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Windows 7: Reinstalling over corrupt OS

04 Apr 2011   #1
daler

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 
Reinstalling over corrupt OS

I have a year old "gifted" computer currently running Windows 7 Ultimate OEM.

Much of the software on it was transferred over from another standalone XP computer. This represents years of accumulated data.

Unfortunately, all that old software has come back to haunt me : running slow, if all. And corrupted registry, etc. etc. -- a real mess.

If that wasn't enough there was also a bag of malware on the machine. I have spent the last several days cleaning it so the machine will run half decently. So far, so good! No trace of any viruses or malware

Along the way I also found out that the OS may be corrupted (as in non-legit) as there appears to be some sort of EULA boot loader (DAZ.Loader?) on it (from the guy who originally set up the computer for me).

With that in mind I think it's now best that I repurchase a legit copy of Windows 7 Pro (at least) OEM and reinstall the whole thing properly. But I'm not sure how this new OS will work with the remnants of the other OS still on the computer.

As I still want to hang on to our most sacred data that's well integrated on both the OS drive and the larger data drives, I need to find out what the best approach is here?

I'd appreciate some help here



I do have Acronis True Image to help out. I would also like to set up Windows software RAID1(mirror) on the 2 data drives -- for some reason the m/b RAID packed it in.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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04 Apr 2011   #2
Bare Foot Kid
Microsoft MVP

W 7 64-bit Ultimate
 
 

Hello daler, welcome to Seven Forums!


Let's start with this information to get it out of the way so you have a way forward then we can explore other options as you go along and be sure to post back with any further questions you may have and to keep us informed.

Forget about S/W RAID, it and Windows 7 are not exactly the best of friends.


After you have copied out or made back-ups of the data you need to save to external media; if you can find an exact Windows version that the PC shipped with you can do a clean install using the activation key on the COA sticker attached to the PC though it may require a robo-call to MS to sort the OEM batch-key.

How to Activate Windows 7 by Phone


If you can't find an exact same version, you could use the info in this tutorial to create an "all versions" installer of any version Windows installer, to install using the same method I posted above.

Windows 7 Universal Installation Disc - Create


After you have made backups of everything you care to save, the best method is to do a complete wipe (secure erase) of the entire Hard Disk Drive first, it over-writes everything, all the old Windows code including all the old drivers/programs, giving you the best possible space to install Windows to.

SSD / HDD : Optimize for Windows Reinstallation
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Apr 2011   #3
gregrocker

 

You'll need to wipe the HD of all code (including boot sector and infected) then clean reinstall: SSD - HDD Optimize for Windows Reinstallation - Windows 7 Forums

Follow these tips which apply to get a perfect reinstall: Reinstalling Windows 7 - Windows 7 Forums

If that machine came with XP or Vista, or you have a retail copy of either on hand, you qualify for Upgrade version which can migrate, which OEM version cannot. Clean Install with a Upgrade Windows 7 Version - Windows 7 Forums
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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04 Apr 2011   #4
daler

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Ok, guys -- thanks for the links. This will help me save time in hunting around for the needed info

I guess all my ducks should be in the row before I send for the Win7 Pro OEM disk..

As mentioned, my OS appears to be a non-legit copy, so I will need to flatten the SSD (OS) before installing a new OEM copy? I guess I should do the same with the other 2 data disks?

How about other SSD optimal setup options such as TRIM, etc. when setting it up through Win 7 -- how is that handled?

Also, your links mention the Windows backup process ..can I use Acronis in its place? Or is the Windows feature a better option with this rebuild process? I find that Acronis places the folders and files into containers which can be broken out for later restoration (using their recovery disk). Saving the correct data amongst the disks is probably the most important sub-project that needs to considered here ..I'd rather not lose or wreck any of it

About Raid: if the Windows software effort is not that good, and my motherboard controlled Raid relies on Windows-installed AHCI/RAID drivers (making it a quasi-hardware option and thus prone to driver corruption) and so is not that reliable either, what other options are there? (other than spending a pile on a standalone Raid box)?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Apr 2011   #5
gregrocker

 

What is your goal in having RAID. If you know it gives better performance even with an SSD, then you can try the reinstall with it. However we see almost nothing but problems with RAID here, hence our bias.

Acronis is an excellent app which most seem to like, either the paid or free edition available on the Support Downloads webpage if you have a Seagate or WD model HD.

I'd be hesitant to wipe an SSD unless you have boot sector corruption or infection. You might be better off just deleting everything, repartitioning and formatting from the Win7 installer: Clean Install Windows 7 - Windows 7 Forums

Here are some resources to read on optimizing SSD: SSD Alignment - Windows 7 Forums
SSD Tweaks and Optimizations in Windows 7 - Windows 7 Forums
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Apr 2011   #6
theog

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

ME/XP/Vista/Win7
 
 

Make sure you use the CLEAN ALL command.
SSD / HDD : Optimize for Windows Reinstallation
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Apr 2011   #7
daler

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

My goal with Raid 1 is just for redundancy is all. From what I'd read it sounded like a good plan with a new computer build. The Raid was only on the 2 large data HDDs, did not include the SSD (OS). I did my regular backups as well. But now with the (controller configured) Raid 1 failure, together with general comments on possible Windows software-type Raid conflicts, I'm now wondering if I should just ditch the Raid idea altogether and go back to using the resulting spare HDD for scheduled full system backups using my Acronis software ..or even using my external Mybook harddrive as the backup alternative.

As for wiping the SSD, with having a 3rd party eula loader on there for Windows 7, I don't know if there is in fact a (hidden) boot sector corruption or virus that may come back to haunt the new install. I think everything's been done to mitigate those risk possibilities though. In both Normal and Safe Mode I've run just about every checker out there including Sophos, Combofix, TSSKiller, Malwarebytes, Nod32, etc. The computer now "seems to" test clean and run much better ..although the performance score for my rig is still only 4.6

So will Windows Clean Install with Clean All command get rid of any Windows boot loader software that may be left over? -- if those reinstall commands do take the SSD down to Windows' install-ready then I suppose your instructs can be taken as valid
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Apr 2011   #8
gregrocker

 

No need to wipe the SSD unless there are problems with the install, as it is hard on a SSD.

Also no need for a EULA loader or the whole mess of AV's you suggest, as Win7 runs best with a lightweight free AV like MS Security Essentials or Avast 5 with the Windows Firewall - others can cause problems and aren't worth the money.

Also no need for RAID for rendundancy since if you lose one HD you lose all of your data. Best to use Win7 backup imaging to save a backup image to a storage HD, along with a file backup.
Backup Complete Computer - Create an Image Backup
Backup User and System Files - Windows 7 Forums

Keep the HD's unplugged during install to SSD using these illustrated steps: Clean Install Windows 7

Here are tips for getting a perfect install - use the ones which apply: Reinstalling Windows 7
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Apr 2011   #9
daler

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Thanks very much for all your help. Following your suggestions and links, I managed to install Windows 7 Pro. I now just have to go through the labourious effort of reinstalling all the programs I will use on a regular basis.

But oops, when I installed Windows 7 I inadvertantly chose Automatic Activation.
I still have more hardware changes to make on this computer and would like more time to play with it before I commit to activation. Is there a way I can revert to the 30 day manual option
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Apr 2011   #10
Bare Foot Kid
Microsoft MVP

W 7 64-bit Ultimate
 
 

Hello again.


Did you actually physically enter an activation key during the installation process?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Reinstalling over corrupt OS




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