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Windows 7: Hard disk drive recovery c full - help!

04 Mar 2011   #11
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

In any case, you system is very much mucked up. You have this little dangling no name partition which does nothing, then you have the bootmgr in the recovery partition where it does not belong, your progam file (and 2 are normal for a 64bit system) replicated in C and D. - a real mess to say the least.

We could, of course, fix it. But that would take a lot of hops as I have already outlined above and there is room for error at every step. And you need access to another system in order to download the required program. If you have the installation disk, it would be the easiest to reinstall the system properly (of course after you saved your own data to an external drive). And if you do not have an installation disk, you could ask Dell to send you one. They usually do that for a S&H charge.

So let us know which way you prefer to proceed. And given that you apparently have to watch a kid, we would need to proceed in small steps because every step will require your full attention.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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05 Mar 2011   #12
niccih

WINDOWS 7 64-bit
 
 

Hi,
I'm not sure how it is in such a mess as I thought all I had done was reinstall the operating system, netgear to connect me to the internet and microsoft works 9 and the recommended drivers from dell support, obviously i have gone very wrong somewhere...

Anyway, I do have the dell operating disc, and dell drivers and utilities disc, as well as microsoft works 9 and netgear so hopefully i can get my laptop back to a useable state again? I don't have another laptop but could perhaps borrow one although i think from what you are saying it's not necessary if i'm looking to just reinstall. I do have an external hard drive where i have already stored my photos & music etc. I think maybe I would need guidance on installing my drivers and utilities disc as like i said in my original email there was no prompt what to install if anything so i was very stumped at that point, whereas my operating system i just followed the instructions.

If you have the time and patience to help me it would be really appreciated. How much time roughly do you think i need to set aside?

I do also have a blackberry where I can access this website so can follow online instructionsthrough there if i am unable to access through my laptop at all times throughout the process.

thanks again for your time.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Mar 2011   #13
marsmimar

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

 
 

Hi again, niccih. I think a clean install will be the best way to go. Basically that means you'll wipe everything off the hard drive (including any recovery data) and start with a clean slate. Once Windows 7 is operating the way it should with all drivers, Win 7 updates, etc reinstalled, I'd suggest making a system image of the entire internal hard drive and store the image on an external hard drive. You could use the built-in Win 7 imaging tool or a 3rd party like Macrium Reflect free. Once you have all your personalizing done like installing additional programs, etc I'd make a second system image. That way you'll have two separate images to fall back on should something happen down the road. As you continue to use the machine and add/delete things, I'd make additional system images on an as-needed basis ... maybe once a month.

In the meantime (until WHS gets back to you) you might want to read these tutorials on how to do a clean install and how to make a system image using the Win 7 tool. Hope this helps some.

Clean Install Windows 7

Backup Complete Computer - Create an Image Backup
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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05 Mar 2011   #14
niccih

WINDOWS 7 64-bit
 
 

Hi marsmimar,Thanks for your reply. I have had a look through as suggested and I think I can follow that (although I guess until i try I won't know for certain), do you think I should just make a start or hang on until i hear back from WHS? My little boy is asleep so hopefully I might have an hour free (or two if i'm lucky).Just to clarify, when you say system image, is this the system information page which contains 'Hardware Resources', 'Components' and 'Software Environment'?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Mar 2011   #15
marsmimar

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by niccih View Post
Hi marsmimar,Thanks for your reply. I have had a look through as suggested and I think I can follow that (although I guess until i try I won't know for certain), do you think I should just make a start or hang on until i hear back from WHS? My little boy is asleep so hopefully I might have an hour free (or two if i'm lucky).Just to clarify, when you say system image, is this the system information page which contains 'Hardware Resources', 'Components' and 'Software Environment'?
If you're feeling adventurous I'd give the clean install a shot. You're probably going to see several partitions listed during the installation process. You need to delete ALL of the old partitions before trying to install the clean version of Windows 7; otherwise the new install will probably get reinstalled on the Recovery C: partition again and you'll be no better off than you are now.

A system image is a "snapshot" of your entire hard drive. It includes the operating system, all of your files, photos, documents, music, videos, personal settings, all program updates, etc. It will include everything that's on your internal hard drive at the moment the system image is created. It's not the system information page.

When you create a sysem image for the first time it will also prompt you to create a system repair disk. (You'll need a blank CD-R or -RW disk.) This repair disk will let you start your computer even if you can't start Windows 7 because it's completely damaged or corrupt. The repair disk will let you choose from several options, one of which is to restore your system from a previously made system image. You'd plug in your external hard drive (the one that has the saved system image), start your computer from the repair disk, select the option to restore from a saved system image, select "yes" a couple of times and then sit back for 30 -45 minutes while your machine is restored.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Mar 2011   #16
niccih

WINDOWS 7 64-bit
 
 

Thanks marsmimar.Hmmm, I'm not sure if i might be getting out of my depth, like i said at the start i am clueless. I'm always up for trying but would need such monitored guidance. I don't even know how to delete the old partitions - this is probably where i went wrong last time as i just presumed everything would be wiped as i installed windows 7 again. Just out of curiosity do you know how much it might cost to have sorted? i'm not giving up, it's just i don't get much spare time but neither do i have a great deal of money for these type of hiccups. I'm just concerned i may make things worse if possible! Plus I'm worried that i may get abandoned half way through if people run out of time/patience with me...
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Mar 2011   #17
mitchell65

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

If I may just stick my nose into this one. I have great faith in all the contributors to this thread but I have to say I have seen WHS lead newbies through this type of problem before with great patience and care. If he is willing to go it alone with you I would take that route, he will not abandon you at any time, just look at some of his other posts! He has the patience of Job and more! If you diligently follow his advice you will succeed. Don't ever worry about asking him for a little more explanation to anything you don't understand, he will far prefer that to you guessing.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Mar 2011   #18
marsmimar

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by niccih View Post
Thanks marsmimar.Hmmm, I'm not sure if i might be getting out of my depth, like i said at the start i am clueless. I'm always up for trying but would need such monitored guidance. I don't even know how to delete the old partitions - this is probably where i went wrong last time as i just presumed everything would be wiped as i installed windows 7 again. Just out of curiosity do you know how much it might cost to have sorted? i'm not giving up, it's just i don't get much spare time but neither do i have a great deal of money for these type of hiccups. I'm just concerned i may make things worse if possible! Plus I'm worried that i may get abandoned half way through if people run out of time/patience with me...
Last part first. The folks here are very patient and won't give up on someone who has a genuine desire to make things right on their computer. If you go to a computer repair shop to have them wipe the hard drive and reinstall 7 it will probably cost a fairly good amount. The shops where I live would charge around $150. Couple of possible alternatives - public libraries usually host adult computer classes. Same with high schools. Your computer might be used as a teaching tool to show others how to reformat (erase) the hard drive and reinstall 7.

Personally, I think you have what it takes to do this. I say that because if I can do it, anyone can do it! Not only that, it's a great learning experience and confidence builder.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Mar 2011   #19
niccih

WINDOWS 7 64-bit
 
 

As cheesy as it sounds, it's so nice to know there are such helpful and supportive people out there! thanks!Well i'm more than happy to give it a go. If someone perhaps could instruct me on the best place to start, step by step, including deleting old partitions, backing anything up that needs backing up etc etc. before I reinstall windows. Obviously just when you have time :-)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Mar 2011   #20
marsmimar

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

 
 

Without seeing what you have installed on your computer I don't think it's possible to tell you exactly what you need to back up. Photos, documents, music, tax returns, etc (anything you'd have a hard time replacing) should be backed up. If your external hard drive has enough space you could create separate folders for photos, documents, etc and then copy them from the internal hard drive. If you have any programs installed that require a disk and/or license number, registration number, etc you'd want to have those things available.

Off the top of my head one of the most important things I'd suggest you find out is if your computer can boot from your Windows 7 installation disk when you first turn on your machine. Many times the BIOS has to be accessed to make the CD/DVD drive the first boot choice. On some Dell computers you'll see a prompt in one of the corners of the screen to use "F12 to enter setup", or "F2 to enter BIOS", or some other cryptic prompt. Next time you start your machine look for that prompt (it stays on the screen for a very short time) and remember what it says. That will give us a starting point to make sure the CD/DVD drive is the first boot device.

You might also want to get a paper and pencil to write down everything that's on your start menu > all programs as well as all of the programs listed in control panel > progams and features. This can be useful as a double check that once Windows 7 in reinstalled you can also make sure everything else is reinstalled. One word of caution is necessary. When a computer is delivered from the factory there are a lot of programs installed by the manufacturer that you might have found useful in the past. Sometimes those programs cannot be copied because they need a special manufacturer's license for re-activation. Other than that, I think you'd be good to go.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Hard disk drive recovery c full - help!




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