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  • FIRST POST
    • hybernia
    • By hybernia 10th Feb 18, 8:11 PM
    • 256Posts
    • 205Thanks
    hybernia
    * Windows 7 Re-Installation: novice seeks help? *
    • #1
    • 10th Feb 18, 8:11 PM
    * Windows 7 Re-Installation: novice seeks help? * 10th Feb 18 at 8:11 PM
    Confession time: I'm nervous about computers. Another confession: despite best efforts, I know little about them. I do know, though, that my desktop Windows 7 PC is currently driving me mad with sudden shut downs, failed start-ups, and an ongoing inability to install Windows Updates.

    A friend (sadly, no longer around) built my computer for me in 2014. It has worked perfectly until recently. Now things are so bad that I keep having to run sfc /scannow to fix things, only for the system to crash within a week. And as for the (possibly unrelated) WU fails, I've given up. This PC is protected anyway (and probably superfluously) by both Malwarebytes Premium 3.0 and Avast AV Free.

    I created a Windows 7 Repair disk, the moment I bought this computer. I've attempted to use it to find / fix boot up problems etc but no, it won't work, even though I've rejigged the BIOS. But I also have another disk: the original Windows 7 installation disk. It's getting to the point where I think I'm going to have to use that.

    But even though I have everything in My Documents backed up to an external, mains-powered HDD (including pictures, docs, emails etc as well as Program exes) I really don't like the prospect of having to re-install stuff after Windows 7 starts over. However, however:

    My friend, when he built this PC, installed not one but TWO drives. One of 'em is a standard 1000 Mb HDD but the other is a 256 Gb SDD. And it's on that separate SDD that he installed Windows 7 Home Premium.

    He explained why he'd done that but I'm too stupid to remember.

    Question : does having the OS on a completely separate drive (Drive C mean that I CAN re-install Windows 7 and the re-installation will NOT affect the My Documents on Dive E????

    Sorry if this is a daft question, but I'm lost.
    Last edited by hybernia; 10-02-2018 at 8:16 PM.
Page 1
    • wongataa
    • By wongataa 10th Feb 18, 8:42 PM
    • 1,238 Posts
    • 706 Thanks
    wongataa
    • #2
    • 10th Feb 18, 8:42 PM
    • #2
    • 10th Feb 18, 8:42 PM
    If you want to reinstall windows make sure you only have the disk you want to install Windows onto connected. Disconnect the other disk. Nothing will be touched on this disconnected disk and after Windows is reinstalled you can connect the second disk and access all data on there.
    • esuhl
    • By esuhl 10th Feb 18, 8:44 PM
    • 7,893 Posts
    • 5,661 Thanks
    esuhl
    • #3
    • 10th Feb 18, 8:44 PM
    • #3
    • 10th Feb 18, 8:44 PM
    I also have another disk: the original Windows 7 installation disk. It's getting to the point where I think I'm going to have to use that.
    Originally posted by hybernia
    Given the problems you're having, that would probably be a good idea.

    It's worth having a look round your system to figure out what is installed, if you have any special program settings that you might want to backup (like web browser settings and bookmarks, etc.), and to download all the drivers you need in advance.

    But even though I have everything in My Documents backed up to an external, mains-powered HDD (including pictures, docs, emails etc as well as Program exes) I really don't like the prospect of having to re-install stuff after Windows 7 starts over. However, however:

    My friend, when he built this PC, installed not one but TWO drives. One of 'em is a standard 1000 Mb HDD but the other is a 256 Gb SDD. And it's on that separate SDD that he installed Windows 7 Home Premium.

    He explained why he'd done that but I'm too stupid to remember.
    Originally posted by hybernia
    That will be because the SSD is much faster, and it's better to have Windows on that (rather than your personal files) as it will make Windows run faster.

    Question : does having the OS on a completely separate drive (Drive C mean that I CAN re-install Windows 7 and the re-installation will NOT affect the My Documents on Dive E????
    Originally posted by hybernia
    That's right. During the installation, you'll want to wipe the SSD and reinstall Windows on that. The bigger hard drive will not be affected, so all your saved files will be there.

    However, you'll need to reinstall any programs you use.

    Sorry if this is a daft question, but I'm lost.
    Originally posted by hybernia
    Not at all -- that's what the forum is here for :-)
    • hybernia
    • By hybernia 11th Feb 18, 9:12 AM
    • 256 Posts
    • 205 Thanks
    hybernia
    • #4
    • 11th Feb 18, 9:12 AM
    • #4
    • 11th Feb 18, 9:12 AM
    If you want to reinstall windows make sure you only have the disk you want to install Windows onto connected. Disconnect the other disk. Nothing will be touched on this disconnected disk and after Windows is reinstalled you can connect the second disk and access all data on there.
    Originally posted by wongataa

    Thanks wongataa: sorry, I'm being a bit thick here, but how easy is it going to be for me to disconnect the HDD (Drive E?) It's an internal drive. Is this a step that's part of a re-installation routine (i.e., you click on something like an enable / disable connect/disconnect option )? Thanks.
    • hybernia
    • By hybernia 11th Feb 18, 9:22 AM
    • 256 Posts
    • 205 Thanks
    hybernia
    • #5
    • 11th Feb 18, 9:22 AM
    • #5
    • 11th Feb 18, 9:22 AM
    Given the problems you're having, that would probably be a good idea. It's worth having a look round your system to figure out what is installed, if you have any special program settings that you might want to backup (like web browser settings and bookmarks, etc.), and to download all the drivers you need in advance. . .
    Originally posted by esuhl
    Hi esuhl: you're too kind, because actually, I was having a stoopid moment.

    Of course the programs would need re-installing . . . because they're all in the program files on Drive C. How on earth I forgot that, I don't know, especially as after posting here, I did my usual routine of restoring the Vista version of Windows Mail to the two program folders on C (sfc always 'corrects' them because tes, test, I'm not supposed to be using a client so appallingly old when I should be using the appallingly worse LiveMail. Even if both are now defunct.)

    Ah well. . . Thanks for the advice, and for being so patient.
    • wongataa
    • By wongataa 11th Feb 18, 4:01 PM
    • 1,238 Posts
    • 706 Thanks
    wongataa
    • #6
    • 11th Feb 18, 4:01 PM
    • #6
    • 11th Feb 18, 4:01 PM
    Thanks wongataa: sorry, I'm being a bit thick here, but how easy is it going to be for me to disconnect the HDD (Drive E?) It's an internal drive. Is this a step that's part of a re-installation routine (i.e., you click on something like an enable / disable connect/disconnect option )? Thanks.
    Originally posted by hybernia
    It is very easy. You open the case. Look at the disks to see which one is which. To disconnect one just pull one of the cables out of the disk in question. Plug and unplug with the power off.

    It is not a step in the installation process. You don't have to do it but if you do you cannot accidentally remove data from the wrong disk/put Windows on the wrong disk. Also, the windows installation program has a tendency to put boot files on any connected and working disk it feels like. It is best to make sure all these files are on the disk that Windows is installed on as if you decided to change your other hard disk in the future you may not be able to boot.
    • emptybox
    • By emptybox 11th Feb 18, 5:02 PM
    • 365 Posts
    • 183 Thanks
    emptybox
    • #7
    • 11th Feb 18, 5:02 PM
    • #7
    • 11th Feb 18, 5:02 PM
    There's really no absolute need to be physically disconnecting drives when reinstalling.

    It's just that, with only one drive connected, no mistakes can be made during the reinstallation process, as to where the Windows installation ends up, and where the boot files end up etc.

    But if you are not comfortable opening up the machine and disconnecting cables, then it just means more vigilance is required during the install, to make sure Windows is choosing the right disk to install to.
    Also worth checking the BIOS beforehand, to make sure the SSD is set to be the primary boot drive.

    ETA: I seem to have mostly repeated what wongataa said. My only excuse is that I didn't refresh the thread before making my reply.
    Last edited by emptybox; 11-02-2018 at 5:09 PM.
    • hybernia
    • By hybernia 11th Feb 18, 5:34 PM
    • 256 Posts
    • 205 Thanks
    hybernia
    • #8
    • 11th Feb 18, 5:34 PM
    • #8
    • 11th Feb 18, 5:34 PM
    Big thanks to wongataa and emptybox: great advice given twice isn't ever to be lamented but instead, gratefully received. And I am very, very grateful! I'll have a look at how to undo the casing of my computer -- it's a large (to me) though actually described as "mid-size" Z11 High Performance (yay!) by Zalman. Looking through the perspex panels it seems there's loads of room inside, including some pretty lighting. (Yes, I know. Don't say it. A girlie thing.)

    Thanks to you two I've just been to the Zalman website and downloaded a User Manual. Never realised, a computer case could actually have a user manual, but Zalman (whoever they are) have definitely provided it.

    If it looks like I might wreck things, I'll exercise extreme vigilance on the re-install (and yes, I'll check the AsusTek BIOS on-screen info to confirm that C, not E, is the Boot Drive.)

    Thanks again!
    • emptybox
    • By emptybox 11th Feb 18, 8:09 PM
    • 365 Posts
    • 183 Thanks
    emptybox
    • #9
    • 11th Feb 18, 8:09 PM
    • #9
    • 11th Feb 18, 8:09 PM
    C: and E: are just Widows conventions for naming drives (C: is always the system drive).

    In the BIOS the name will reflect the manufacturer of the drive plus the size, so for instance a Western Digital 500GB drive might be something like WD5000AAKX.
    My 320GB Seagate drive is ST3320418AS for example.

    So you should be able to distinguish your drives by size at least.
    • Neil Jones
    • By Neil Jones 11th Feb 18, 8:51 PM
    • 1,125 Posts
    • 641 Thanks
    Neil Jones
    C: and E: are just Widows conventions for naming drives (C: is always the system drive).
    Originally posted by emptybox
    No it isn't, though on any properly configured installation it SHOULD be Drive C but it is possible to have it as any drive letter. Very easy to do in the days of Windows XP by accident when card readers came along and Windows ended up on Drive F if you weren't watching. More modern versions of Windows don't "suffer" from this and will usually end up on Drive C. Why you'd want it as any other drive letter is anybody's guess.
    • debitcardmayhem
    • By debitcardmayhem 11th Feb 18, 9:03 PM
    • 8,397 Posts
    • 6,334 Thanks
    debitcardmayhem
    Big thanks to wongataa and emptybox: great advice given twice isn't ever to be lamented but instead, gratefully received. And I am very, very grateful! I'll have a look at how to undo the casing of my computer -- it's a large (to me) though actually described as "mid-size" Z11 High Performance (yay!) by Zalman. Looking through the perspex panels it seems there's loads of room inside, including some pretty lighting. (Yes, I know. Don't say it. A girlie thing.)

    Thanks to you two I've just been to the Zalman website and downloaded a User Manual. Never realised, a computer case could actually have a user manual, but Zalman (whoever they are) have definitely provided it.

    If it looks like I might wreck things, I'll exercise extreme vigilance on the re-install (and yes, I'll check the AsusTek BIOS on-screen info to confirm that C, not E, is the Boot Drive.)

    Thanks again!
    Originally posted by hybernia
    A small tip before moving stuff if you decide to open up the case , photos speak louder than words, grab your phone/camera oh and write notes too, many the days when you get called in the midst of doing something, then forget where you were
    • hybernia
    • By hybernia 12th Feb 18, 8:59 AM
    • 256 Posts
    • 205 Thanks
    hybernia
    Thanks eb / Neil / dcm: yup, I'll read the BIOS info carefully.

    Re taking pictures: absolutely, and thanks for the reminder -- reason why I'm fairly confident about figuring out the BIOS info is that I actually took photographs of the umpteen BIOS screens that came up when I hit the Del key at startup.

    I normally screenshot anything pf importance on this PC, hence why I now have a folder full of images of error messages, including the notably helpful:

    "Windows Explorer. Problem: Stopped working."

    Gosh, who'da thought it? There was me, when the Start button and all the icons vanished from sight, figuring I should've gone to SpecSavers; and:

    "Windows Update encountered an unknown error", followed by: "Error Code 800B0100" followed by "Get help with this error" followed by "WindowsUpdate 800B0100: Suggestions: Please check your spelling". Ah: thanks for that, Microsoft. Not until now have I realised that the reason my computer's not working is because I'm illiterate.

    Anyway. As it's not possible to screenshot anything when Windows hasn't yet launched, that's why my camera has all these images of BIOS data. Bit sad, really: other people take pictures of their kids.
    • Le_Kirk
    • By Le_Kirk 12th Feb 18, 11:20 AM
    • 2,367 Posts
    • 1,244 Thanks
    Le_Kirk
    With a philosophy like that ^^^, a sense of humour and all the help and advice you've been given and seem to have learned from and understood, I am sure you will manage very well.
    • hybernia
    • By hybernia 13th Feb 18, 10:47 AM
    • 256 Posts
    • 205 Thanks
    hybernia
    Thanks LK. If it all goes pear-shaped, I'll come back on here and cry. Fingers crossed though, a re-install may not, after all, be necessary; I've worked through several Microsoft Knowledge Base articles and it's now become clear that a botched Windows Update (apparently intended to fix Meltdown / Spectre vulnerabilities) has triggered a chain of problems, seeing as how Microsoft in its usual oblique way is admitting it didn't get things right for AMD computers like mine and boot-up fails which it says shouldn't have happened have, in fact, occurred worldwide with many AMD (not Intel) users. Not for the first time, I wonder why I even bother with Windows. . .
    • indesisiv
    • By indesisiv 13th Feb 18, 12:16 PM
    • 5,205 Posts
    • 17,356 Thanks
    indesisiv
    Word of advice before beginning ... don't forget that folders on your desktop will need to be moved to the other drive so they don't get deleted!!
    If you are like me and drop folders on your desktop of course.

    But I reinstalled my computer with 2 drives like you and never gave it any thought until 15 mins later when it had finished installing and then I realised. They were the only bits I had lost (apart from the programs that I expected)
    “Time is intended to be spent, not saved” - Alfred Wainwright
    • dekaspace
    • By dekaspace 13th Feb 18, 12:21 PM
    • 3,926 Posts
    • 3,369 Thanks
    dekaspace
    Crazy as it sounds, the simplest way of doing it is get a updated iso disc from a trustworthy source, (this is not illegal by the way) this is what I do as someone else has updated it to the current month, and has more updated drivers so most of the time its just a case of put disc in, wait for it to install and then just add a few at most missing drivers and any software you want.

    Official install discs don't forget may be years out of date considering its now a 9 year old operating system, so even on a high quality computer may take all day to update.
    • esuhl
    • By esuhl 13th Feb 18, 1:19 PM
    • 7,893 Posts
    • 5,661 Thanks
    esuhl
    Crazy as it sounds, the simplest way of doing it is get a updated iso disc from a trustworthy source, (this is not illegal by the way) this is what I do as someone else has updated it to the current month, and has more updated drivers so most of the time its just a case of put disc in, wait for it to install and then just add a few at most missing drivers and any software you want.

    Official install discs don't forget may be years out of date considering its now a 9 year old operating system, so even on a high quality computer may take all day to update.
    Originally posted by dekaspace
    I'm not sure I'd trust an updated ISO image from anyone other than Microsoft.

    But, you can create an updated ISO yourself using something like NTLite (similar to nLite for XP, if anyone remembers that).

    https://www.ntlite.com/
    • dekaspace
    • By dekaspace 14th Feb 18, 12:33 PM
    • 3,926 Posts
    • 3,369 Thanks
    dekaspace
    I'm not sure I'd trust an updated ISO image from anyone other than Microsoft.

    But, you can create an updated ISO yourself using something like NTLite (similar to nLite for XP, if anyone remembers that).

    https://www.ntlite.com/
    Originally posted by esuhl
    Theres quite a few trustworthy ones out there, but I didn't recommend NTlite as that would require some knowledge of integrating, getting hold of updates and such.
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