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  1. #1
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    Suggestions for repairing a damaged OS?

    My computer runs Windows 7 Professional. When I start it, it boots up normally and prompts me to log in. When I do so, it loads an empty screen with no icons. A message in the lower right corner tells me (wrongly) that my copy of Windows is not legal. Can anyone make suggestions for fixing it?

    This began last night wen I tried to start the computer after not using it over the July 4 holiday. I think the battery ran down in sleep mode and the computer failed to go into hibernation properly. When I started it, it went into chkdsk and fixed a dozen or so file structure errors. Then it "started" Windows in the way I've described.

    I tried running Startup Repair. It reported that it couldn't fix the problem. It displayed this information:

    Event name: StartupRepairOffine
    Signature 01: 6.1.7600.16385
    Signature 02: 6.1.7600.16385
    Signature 03: unknown
    Signature 04: 802
    Signature 05: AutoFailover
    Signature 06: 1
    Signature 07: NoRootCause
    OS version: 6.1.7600.2.0.0.256.1
    Locale ID: 1033

    I started System Recovery and tried to restore from a restore point. The computer told me that there were no restore points (which was not the case before this problem occurred).

    I have no repair disk on hand. I have reasons for that, but no excuses. Dumb, dumb, dumb. I may have one at home but I won't have access to it until Friday if so. I can't mend that now so I have to do without.

  2. #2
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    See if you can rebuild the Licensing store with these cmds run from an elevated cmd prompt.

    Go Start - type cmd - right click on cmd and select Run as administrator - accept the UAC and enter

    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.

    shutdown /r /t 00

    The last cmd will effect an immediate reboot.

    In the upper cmd there isn't a space between the o and the a in Roaming - it's just the way the forum produces the line.

    After the reboot go Start - type activate windows and see what message it gives.

    You may be able to boot up into the advanced boot options to select Safe Mode with Command Prompt without the need to enter a password if you can't access the cmd prompt in normal mode.
    Last edited by Sudo15; 2016-07-06 at 09:00.

  3. #3
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    I learned more about the problem this morning. The empty desktop affects only my customary log-in; I was able to log in to another account and get a normal desktop. I still get the "not a genuine copy" message, though.

    I'll try the fix you suggested tonight. If the procedure asks for the product key, though, I don't know what I can do. This is a laptop that I purchased used with the original copy of Windows installed by the manufacturer. There was, of course, no documentation with it. I haven't the faintest idea what the product key is.

    I may be able to restore my damaged account's profile directory from a file backup. I'll see about that tonight. Any further suggestions you can make will be welcomed.

  4. #4
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    I can't advise you on the rest of the problem, but usually, for pre-installed laptops, the product key is on a tag on the bottom of the laptop. It is a 25 digit alphanumeric broken into 5 groups of 5 characters. Hope this helps.

  5. #5
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    As Yobil has said, with OEM laptops you would have the COA sticker key usually on the underside of the laptop, but depending upon which make and model of computer, it can be inside the battery compartment or under any other easily removable cover.

    They can fade to beyond being legible when they are on the underside of the machine, but sometimes the characters in those cases can sometimes be made out by shining a bright light on them - I use one of those laser style key ring fobs for reading small print on devices.

    It may even be on the power brick, although I think that unlikely.

    The free version of Speccy and clicking on Operating System will give you the vendor's generic product key but this isn't generally accepted as a valid key when inputting it.

    https://www.piriform.com/speccy

    Give those cmds a try though and it may auto activate if you don't have the COA sticker key.
    Last edited by Sudo15; 2016-07-06 at 15:43.

  6. #6
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    I decided to rebuild my user profile first and worry about the "not a genuine copy of Windows" problem later, since it seemed to be essentially cosmetic. That turned out to be a good choice, because the "not a genuine" problem has somehow fixed itself.

    Rebuilding the profile, though, has turned out to be harder than it seemed.

    I'm following a procedure from support.microsoft.com which I can summarize like this:

    1. Using a second user account, create a new (third) user account.

    2. Restart.

    3. Make Windows Explorer display system and hidden files.

    4. Copy all of the files, with a few specific exceptions, from the first (old broken) account profile to the new (third) account profile.

    5. Log out, log in to the new account, and Bob's your uncle.

    My problem is at step 4. Copying a bunch of files and directories should be simple, but Windows is being uncooperative.

    The old profile directory contains 8 files and 22 directories, several of which contain nested directories. I did a Select All, unselected the four files I'm not supposed to copy, and pressed Ctrl+C. Then I went to the new profile directory and pressed Ctrl+P. Windows announced that it was copying six items (I had selected 26, counting only files and top-level directories). In fact it copied zero files and one directory (AppData), and none of the three subdirectories nested in AppData.

    I've tried copying files and directories a few at a time. Windows copies the files as instructed, but copies some of the directories and not others.

    I tried copying the entire contents of the old profile directory to the new one with xcopy, using switches /s/e/h (copy subdirectories, including empty and hidden/system subdirectories). It copied about 20 items and then gave me this error:

    Access denied
    Unable to create directory - C:\Users\J Sachs\AppData\Local\Application Data
    20 File(s) copied


    I've looked at the permission settings of that directory; it allows administrators all permissions except "Special permissions," whatever those are. I'm executing xcopy from a command window that I started with Run as Administrator, so what's the problem?

    I've never seen Windows do something like this before, and I'm baffled. Any idea what's going on?
    Last edited by jsachs177; 2016-07-07 at 01:10.

  7. #7
    Silver Lounger RolandJS's Avatar
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    There are directories Windows will not let you access; such are junctions, if memory of another thread serves me correctly. What you are doing will certainly work if care is taken, I've done such copying before and Windows allowed me to get away with it [meaning no complaints from Windows]. I had to learn which directories are junctions and work through other directories which allowed access.
    Last edited by RolandJS; 2016-07-07 at 07:58.
    "Take care of thy backups and thy restores shall take care of thee." Ben Franklin revisited.
    http://collegecafe.fr.yuku.com/forum...-Technologies/

  8. #8
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    In post 6 "Then I went to the new profile directory and pressed Ctrl+P"
    Try Ctrl+V

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    Roland, one of us is missing something; your post doesn't make sense to me. I'm following a procedure prepared and published by Microsoft. If the copying step is something I can only do if Windows lets me "get away with it," I'd expect the instructions to say something about the obstacles to copying and how to get away with it (using some other wording I'm sure!).

    I looked up "junction" in the context of Windows directories and learned that "an NTFS junction point is a symbolic link to a directory that acts as an alias of that directory." (Thank you, Wikipedia.) That seems inapplicable to the situation for several reasons. First, the whole purpose of a junction point is to allow access to a directory; second, I'm not addressing a junction point; third, the directory which gave me "Access denied" is not even the destination of a junction point as far as I know! I suspect the problem is elsewhere.

    cmptrgy, Ctrl+P was a typo. (It would not copy files and some directories but not others!)

  10. #10
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    Post 6 “I've looked at the permission settings of that directory; it allows administrators all permissions except "Special permissions," whatever those are.”

    See if any of these help

    Set, View, Change, or Remove Permissions on Files and Folders
    https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/...(v=ws.11).aspx

    Change File Permissions on Windows 7
    http://www.wikihow.com/Change-File-P...s-on-Windows-7

    Special Permissions
    http://sourcedaddy.com/windows-7/spe...rmissions.html

    I’ve never had to use it but running sfc /scannow might be helpful

    Also have you found the COA key in case it’s needed eventually?
    EDIT: If you don't know the COA key: Belarc www.belarc.com reports a software license key: I understand Magic Jelly Bean product key finder is reliable also https://www.magicaljellybean.com/keyfinder/.

    EDIT: Please create a system image backup before trying any of the above. If you do take ownership of any special permissions, I would return that back to the way it was after evaluating or fixing whatever gets done.
    Last edited by cmptrgy; 2016-07-08 at 05:24.

  11. #11
    Silver Lounger wavy's Avatar
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    FWIW maybe nada, I have Everyone set to Deny List Folder / Read Data for that folder.

    JS could you provide the link for that copy info from MS ?

    David

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

  12. #12
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    The procedure is on this page, under the heading "Your computer is in a workgroup."

    https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/...d-user-profile

    I won't have time to pursue your suggestions until later in the weekend, but I do appreciate them, and I'll report what I find when I get to it.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by jsachs177 View Post
    I'm following a procedure from support.microsoft.com which I can summarize like this:

    1. Using a second user account, create a new (third) user account.
    2. Restart.
    3. Make Windows Explorer display system and hidden files.
    4. Copy all of the files, with a few specific exceptions, from the first (old broken) account profile to the new (third) account profile.
    5. Log out, log in to the new account, and Bob's your uncle.

    My problem is at step 4. Copying a bunch of files and directories should be simple, but Windows is being uncooperative.
    Its not for me to second-guess MS intentions (and desire to help), but I don't think trying to copy many of those hidden folders is wiorth the trouble. Appdata in particular is unlikely to be in a fit state to use in the new profile. I would stick to copying user files only (mydocs, music etc) which should be no problem. Unless you have some critical settings for installed programs that you don't want to have to recreate, I think its easier to start afresh. Assuming you are partway through some unsuccessful copying, I would suggest creating another new acct, copying user files and then see what (if anything) needs fixing once in the new acct.

  14. #14
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    I agree with mngerhold’s comment “I think its easier to start afresh”
    I know you have found some pretty good instructions to work with but more procedures/instructions can become time consuming and at this time it appears to be questionable toward a successful outcome.
    I might be wrong and with your experience you might be able to get through all of that.

    However, my view of starting afresh is to reinstall your OS.
    I know that will take time also but the road back to a nice clean system should be decent goal
    Save the data you need to save
    If you decide to reinstall your OS, create a system image backup once it’s up and running in it’s pristine state
    Continue with scheduled system image backups in the future

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