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  1. #1
    2 Star Lounger
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    Seek Advice for Complicated Upgrade to Win7 Home Premium

    Hi all,
    My fiancé just brought me her Compaq laptop. It has Vista OEM with recovery partition. It is experiencing serious boot failures. It would only boot after initiating a system repair boot. System repair boots are always necessary, else boot failure results. Next boot will also require system repair or it fails again.
    I managed to copy all personal pics and docs to a USB storage drive. But now it seems to even fail to boot when initiating a system repair boot. To complicate matters more, the optical drive is dead.
    I have ordered a replacement optical drive and am waiting for its arrival. I also have a retail Win 7 Home Premium package available. The Win7 Retail package has 2 Disks for 32 bit or 64 bit install.
    My objective is to obtain a clean install of Win7 Home Premium.
    I have never installed Win7 because both my Win7 computers were store bought with Win7 already preinstalled. They include a recovery partition.
    I would like to low level format this laptop and then clean install Win7 from my retail package. But, I suspect this might not be simple.
    All advice, comments and suggestions are welcome.
    Michael

  2. #2
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    It should be a fairly straight forward matter of formatting and clean installing Windows 7.

    One thing before proceeding any further though. I'd want to run a thorough check disk on the entire laptop's hard drive, and preferably from a boot disk
    capable of producing a command prompt. The "r" switch will do a thorough check on the drive and may take a few hours. Your Windows 7 DVD should do nicely.
    Check here for more info and walk through on how to use your Windows 7 DVD to perform the above.

    The actual Clean install

    1. Ensure you have downloaded all the drivers you will need before the clean install. Compaq should have drivers for
    Windows 7 based on your make and model, so do your search of the Compaq site based on that (specific make and model, or model number)
    The most important thing about a clean install is that it should be well planned and having everything you will need on hand will lessen the potential for issues later on.

    2. One of the best clean install articles on Windows 7 can be found here, on TweakHound's site. It's a must read for anyone going into a clean install with limited experience.
    The site will walk you through the menus for formatting and setting up partitions, if needed, from the Windows 7 install disk.

    Let us know if you have any questions after visiting and reading the articles on the above links
    CLiNT
    Last edited by CLiNT; 2013-02-10 at 06:23.
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  3. #3
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    Stick the installation disk in for whichever "bitness" the PC is capable of. Reboot and choose to boot to the DVD. Choose the language, etc. Input the key that came with the disks

    When you get to the screen that shows Upgrade Install or Custom Install, choose Custom Install

    On the next screen you will see a link near the bottom right for Disk Options (Advanced) Note: might be Drive Options (Advanced) Choose this link

    On the next screen, make sure your current installation is highlighted, Click the Format link and choose OK when the warning comes up

    Once the Format is done the installation will continue.

    From this point on it's pretty intuitive on what to do.

    Once the installation reboots, DO NOT CHOOSE to boot from the DVD. This will start the whole installation over, and you do not want that.

    The DVD can actually be pulled at this time because all files necessary to complete the installation are already on the HD.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
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    Clint & Ted,
    Thanks for your replies.
    I did take a quick look at the articles referenced. They appear to be very detailed and long.
    Unfortunately I am getting married Tuesday. I will be quite busy until about Wednesday. There just won't be much time to work on computers til then. So, it will be a little delay before I get back. I will go through both articles then and do what i can.
    Thanks again. Til a little later.
    Michael

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    Michael,

    Unfortunately I am getting married Tuesday.
    Better to not let your fianceé see this email.

    I will be quite busy until about Wednesday.
    Now, that's just making it worse.

    Zig

  6. #6
    WS Lounge VIP mrjimphelps's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael37713 View Post
    I am getting married Tuesday. I will be quite busy until about Wednesday.
    Michael:

    What makes you think that you won't be busy AFTER Tuesday?

    Jim

  7. #7
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    Ya, I agree, that was sloppy wording. It could easily cause misinterpretations of my intentions. My intentions would then have to be clarified.

    And now, back to the Win7 install. There is good news and bad news.
    Start of good news.
    After reviewing the info suggested, I see two immediate procedures. They are; chkdsk from the Win7 install CD and custom install from Win7 install CD.
    End of good news.
    Start of bad news.
    I found my way through the menus to the chkdsk on the Win7 CD. I tried it a few times. It always produced the following statements:
    “file system is not locked”
    and
    “windows cannot run disk checking on this volume because it is write protected”

    I was not able to successfully run chkdsk from the Win7 install CD.

    Next I tried a custom install. I was able to find my way through the menus to attempt a custom install. I tried this about 6 times. I was never able to succeed. The install failed every time. The failed installs were of two types and inconsistent in time. One type of failure would be a simple hang of the install application. The second failure type was a shutdown of the computer before install completes.
    In some cases, I actually got to the point of; “windows is expanding the files”. I never got past that point without either a hang of shutdown.
    End of bad news.

    At this point, not much of anything is going well. I believe I have hardware problems. I think these problems are most likely 1 of three possibilities. They are, first, inconsistent ram failures, second, overheating problem, third, a combination of 1 and 2.
    I tried memtest+ V4.2. I have 2 ram modules, a 2G and 1G. It was my intention to try each module in each memory slot for a period of 5 hours each. That way I would get a good evaluation of inconsistent failures. This also failed. In 6 attempts, there was 1 time when 1 module actually made it to the 5 hour mark without an observable failure. Unfortunately, it was not repeatable. In the 5 failures, there was never an indication from memtest+ of a failed module. In all 5 failures, memtest+ also stopped with a “hang”. Interestingly, there never was a power shutdown.
    And so, memtest+ exhibits the same hang symptoms as the Win7 install application.

    I am not sure if next step is a mechanical teardown to clear possible dust or ???
    A mechanical teardown of a laptop is not a simple thing to do.

    I would appreciate any suggestions or comments from anyone.
    Michael

  8. #8
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    Installation prep

    First, since this is a Vista machine, it's a bit long in the tooth, so it certainly wouldn't hurt to do as much cleaning as your level of experience will allow. The vents and fan intake, the heatsink fins can be blown clean with canned air.

    When you boot the Windows 7 DVD, bypass the install and get to repair options and select Command Prompt, your command prompt is "X:\Sources>" indicating that you are in a RAM Disk environment. That environment does not use the same drive lettering as used by an installed Windows environment. That means that drive C is not necessarily the same drive C that Windows uses. It is more than likely the partition that contains the boot files, which may well be a hidden partition in Windows.

    For that reason, just typing "Chkdsk /r C:" won't necessarily resolve anything, and as you stated, “windows cannot run disk checking on this volume because it is write protected”. The partition that contains the boot files is typically write protected.

    There are a couple of options here. You can find the partition where Windows is installed by changing drive letters and running a DIR command. That will list the volume and label, directories, root files and all sizes. Start with C. Type the letter "C" followed by a colon, ":". It will look like this:

    X:\Sources>c: (then hit enter, and you will see)

    C:\>

    Next type "dir" without the quotes, hit enter, and the contents of that partition will be displayed). Next, type "d:" without the quotes, and run the DIR command again to see what is on partition D. If you get a drive letter that gives an error message "Drive not ready", it's either a CD/DVD drive or a USB port with nothing in it. Since you're booting the Windows 7 DVD, the DIR command for the CD/DVD drive letter will list the contents of the DVD.

    From that procedure, you can figure out what drive letter contains the Windows installation. Then you can run "Chkdsk /r [Windows Installation Drive Letter].

    But you are wanting to do a clean install, there's no need to retain the Vista hidden partition, so I suggest using DISKPART to cleanup the drive and create a single partition.

    At the X:\Sources> command prompt, type "diskpart" without the quotes, and hit enter. There will be a bit of hesitation while the utility loads, and your command prompt will change to

    DISKPART>

    Type "list disk" without the quotes, and hit enter. Since this is a laptop, there's likely a single hard disk drive and a CD/DVD drive, maybe a USB port or two. the LIST DISK command doesn't show partitions, just disks, and lists by number starting with 0 (zero). The largest disk will be your hard disk drive.

    In order to perform anything on a disk with DISKPART, you have to give that particular disk focus. Assuming that your hard disk drive is drive 0, use the SELECT command by typing
    "select disk 0" without the quotes. The respose will be "DISK 0 is Selected". Of course, you will use the actual drive number of your hard disk drive as listed by DISKPART.

    Next you need to delete everything on the disk. Type "clean" without the quotes and hit enter. When the DISKPART prompt returns, the disk is clean. Next, you need to format the disk. Type the following line, using the quotes for the label name. The quotes are needed for a label containing spaces.

    format fs=ntfs label="Windows 7 Home Premium"

    and hit enter. Be patient while the disk is formatted. There is a QUICK format option, but with the problems you've been having, you need a full format. Once the format is complete, type "exit" without the quotes, and that will cause the DISKPART utility to unload, and you will return the X:\Sources> command prompt.

    Now you can find your drive by changing drive letters and using the DIR command. Your drive will be labeled "Windows 7 Home Premium". You can now run chkdsk /r on that drive letter, and it will check all the free space for bad sectors, and mark any bad sectors that it may find as "bad" in the MFT so that the installation routine won't use them.

    Unless the drive is hosed, that should allow you to perform a clean install. After you get Windows installed, you can use Disk Management to shrink the Windows partition enough to create a data partition of a size you want using the free space. That will allow you to keep your data separate, and easy to backup.
    Last edited by bbearren; 2013-02-16 at 13:34. Reason: spelling, clarity
    Create a fresh drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Savvy?"—Captain Jack Sparrow "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware.
    Unleash Windows

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