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  1. #1
    iNET Interactive
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    Win7's no-reformat, nondestructive reinstall




    TOP STORY

    Win7's no-reformat, nondestructive reinstall


    By Fred Langa

    You deleted a file yesterday; now you really need it back. Your Windows recycle bin is empty — what now?

    Your next-best option is the Restore Previous Versions tool — a truly great, automatic data-protection feature buried in Win7.

    The full text of this column is posted at windowssecrets.com/top-story/win7s-no-reformat-nondestructive-reinstall/ (paid content, opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.

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  3. The Following User Says Thank You to Tracey Capen For This Useful Post:

    Chaudhry (2011-07-14)

  4. #2
    New Lounger
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    Re Fred's reinstallation of Windows. I think you will find that some programs that you reinstalled after SP1 will now not run.

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    efinigan (2014-02-06)

  6. #3
    New Lounger
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    a couple things
    1 the ISO file for win 7 SP1 is floating about so you can get your hands on it if you look hard enough (just be sure of what you are grabbing)
    2 its a better idea to use one of many utilities to predownload the set of patches and not risk getting hit by a drive-by doing the WU and reboot shuffle

  7. #4
    New Lounger
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    This is an excellent article and is going to save me a lot of time but I do have a question. Does this upgrade process get rid if all the garbage that has built up in the registry. Registry cleaners just don't work. In a badly cluttered registry, you will be lucky if a registry cleaner removes 1% of the garbage and if you get too aggressive you stand a good chance of killing your Windows. I have found on machines that are running slow, the registry file can be anything up to ten times it's original size. A fresh install gets the registry back to original and then the computer really performs again.

  8. #5
    Lounger
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    Good question. I was going to ask this myself. It is key to know this fact before deciding. If you only have a broken system in terms of function but performance is fine then this route seems the best way to go. If your main reason to refresh is for performance then it would be a shame to do all this if it made not much difference.

  9. #6
    New Lounger
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    Can I use this method to upgrade from 32bit to 64bit ? or whats the safest method to do that while retaining my applications or their settings.

  10. #7
    New Lounger
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    Would this method be applicable to get rid of problems with installing SP1 because of .NET incompatibilities? I'm afraid not, as the method would leave installed programs untouched, if I understand correctly...

  11. #8
    New Lounger
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    I have not read the article fully, but have downloaded it, for when I do need it.
    I have also downloaded the earlier article for XP (not read yet).
    I have not needed to do this for Win 7, but I believe I have done it many times for XP
    Is this article, and the XP article, referring to what is very commonly called a 'Repair Install' ?
    (PS I know we are not referring to the Recovery Console Repair)
    If it is referring to a 'Repair Install', then I have an additional tidbit for you all.
    If you have created an image of your partition (the one containing the OS), and your PC dies.
    You can restore the image into a drive in another PC.
    Then when you are ready to try it in the new PC, you should have the XP CD in the drawer, and boot into that (Do NOT run the OS yet).
    Once you have done your 'Repair Install', XP will now run in your new hardware.
    I have heard rumors that you do not need to do this trick with Win 7, as it will happily adapt to the new hardware.
    Is there any truth to that rumor ?
    Rob

    PS Update:
    My Win7 PC died (I broke the CMOS battery holder).
    I tried Restoring the Win7 image into three other 2004 PCs, with no success. (They would not Repair Install)
    Last edited by RobCr; 2012-02-19 at 09:18. Reason: An update about future attempts

  12. #9
    New Lounger
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    Great article but one scenario I didn't see covered. Fred said it would work with an OEM Win7 disk but will this method work with an OEM Win7 UPGRADE from Vista disk? My HP machine w/ Vista came with the free upgrade to Win7. I did the Windows Mail hack which seems to be preventing SP1 from installing so would like to try this install if I can determine that it will work. Thanks.

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    Techie (2011-07-14)

  14. #10
    New Lounger
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    Yes but this method still requires you to have a running windows setup, the beauty of the WinXp repair is that you can boot off the install CD and run the repair! I've used this hundreds of times to recover WinXp installation. I've never understand why MS, when they have something that really works, always manages to mess it up. I've seen numerous Win7 installations that are unrepairable via the Win7 boot repair function, and since you can not get win7 boot this repair will not work. Does anyone know how to accomplish a similar WinXP CD boot repair in Win7

  15. #11
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chaudhry View Post
    Can I use this method to upgrade from 32bit to 64bit ? or whats the safest method to do that while retaining my applications or their settings.
    No, you must do a custom install to change from 32 Bit to 64 Bit, sorry.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


    Sony Vaio Laptop, 2.53 GHz Duo Core Intel CPU, 8 GB RAM, 320 GB HD
    Win 8 Pro (64 Bit), IE 10 (64 Bit)


    Complete PC Specs: By Speccy

  16. #12
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    Really? This process seems as busy and potentially error prone as a full re-install. Remove SP1? Run repair install? Re-run hours (if not days) of downloading the Tuesday patches, doing SP1 again, complete with re-boots, and attendant recovery from problems with those same patches? And the registry? That component will get double abuse throughout all of this. At least with a full re-install, you get to start with a clean registry.

    As for the individual that said they have done this hundreds of times...really? You have a more basic problem to solve.

    While I appreciate that Fred is pointing out this particular item, it seems to be old news, Microsoft doesn't think much of it, and they probably don't want anyone using it (clearly the case as they don't "advertise" this as a general solution; why does Microsoft keep so much stuff hidden?) Once again, why are the writers of Windows Secrets becoming so pro-Microsoft lately? Joined the dark side, they have?

  17. #13
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    My main question is this: For those of us with a second partition holding our data, i.e. My Documents, Favorites, pics, music, etc. (we have moved all data folders to the data drive) will the Win 7 No Format, non-destructive Reinstall leave my setup in place and just replace the system files still included on my C Drive, or will it place new folders for these data folders on my C Drive that I now have to move again to my D Drive?
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


    Sony Vaio Laptop, 2.53 GHz Duo Core Intel CPU, 8 GB RAM, 320 GB HD
    Win 8 Pro (64 Bit), IE 10 (64 Bit)


    Complete PC Specs: By Speccy

  18. #14
    New Lounger
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    Ie9?

    I have discovered that installation of IE9 fails after performing an upgrade from Vista to 7 (at least for me...and a few others with whom I have consulted). It only apparently responds to a clean install. Will this fix solve that problem? I have delayes moving to IE9 for the sole reason that I don't want to deal with the re-creation of my whole system.

  19. #15
    New Lounger
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    See my earlier Post about 'Repair Installs'
    I found out early in my 'Repair Install' days, NOT to install recent versions of IE
    MS has long ago (or never known) forgotten about 'KISS'
    Thus they insist on building applications into the core of the OS (eg IE).
    If you wish to do 'Repair Installs' then un-install any recent versions of IE.
    If you do not do that, then the final result will be a flaky OS.
    Just leave the original version of IE in your OS, and use FF or Opera instead.

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