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Old 08-10-2014, 12:24 PM   #1
terrie
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Default Windows 7 - Rescue Me! '-}

I have been cleaning up a small Win7 desktop system that one of my sister's clients no longer needs/uses--I've been considering keeping it for myself as a backup but it may eventually be donated. I'd gotten all my sister's data off of it, had added a new user getting ready to delete my sister's userid and data off of it when I somehow farkled it so that while it would boot and the Windows logo would display, it wouldn't get let me actually login to either user account--no Safe Mode access either. I'd been playing with the bits and pieces of Microsoft Office uninstalling Outlook and Excel via the "change" option in Programs and Features in the Control Panel; then I later couldn't uninstall Office and I think that's where it got farkled.

I tried a number of solutions via F8 when booting and none of them worked--no viable Windows Restore file, sfc found problems and "fixed" them but that didn't help. Eventually, I decided to use HP/Compaq's factory restore since there wasn't really anything significant that would be lost other than the time that I'd spent setting up my new userid and of course, the time I'd have to spend uninstalling any original crap-ware...'-}}

When I had my own system custom built a couple of years ago, I had every intention of creating something that would restore my system but I've never actually done it and I've taken this situation with my sister's system as a wake-up call.

What I want is to have/create something that would allow me to (re)establish my Win7 system as it exists at the point of this "restoration" creation--it would be nice if whatever I do is something that I could run periodically (every 6 months, once a year?). The "restoration" thingie would include the OS, my (text) data and all my installed software--I'm not concerned so much about my image files (all contained on one dedicated partition) as I have those backed up using a couple of different approaches.

I think that I want whatever this is to be on DVD--maybe also a dedicated partition on a harddrive?--so that I could just pop it in and automagically have my system installed overlaying the existing system--that's what the HP/Compaq factory reset did.

What do I need to do this? How is it done?

Thanks...

Terrie
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Old 08-10-2014, 02:21 PM   #2
Hugh Wyn Griffith
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I think that what you are looking for is drive imaging software of which there are several you can buy (I use Acronis True Image in the 2010 version) and some free which are OK too.

But what you should try first is to identify the hard drive make in the computer and then check the website of that make since Seagate (includes Maxtor and IBM/Hitachi no I think) and Western Digital have free versions of True Image that you can download and run provided at least one of the hard drives is of the matching brand, but all do not have to.

So you might even add a new hard drive and see if you can clone onto it although I'm not sure whether anything in the Windows coding ties OEM installations to enough hardware to block that; I'm pretty certain it excludes drive changes and if not that Microsoft will activate free of charge when it's due to replacing a hard drive.

I'm glad the Restore to Factory Condition worked for you -- I hope you have run Windows Update until it completed all the missing updates!

Some HPs used to have a non-destructive repair function you could call from the Recovery Manager menu but more recent ones may not from the odd service manuals I have checked on line. HP are good on what is downloadable.

You would be well advised to buy an external hard drive for backing up to since it is not only faster than burning optical disks but also does not require constant disk swapping since you are likely to need at least 6 DVDs to cover the active drive even if images are on a different drive.

Does that make sense? If you have trouble finding the free True Image let me know the drive brand(s) involved and I'll check since I've done it before.

   
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Old 08-10-2014, 04:51 PM   #3
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The standard Windows 7 Backup and Restore utility makes a system image every backup cycle. Home Premium will only backup to a local drive (internal or USB). Pro will do it to a network drive.

One can boot from any Win 7 installation disk to do the restore. One can also (I think) run a system restore from the installation disk. That might have fixed your problem lest drastically than Restore to Factory.
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Old 08-10-2014, 07:13 PM   #4
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Quote:
bob: One can also (I think) run a system restore from the installation disk.
Tried all the available F8 options to recover the system and none of them worked--the "System Restore" option just lists all available "regular" restore points but none of them did the trick.

There is a "System Image Recovery" option which, I think, may work with the Windows Backup and Restore. I need to look into this but, vaguely--way in the back of my mind--there is a "no, that's not what you want" which I'm prefectly willing to admit might be wrong--I think it's the restriction on where the backup can go that's the problem. I've got Win7 Pro...

Thanks...

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Old 08-11-2014, 08:53 AM   #5
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Apart from the wasted time, Terrie, I reckon a factory restore was the best thing to do: you end up with a clean registry and hard disk. Remember now to create recovery DVDs using the HP/Compaq wizard (the PC should prompt you to do this, but some don't). Oh, and use good quality DVD-Rs - never DVD-RWs or DVDR-DLs.

   
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Old 08-11-2014, 11:11 AM   #6
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robin: I reckon a factory restore was the best thing to do: you end up with a clean registry and hard disk.
Definitely for the old desktop system but...I really, really, really don't want to start all over again with my own system so that's why I was looking for an approach to create a (full) sort of rescue for my own system.

I am going to play with the Windows Backup and Restore feature on the old desktop to see what options it gives me but as it's Window 7 Home Premium from what Bob said, my options may be limited...

Thanks...

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Old 08-11-2014, 03:07 PM   #7
Hugh Wyn Griffith
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Quote:
Originally Posted by terrie View Post

[...]

I am going to play with the Windows Backup and Restore feature on the old desktop to see what options it gives me but as it's Window 7 Home Premium from what Bob said, my options may be limited...
I have played with the imaging in Windows 7 and had to abandon it on my multiboot system since if I wanted to image the second OS it insisted it had to include Drive C: which had XP on it when I first set up dual boot with Windows 7 added.

More recently I've added Windows 8 and later still deleted XP and used the partition for a second Windows 8 Test Bed for beta software testing.

So that's one limitation that may or may not affect you and which True Image avoids since it allows you to uncheck the drive C: box which Microsoft do not.

I'd really not waste time but go for the free True Image from a drive manufacturer if you have at least one matching drive .... and if not get one and be safer for when the old one crashes ..... although I'm hearing some bad reports on Seagate drives dying after a very short life. WD Black come with longer warranties.

With True Image you don't get restricted on where the drive is so far as I know although my 2010 version may not include LAN drives ... which I don't have anyway.

   
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Old 08-11-2014, 07:19 PM   #8
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Thanks Hugh...I'll look into True Image. I wouldn't mind paying for software but what I don't want is to get into the situation where I need the software to use the rescue--although if it were built into the rescue "file" that would be ok--my own system is just a single boot environment with Win7/Pro/64bit...

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Old 08-12-2014, 05:16 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by terrie View Post

[...]

but what I don't want is to get into the situation where I need the software to use the rescue--although if it were built into the rescue "file" that would be ok--my own system is just a single boot environment with Win7/Pro/64bit...

Terrie
With True Image you should be able to make its specific rescue bootable disk or maybe thumbdrive on the current versions which means you can restore the whole image when you can't boot the computer or change a drive.

You can also open the image like a disk using your file manager and check or extract files or folders.

It does not replace the Recovery Manager built into HP computers nor the functions built into recovery in Windows.

   
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Old 08-12-2014, 02:15 PM   #10
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hugh: With True Image you should be able to make its specific rescue bootable disk or maybe thumbdrive on the current versions which means you can restore the whole image when you can't boot the computer or change a drive.
Cool...'-}}

Thanks...

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