ways:
● Select Start > All Programs > Recovery Manager > Recovery Manager.
– or –
● Turn on or restart the computer, and then press esc while the “Press the ESC key for Startup
Menu” message is displayed at the bottom of the screen. Then, press f11 while the “F11
(System Recovery)” message is displayed on the screen.
2. Click System Recovery in the Recovery Manager window.
3. Follow the on-screen instructions.
Performing
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Jul 2014   #5
ignatzatsonic

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit
 
 

You could do any of the following:

1: futz around and possibly get your driver/hard drive/registry situation ironed out on your current installation.

2: do as Ztruker suggests and revert to out of the box state, after backing up your data. You'd have to reinstall all applications that you later installed.

3: do a clean install of 7 or 8 if you prefer 8--either to your existing hard drive or to an SSD. This would leave you without whatever else HP may have put on the laptop in addition to Windows.

If you take choice 2, you could then transfer that installation to an SSD with an application such as Macrium. That usually works, but isn't quite 100% reliable.

If it were me, I'd do a a clean install, particularly since you've had this install for 3 years.

You have to make some judgement on the time required to troubleshoot the current install versus starting over.

You say System Mechanic said you have hard drive damage. I'd find out if that's true or not--probably by using the disk manufacturer's diagnostic tool. You can use a program like Speccy to find out the make and model of your hard drive it it's unknown.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Jul 2014   #6
ndb

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit 6.1.7601 SP1 Build 7601
 
 

Hi Ztruker, thanks for your reply.

Yes, I'd seen that option was available and that I can save data to an external drive. Shame that there doesn't seem to be an easy way to do something similar with downloaded programmes. Still it's good to know there is an inbuilt recovery option available with some useful tools should it come to that. Thanks.

However, it seems a little drastic at this stage. I'm holding back and hoping there is some way of fixing the issue/s without resorting to that. I'll have to buy another external drive. My existing drives are being used for my Humax stb.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Jul 2014   #7
ndb

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit 6.1.7601 SP1 Build 7601
 
 

Hi ignatzatsonic, thanks for your suggestions. Food for thought. It's way past my bedtime and so I'll sleep on it and get back to you hopefully within 24 hours. Thanks again
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Jul 2014   #8
ndb

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit 6.1.7601 SP1 Build 7601
 
 

Right, I'm currently looking into the reinstall. I've never done one before so would probably go for option 2 unless I decide to get windows 8 (is it worth it?). Not sure how to go about a clean install of windows 7. Does that involve using disc's that may or may not have come with my laptop (can't remember - need to do a rummage)? I expect I'll be able to find help with that on this forum though through existing posts and/or tutorials.

"Futz"ing, a new word on this limey, needed to look it up ;-) - I'll maybe do this for another day or two, see what I can do and then go about getting a new drive to plug into the second bay. Looking at SSD's. They've certainly come down in price but still a lot if you go for a direct size for size replacement. Actually, I think initially I'll definitely just get another external drive to copy data across and then do the factory condition reinstall. Hopefully, SSD's will come down further in price in the near future (whilst I decide what size to go for - any advice there?).
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Jul 2014   #9
ignatzatsonic

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by ndb View Post
....... would probably go for option 2 unless I decide to get windows 8 (is it worth it?). Not sure how to go about a clean install of windows 7. Does that involve using disc's that may or may not have come with my laptop.............

and then go about getting a new drive to plug into the second bay. Looking at SSD's. They've certainly come down in price but still a lot if you go for a direct size for size replacement. Actually, I think initially I'll definitely just get another external drive to copy data across and then do the factory condition reinstall. Hopefully, SSD's will come down further in price in the near future (whilst I decide what size to go for - any advice there?).
Offhand, I'd say most 7 users don't think 8 "is worth it", mostly because of the interface it tries to impose. You can work around that, but many think the interface is best left to those with touchscreens, not keyboard/mouse users. But it's personal preference. I'm waiting for 9, next year.

A clean install of 7: you may or may not have discs supplied by your manufacturer and they may or may not give you a true "clean install". Regardless---you can instead download a legal ISO of Windows 7, burn it to a disc, and install from that disc. This would be a true "clean install". You would not be back to "out of the box state", with whatever was on your laptop when you bought it. You'd be at the state any home builder would be in--a clean install of 7, and you take it from there, adding whatever programs you want.

Regarding SSD cost, here is the common workaround many here use: buy a smallish SSD for Windows and applications alone (80 to 120 GB). Use an ordinary hard drive for all data. C on the SSD; data on the hard drive. Then probably use a second ordinary hard drive (external) to hold backups of the data hard drive.

Unlike most laptops, yours has 2 internal drives. So you could use a small SSD for Windows and apps. Put your ordinary hard drive in the second drive bay to hold data.

SSDs are the best single performance boost you can get for under 100 dollars or pounds.

It's up to you. You have to consider the size of your current Windows plus applications minus personal data. Windows alone is no more than 20 GB. I have an 80 GB SSD with 55 applications. It occupies 35 GB.

You say that System Mechanic says you have a damaged hard drive. You need to find out if that's true or not.

Have you been making backups of your personal data as a matter of course over the last few years? If so, describe the method.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Jul 2014   #10
Ztruker

Windows 10 Pro X64
 
 

Before reinstalling, you could try doing a clean boot and see if the problems goes away. If so then follow the directions for determining the cause of the problem.

How to troubleshoot a problem by performing a clean boot in Windows Vista or in Windows 7
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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