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  1. #1
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    A massive Windows problem from Down Under


    LangaList Plus

    A massive Windows problem from Down Under


    By Fred Langa

    An Australian reader's problem started small, but quickly cascaded into an incredibly complex mix of version and language conflicts that left his system totally fouled up.

    His hard drive is now clogged with two separate copies of Windows, neither of which is working properly.

    The full text of this column is posted at windowssecrets.com/langalist-plus/a-massive-windows-problem-from-down-under/ (opens in a new window/tab).

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

  2. #2
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    And I hoped we'd get some thoughts from you about what might have caused the initial problem,

    "Then, a week ago, I turned on my PC and got a message that a corrupted winload.exe file would not let Windows load."

    and a lesson for us about how we might prevent that. Including whether the message might not be correct; i.e., maybe something else was wrong that generated an erroneous error message?

    Also, would running chkdsk have been in order?

  3. #3
    New Lounger
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    The original problem did include the statement that the disk was now short of space, so copying and pasting files may hit limits. I would use a compare utility (I use Beyond Compare) and instead move the files. Given the space shortage, this might also mean re-partitioning occasionally.

    Actually, after a bot more thought, the reader also mentioned having a 4TB back-up disk. Why not copy all the files onto that and selectively restore (again with a compare tool)?
    Cheers

    KeithC

  4. #4
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    I would think looking at the filename of the backup, especially the extension, would be a good way to determine what program created it. For example, Acronis files end in .tib, Macrium Reflect image files end in .mrimg, etc.

  5. #5
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    Fred's advice twice contains deleting partitions. As far as I can see, the guy never mentions that he has more than one partition.
    Assuming there was two partitions, this advice: "Then expand the newer, working Win10 partition" may not be possible from Disk Management. A new partition would be created behind the old, and you cannot expand forward.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nessie6 View Post
    the guy never mentions that he has more than one partition.
    The operating system only ever installs in it's own partition as it makes it Bootable. A new install would automatically create it's own partition on the drive.

  7. #7
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    Interesting detail that you can just copy files out of the Windows.old folder and they'll then behave normally. Taking a look a recent version, it looks like they're virtualized somehow. You can browse all the files but they're associated with their original location, not their current location so can't be opened normally.

    This also points to why I still use the old technique of a separate data drive for all my files. And a dead-simple file copy backup. It's untouched by OS upgrades/ changes/ corruptions, etc. Always accessible. Worst case, I can move the drive to another computer.

  8. The Following User Says Thank You to DavidFB For This Useful Post:

    RBS (2016-05-18)

  9. #8
    New Lounger
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidFB View Post
    The operating system only ever installs in it's own partition as it makes it Bootable. A new install would automatically create it's own partition on the drive.
    You lost me there. This is absolutely not true. The bootable partition is normally the small System partiton. Windows does not need to be on a bootable partition.
    Install can never automatically create a new partition - there is no room. The old partition is using the whole disk!
    And why would there be a Windows.old folder if the new install is on a separate partition?

  10. #9
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    The FIRST though I had when a disk file becomes unusable is that it has developed a bad sector in the file. The only program I know of that will TRULY fix this is GRC's SpinRite. Google it and get a copy. I've been using mine for years, and it has saved my posterior on many occasions.
    Now, I'm sure that this won't resolve the current mess, but it may well be that some other bad sectors will create additional problems.
    Too bad there isn't an "Undo All" for this situation.

  11. #10
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    RBS, we appreciate the advice but you should always mention if software costs or is free.

    BTW, I use backup to recover from bad sectors - I backup every day.

    cheers, Paul

  12. #11
    New Lounger
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    Long ago, I decided to follow a strict rule that I will keep no user files/data on the C drive. It has only the operating system and program files. For years, I have used the Pegasus E Mail program, because I can keep both the program and data files on a flash drive which I back up very frequently. I've had Windows crashes, but although it can take time to fix them, I lose no personal data.

  13. #12
    New Lounger
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keffdoak View Post
    I would think looking at the filename of the backup, especially the extension, would be a good way to determine what program created it. For example, Acronis files end in .tib, Macrium Reflect image files end in .mrimg, etc.
    Yeah, that was my thought exactly. It's the data that you're after, right? Even if you have to buy a new copy of the backup program, then you could dispense all the complicated steps and proceed with a clean install, which is probably the safer course.

    Anyway, it's an interesting saga. Valuable to read from Fred the possible solutions, as always. I'd like to know the conclusion, did I miss it?

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