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  1. #1
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    Win 7 non-destructive re-install is not what it used to be

    I have had "issues" with this HP Envy (Win 7 SP1) almost since new, small things, but they just keep adding up. The touch pad stopped working properly, still worked, but I couldn't slide up and down a page using two fingers. No big deal maybe, but very convenient once one is used to it. HP support said it was a corrupt driver, that fixed the problem, for two days. So I put a short-cut to the driver installation file on the Desktop, ran it each time I booted. That worked, for a few weeks, then stopped working. And then programs that were started at boot-up (Run in the registry) stopped loading. I added short-cuts in the Windows > Start folder. That worked for a while, then stopped. I could still run the programs, but only if I started them manually. The Wacom tablet stopped working, put a short-cut to the driver on the Desktop. That worked for several months, then stopped, cannot get it to work at all now. When I run the driver installer manually it runs normally, says the driver was installed, but in Control Panel the Wacom properties shows "Driver not found". That was the last straw.

    So I looked back through Windows Secrets to find Fred's article, "Win 7's non-destructive reinstall." I not only read it again, I printed it out.I had the installation disk, used Magic Jelly Bean to verify the key, and made a fresh image of C: (albeit with the flaws. Still better the devil you know.) So what could go wrong? Well everything went exactly as described in the article. As Fred said I clicked on "Go on-line to get the latest updates", the laptop re-booted a couple of times, then "Congratulations, you are ready to install Windows 10." 'Congratulations' is not the word that came to my mind. I don't know how many pop-ups I closed, new ones kept appearing, it was like Whack a Mole. And Web pages extolling the wonders of Win 10, and the "fun" times just ahead, and how I'd be able to share my most private and intimate messages with everybody--everywhere. (And according to the EULA I'd be sharing everything with Microsoft too! Just what I'd always wanted to do.) Eventually I got backed out, but I'm not sure how I achieved that, and Win 7 re-booted.

    I was happy until the Desktop turned black. Then I noticed the text down by the tray, "This is an illegal copy of Windows"? (Words to that effect.) That's when it occurred to me that at no time during the installation had I been asked to enter the key. I tried going on-line to activate. I entered the key, "Invalid". This is a copy I've been using for a year, there has never been a problem with it being genuine. So I started over. This time it ended with "Code blocked by Microsoft." I tried the phone activation thinking I get to speak to a real living human being, remember those days? No way, so pressed on with the installation id, all 9 yards of it. "Invalid installation" and something about contacting the supplier of the software. Tried that, there was only an answering machine.

    So I decided to revert to my ify image made a few hours earlier, on a USB external drive using Easeus. Booted up with the Easeus USB boot disk. Selected 'Restore'. It couldn't find the image file. I chose Browse, it couldn't find the drive! The same drive in the same USB socket that had been used to make the image. Backed out, re-booted into the "illegal" Win 7, started Windows Explorer. The USB drive was there, and the image file too. I copied this file to another USB drive, then re-booted using the Easeus boot disk. This time it still could not find any image file, but when I chose 'Browse' I was able to locate the second drive, and the file, and wonder of wonders, Easeus restored the image. But if I hadn't been able to get back into Windows for any reason, and had a spare USB drive with 50+GB free, I wouldn't have been able to restore.

    Today I'll tackle the supplier. However, should anyone try Fred's 'non-destructive' re-install beware! And lastly, since I've restored the image without the Win 10 upgrade detritus I imagine it has been wiped out. Is that true?

    Thanks

    David

  2. #2
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    The reason it gave an invalid key is if you've used a Win 7 SP1 ISO to perform the repair install on an OEM Win 7 machine using the vendor's generic key that Magic Jellybean or Belarc Advisor will give you.

    The COA sticker key doesn't normally work unless it's the same as the generic key.

    While your machine will work okay and receive updates, going Start - type activate windows and press enter will report an invalid key.

    I found that on my other Toshiba laptop when I wondered why I wasn't getting the GWX icon.

    I forget now why I did the repair install (age ) but if you aren't going to upgrade then you should be okay to continue unless you have an earlier image before you did the repair install.

    I think the only way to get back to a genuine install will be to factory reset, but doesn't HP give options for a factory reset where you don't lose all of your personal stuff - which is a bit like a repair install - or am I thinking of Dell ?

    EDIT - Should the key be a genuine one you got with the disk from HP then run a cmd prompt as an admin and enter these cmds to rebuild the Licence Store -

    net stop sppsvc
    (wait until the service has stopped before entering the following lines)

    CD %windir%\ServiceProfiles\NetworkService\AppData\Ro aming\Microsoft\SoftwareProtectionPlatform

    REN tokens.dat tokens.bar

    net start sppsvc

    slui.exe

    After a couple of seconds the Windows Activation dialog will appear.

    You may be asked to re-activate and/or re-enter your product key, or Activation may occur automatically.

    If you are asked for your Key, use the one on the COA sticker on the machine's case

    Reboot.
    Last edited by Sudo15; 2015-08-06 at 13:07.

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    wavy (2015-08-08)

  4. #3
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    Thank you Sudo for that very comprehensive response. Can't say that I understand the difference between the key that is reported by Jelly Bean (and that I have carefully saved since I got the machine). However, I have managed to get in touch with the vendor, apparently their office closed early yesterday, well that's the way these things go. He has said he will talk me through the upgrade tomorrow, and give me the key to get it activated.

    One issue seems to be that this machine would normally have been supplied with Win 8.1. I asked for Win 7, and said I wanted to pay for a full retail version with such HP drivers as were needed. This is what I thought I'd been given. (I wanted the full version because I intended to upgrade the SSD from 250GB when the price of the 500GB comes down.)

    However, it would seem that the non-destructive re-install, as described by Fred, will still get hijacked by Win 10 no matter what key is used. Is there any way of blocking this downgrade for ever and ever?

    David

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rhinoceros View Post
    Is there any way of blocking this downgrade for ever and ever?
    Yes:

    Code:
    Subkey: HKLM\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate
    DWORD value: DisableOSUpgrade = 1
    Computers that have this ... will never detect, download, or install an upgrade to the latest version of Windows.

    How to manage Windows 10 notification and upgrade options (KB3080351)
    Last edited by BruceR; 2015-08-06 at 17:21.

  6. #5
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    So it's not an actual OEM pre-installed Win 7 machine.

    So are you getting a different key from the vendor to what Magic Jellybean gave you ?

    I would have thought that if you'd paid for a retail version of Win 7 to go into the machine, then that key should have been good with the disk that you used for the repair install - something sounds fishy ?

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    Thanks for the registry key Bruce, very useful.

    As to the actual version that's installed... I assumed that the vendor had installed the full retail version, however, it now appears that they did not. The water is somewhat muddied in that I paid extra for the SSD, and for an extra 12GB of RAM, and 4GB of VRAM (I do a lot of photo and video editing, this much VRAM is not needed at this time, it's just future-proofing). So the final total was not the advertised sticker price, and I did not get confirmation that it included the retail version of Win 7 Pro.

    When the problem with the Wacom tablet arose they did send me a DVD, but it is an HP OEM version of Win 7 Pro. So, since I had been using an HP OEM version for the past year I assumed that the original OEM key would work with this DVD. However, the vendor has now agreed "to sort it out", at least as far as the activation is concerned.

    Now I intend to get a legit retail version of Win 7, not that easy to find these days.

    David

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    Just had another thought about blocking the Win 10 upgrade. In order to do a non-destructive repair I will have to boot from a USB (or DVD), will that not bypass the registry completely? If so "DisableOSUpgrade=1" isn't going to apply.

    David

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    You said "for ever and ever", not "during repair".

  10. #9
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    Yes, forever takes in from now until I pick up my new quantum computer at the Pearly Gates, or the other place. But I suppose if I install all the latest updates just before I do the repair, then re-insert the registry fix before letting Windows go looking for updates that would work.

    David

  11. #10
    Silver Lounger wavy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rhinoceros View Post
    Thanks for the registry key Bruce, very useful.

    A
    \
    Now I intend to get a legit retail version of Win 7, not that easy to find these days.

    David
    I am for trying to get the vendor to give you want you paid for, however I just got a retail W7Ultimate from ebay for $99. YMMV of course. And yes it worked did an upgrade over W7HP w/key!!
    David

    Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.

  12. #11
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    Thank you Wavy, I had to Google YMMV, that gives you some idea as to why I have no interest in Win 10! The company that I bought this machine from still have a few full retail keys for which they want $150. Since they didn't charge for the retail copy, only the HP one, I don't have much of a leg to stand on. However, I've been searching both Amazon & Ebay for full retail copies, but have only found OEM versions. What search term did you use?

    David

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    I also had to Google YMMV

    As I think I'm likely to stay with Win 7, following Wavy's post I did a Google search for Win 7 x64 Ultimate and keys and I could only find OEM ones as well.

    None of the Google links brought up MS so don't know if it could be worth contacting them direct - at least you would know it would be a genuine retail product.

    I already have one of Digital River's Win 7 x64 SP1 ISOs which I removed the eicfg file to make it an universal one, which will cover Starter to Ultimate but you still need the appropriate key to activate the version of your choice.

    I'm considering phoning them tomorrow to see if their charges are viable for me to upgrade, but you do get an upgrade option from within Windows when you right click on Computer and select Properties.

    While the online upgrade option offers to upgrade auto, I'm not sure if that would retain your personal stuff, so a phone call for clarity would be the way to go for me.
    Last edited by Sudo15; 2015-08-09 at 05:49.

  14. #13
    Silver Lounger wavy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rhinoceros View Post
    Thank you Wavy, I had to Google YMMV, that gives you some idea as to why I have no interest in Win 10! The company that I bought this machine from still have a few full retail keys for which they want $150. Since they didn't charge for the retail copy, only the HP one, I don't have much of a leg to stand on. However, I've been searching both Amazon & Ebay for full retail copies, but have only found OEM versions. What search term did you use?

    David
    Keep looking and beware I have seen
    OEM Windows 7 Professional Full Retail not opened,new ,32&64 version
    David

    Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.

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    Yes I've seen plenty of "full retail-unopened" copies, I always ask the vendor to confirm in writing that it is not an OEM or some other restricted copy. Most don't respond, those that do admit that it is a "full retail version of the OEM" which of course is nonsense.

    The key I can get for $150 will be genuine, it is a reputable company, and the mix up about the version I got was at least much my fault as theirs. As I remember it the price for Win 7 Pro when it was available in places like Best Buy was $179.99 (of course you did get a shiny disk, and a cardboard box!). So $150 for the key would be a saving of $30.

    If you're in the UK Sudo15 then you may have a better chance of talking to a real live person in MS. Here in the US I've hung on the phone for close to an hour with a nagging voice repeatedly telling me that I can do it on-line, or the automated phone activation, and I never did get to speak to anyone.

    David

  16. #15
    Silver Lounger wavy's Avatar
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    I may be remembering it wrong but is not the windows any time upgrade $99 for that?

    I am now wondering how to tell OEM from Retail once its installed. Mine seems to be OK ..
    David

    Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.

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