Discussion:
Windows 7 Repair
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swalker
2018-05-26 22:03:13 UTC
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I recall that when you insert a WIN7 CD into the CD drive of a machine
that already has Win 7 installed that you have the option of either a
clean install or a repair.

My question is, if you choose repair what does the repair overwrite?

What user data is lost?

Thanks.
Auric__
2018-05-26 22:38:59 UTC
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Post by swalker
I recall that when you insert a WIN7 CD into the CD drive of a machine
that already has Win 7 installed that you have the option of either a
clean install or a repair.
My question is, if you choose repair what does the repair overwrite?
What user data is lost?
In theory, nothing.

"The Startup Repair tool repairs Windows 7 by replacing important operating
system files that might be damaged or missing."

Google "windows 7 repair" for some relevant info.
--
As they did in 2000, software will spectacularly crash, hardware
will explode, appliances will go haywire and attack their owners,
and nuclear missiles will simultaneous launch and destroy the world.
ken1943
2018-05-26 23:17:09 UTC
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On Sat, 26 May 2018 22:38:59 -0000 (UTC), "Auric__"
Post by Auric__
Post by swalker
I recall that when you insert a WIN7 CD into the CD drive of a machine
that already has Win 7 installed that you have the option of either a
clean install or a repair.
My question is, if you choose repair what does the repair overwrite?
What user data is lost?
In theory, nothing.
"The Startup Repair tool repairs Windows 7 by replacing important operating
system files that might be damaged or missing."
Google "windows 7 repair" for some relevant info.
It is not as easy as XP was or 10 is now. Do research. I only did it
once.
Paul
2018-05-26 23:30:34 UTC
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Post by ken1943
On Sat, 26 May 2018 22:38:59 -0000 (UTC), "Auric__"
Post by Auric__
Post by swalker
I recall that when you insert a WIN7 CD into the CD drive of a machine
that already has Win 7 installed that you have the option of either a
clean install or a repair.
My question is, if you choose repair what does the repair overwrite?
What user data is lost?
In theory, nothing.
"The Startup Repair tool repairs Windows 7 by replacing important operating
system files that might be damaged or missing."
Google "windows 7 repair" for some relevant info.
It is not as easy as XP was or 10 is now. Do research. I only did it
once.
The beauty of WinXP, is "Repair Install" could be applied
to a dead OS. You could boot the CD and do Repair Install
from there.

Vista+ only allow "Repair Install" from the running OS,
by executing "setup.exe" off the DVD. And that assumes
a healthy OS to start with. Maybe this was an attempt
by Microsoft to "discourage" the usage of Repair Install,
because of the small amount of use cases where it's really
going to work.

Win10 is no better than Win7.

Win10 has various flavors such as Reset, but it
doesn't materially improve things all that much. You
could Reset and still have a malware problem.

I prefer full backups to achieve a desired end,
as it's simpler for me to put back a couple of
programs I might have added since the last backup,
and do the necessary "delta" on my Downloads folder
and the current Downloads folder. I prefer a recent
(uninfected) backup as my "base".

I've gone back as far as two years with a backup,
and profited from it. I had a piece of software
that was refusing to install. By going back two years,
the software installed. Then it was my job, to figure
out what could have changed. And I found some files
made by the same company, which were conflicting with
the installation. So the two year old backup didn't have
those files. That's the oldest backup I ever used
(temporarily) and got a benefit from it.

The freshest backup I ever made, was only two hours
old, when my Win7 Home Premium on the laptop bricked
(corrupted file system, could not be fixed). And the
backup I made that day, was because "you know, I haven't
made a backup lately". I count myself very lucky on
that one. A Repair Install would not have been possible
in that case. I couldn't even get at my data, unless
I used the backup image. I think I was up and running
after about 20 minutes on that one (the laptop is a bit
slow, so restore takes a bit longer).

Paul
Auric__
2018-05-27 03:02:43 UTC
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Post by ken1943
On Sat, 26 May 2018 22:38:59 -0000 (UTC), "Auric__"
[snip]
Post by ken1943
Post by Auric__
Google "windows 7 repair" for some relevant info.
It is not as easy as XP was or 10 is now. Do research. I only did it
once.
I've actually never done a repair. It's always been either some trivial
thing, or else a complete reinstall.
--
Even so... I don't feel good about this.
But, hell, when you're a professional target, what can you expect?
Paul
2018-05-26 23:20:29 UTC
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Post by swalker
I recall that when you insert a WIN7 CD into the CD drive of a machine
that already has Win 7 installed that you have the option of either a
clean install or a repair.
My question is, if you choose repair what does the repair overwrite?
What user data is lost?
Thanks.
On the modern versions of Windows, Windows must be working
and healthy enough to accept a Repair Install attempt.

You insert the disc, and run "setup.exe" off the disk.
That starts the repair install.

The C:\Windows is moved to C:\Windows.old.

A new C:\Windows is made, and the install starts.

Programs and user files are preserved.

A dialog box should alert you to the conditions of
the install, and that Programs and user files will
be preserved once you kick off the process.

*******

Now, because that keeps so much of the original
configuration, it's also not going to be good at
removing malware. If the Repair Install keeps
the registry content (in support of the installed
programs), lots of stuff that launches malware could
still be enabled.

As a result, the utility of doing this, is a function
of what you think this is going to fix. Will it
remove a rootkit ? Probably not. Will it restore
that set of DLLs you foolishly deleted in haste. Yes,
it can put those back. It might even manage, by magic,
to put back your network stack or something. But, because
the process "respects" so much of what was there
previously, there are going to be *lots* of corner
cases it doesn't touch or fix. If a registry setting
screwed up your networking stack, then that registry
setting will still be present.

It's almost like the utility (on Windows) of removing a
program, using "Programs and Features" and expecting
a re-install to fix a mistake or corrupted setting.
Unfortunately, for better or worse, uninstalls don't
clean the registry - it is rare software which has
an uninstall option "remove all traces of settings"
when doing a Remove. Consequently, I cannot (on average)
recommend removing a program and reinstalling it again,
as it achieves almost nothing for the effort. A
Repair Install is similar. There will be some good
cases for usage (such as deleting a set of important
files or getting into a huff and deleting WinSXS or
something), but for the more common problems,
like malware or adware, there's no particular reason
it's going to help.

*******

A "Clean Install", where *everything* is thrown away,
that can fix stuff. But is very expensive in terms
of your personal time, to put everything back the way
it used to be. User data and Programs will be removed,
so you want backups of C: before doing that. As time
passes, you consult your backup of C: and bring forward
your email profile and so on, and gradually restore
things. It takes some people months to complete the
exercise, if done that way (because some people are
pack-rats and they have 500 programs to restore).

To do a clean install:

1) Don't be in a rush.
2) Make a backup of C: and friends.
3) Remove extraneous hard drives not involved in the
installation process. This prevents collateral damage
to the drives that you didn't back up. Your backup drive
should be unplugged too.
4) Boot the installer DVD.
5) Have it format C: and do the install.
6) Take your time restoring email profile and the
rest, using your backup image of C: to access the
files.

On one occasion, I had a Windows installer CD *delete*
the partition table, even though I'd clicked cancel
during an install. And this is yet another reason
for backing up a hard drive, before starting
an install. Just about anything can happen during
an install. Normally pretty safe, but if shit happens...
it can be very messy.

HTH,
Paul
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