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Windows 7: windows 7 reinstallation/data management help

23 Oct 2014   #1

windows 7 home premium 64
windows 7 reinstallation/data management help

Hi all,
First post here and i'm struggling!

Just recently, a few months ago, i made the beautiful switch from an old macbook pro to a gorgeous custom built desktop computer running windows 7 home premium 64bit. I am pretty comfortable with computers, and actually building the hardware was pretty easy for me. However, I realized i'm pretty clueless when it comes to maintaining a windows computer! I have had a few problems with Adware and viruses, but was able to get rid of them.

Recently things have gotten a little more serious. My computer started getting locked in a loop when playing music or video files or full screen games, then it would freeze randomly at any time. The loops was the strangest thing, it would loop anywhere from half a second to 4 seconds of the media, and the operating system would eventually freeze altogether, with the loops audio still playing. I did a system restore and it worked again for a few days, then it started happening again.

I thought it might be the driver for my video card, an MSI wtih NVidia GeForce 660. I updated it and again it seemed to be fine until i tried to run Smite (video game) in full screen. Then the whole system started freezing up again.

I'm preparing to just reinstall Windows 7 and start from the beginning again. My first question is about the data on my harddrive. I have a SSD harddrive which has windows 7 and my applications on it, and then a 2 TB WD harddrive that has all my files on it. I'm wondering if the files on my storage drive are safe for when I reinstall windows on the SSD? I feel like it should be fine, but i get paranoid and need verification from someone who knows better than me.

also, i know it would be safer to back up my files but i have really a huge amount of data and no access to an external harddrive at the moment and i just got all my files onto this computer so it would be GREAT if they were safe

Anyways! Long post, any help at all, or reassurance or anything will be incredibly appreciated !!!!!!

Also any hints, or good articles for a beginner with windows to learn about virus protection or making a windows 7 computer run smoothly would be great too.

Thanks a lot guys, anything will help.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Oct 2014   #2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit

When you install Windows to a drive, you should always disconnect all other drives before beginning.

If you do that, there is no way that anything on drive 2, 3, etc can be disturbed.

Having said that, you are foolish if you don't have at least 2 copies of whatever "my files" is anyway.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Oct 2014   #3

windows 7 home premium 64

oh thanks that should work fine. i think i do have a backup on my external harddrive, i just don't have that harddrive with me right now...
thanks for the help
My System SpecsSystem Spec

23 Oct 2014   #4

Windows 10 Pro

Congrats on the switch! Have a look in our tutorials which have a ton of excellent information in there, from installing windows to messing with settings/etc.

And let us know if you have any questions.

As for what is good protection guidelines, these are my suggestions:

I know this is a very long wall of text, But following the below will greatly reduce your chances of becoming infected.

-Panda antivirus -You can only have 1 antivirus installed at a time, I recommend using this one and uninstalling what you are using now.




-Should I remove it

-Web of Trust

-Set up open dns

Run the first 3 listed and scan around once every 2 weeks. (Panda updates automatically, others you need to pay for that feature.) Make sure you update them before scanning. Unfortunately no program out there is a silver bullet-there is no one program to protect you entirely. So due to this, it is necessary to have a couple of products to help keep you safe on all fronts.

Panda Cloud Antivirus: Panda cloud AV is a great free program that uses the cloud (the internet) to scan your pc for threats. This antivirus works very well at detecting the newest threats, as well as some unknown ones that have not yet been discovered. For information on how to use it, the manual is located here.

Malwarebytes: This is a great program to use to scan your pc for malware that your antivirus might possibly miss or not look for. A guide on how to use it can be found here.

Superantispyware: This is a great second opinion scanner which will scan for spyware and other types of PUPS. (Potentially unwanted programs.)

Unchecky: is a program that aims to keep unwanted programs from entering your pc when installing a new program. Most programs give you the option of express install or custom install. When you do a regular install of most applications, they add toolbars and other unwanted items to your pc. If you choose the custom option however, you can avoid most of these unwanted programs by unchecking them and then clicking next. This program does this for you automatically. It removes the checkmarks so that when you click next and next your way through the install proccess, you do not get a bunch of junk on your system. Keep in mind though, this is how most people get unwanted spyware etc on there pc. When installing any new program, google it and see if it has good reviews. Then during the install don't just click next and rush through it. Take your time to read what is in front of you, and uncheck anything you do not want.

The best part about unchecky is it's a install and forget. It updates automatically. And works to prevent unnecessary programs from sneaking in during software installs.

Should I remove it: This is not a malware scanner. What it does is it looks at all of the installed programs on your PC and gives you a percentage % of how many people uninstall the software. If the percentage % is high, I would remove it as it is most likely not a good program. It also gives a ton of information about what the program does and how it behaves.

WOT: (web of trust) is a very helpful browser addon that works with all web browsers and helps you to avoid nasty sites that have been known to host malware and the like. It uses a rating system by users as well as there own internal site investigations to place websites into categories and mark whether or not they are safe. It is a good tool to help you avoid clicking on a bad link in the first place.

Open DNS: is a service that helps you block known malware sites before they even reach your PC entirely. It also can be configured to block adult sites, and filter out other web sites based on categories. All for free. Not only does it protect your computers, but other devices as well.

For more information, see here:

If it looks to advanced for you, it actually isn't very hard to set up. See the very first link above (set up open dns) which will take you to the setup page. You do not need to create an account if you wish not to. There is a link in the bottom right hand corner to avoid making an account if you do not want it. They have directions on how to apply it to your computer, or your router so that every device on your network can be protected.

Making windows security better for you and anyone using your PC:

Use the help and support which is found in your start menu for easy answer to questions and common tasks. The browse help (the blue book in the help an support window) will allow you to browse all the help documents Microsoft has available for the versions of windows you are using. Questions like how to uninstall a program, burn a cd can all be found there.

Keep windows up to date by using windows update and checking for updates frequently, or let Microsoft automatically update your pc which is the default setting.

Make sure your software that you use is up to date. This prevents security issues in the first place.

Java and adobe reader are most common for people to have installed, and also the most unnecessary. Many people do not need or use any of these programs. They are a great security risk to have on your machine. Adobe reader is mostly not needed since many web browsers can open pdfs by themselves, (chrome, firefox) never needing adobe reader. Java is also barely used by many sites out there anymore and is best left uninstalled until you need it.

Adobe flash is a common one that most people need and should always be updated. You can download the newest version here. Keep in mind if you use google chrome, you can uninstall adobe flash as it is built into chrome. No need to have it installed separately unless needed for other browsers.

When any software prompts to update, and you recognize the name of the software-Do so. Software updates are important, and should be done regularly. Most programs checks for updates automatically.

Uninstall unwanted/un-needed programs.

Make a habit every now and then and go into control panel-uninstall a program. This lists all the software installed on your PC. If you see any software you do not use or need, uninstall it. If the software has your PC manufacturer mentioned in it, you can leave it alone.

I also suggest using a standard user account in windows, and only using an admin account when you need to install software. If you have family members sharing your pc, create standard user accounts for them. See this link below on how to do so:

User Account - Create

Why use a standard user account instead of an administrator account?

When using a standard account and you make a change or install a program that affects the whole system, UAC will prompt you to continue. Make sure the setting or program you are tying to install is listed, then click yes to continue. If you are just browsing the web and the prompt appears with a program you have not heard of, or do not know what it is, it is much safer to click no then yes. No will block the action, and if you were trying to do something, you can always start it again and choose yes.

UAC makes this easy, see here:

What is user account control (UAC)?

I also suggest choosing always notify for UAC:

What are User Account Control settings?

Those are my recommendations to you, and I Highly suggest you follow them. Should you have any questions, post back.

Do not feel like you need to do everything above, if your computer knowledge is limited do what you are able and feel comfortable doing. If you read all the instructions though you should be able to do it yourself.

With the solution provided above, your risk of malware infection drops considerably.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Oct 2014   #5


Many of the same tips, tools and methods in Clean Reinstall - Factory OEM Windows 7 can be applied to your Win7 build. These are based on what's worked best in tens of thousands of installs we've directly helped with here since Win7 beta. A million have used the tutorial without a single complaint.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Oct 2014   #6

windows 7 home premium 64

thanks everyone for the help. i reinstalled windows 7 and it seemed like it was running fine, however i haven't had much time to run the computer. today i got a chance and started using it like i would normally and the freezing started happening again! it loops and loops and i can move the mouse around but cannot click on anything. i have yet to get an error message while this happens, but it never unfreezes.

i have been looking at this thread Comp started freezing, but not crashing. No error message. which seems like perhaps he is having a similar problem, and will start looking through the troubleshooting page right now.

but i'm just new to this, especially the custom built computer and it's so new that i'm really worried some of the hardware might be broken. anyone have any ideas of how to figure out what the problem is?

EDIT: so i'm running it in safe mode and so far it's working fine. i'll keep it running to see.

one problem is that my disk drive is currently broken so i have no way to run the first 2 steps of the troubleshooting page, unless i can run the iso's off of a usb drive or something?

i have a feeling it might be the video card, could that be possible? what is the best way to test that.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Oct 2014   #7


The problem may be a driver. Did you follow the steps in red in Clean Reinstall Factory OEM to do all Important and Optional Windows Updates, and then import any drivers after all Updates are done and no more are offered?

If so then work through the steps for Troubleshooting Windows 7 which should reveal the problem. If it runs fine in Safe Mode you can delay the hardware tests til last.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

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