How to Reinstall Windows 7 without losing programs/data?

Discussion in 'Software for Windows' started by Baasha, Feb 23, 2011.

  1. Baasha

    Baasha Golden Member

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    I have an older laptop that has a pre-release version of Windows 7 (7600.16384) and I want to update it to the release version (and then install SP1) which is build number 7600.16385.

    I have the Windows 7 DVD but before I reinstall the OS, I want to make sure I can preserve all the programs and data on the HDD. I know that I can simply do an external backup for the data (photos/documents etc.) but what about the programs? Would they have to be reinstalled?

    Can I use Acronis True Image Home 2011 to keep the programs? How do I do that?

    I would do a clean install but reinstalling all those programs (Adobe etc.) are a PITA and I would like to avoid doing that if possible.

    What choices do I have?
     
  2. Anteaus

    Anteaus Platinum Member

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    The problem is that many of your programs are integrated into your registry as well as potentionally having required files in more than one place. Some programs are portable, but many are not. This is especially true for programs with "activation" requirements as they usually stash a license key on the machine somewhere hidden and tied to the OS. In theory, if you backed up the appropriate registry entries and the program maintained the same directory structure then you can copy it over and inject the registry entry into the new install and have it work.

    In my opinion, backup all of your critical data, and just reinstall your software as you need it, but there is no all in one solution.
     
  3. TastesLikeChicken

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  4. Baasha

    Baasha Golden Member

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    That's what I figured. There goes my weekend...
     
  5. Baasha

    Baasha Golden Member

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    That blog post talks about altering some ini file... it seems too risky... plus I want a solid OS install.. so I think the best way is to do a fresh install.. I wonder if the Acronis True Image might help though.. that creates an image of the OS.
     
  6. Baasha

    Baasha Golden Member

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    If I create an image using Acronis True Image Home 2011, does it copy the Registry values? That way, I can reinstall the OS, and then just copy the image over?
     
  7. TastesLikeChicken

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    It's just a workaround for a version number check that prevents people from upgrading from pre-release versions.

    I agree though. If you want a solid install, go with a fresh install and reinstall all of your apps too. Like nuking from orbit, it's the only way to be sure.
     
  8. Dahak

    Dahak Diamond Member

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    I am currently running my win7 box upgraded from the last RC build using that method with no issues at all.

    as for the acronis image, it takes a complete image of the drive. so if you make and image, do the install, and then restore, it will be like it was before the install.

    Unfortunately there is really no way to backup the programs off an install
     
  9. StarsFan4Life

    StarsFan4Life Golden Member

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    Bassha....wow dude...NO.
     
  10. Anteaus

    Anteaus Platinum Member

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    Depends on how you use acronis. If you choose to backup the entire disc, then everything is copied. I wouldn't try and overide newer files with older ones because since your files are prerelease there are likely settings in their that could brick your OS. Be very careful with the registry.

    However, you can use regedit to export specific registry entries that can be reentered into the registry after you reinstall, but you have to know what to backup, and even then there are no guarantees.

    I highly recommend you just reinstall everything. Your computer will be better off. You can then do a disc image and prevent having to do it again in the future.
     
  11. Baasha

    Baasha Golden Member

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    yea.. I will just do a fresh install.. thanks guys
     
  12. 13Gigatons

    13Gigatons Diamond Member

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    I updated from the beta to RC to Retail to SP1.

    edit a file called cversion.ini, change the number from 7233 to 7100 which adds the ability to upgrade the RC, this file is also located in the sources folder. You need to extract the file and change it in Notepad, save it and then add it back into UltraISO.

    Kept all my programs.
     
  13. Baasha

    Baasha Golden Member

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    That's very interesting.. so if I change that .ini file and save it in the same folder, I would just have to run the install disc of Win 7 to upgrade right? What kind of "installation" (there are a couple of options when you run setup.exe right?) would I have to do to upgrade and keep all of the programs/data etc.?
     
  14. Rackmountsales

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    Go to the Windows folder (you might have to click View the entire contents of this folder), hold down Ctrl, and select the following subfolders: All Users, Application Data, Desktop, Favorites, Local Settings, Profiles, SendTo, and Start Menu. If you don’t see them all, select View, Folder Options (Tools, Folder Options in Me), click the View tab, select Show all files, and click OK. (If you still don’t see them all, don’t worry about it.) Press Ctrl and drag the folders to C:eek:ldstuff (see FIGURE 1).bullet andreinstall Windows from scratch. But contrary to popular belief, you won’t have to reformat your hard drive (with one exception, discussed below). The bad stuff you need to get rid of is all in your Windows folder.
     
  15. Slug

    Slug Senior member

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    outstanding!! :)
     
  16. Baasha

    Baasha Golden Member

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    Do I have to create that C:/ OLDSTUFF folder? And, where is "Figure 1"? I think I'll just do a fresh install as I don't want to compromise performance.

    My other question is, my pagefile.sys is located on my SpinPoint F3 but my OS drive are 2 SLC SSDs in RAID-0. Do I reinstall Win 7 on the OS array and then "delete" the pagefile.sys on the HDD or do I delete the pagefile.sys first?
     
  17. 13Gigatons

    13Gigatons Diamond Member

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    Yes, two options, custom(advanced) and upgrade.
    [​IMG]
     
  18. Baasha

    Baasha Golden Member

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    Okay but here's the problem: I can't find the "sources" folder in the Windows folder on my C: drive.

    Where do I find that folder to get the cversion.ini file?
     
  19. TastesLikeChicken

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    The Sources folder is on the install disk, not the RC install on your C: drive. You will either need to copy the upgrade files to a hard-drive or, if you have an .iso, extract the file, change it, reintegrate into the .iso and burn a new install DVD.
     
  20. Baasha

    Baasha Golden Member

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    Okay that makes sense... however, the Win 7 DVD I have shows the cversion.ini as both being 7600.. not 7233 and 7100.. so what do I do now?

    I have the ISO for the RC.. and that cversion.ini file does indeed show 7233 and 7100 but that RC is not what I am trying to install...
     
  21. TastesLikeChicken

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    Just make the MinClient value lower than that of the RC, which is 7233. Changing it to 7100 should work. Don't worry about the MinServer value. It shouldn't have any effect.
     
  22. Baasha

    Baasha Golden Member

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    okay got it.. thanks for the help.. I'll give it a shot
     
  23. 13Gigatons

    13Gigatons Diamond Member

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    One thing I forgot to add is to make sure to include the .0 after like: 7100.0

    otherwise you will get an error during install.
     
  24. Baasha

    Baasha Golden Member

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    I made the necessary changes to the cversion.ini file and now am ready to reinstall Windows 7.

    Before I do it, do I have to disconnect all of my other HDDs from the SATA ports?

    I have 9 HDDs including an external HDD. I do NOT want to corrupt the data on my disks so I want to make sure I can securely and safely 'upgrade' from the RC to the release version.
     
  25. 13Gigatons

    13Gigatons Diamond Member

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    Better safe then sorry. :'(
     
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