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Tue Jun 9, 2015, 06:46 PM

Fresh installation of Windows 7 on an Acer laptop

Restoring the computer to the factory conditions failed - I got a copy of the Windows 7 DVD from a friend to match the Windows key on the computer. So my plan was to install a completely fresh, unencumbered copy of Windows.

But I didn't wipe out the hidden recovery partition where the system restore is supposed to be. I don't see that I need to keep that partition - the recovery files were corrupted or damaged so they wouldn't either repair or restore the OS. And now that I have Windows on DVD to use for this system, I don't see that I would need to recover the system using a recovery partition in the future.

Plus, when I boot the computer, it seems to see two copies of Windows 7 and wants me to select between them on every boot. At this point, I think I need to start over, reformat the hard drive completely and reinstall Windows from scratch. I've only installed a few drivers so far, so there wouldn't be much lost by starting over.

Does this sound like a good plan?

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Arrow 16 replies Author Time Post
Reply Fresh installation of Windows 7 on an Acer laptop (Original post)
csziggy Jun 2015 OP
Mnpaul Jun 2015 #1
csziggy Jun 2015 #2
gvstn Jun 2015 #3
csziggy Jun 2015 #4
gvstn Jun 2015 #5
gvstn Jun 2015 #6
csziggy Jun 2015 #7
gvstn Jun 2015 #8
csziggy Jun 2015 #9
csziggy Jun 2015 #10
csziggy Jun 2015 #11
Earth Bound Misfit Jun 2015 #12
csziggy Jun 2015 #13
gvstn Jun 2015 #14
csziggy Jun 2015 #15
gvstn Jun 2015 #16

Response to csziggy (Original post)

Tue Jun 9, 2015, 07:01 PM

1. Set up your recovery info on a removable drive

the restore partition is useless if the hard drive goes south. I used a Win 8 repair usb for the first time and that was great. You have a refresh options, a go to restore point option and a reinstall option.

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Response to Mnpaul (Reply #1)

Tue Jun 9, 2015, 07:19 PM

2. I no longer need the recovery option

If a computer needs to be repaired or restored, I generally consider it time to do a clean installation of the OS.

This is my husband's laptop. He had no restore points, never made any recovery disks when I first gave him the computer - even though I gave him the DVDRs and told him to do it. At least he had backed up the data that was not on the external hard drive so there wasn't anything left to lose.

I have two problems at the moment

First, every time it reboots I have to select between two Windows 7 installations - even though there is only one installation on the computer now. I found information on using msconfig to edit the boot options and will try that in a few minutes, once it finishes doing the process it is working on just now.
UPDATE - using msconfig and deleting the unused Windows 7 from the boot tab worked!

The second problem is the remainder of the recovery partition - I don't need it and it is taking up 18 GB of storage. I think I will download Easeus Partition Master and see if that can get rid of it. Apparently Disk Management in Windows Administrators Tools cannot do anything with it.

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Response to csziggy (Original post)

Tue Jun 9, 2015, 07:28 PM

3. You could do that and it would be simplest.

Alternatively, you could just edit the boot manager to remove the second choice of the unusable recovery partition as a boot option.

If you wanted to you could then format the recovery partition to reclaim the space. Then you could use that space for large files like movies or music. Or you could then use a program like Macrium Reflect to create a new recovery image and put it in that space. This would give you the advantage of not having to start from scratch again should something else go wrong. (You would have to get a blank CD/DVD to create the bootable disc for Macrium to have it available for a future emergency.

(Basically, after installing all your drivers and favorite programs; you get Macrium and install it then tell it to make an image of the new OS and Boot partition on the old recovery partition. Then within the program Create the bootable CD/DVD for emergency use. If something goes wrong again it is much quicker to boot from the CD and reload this image than do a fresh install).

Just doing a clean install may feel better to you.

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Response to gvstn (Reply #3)

Tue Jun 9, 2015, 09:16 PM

4. Tried a fresh install - reformatted the hard drive - no joy

Now I believe that the hard drive is corrupted and that is why the recovery process wouldn't work.

After letting the Windows installation disk reformat and repartition the drive, it cannot copy and expand the files needed for installation. So now the stinking thing has no OS.

The drive is a Seagate 500GB Momentus, so I downloaded SeaTools ISO, created a bootable CD with the tool and tried to check out the drive. I'm not sure if it is because it is an OEM drive or because the drive is bad but SeaTools does not see any drive attached to the laptop.

Tomorrow we'll take it into a repair shop and let the guy there check it out. If it is just the drive, he probably has one on hand to install. I don't feel like buying a laptop drive just to find out that it is a hardware problem somewhere else in the machine. Heck, if it is the motherboard, my friend at the shop might have a used laptop and give us credit for this one if he thinks he can use it for parts.

I HATE laptops! If it were a desktop I would be comfortable messing around inside the case. With laptops I am not willing to mess with them - too little space and too much crap in those little cases.

Meanwhile my husband is dragging one of our old computers out of the attic. They were both functional, running Windows XP, when we stored them away. We even have a monitor, keyboard and mouse for one desktop computer so he will have something to surf the internet until his laptop is fixed or replaced.

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Response to csziggy (Reply #4)

Tue Jun 9, 2015, 09:34 PM

5. There is one more thing you could try.

It is a tiny bit technical but only because it is text based and that would be to use Microsoft's Diskpart command.

I''d have to look up the instructions to get to diskpart from the Win7 disk but it is just something like hitting Shift + F10 after choosing your keyboard language. Then a few commands to get to the final "clean /all" command that will totally erase the hard drive including the recovery partition.

Then going back and rebooting to the Win7 DVD and going with all the defaults of letting it lay out and format new partitions and install Windows. I'm cheap when it comes to buying new drives and find totally erasing them seems to work very well for quite a while.

I'll look up the procedure to refresh my memory but it may be an option since the Windows disc can see the drive. I'll post them in a few minutes even if you don't want them just to refresh my memory.

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Response to csziggy (Reply #4)

Tue Jun 9, 2015, 09:51 PM

6. Here are the basics these are all just a few clicks but I like pictures.

A link with pictures to get to command prompt (simple but pictures help). http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/682-command-prompt-startup.html

Option 1 should work using Shift + F10. If not Option 2 is shown here with detailing pictures. http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/668-system-recovery-options.html

From Command Prompt type in diskpart and hit <enter>.
At the new prompt type list disk and hit <enter>.
At the new prompt type select disk 0 and hit <enter>. Note: You should only have one disc listed and my guess is disk 0 (any question please ask).
At the next prompt type clean all and hit enter.

Here is the link with more detailed instructions for diskpart but those are the only necessary commands in most circumstances. I omitted the one at the link for offline to online because I have never seen that situation. http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/52129-disk-clean-clean-all-diskpart-command.html

I guess you can tell I like sevenforums.com

This full cleaning is really a zeroing out of the disk it is as thorough as Seatools and should do as much for the disk as there program could. It says about an hour for 320gb but I'm not certain it is that slow anymore.

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Response to gvstn (Reply #6)

Tue Jun 9, 2015, 11:39 PM

7. Thanks - it's running "clean all" now

My husband packed up the computer to take into the shop in the morning so I have to get it out and set it back up. But it's worth a try!

OK - it's started. The drive in there now is 500GB but I can leave it running tonight until it's done. If I get up during the night I can check on it. If it finishes, I can try installing Windows again depending on how awake I am.

At least diskpart SEES the drive and sees it as online, so the drive is not totally dead.

It's kind of spooky running a command prompt, like running DOS. You get so little feed back on whether or not anything is happening!

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Response to csziggy (Reply #7)

Wed Jun 10, 2015, 12:03 AM

8. Good Luck!

I didn't realize that diskpart didn't give you percentages but I see that from the screenshot. I think I've only used clean all a couple of times on much smaller disks. I have a few 40-80gb, 20 year old drives that I use to load up a quick copy of XP or Linux or a disposable copy of Win7 on when I need to test something. Actually I don't really do that much more now that flash drives are so easily available and bootable but I did for several years. Those old drives were good for keeping a recovery image on. But they are IDE and I think I only have one computer that even has an IDE slot. Time moves on.

But the point being each of them at one point had crashed so badly (according to S.M.A.R.T.) that I didn't trust them for my main HD to hold an OS but somehow they are still around 15 years later after doing the low level format. And I have run a test OS(s) for 6 months or so intermittently with no problems. So I agree worth a try. I hope I haven't wasted your time.

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Response to gvstn (Reply #8)

Wed Jun 10, 2015, 12:14 AM

9. No matter what, it's not a waste of time

I've learned something new that could help with other computers.

My husband set up my old computer which was running when he put it in the attic. Now it won't boot. I think he must be carrying a virus! If he leaves it set up I might go upstairs and run diskpart on it and see if we can get it running again. The only reason I replaced it was that I needed a faster processor, better video and more RAM. I would have given it away but I thought about using that giant case to make a hard drive bank (or whatever it would be called) - the case has at least 7 storage bays! I originally bought it when I had 2 3.5" floppies, a 5.25" floppy, a CD ROM and a CD burner plus two hard drives.

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Response to csziggy (Reply #9)

Wed Jun 10, 2015, 02:38 AM

10. OK, took about 2 hours to run "clean all" with diskpart

But I still got the same error when trying to install Windows.

Something is going wrong when the install disk tries to set up the partitions. It's setting up two on Disk 0:
Volume 1 C System Rese NTFS Partition 100 MB Healthy
Volume 2 D _______________NTFS Partition 465 GB Healthy
(underlines are there to keep columns lined up) Neither volume shows anything under Info.

On my computer, the System Rese{rved} volume has no letter when I look at it with Disk Management. When I look at the boot disk with diskpart, it shows:
Volume 7 {no ltr} System Rese NTFS Partition 101 MB Healthy System
Volume 8 __C______________ NTFS Partition 931 GB Healthy Boot

So while the Windows 7 DVD is making the partitions, it does not seem to be creating the right kinds of partitions - unless that is supposed to be part of the installation and it is not making it that far.

Not sure what this means and I'm too tired tonight (at 2:30 AM) to try to figure out the commands in diskpart on the Microsoft page (https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/300415) so I can try to fix it if it's possible with that tool.

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Response to gvstn (Reply #8)

Wed Jun 10, 2015, 02:39 AM

11. Whoops - posted to myself

See my message below...

Time to go to sleep.

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Response to csziggy (Original post)

Wed Jun 10, 2015, 11:07 AM

12. Could be a HDD or RAM issue

It doesn't sound like Mobo/CPU but don't quote me... strange that SeaTools doesn't see drive but Diskpart does

Is the install DVD you borrowed with/without SP1 integrated? This is prolly a non-issue but I'll throw it out there anyhoo... I recall Win 7 RTM (2009, without SP1) users reporting installation problems such as this on puters with "a lot" of RAM, try re-seating/swapping slots, remove 1/ the other stick, etc.


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Response to Earth Bound Misfit (Reply #12)

Wed Jun 10, 2015, 12:00 PM

13. Windows Memory test says the RAM is OK; I suspect the HDD

The DVD is Windows 7 Home with SP 1 (64 bit).

You're right, Windows 7 Home can't handle a lot of RAM - originally I had ordered it for my computer, but with 32 GB RAM Windows 7 Home just wouldn't work. So I have Pro on my computer, otherwise I could have just used the same disk for this one and just entered the key for it. But this laptop ran for years on Windows 7 Home (factory installed) with no problem.

This laptop has 8 GB RAM - 4 GB is factory default but when I bought the laptop from NewEgg they had a deal for an additional 4 GB. Since my husband kept describing the BSODs as "memory dumps" I ran the memory test first thing. It checks out fine.

I think the HDD is damaged - the files to restore the system to factory defaults was damaged. But I think an additional problem is that partition also included stuff that Acer put in that is needed for the computer to operate - and that is now gone, and was probably corrupt before I wiped it out.

That hidden laptop stuff has always been an arcane mystery to me so I didn't think about it before I wiped it. Since I think it was corrupted and part of the problem, it's no big loss - but it doesn't fix the computer.

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Response to csziggy (Reply #13)

Wed Jun 10, 2015, 01:25 PM

14. I'm beginning to suspect the DVD.

I've had problems with copying or expanding files before but I usually find it is a DVD rather than HDD problem. A new HDD may be simpler it depends if this is a project or something you just want fixed.

You could test by seeing if it can copy and expand your win7 pro disc onto the laptop (just as a test of the HDD).

You could copy the win7 home DVD to a fresh DVD (must be as an image file not data).

You could copy the win7 home DVD to an empty flash drive (or one with no data you need; it will be formatted) and try to install from that(the laptop should be able to boot from USB since it sounds fairly new).
Pendrive123 has an option to copy an win7 install disc to a flash drive. http://www.pendrivelinux.com/universal-usb-installer-easy-as-1-2-3/

If you have the empty flash drive (I believe 4gb is enough). Pendrive is easy to use.

Step 1: Scroll way down the dropdown box to select Win7 installer.
Step 2: Browse to your Win7 iso.
Step 3: Choose your flash drive + choose to format it.
Hit Create
Try booting to the USB on the laptop and see if you have better luck.

OF course, you have to create the ISO from the win7 DVD. Do you know how to do that? If not which DVD writing software do you use.

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Response to gvstn (Reply #14)

Wed Jun 10, 2015, 01:48 PM

15. Maybe - but it's now installed Windows and I'm working on the drivers!

Maybe it's an overheating problem. I left the laptop off until a while ago. While on hold for a call (repair for my icemaker) I turned the laptop on and started Windows install yet again. It WORKED!

I thought about the DVD copy being bad - I've run into that before since Windows seems to be really picky about copies. If the DVD device is bad, that is relatively simple - and it gets more usage than most parts of this computer since my husband plays a lot of video games. And maybe there was just dust in the drawer - this laptop is filthy. I've cleaned the screen and keyboard, but didn't blow out the dust.

I'm stoked! If I can get through the drivers and updates without it crashing, then we're good. I'll leave it to my husband to get all his crap set back up. He said he backed it up, plus I copied some things, plus an earlier attempt at installing Windows made a backup which I copied to a flash drive.

But BEFORE I turn it over to him, I will create a backup/restore set of disks. He can set up incremental backups once his programs are installed but I want a nice clean backup in case it is his programs that were crashing the computer.

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Response to csziggy (Reply #15)

Wed Jun 10, 2015, 02:05 PM

16. Fantastic!

Yes, first thing I do after a fresh install is create a backup of the new install with just the drivers and a few programs that need registration keys.

I've never used Windows Backup but I find both Macrium and Todo backup reliable. Macrium is my favorite. A fresh install image is usually only about 5gb.

Good work. Get some rest!

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