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First time setting up a slave drive, need simple instructions

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February 10, 2013 1:14:06 PM

I'm planning to reinstall Windows 7 in an attempt to repair my corrupted registry and allow me to boot my PC up again. However, before doing this I'd like to make sure my files are safe as I have pictures, documents, etc that I simply cannot lose. Data loss is not an option. I know the reinstall should create a windows.old folder, but I still don't want to take any risks.

I'm hoping to connect my desktop's hard drive up to a friend's laptop so I can copy the data over just in case, but I'm useless with hardware and I need easy-to-follow guidelines to make sure everything goes smoothly. I've read up on the subject a bit but I've not seen anything specifically mentioning connecting a slave to a laptop and I'm not sure if it works the same.

Disconnecting the hdd from my machine seems simple enough; disconnecting the cables and making sure I know where they plug back in afterwards. It's the slave part I'm unsure about, changing pins and jumpers and such and I'm worried I'll do something wrong. Could anyone offer some simple instructions to make sure that even I can do this daunting task without any issues?
a b G Storage
February 10, 2013 1:24:06 PM

Modern rig? If so there is no such thing as slave or jumpers. Biggest issue you'll have is finding a way to plug a desktop hdd into a laptop.
February 10, 2013 1:34:41 PM

I've only had the machine two years so I suppose that would deem it a modern rig? If so, where can I go from here? I've read conflicting answers about whether or not a reinstall wipes data, and as I cannot boot the machine connecting it like this seems like my only guarantee at keeping my files.
Related resources
a b G Storage
February 10, 2013 2:04:57 PM

As Alex said, you don't need to worry about jumpers etc with sata disks (assuming that's what you have).

I'm guessing you don't have a second HDD or an external HDD. If so, and you can't get hold of one from a friend, consider purchasing a low cost, reasonably sized internal or external (for your files and future backups).

- If your friend can give you a loan of an HDD you both will need to consider taking steps to remove possible viruses/malware/etc from your system first.

- If you do have enough space on your existing HDD you may use software to create a backup partition.

- consider purchasing imaging software (e.g. Acronis/Ghost) for future backups and problems
a b G Storage
February 10, 2013 2:45:17 PM

I meant modern rig as in SATA drive. 2 years should mean SATA. There are no jumpers.

Mesa, his problem is it won't boot. External hdd or imaging software isn't going to help as he can't get to the data he needs. At this point he might want to consider a "linux live" disk. Then see if you can save the data to a networked computer? (or yes an external drive.)
February 10, 2013 2:47:28 PM

I do have an external HDD, but my PC's drive has more data than the external has space for so I was hoping to hook my drive up to the laptop and then split my data between that drive and the external one. As I was unable to perform a System Restore (was unable to check which drive I wanted to restore), reinstalling seems to be the only chance of a fix as command prompt didn't help either.

As I can't boot my machine to desktop it seems that the slave drive method is my only option. Is it possible? :/ 
a b G Storage
February 10, 2013 4:10:01 PM

Oops...missed the boot problem.

That's a bit more difficult.'Disk repair' utilities may help you to boot again. They can also help you to backup your files.

You do need make a rescue CD from one of these utilities. Utilities I use are Paragon Partition Manager and Acronis Disk Director. It's their rescue cd's that you'll be using to try to sort your boot problem and/or backup your files.
February 10, 2013 4:55:15 PM

How would I go about making a rescue CD? Fortunately I do have access to the internet so if I knew how I should be able to quickly create one and hopefully repair my registry.

Forgive the potentially stupid question, but with Paragon and Acronis would I just need to burn their software to a disk and then boot from that?
a b G Storage
February 10, 2013 6:54:18 PM

For either Paragon or Acronis programs you need to install onto a PC and then select the 'create rescue disc' option (i.e. automatically burn to disc) within these programs. You'll then select the boot from cd 1st option in the BIOS. However, if you haven't used this type of software before you may run into more issues and might do more harm than good.

As another option, I would recommend googling 'free windows 7 boot repair utility' - or something like that, then do another google to review the program - these reviews (or user opinions) should give you a good idea of how to use the program.
With this, you might find that the boot problem gets fixed for free.

Additionally, you might want to check out your BIOS settings - e.g. making sure the 1st boot device is as it should be.
a b G Storage
February 10, 2013 8:21:01 PM

Alex119 said:
How would I go about making a rescue CD? Fortunately I do have access to the internet so if I knew how I should be able to quickly create one and hopefully repair my registry.

Forgive the potentially stupid question, but with Paragon and Acronis would I just need to burn their software to a disk and then boot from that?


You have several options to consider:
1st Option: You can use your external hard drive enclosure if it's SATA not IDE: Remove the hard drive from the Enclosure and replace it with the internal Hard Drive, then connect it to the laptop and do whatever you intend to do... the only question is, if it has enoug free space to create a new partition where you can copy to or move your personal files to.

After this is done, you can either format the OS partition from the laptop or move the Hard Drive to your PC and format it during the installation, or don't format it if you want to keeps programs and do a Repair installation.

2nd Option: From your friend's laptop; you could download the Hiren's Boot CD ISO, burn it on CD (Live CD) which you can run on your PC and have access to the hard drive: create a new partition with one of the included tools and copy your files to, or move them to the new partition. Next either format the drive from the Hiren's Boot CD with one of the included applications, or format it from the Windows CD/DVD during the installation, or leave it as it is and do a Repair installation which BTW does not destroy personal files but it's good practice to back them up to be safe.

3rd Option: Is do as in the 2nd option up to running the Hiren's Boot CD on your PC.. the difference is you can run the included application named "RegResWiz" (Registry Restore Wizard) and with it Restore the Registry to a previous date, restart the computer, remove the Live CD, and see if Windows now boots and allows logon. The Live CD allows Internet access in case you need further assistance. Registry Restore Wizard is very easy to use and the only risk is losing the programs you installed from the date you select to the present.. but that will happen with a Windows System Restore just the same.

Hiren’s BootCD 15.2
http://www.hirensbootcd.org/download/

RegResWiz in Hiren's Boot CD
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-1GXW9OGGdkw/UBm-V9aiDgI/AAAAA...
February 11, 2013 10:23:16 AM

Thank you both for your help so far. I've downloaded Hiren's Boot CD but I've just discovered my friend's laptop won't recgonise disks so once I've resolved that I'll update this thread with how I got on. :) 
a b G Storage
February 11, 2013 1:20:59 PM

Good luck, you know where to find us.
a b G Storage
February 11, 2013 1:43:06 PM

Just go buy a cheap hard drive enclosure. It will be usb and will be able to be used on any laptop.
February 11, 2013 5:16:18 PM

I'm currently using Mini XP to backup all important data to an external HDD just in case. I had a quick look and noticed a registry tool in XP. Would this be the one I need to restore my registry or would it be on another part of the disk?

Edit- I just re-checked the Hiren screenshot posted earlier and now I recognise Mini XP being used I assume I can fix my registry as shown. Will the Registry Restore Wizard allow me to roll back to a certain date?
a b G Storage
February 11, 2013 6:19:35 PM

As I said before RegResWiz does restore the Registry to an earlier date. I've done it on several occasions, and logged on aterwards. If RegResWiz finds a date, it means you can restore the Registry to that date. The only risk is you'll lose programs you installed from that date to present, so if you want to install them later and you need their licences, Hirens Boot CD includes a tool named Licence Crawler that can scan for your licences.
February 12, 2013 5:44:34 AM

My data finished backing up overnight and I'm now ready to repair my registry. However, the Registry Wizard doesn't detect any restore points so I need to try something else. Is there a system restore option on the disk? I also tried the Registry Backup and Restore Tool but got this error:

Registry backup encountered error(s):

Error: Unable to create any backups

Which I suspect may be to do with file permissions/privileges. The next thing I'll try is a system restore, if the disk has the option for one.
February 12, 2013 4:01:13 PM

Just thought I'd post to update on my progress- or lack of- so far.

As mentioned above the Registry Restore Wizard seems a no-go as it hasn't detected any restore points for me to choose, so I'll need to try something else. However, the other registry tools don't seem to be much help either.

- ERUNT- doesn't seem to support Windows 7
- Fix hard disk controller- looks complicated and doesn't seem relevant to my problem
- Glary Registry Repair- will not run as it tells me hhctrl.ocx was not found
- NT Registry Optimiser- doesn't seem to support Windows 7
- RegScanner- looks complicated and doesn't seem relevant to my problem
- Registry Backup and Restore Tool- only gets so far as I get Error: Unable to create any backups
- Registry Editor PE- looks complicated and doesn't seem relevant to my problem
- Registry/Process Monitor- looks complicated and doesn't seem relevant to my problem
- RegFromApp- doesn't seem relevant to my problem
- RegMon- looks complicated and doesn't seem relevant to my problem
- Registry Restore Wizard- unable to select any restore points
- RegShot- looks complicated and doesn't seem relevant to my problem

So that's where I'm at. None of the registry tools have given me any success, and I can't seem to find an option in Mini XP for system restore. Where do I go from here? Are there tools on the other parts of the boot CD that could help? :/ 
a b G Storage
February 12, 2013 6:50:31 PM

I haven't found an application in the Hirens boot cd that can restore the registry... the only one is RegResWiz but since you didn't find any backups, it may be due to Windows 7's strict security... but now that you've backed up your files you can do a Repair reinstall of Window 7. This mode of installation doesn't delete programs or personal files... the folder you mentioned (Windows.old) is created when doing a fresh installation on the same drive without previously formatting... that doesn't replace the original Windows folder, just renames it, but a Repair installation rebuilds it with new system files. So if loosing your programs is what holds you back, be assured that a Repair install is the installation mode to do.

If you'd rather restore the registry, check the link for related information... it sounds simple enough to do, but it’s for restoring registry backups remotely, not from a Live CD, but it still may be possible to do from Live CD with some ingenuity.

How to Restore Previous Versions of the Registry in Windows 7
http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/31136/how-to-restore-pre...

RegFileExport v1.06
http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/registry_file_offline_expo...
February 12, 2013 7:21:41 PM

I've scanned through the link you sent me, I'll run through it tomorrow when I get the chance.

In the meantime, I wonder if I could get clarification on one or two things.

Prior to making this thread, I had been looking at Repair Installs myself though hadn't yet tried one as at that stage I hadn't backed my files up. I came across this
http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/3413-repair-instal...

Repair Installs seem simple enough and I've started to seriously considering doing one anyway just to be safe. I'm guessing that after everything this would probably be the easiest way to resolve the issue?

Alternatively, I came across the link below and wondered what kind of reputation that software had and whether or not it would be a simpler fix.
http://download.cnet.com/Free-Window-Registry-Repair/30...

The registry restoration sounds complicated but seems effective. So, I suppose the question it comes down to now is, which solution would you recommend? Personally I like the sound of a Repair Install as it sounds like it would keep my program settings, though I'd greatly value a second opinion. :) 
a b G Storage
February 12, 2013 10:38:24 PM

if none of that works try this.

if you have a windows 7 cd all you would need to do it load that and use it to upgrade. if it wont let you go find a friend whos at a college that has cheap upgrade cds($20). an upgrade deletes no personal data at all. nor does it delete programs.
a b G Storage
February 12, 2013 11:13:10 PM

The application at download.cnet.com is a registry cleaner like so many others and won't do what you need done.. some developers give their applications the wrong name just to trick you into using their apps but they don't really offer what you need.. the application would also have to be installed on Windows 7 so it's not a solution.

From the Warnings in the Sevenforum:
The bit that you can not use a OEM Disk.. it's the same thing they've been saying about Windows XP all along, and it isn't always the fact... what it all boils down to, is that you can't repair a Windows OS with the same disc it was installed from, because the installed system has been updated through Automatic Windows Updates, so it's already a newer version and you can't repair a newer version with al older one. So if your Windows 7 is the original version you can try and see if the Repair (the word is "Upgrade" on Win 7 [see the image]) and if the upgrade is not available or possible, you still have the option to Slipstream the Service Pack 1 update onto the original Windows 7 DVD to make a bootable Windows 7 with SP1 upgrade DVD.

So your alternate option is to Download the Windows 7 Service Pack 1 update, and slipstream-integrate it with your DVD's contents to make a Windows 7 SP1 upgraded version. There are still more updates that may be possible to integrate for a fully updated Windows 7 SP1+Updates to 2013 DVD
See here:
http://www.msfn.org/board/topic/139877-post-sp1-updates.... To make a fully updated Windows 7 SP1+>2013 DVD

Windows Updates Downloader
http://www.windowsupdatesdownloader.com/ProgramFiles.as...

How To SlipStream Windows 7, SP1, and Recent Updates
http://www.davescomputertips.com/2012/10/how-to-slipstr...

How To: Download and store Windows 7 updates
http://tech2.in.com/how-to/software/how-to-download-and...

RT Se7en Lite - Downloads
http://www.rt7lite.com/downloads.html

Click on the link to see a Windows 7 installation tuturial. To try and Repair (Upgrade) install Windows 7 with your present DVD,

Windows 7 Installation Guide / Tutorial
http://www.techtalkz.com/windows-7/514412-windows-7-ins...

RT Se7en Lite may not extract files from a ISO (Updates SP1+updates to Jan 2013), so you may need to install the right application (WinRAR, 7Zip, Izark, WinZip or an ISO Opener-Extractor ) to extract the files from the ISO you can download from here: http://www.msfn.org/board/topic/139877-post-sp1-updates...

ISO Opener 1.0
http://www.softpedia.com/get/CD-DVD-Tools/Virtual-CD-DV...

So, yes a Repair Installation (called upgrade installation in Win 7), is the most practical solution... and a fully updated Windows 7 SP1 up to 2013 is even better... So I included the links to download the application that can slipstream your Windows 7 DVD contents with the accumulated updates up to January 8th 2013.
February 13, 2013 2:30:17 PM

I seem to have run into yet another problem when trying to perform an Upgrade Install. :/ 

Obviously I changed the BIOS settings to boot from CD as I can't get to desktop, but when trying to reinstall this way I get the following message:

Compatibility Report

The computer started using the Windows installation disk. Remove the installation disk and restart the computer so that Windows starts normally. Then, insert the installation disk and restart the upgrade.


The message is saying to boot normally and then run the disk, but the whole point of reinstalling is because I can't boot normally so the only way I can access the disk is by booting from it. This looks like a problem. :/ 

The only way around this I can think of is to boot with Mini XP and then swap to the Windows disk, though as Mini XP isn't actual Microsoft software I'm afraid the computer would get confused and something would go wrong. What should I do?
a b G Storage
February 13, 2013 6:17:16 PM

Alex119 said:
I seem to have run into yet another problem when trying to perform an Upgrade Install. :/ 

Obviously I changed the BIOS settings to boot from CD as I can't get to desktop, but when trying to reinstall this way I get the following message:

Compatibility Report

The computer started using the Windows installation disk. Remove the installation disk and restart the computer so that Windows starts normally. Then, insert the installation disk and restart the upgrade.


The message is saying to boot normally and then run the disk, but the whole point of reinstalling is because I can't boot normally so the only way I can access the disk is by booting from it. This looks like a problem. :/ 

The only way around this I can think of is to boot with Mini XP and then swap to the Windows disk, though as Mini XP isn't actual Microsoft software I'm afraid the computer would get confused and something would go wrong. What should I do?


I don't know if that would work... but you'd have to t ry and see... that's if you have two optical drives so you don't "swap" disks... that would drop Mini XP as it's probably running from the CD (It only loads virtual memory on the Hard Disk).. and if it goes wrong, only virtual memory is lost... the CD loads to the hard disk for better performance but it needs to have contact with the CD. If swapping the CD for the DVD and Mini XP is dropped the most that can happen is the screen will go blank but nothing can go wrong with the installed system or hardware. So try and see what result you get you have nothing to lose.

If it doesn't work, I'd suggest you do the DVD update to SP1 and other updates up to Jan 2013... you need your DVD, the RT Se7en Lite - Streaming application, the Win 7 SP1 update and posterior updates (for better chances of the installation going through). To get all the Windows 7 updates I'd suggest installing the Windows Updates Downloader, and a ISO reader-maker-burner or a separete CD/DVD/ISO burner, so you can make a SP1+ ISO of all the updates to Jan 2013.
February 13, 2013 6:29:55 PM

I'll try the Hiren's method tomorrow and post back here.

If I have to launch the Upgrade Install after Windows itself has booted, instead of launching the install straight from the disk, then surely an updated disk won't help? It seems that, however updated a version I'm upgrading to, I'll still have to launch the installation from Windows instead of booting straight from the disk, which if true is obviously a problem.
a b G Storage
February 13, 2013 7:30:29 PM

Alex119 said:
I'll try the Hiren's method tomorrow and post back here.

If I have to launch the Upgrade Install after Windows itself has booted, instead of launching the install straight from the disk, then surely an updated disk won't help? It seems that, however updated a version I'm upgrading to, I'll still have to launch the installation from Windows instead of booting straight from the disk, which if true is obviously a problem.


Well, apparently that's what the Sevenforums tutorial says... but how can you repair a damaged unbootable Windows 7 installation if you have to logon? that's totally irrational... there must be a workaround.

What does the Startup Repair do if you run it? From what the video shows, the startup repair should work on a damaged installation.. but I suppose that's how you repaired your system previously? What happens now, what/how does the installer respond?

Cannot start your PC and need to reinstall Windows 7? Our tutorial will show you how
http://www.top-windows-tutorials.com/reinstall-windows-...
February 13, 2013 8:06:26 PM

I agree that it seems totally irrational. I'll double-check the Sevenforums link just in case I've misunderstood something.

Startup Repair launches itself every time I try to boot into Windows, and every time it fails to fix anything. I'm not too sure which previous repair you are referring to.

Apologies for the relentless questions. Just wanted to add that without your help I'd be totally stuck, so thank you for replying so far. :)  I'll update this thread tomorrow with my progress on the Hiren's method, as well as the links you posted.
a b G Storage
February 13, 2013 8:57:33 PM

Alex119 said:
I agree that it seems totally irrational. I'll double-check the Sevenforums link just in case I've misunderstood something.

Startup Repair launches itself every time I try to boot into Windows, and every time it fails to fix anything. I'm not too sure which previous repair you are referring to.

Apologies for the relentless questions. Just wanted to add that without your help I'd be totally stuck, so thank you for replying so far. :)  I'll update this thread tomorrow with my progress on the Hiren's method, as well as the links you posted.


No, you didn't misunerstood anything.. it's the same thing I understand.. that's why I call (Microsoft) irrational. They may think the "Repair your computer" option (click the link and see image 5) can repair an unbootable computer everytime... and who knows.. this is the option I thought you had perfomed before when I said "I suppose that's how you repaired your system previously?" but I guess I confused your thread with someone else's... but in any case, I believe it's the same option you mean by "Startup Repair"?.

Image 5 "Repair your computer" option
http://www.techtalkz.com/windows-7/514412-windows-7-ins...

NO apologies are necessary.. I just hope I'm not getting in over my head and can help you get your system up and running.
February 14, 2013 3:48:21 PM

The Startup Repair shown in the video link you posted is the same one that runs automatically when I try to boot as normal. As a result, it doesn't help me.

I tried to launch the Upgrade Install once Hiren's CD had booted Mini XP. While taking out the boot disk didn't close the software I was unable to run the setup due to my OS being 64-bit; Mini XP seems to be 32-bit.

I'm slowly running out of options. I've right-clicked my drive and currently have it checking for errors, which has taken about 45 minutes so far with still some way to go so maybe that will help, though I'm doubtful.

Instead, I want to re-explore some of the things that wouldn't work for me earlier on.

1) System Restore. I can select a restore point- one of which is only 2 weeks old- but the Wizard won't allow me to select my hdd, telling me to make sure System Protection is enabled and preventing me from going any further.

2) Chkdsk. This seems like a reasonable solution, though when trying to run it I'm told 'Cannot Lock Current Drive. Windows cannot run disk checking on this volume because it is write protected'

As I desperately want to avoid a Custom Install, I need to find a few more things to try and I was wondering if you had any suggestions about either of these two issues.
a b G Storage
February 14, 2013 5:15:20 PM

I cant reall if you've metioned if you tried Safe Mode before? that may help to logon and try to repair the registry or start the repair installation.

Another option I can think of, is to launch the repair installation from a new clean installation you can setup on a second partition of the hard drive, you can partition the Hard Drive from the Hirens Boot CD of from the Windows 7 DVD.

Once you're ready to repair the damaged Windows 7, start it from the clean installed Windows 7, and select the right partition from the Windows 7 DVD. Once the OS has been repaired and working, you can format the partition with the new clean installation.
Windows 7 installation guide
http://www.dedoimedo.com/computers [...] stall.html

Some usefull indications here on how to install from the Windows 7 DVD through MS-DOS
"Windows Setup could not configure Windows on this computer’s hardware” installation error on a Windows 7-based or a Windows Server 2008 R2-based computer
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2466753/en

You can run CHKDSK from the Windows 7 DVD... but it has limitations, so don't expect it to deinitely repair the Registry damage. If mainly fixes hard disk damaged sectors and file system errors.. which may include sectors or errors where the registry data was, so it's worth executing but with reasonable expectations.

Windows 7 & Vista - Running Checkdisk from a Boot CD/DVD or Windows Desktop
http://kb.wisc.edu/page.php?id=6565
February 14, 2013 7:29:32 PM

I tried chkdsk from the Windows disc and was met with the error message I posted above. For some reason it won't run as expected as it thinks my drive is write protected.

Your suggestion about performing a Custom Install on a new partition sounds possible. Just to clarify, this is my understanding of how it would work

- Boot from Windows disc
- Opt for a Custom Install, but make sure to create a separate partition away from my damaged system and make sure the new installation runs on this new partition
- My product key, for whatever reason, is not in my Windows 7 disc case, but as I have 30 days to activate the new install this shouldn't be an issue as by the time these 30 days are is up I can simply remove the newer partition
- Once a fresh installation has been performed on the new partition, run the disk and select Upgrade Install
- Choose the original partition

From here, I assume things should run smoothly? Once I know the Upgrade/Repair Install is successful, how would I go about removing the newer partition with the fresh install on?

One final question: once Windows has been installed on the new partition and my old one is repaired, do I have to select which one to boot from? How do I switch partitions once my old one is fixed?
February 14, 2013 8:11:14 PM

Just thought I'd add that I'm still running error-checking on my drive. With the fix and recovery boxes unticked the process was complete in minutes, but with them ticked it's taking hours. I started at about 6p.m and it's coming to the end of phase 4. Is there any point in continuing, and if I leave it to do so then how much longer is it likely to take?
a b G Storage
February 14, 2013 11:01:53 PM

You've get everything right on the custom installation details.. my only doubt is if the repair (upgrade) installation will go smoothly.. I've never done it so I can't tell, but from what I understand about how it's started, it should go ok. Once the repair-upgrade is done, this OS should be set as the default OS appearing on top in the boot selection screen. The next steps are to verify in the Disk Manager that the repaired Windows 7 is in the Active partition, and that in MSConfig it's set as the default OS. After this is verified you can open the Disk Manager; Start\Computer-right click & select Manage\Disk Manager... right click on the new partition containing the clean installation and select Format, and choose the Quick format option.

If the formatted Windows 7 remains in the boot selection screen, from; Start\Run or Search\type; msconfig > boot tab > reduce the Timeout to 0 or the lowest number possible and remove the entry from the bootloader with EasyBCD.

If by... "How you switch partitions" you mean how you select the OS to start the computer with, the mose recent installed or repaired OS is set as the default, so it should be on top in the boot selection screen.

About chkdsk; the boxes unchecked/not ticked the program only scans but doesn't fix damaged sectors or file system errors, that's why it's taking so long.. the hard disk must have plenty of errors which is both a good sign and a bad one as well, good because the program is finding errors and correcting them and the OS may end up booting.. bad because it may mean the hard drive is in it's final stages and the cause of the whole problem.. but let's hope that's not the case. In any event, if the problem is solved, check the Hard Drive condition with Hard Disk Sentinel to know it's exact condition... and how long the Hard Drive is expected to last. Almost forgot... chkdsk works in 5 stages so it should have finished by the time you read this.
a b G Storage
February 15, 2013 3:01:56 AM

Alex119 said:

- My product key, for whatever reason, is not in my Windows 7 disc case, but as I have 30 days to activate the new install this shouldn't be an issue as by the time these 30 days are is up I can simply remove the newer partition

The custom installation may not be a problem for Activation but the repaired system may be a different story.. you may need the key to Activate it..

Try to retrieve the key from the damaged system with the Hiren's Boot CD... Programs \ Passwords / Keys \ Product Keys \ XP Key Reader has the option to retrieve the product key from a remote installation.

February 15, 2013 12:23:55 PM

Unfortunately I have come across another problem. :/  When selecting a partition on which to perform the Custom Install, advanced options only let me delete or format the current partition. For some reason, the 'New' and 'Extend' options are greyed out so I seem to have gotten stuck yet again.

If only I could perform a System Restore, I'm pretty sure my machine would boot up again. It says I must enable Disk Protection though. I've done some research into this issue and tried various cmd commands but nothing so far.

I was sure the new partition method would work, but for some reason I can't even create one. I've got a spare external HDD so I had the idea that I could perhaps install Windows onto that (it has enough space) but unfortunately it wouldn't let me do that either.

February 15, 2013 4:12:53 PM

At this stage I'm starting to feel like I've tried everything and each time I've been held back in one way or another. The things I've tried have either not worked, or not let me use them at all. :/  I'm still seeking alternatives to formatting the drive and just restoring my data from the external drive, but it's starting to look like my one and only option.
a b G Storage
February 15, 2013 5:37:48 PM

Alex119 said:
Unfortunately I have come across another problem. :/  When selecting a partition on which to perform the Custom Install, advanced options only let me delete or format the current partition. For some reason, the 'New' and 'Extend' options are greyed out so I seem to have gotten stuck yet again.


Try creating the new partition from the Hiren's Boot CD.. it has a few applications that may help. The problem may be that you aready have the maximum number of partitions, they may be hidden and the Win 7 installer may not show them.



Alex119 said:

If only I could perform a System Restore, I'm pretty sure my machine would boot up again. It says I must enable Disk Protection though. I've done some research into this issue and tried various cmd commands but nothing so far.


The problem is System Restore can only be run from the operating system itself... so that's not an option for now.

Alex119 said:

I was sure the new partition method would work, but for some reason I can't even create one. I've got a spare external HDD so I had the idea that I could perhaps install Windows onto that (it has enough space) but unfortunately it wouldn't let me do that either.


Try the external HDD removed from the enclosure and installed internal in the #1 SATA connector or MA in IDE Channel. It would be better to install on the spare HDD single in the case to keep the damaged OS's bootloader intact. When the installation concludes put the PC's HDD back in as the main HDD and if the custom installed Win7 doesn't boot, configure the BIOS disabling the PC's HDD so only the custom install's bootloader is detected. Next use Easy BCD to edit the bootloader for dual boot, and start the Repair/Upgrade installation.

A different aproach to the problem may be using Application Mover to move your applications from the old damaged OS to a new custon installation. If your programs are what's keeping you from formatting the damaged OS, this can solve it for you. Applications Mover can move the program's files and registry data to a new installation..

The procedure would be as follows:
1. Do the 1st custom installation following the instructions in the 1st paragraph, move your applications to the custom installation, formatt the old OS, and do a 2nd custom installation in it's place, move your applications to it, and formatt the unnecessary 1st custom installation.
a b G Storage
February 15, 2013 6:52:50 PM

See if System Restore works from the Windows 7 DVD Command Prompt following these instructions:

Execute System Restore from the Command Line / Safe Boot
http://www.tech-recipes.com/rx/780/execute-system-resto...

From the DVD access to Command Prompt; type "diskpart" (no quotes) > press Enter > list volume > a numbered list of drives and partitions should come up on the screen.. > type select # volume and press enter (# is C: where failed Win7 is installed) > you should get a response saying "# drive is the selected volume" > type "%systemroot%\system32\restore\rstrui.exe" (no quotes) and press Enter... rstrui.exe is the System Restore executable.. this is the best and last possibility to make System Restore run from the command prompt.
February 15, 2013 7:47:26 PM

I'd prefer to avoid any physical moving and re-connecting of hard drives where possible. I have literally no experience of handling hardware and don't trust myself to do things properly which is why I've only tried software-based methods up to this point.

When I was unable to create a new partition I checked Hiren's disk to see what was on there. I can't recall the exact name but I opened something like Partition Wizard which displayed my various drives and partitions. Right-clicking my drive for more options, I found that the one thing that was greyed out was 'create'. :/  I tried selecting other drives too just to see if the option showed up for them but no such luck.

Application Mover sounds interesting, though there seem to be tons of exceptions to what you can move. As long as my documents are backed up, I've decided I don't mind having to reinstall my programs any more.

I worked through your steps in Command Prompt and when I enter the %systemroot%\system32\restore\rstrui.exe command I'm met with a list of possible commands- ACTIVE, ADD, CLEAN, EXTEND, FORMAT, RECOVER, etc. Is this supposed to happen? How do I proceed with an attempted System Restore from here?

Also, I'm not sure if it means anything but earlier I tried the %systemroot%\system32\restore\rstrui.exe on its own and was given an error message, so I booted Mini XP and navigated to the system32\restore folder and I didn't see any executable files, just one small hidden one.
February 15, 2013 8:07:57 PM

Just thought it might be beneficial to add some details about the initial problem, though I realise I should have given these sooner. I suppose I didn't because I've spent more time trying to solve new problems that have arisen when trying to fix the original one.

I turned my PC off on the power switch to save waiting for it to shut down. (I know, I've learnt my lesson now. :/ ) Next time I turned it on, I got a blue screen. Slightly panicked, I didn't fully read through it and let the machine restart.

When the PC did come back on, the 'Starting Windows' message would appear (the one where the logo fades onto the screen), but then this would be interrupted by the 'Windows is loading files' message and alternate loading bar, with no Windows logo. I assumed this is Safe Mode kicking in automatically, but this happens even when I set the computer to try and start Windows normally so I'm not so sure.

Startup Repair would start by itself, and now does so every time I try to boot normally. I only got the blue screen that one time so unfortunately I can't go back and read what it said, but Startup Repair gave some problem details and informed me of the corrupt Registry. (It showed Problem Event Name and then 7 Problem Signatures- the CorruptRegistry message was signature number 7).

Edit- doing some more research and this cropped up. I've seen something similar a few times but thought it seemed complicated, though it seems to have worked for a number of others.

http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/window...

It's the first answer about manually copying the registry through Command Prompt.
a b G Storage
February 15, 2013 11:10:53 PM

OK, I undertand your reluctance to move hardware around but if it becomes the last and only option, either you do it ot pay to have it done. All you need to do, is place carefull notice of where things go, take digital photos if you have to, and handle devices as carefully as possible using insulating gloves, a antistatic strap, or grounding yourself on the computer case.

I see no exeptions with Applications Mover, the only inconvenience is it works one application at a time, so it may only be practical if you have time or a limited number of applications. Your comment on not minding to reinstall programs, leads me to a question; if personal files are backed-up, programs don't play a role, and there isn't much in the system to influence your decision on keeping the OS and not formatting, why don't you just go ahead and formatt the drive?.

You can retrieve the licence key with any of the applications included in the Hiren's Boot CD... unless you see this as an oportunity to practice and gain some experience, I se no other reason why you should persist any longer in trying to rescue the instalation from a damaged registry.

The results you get in the Command Prompt is normal.. the program doesn't understand your commands so it displays a list of options from which it interprets you may find the correct command. It happens that was not the right path, on Windows 7 it's different from what the web article described. Check this one, it may not work, but it's worth trying. I suspect System Restore can only be started from Windows.

How to Quickly Access and Use Windows System Restore or System Protection
http://www.techsupportalert.com/content/how-quickly-acc...

The list of command that came up offers another possible method of creating a new partition. CREATE seems like the command to use. So from the DVD command prompt, type diskpart > List volume > select volume # > CREATE... see what comes up.

The info at answers.microsoft.com about repairing the Registry is though Safe Mode \ Command Prompt... so, you'd have to logon in Safe Mode.
February 16, 2013 4:12:39 PM

R.e Application Manager, the Important Notes section lists a fair few types of programs which cannot be moved and it seems like I'd have to reinstall most of mine anyway.

http://www.funduc.com/app_mover_notes1.htm

I will try the CREATE option in Command Prompt, but I'll most likely format my drive, start afresh and copy back my files. The reason I've been reluctant to do so until now was because I only wanted to resort to it as a last option. My drive's pretty full and I've got a fair few programs I'll need to reinstall so copying my files and reinstall everything make take a while, so before doing so I wanted to make sure I'd tried practically everything I could.

As mentioned, I'll try the CREATE option and if not I'll start afresh. Hopefully the next time I post in here it'll be from my own machine.

MichaelAtkins, thank for you the link. :) 
February 16, 2013 7:42:44 PM

I chose to install Windows 7 over my original partition, and to my delight when the desktop appeared I found a Windows.old folder and was able to cut-and-paste my data to its new location in seconds. I'm currently in the process of reinstalling all my programs, so hopefully this time tomorrow I'll be as good as up and running again.

I want to extend my unparalleled gratitude to Chicano. Thank you for continuously replying with new solutions and suggestions, without them I probably wouldn't even have backed up my data by now. Most probably would probably have abandoned the thread after my bombardment of questions and problems, so thank you for sticking it out throughout the week. I'd also like to thank everyone else who replied with suggestions and advice.

I think I've learnt not to turn my machine off by the switch now. ;) 
a b G Storage
February 16, 2013 8:14:06 PM

I didn't mention this before because I thought it may be to complicated for you, and a Repair or Custom installation seemed more practical. Just go thrugh it a few times before applying, it just may be the solution to repairing the registry.

Read the linked article for propper instructions relative to this comment. The registry backs up restore files you may be able to use and restore the registry manually. Said files are in C:\ WINDOWS\system32\config. You can find several registry backups by sections, the question would be which section of the registry is damaged (probably System) so you’ll know exactly which registry backup file to merge to and restore the Registry. This Config folder is probably where the application I mentioned previously (RegResWiz) gets the Registry restore points, but why the application didn’t find any when you tried it, may depend on the Windows 7 strict security.

So, there is still a possibility of restoring the backup in the Config folder to the registry, but since these backups are in code, they can’t be merged directly into the registry.. a registry application is needed, or possibly the registry itself can make use of those backups. See if the following works:

Accessing the registry remotely from the Hirens CD, or a new intallation, select the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE hive, next to to File Menu > click on Load Hive > browse to C\Windows\System32\Config\ > select the file named "System" with the creation/restore date thats most convenient > name the new registry key as “AAAA” next “Export” AAAA” with right click Export.. this will convert the key from system (without format and in code) to a .reg edit file that you can "merge" into the registry… Next right click on HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE and click Export > name the Exported backup.. Next rename the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE hive to OBSOLETE > next rename the key you named AAAA to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE.. This may replace the Local Machine registry Hive with the saved backup (in C:\WINDOWS\System32\Config\"System" with convenient date of creation).

It's possible you may need the application mentioned in the link, named RegFileExport v1.06. but this application is made to work remotely from a network not from a Live CD, but it's worth downloading it to drive C:\ and trying to execute it from the Hirens Boot CD.
If this concludes successfully, see if the Windows 7 on C:\ now boots.. if it works, go into the Registry and delete the key you renamed to OBSOLETE.. if it doesn't work, go back to the Hirens Boot CD access the C:Win 7 Registry and delete the Key you renamed HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE and rename the OBSOLETE key to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE.

How to Restore Previous Versions of the Registry in Windows 7
http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/31136/how-to-restore-pre...

RegFileExport v1.06
http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/registry_file_offline_expo...
a b G Storage
February 16, 2013 11:44:39 PM

Better yet, try this Registry Repair Tutorial courtesy of dennis96411. It's the same repair as the last one I recommended, only it's done from the Command Prompt and is more complete. If you have conveniently dated backups, this will probably fix your problem... I'd be surprised if it doesn't.

Recovering your System from a corrupt Registry.
http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/139576-startup-rep...
February 17, 2013 1:00:45 PM

Thank you for the links, though as mentioned above a reinstall fixed my problem. :) 
a b G Storage
February 17, 2013 5:42:05 PM

Alex119 said:
Thank you for the links, though as mentioned above a reinstall fixed my problem. :) 

Congrats Alex.. I missed your previous message and was late in giving you the registry fix that would have probably solved the problem without a reinstallation necessary.. but as long as you solved the problem, that's what finally counts. BTW what you did is not a Repair installation but a Custom installation named New on XP, on the same partition.. a Repair (or Upgrade in Win 7) installation deletes old files and substitutes them with fresh versions.

Another observation; you can use the power switch button to turn off (hard shutdown) the System in case it's necessary... but you have to press and hold it till the computer shuts down.. the system detects this and closes down so it's not the same as just cutting power.. So if the computer went off immediately when you pressed the power button (causing the problem), the power switch may have been missconfigured.. On the new installation it should be set correctly by default, but check it's set correctly in Control Panel \ Power Options \ Advanced \ "When I press the Power Button on my computer" it should be on "Ask me what to do" or "Stand by". Either way it will take some 6-10 sconds to shutdown... and not immediately which is not good as you found out, as well as many people do when power outages occurr.
So the Switch is more of a "power on / shutdown safely" switch than a power switch, and should be configured to work as it was meant to.
!