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  1. #1
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center Repair/Reinstall

    I've done this 3 times now; well, 2 1/2 times—I aborted the second one. Before I started, I made a fresh image of my Windows 8.1 partition. On the initial trial, I did not get asked for a Product Key. I was running Windows logged on as a member of the Administrators group, plugged in the Windows 8.1 Installation USB and launched setup.exe by right-clicking and selecting Run as administrator. I was greeted with the following:

    1 Preparing.png

    Shortly thereafter, the installer requested updates, and I obliged.

    2 Get Important Updates.PNG 3 Checking for Updates.PNG

    After collecting and downloading updates, there was another preparation step.

    4 Making Sure You're Ready to Install.PNG

    When everything was gathered together, Windows presented me with a brief summary of what was going to happen. I had made no selections other than agreeing to get updates.

    5 Ready to Install.PNG

    After clicking Install, we were fully into the installation process, so I couldn't snip any more images. First there was a long period of loading files with percentage increments that went up by units; 2%, 3%, 4%, etc. At 100% came the first reboot.

    After the reboot, it went into "Setting up", with more percentage increments, but this time it was in larger increments. At 100%, it went into "Getting devices ready", with progress in percentages again. After that, it changed into "Getting ready", but no progress indicators. Next came "Applying PC settings", again without any indication of progress, and then another reboot.

    After the second reboot, we were "Updating your system", then "Setting up a few more things", then "Getting ready" again. The next screen was an opportunity to accept Express Settings or Customizing my settings. I chose to customize, turning off everything that reported back to Microsoft except for malware reports, and then we had a third reboot.

    The logon screen came up with my Admin account, and I logged in. Then we went through "Finalizing settings", and from there to "Installing your Apps". I don't have many Apps, so that part was fairly quick. All in all, in about 25 minutes I had a working Windows Repair/Reinstall. There were still Windows Updates to do, and I didn't logon to my Standard user account to give it an opportunity to get back up to speed. StartIsBack+ was missing, and the Media Center, but the installation process was finished.

    I was curious about not being asked for a Product Key, and decided to run through it again. This time I got asked for a Product Key on the second screen. That made me even more curious, and I aborted that run. Bottom line, a Repair/Reinstall the old Windows 7 way (Inplace Upgrade) appears to work.

    I restored my drive image, and started over. Windows and I went through all the same stuff again, and after my Apps were installed and the installation routine departed, I installed StartIsBack+, and my settings had been retained in the StartIsBack Program Files folder. Next I tried to install Media Center. After starting "Add features to Windows 8" and clicking "I already have a Product Key", my Product Key was pronounced no good. I puzzled that though a bit, then ran Magical Jelly Bean and was told that my Windows 8.1 Professional with Media Center Product Key was my Media Center Product key, not my Windows 8 Product Key.

    I opened Regedit and navigated to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Win8, and there was the offending Product Key. I deleted the Win8 key, rebooted the machine and got back into "Add features to Windows 8", and this time my Media Center Product Key was accepted. As it began the install process, I was told that there might be updates necessary, and this could take some time. Indeed, it did. But eventually, Media Center was installed and functioning.

    Next I went for Windows Updates, and the screen first flashed 65, then dropped to 47 Important and 3 Recommended updates. I selected everything, and it was a pretty fair sized load. They don't all show in this screenshot.

    6 Updates after Repair-Reinstall.PNG

    That took longer than Media Center, and there were a couple of failures, but I discovered after the fact that the "failures" had actually been installed 9/24/2014 along with several others, including KB2919355, Windows 8.1 Update. So there weren't any actual update failures, after all. I had run Belarc Advisor before and after, and compared the two after all the updates were installed, and other than having to reinstall StartIsBack+ and Media Center, everything stayed the same. I booted into my Standard user account and was greeted with "Hi", and went through the process of finalizing settings and installing my Apps, and it was finally up to speed. All told, close to 3 hours getting everything back, but there was probably half an hour spent figuring out how to get Media Center to install.

    Some of the Windows defaults were restored, and I've been going back through odds and ends getting those settings changed back to my own preferences, but all in all, I must say that I didn't lose anything. All my scheduled tasks in Task Scheduler were still there; a couple of Windows scheduled tasks that I had disabled were re-enabled, and I went back through those. All my programs and apps and utilities are still installed and working just as they did before. The only App I'm missing is Solitaire, and I'll get that back at some point in the near future.

    All day today I've been using and checking, and other than what I've already noted, I've found nothing missing. So I'll close with saying that on a first run, (and I've done two) there's no Product Key required, and a Repair/Reinstall appears to do little harm. I didn't really have anything amiss to begin with, so I can't report success on curing any ills, but doing no harm is a plus.

    In the near future, I'm going to try for a second run, knowing that a Product Key will be requested, and see if I get blocked out on Media Center again. I don't have a Win8 key to delete this time, but I've already thought of another workaround that might get it done . . .

    I forgot one more curious item. There's no "Windows.old" folder.
    Last edited by bbearren; 2015-01-24 at 23:19. Reason: addendum
    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

  2. #2
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    Today I ran another Repair/Reinstall of my Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center, on top of the one detailed in this thread. The second one ran differently, more in line with what one might expect, very much like the In-place/Upgrade with Windows 7. I'll post a new thread soon detailing that experience.
    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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