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Windows 7: "Publisher: unknown" for all MS executables after full system restore

19 Apr 2013   #1

"Publisher: unknown" for all MS executables after full system restore

I am trying to upgrade my 3 year old VAIO VPC-EB series laptop to a new hard drive. I got a 7200 1TB HGST hard drive. The old hard drive was 500GB. On my first attempt, I decided to backup all of my user data on another drive, restore OS (Windows 7) from Sony's recovery DVDs which I made in advance, and then restore user data. Unfortunately, this does not work because the new hard drive is an "Advanced Format" drive. Once the fresh OS starts booting, the setup complains “Windows Setup could not configure Windows on this computer’s hardware”. My understanding, Sony's answer to this issue is that they simply don't support upgrading hardware to an incompatible hard drive. It turns out I may need to install OS using a retail DVD, preferably with SP2. Well, I have several, but this doesn't work well either because for some reason the Sony VAIO activation key does not work with retail Windows 7 SP2 DVDs (and I don't have any other activation keys I can use).

Which finally brings me to the issue I mentioned in the title. The last thing I have tried is to simply create a system image of the entire install using Windows 7 backup, boot from Windows 7 recovery disk, and restore the system image onto the new hard drive. This worked pretty well until I discovered one strange issue. Whenever I run a Microsoft Windows program that requires administrator privileges (e.g. the microsoft management console mmc.exe) I get a warning message asking if I would like to run program.exe with Publisher: Unknown. I have tried tried this two-three times. Same story. Any ideas how to fix this. This does not happen with third party programs.

The next logical step is probably to buy a Windows 7 activation key and do a clean install with retail DVD, which should work. I am kind of losing my patience with this Windows 7 thing though. I have perhaps some 300GB data on the system disk, and as you can imagine I have already wasted a lot of time on these experiments, like a week. It's quite shocking a simple OS reinstall could become such a pain. I am almost on the verge of going back to Linux I have never any issues with simple backup/reinstall/restore.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Apr 2013   #2
Microsoft MVP

Windows 7 Ult. x64

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Jacob7 View Post
The next logical step is probably to buy a Windows 7 activation key
Why do you need a new Windows 7 activation key? Surely the existing installation is activated?

Lets check :

1. Download and save this tool to your desktop:

2. Run the tool, and then click 'Copy' - ignore any errors if they appear

3. Use CTRL+V to paste the unedited results of the validation tool here in your next reply
My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Apr 2013   #3


Well, so I reinstalled Windows 7, and then all the drivers and software. It turns out that my laptop comes with an activation key for Windows 7 SP1. Everything was working fine and then it happened today again! I suspect one of Sony Vaio driver installers did something odd. It mentioned it was messing around with UAC when installing Sony's utilities. Now, I get "Publisher: Unknown" for all Microsoft executables again.

I downloaded and run the utility. Here is its output:

PS: Ok nevermind. I had little patience, so I booted from recovery CD and restored the OS back to an earlier point. It worked great. Damn Sony installer. I won't touch Sony stuff with a 10 ft pole now.
My System SpecsSystem Spec


 "Publisher: unknown" for all MS executables after full system restore

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