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Windows 7: Repair Install

12 Mar 2011   #460
MASH

Windows 7 Home Basic 32bit
 
 

No worries there, this notebook is decent enough. Unfortunately, upgrading through the DVD didn't work. It told me to upgrade through Windows Anytime Upgrade, which didn't work either.

The root of the problem is the fact that I need to get the SP1 update before I can upgrade anything, but every time I try I get an error at about 11%, and upon much googling and attempts to resolve the matter, my last option was to try a repair install.

I guess my only option left is to reformat. =/


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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13 Mar 2011   #461
Zeonstar

Windows 7 Pro x64
 
 

Hey guys.

I haven't been here in ages but I need some help. Long story short, my LGA 775 motherboard has been giving me constant problems and although I was close to just completely getting a new computer, I decide to be practical and get a new motherboard that is still LGA 775 so I can keep all my hardware and not have to replace everything. I had an Abit IP35 before, but my new board will be a Gigabyte.

Anyway I am expecting to have to reinstall windows after I swap out the board, and I figure a Repair Install will be my best bet, so I can keep everything, programs, files, etc. I just don't feel like going through the hassle of a clean install and having to reinstall all my programs. That would take forever. I have my programs and games and windows all on different partitions.

I was reading the repair install instructions just to make sure I can do it and it did mention one thing that concerns me, namely whatever you have installed, you have to match it with the same install. My install is windows 7 pro 64 bit, retail. But I JUST installed SP1 last night. So the version on my PC is...newer. I did notice though I can simply uninstall SP1. Is that all I need to do? Then I can do a repair install from my retail disc once I put the new board in?

Thanks.!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Mar 2011   #462
Brink

64-bit Windows 10 Pro
 
 

Hello Zeonstart,

Unfortunately, since it will be a different motherboard you will not be able to do a repair install on it since your current Windows installation would probably not run properly on the new motherboard without a clean install.

Other than a clean install, you may be able to use Windows Easy Transfer to transfer the files and such with if you have a USB external enclosure to transfer the old computer's HDD on and then transfer to the HDD in the new computer.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Mar 2011   #463
Zeonstar

Windows 7 Pro x64
 
 

Aww really? That was about the last thing I wanted to hear. Doing a clean install, as much of a pain as it is, I know is always the best, I just didn't want to go through all that.

I admit I have not installed windows over the same copy of windows in a very long time, probably not since XP. You can't simply copy it over anymore and have it install over everything, meanwhile seeing the new motherboard, programs, and keep it all as it is?

Years ago when I made this computer, I started using partitions, which I had not did before. My copy of windows is basically (with some exceptions) on a hard drive partition by itself and I can (and have) simply wiped just that partition and did a clean install of windows. My programs, games, everything remain on my computer on other drives and partitions, but the problem is Windows no longer knows they are there so in the past the only way to make windows aware of them again is to reinstall them all. Which is the main thing I am trying to avoid. What are my options as far as a clean install but retaining my installs?

I have a lot of hard drive space, and one very large drive devoted to Digital Video that is largely empty right now. Could that somehow be used to my advantage to back up my other drive that has my programs and windows?

I really wish I did not need a new motherboard now. What a pain. But my IP35 was just messing up too much. When your board wont Post because your room is a little cold, it's time to replace it. =(
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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13 Mar 2011   #464
Brink

64-bit Windows 10 Pro
 
 

I'm sorry. It would be nice to just drop the drive in the new system and go, but you would end up having a lot of issues trying to do a repair install on a new motherboard like that. In the end, you would most likely end up having to do a clean install anyway since using a HDD with a OS installed on a different motherboard seldomly works out well.

You could put the old HDD in the new system and do a custom install instead. It's basically the same as a clean install except that it places a complete copy of your current installation in a C:\Windows.old folder during the new installation. After the installation is complete, you can copy any files you want from within the C:\Windows.old folder back into the new installation. When finished, you can delete the C:\Windows.old folder to regain the HDD space back. You will still have to reinstall all drivers and programs though.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Mar 2011   #465
Zeonstar

Windows 7 Pro x64
 
 

Thanks for your continued replies Brink, I appreciate it.

So there really is no simple way to go about this huh?

What about backing up all of my program installs? Is that an option in Windows 7? Like wipe all my drives, install new windows 7 copy, then restore everything from back up?

Does me having my windows on it's own partition give me any advantages?

I have 3 physical Hard drives split like so:

1. 300GB with 50 GB for windows 7 (and any other programs that have installed over time where I couldn't change the install path.) and the rest of the drive is storage.

2. 250 GB drive split in half with one partition being games, and another being programs.

3. 1.5 TB drive split in half, with one half being multimedia and the other being space to work on digital video.

I did all these partitions years ago and am starting to think they are not doing much good. I thought I could clean install windows as needed and keep everything but once you clean install windows, it no longer knows programs are there, even if they are. It would be nice to figure out a way to back up my programs. Reinstalling all that is one daunting task.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Mar 2011   #466
Brink

64-bit Windows 10 Pro
 
 

If you were doing this with the same motherboard, then you could just easily create a system image backup, then do a system image recovery to restore everything. The new motherboad throws a giant monkey wrench it all of this since your currently installed Windows 7 will most likely not run properly or at all on the new motherboard.

The problem with programs is that they do not simple install into one folder that could just easily be copied over. Instead, they may install files in more than one location, and creates quite a few registry entries. This will be next to impossible to track every bit of a program installation down to be able to copy over to another Windows 7 installation.

If you have a USB external HDD, then you should be able to use Windows Easy Transfer to transfer your files, user accounts, programs, and more from the old HDD on your current computer. Afterwards, use Windows Easy Transfer to transfer it from the USB HDD to the HDD on the computer with the new motherboard now that has a clean install of Windows 7.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Mar 2011   #467
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Quote:
If you have Windows 7 SP1 installed, then you must use a Windows 7 SP1 installation disc to be able to do a repair install
Greg just made me aware of this restriction. What do we do with all the people that upgraded to SP1 and need to do a repair install. Sounds like a dead end road.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Mar 2011   #468
Brink

64-bit Windows 10 Pro
 
 

Hello Wolfgang,

It is a bit of a dead end like it was with Vista, but only just for now until retail Windows 7 SP1 installation discs are out on store shelves.



Here's what I know for now:
  • You can use a Windows 7 SP1 installation disc (ex: Technet (available), MSDN (available), or retail (when available)) to do a repair install with on a currently installed Windows 7 SP1.
  • You cannot use a slipstream Windows 7 installation disc to do a repair install with on a currently installed Windows 7 SP1.
  • You cannot use a slipstream Windows 7 installation disc to do a repair install with on a currently installed slipstream Windows 7 SP1.
  • You can use a Windows 7 SP1 installation disc (ex: Technet (available), MSDN (available), or retail (when available)) to do a repair install with on a currently installed slipstream Windows 7 SP1.
I'll do some more testing on this later today with the "mights" above so we can get a more definite answer though.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Mar 2011   #469
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Thank you Shawn. I will also link the info to Greg. He was all in a tizzy about the problem because he uses it in his posts a few times per week. Keep us posted please.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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