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Last post Author Topic: HELP! AMD Catalyst update broke my PC - How best to reinstall Windows 7?  (Read 5604 times)

dr_andus

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I'd like to ask the community for advice on how best to fix my Win7 installation. I'd like to do a Non-destructive reinstall of Windows 7 (as detailed at this link--i.e. an in-place upgrade of Win7 from the original media), so I can keep my existing settings and data. I have never done this before. Is this my best option? Any risks?

Here is what happened. I have a roughly 5-yr old ACER Aspire M7811 PC, with Intel core i7 CPU 860 @ 2.80GHz, 8GB RAM, with AMD Radeon HD 5770 (1024MB) and Win7 Home Premium 64-bit SP1.

The other day I was stupid enough to fall for an AMD Catalyst Software Suite update (even though it failed on me a few months ago, but I was able to recover using system restore then. And even before that, ATI Catalyst Control Center was suspected of messing with my system). The installation this time failed halfway through, leaving me with a failed driver, so I just had one monitor working at some terrible, unusable resolution.

I tried to do system restore, but halfway through the restore failed, telling me that probably my antivirus software (AVG Free 2015) is stopping it, and it left me with a crippled installation of Windows 7.

One thing that was strange that in the process my system restore points seems to have disappeared, as the next available restore point was in 2012. I'm pretty sure I had some more recent ones even from the past couple of months.

There are too many things to list that went wrong after this incident, but basically a whole bunch of drivers stopped working (the sound card is not working, I can't run Dragon Naturallyspeaking, the printer is not working, I can't connect the scanner or cameras), I can't access system tools such as the Control Panel, Programs, Reliability Monitor, Windows Update etc. MS Office apps load very slowly. Some software would refuse to update (e.g. PDF Xchange Editor), saying the installer was damaged. Directly downloaded .docx files wouldn't open (though they do if I copy them over via a USB drive), and all kinds of other unpredictable, strange behaviour. I'm still only just discovering the various things that don't work.

Here is a pictorial version of the story, of what I managed to grab. (The first one is not of the actual version, but it looked like this one.)

Software Update 15-09-06 001.pngHELP! AMD Catalyst update broke my PC - How best to reinstall Windows 7?

AMD - Catalyst™ Install Manager - Version_ 08.00.0916 15-07-11 001.pngHELP! AMD Catalyst update broke my PC - How best to reinstall Windows 7?

AMD Catalyst™ Install Manager 15-07-11 001.pngHELP! AMD Catalyst update broke my PC - How best to reinstall Windows 7?

AMD - Catalyst™ Install Manager - Version_ 08.00.0916 15-07-11 003.pngHELP! AMD Catalyst update broke my PC - How best to reinstall Windows 7?

AMD Catalyst™ AutoDetect 15-07-11 001.pngHELP! AMD Catalyst update broke my PC - How best to reinstall Windows 7?

System Restore 15-07-11 001.pngHELP! AMD Catalyst update broke my PC - How best to reinstall Windows 7?

System Restore 15-07-11 002.pngHELP! AMD Catalyst update broke my PC - How best to reinstall Windows 7?

IMG_5064.JPGHELP! AMD Catalyst update broke my PC - How best to reinstall Windows 7?

So, my assessment is that my Windows 7 installation must be damaged and many of my drivers got wiped out. Has anyone tried this in-place installation of Win 7 from the original media? This appeals to me because I would hate to have to reinstall all my software and other data.

Any advice or suggestion would be most welcome.
« Last Edit: September 09, 2015, 02:18:14 PM by dr_andus »

superboyac

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Re: HELP! AMD Catalyst update broke my PC - How best to reinstall Windows 7?
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2015, 08:41:09 PM »
i haven't had this same exact problem, but i have done various types of restores and installations.  I've never used system restore much nor do i have much trust in it.  What i recommend, even though it doesn't fit exactly what you have requested is this:
--copy all your non-standard directories with data over to an external drive (downloaded stuff, temp folders if you have any)
--copy your "Users" directory since this has all your software settings
--copy your program files directories (both x86 and regular)
--use the windows easy transfer feature for yet another backup (you now have 2-3 backups for settings)
--make an image of the whole OS drive if possible
--reinstall windows from scratch
--reinstall all your software
--if a particular software doesn't look right to you or annoys you in terms of the settings, replace the appdata folder of it with what you saved in the users directory

i've never found a better way than this for restoring programs and settings with a fresh install.  And i've not had that much luck with non-destructive reinstallations.  this always works for me.

4wd

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Re: HELP! AMD Catalyst update broke my PC - How best to reinstall Windows 7?
« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2015, 11:26:29 PM »
I'd like to do a Non-destructive reinstall of Windows 7 (as detailed at this link--i.e. an in-place upgrade of Win7 from the original media), so I can keep my existing settings and data. I have never done this before. Is this my best option? Any risks?

I've done a few and it normally works fine, (ie. I haven't had any problem yet).

A couple of suggestions first:
  • Use backup software to image your HDD first before you do anything else, (eg. Macrium Reflect, Paragon, etc), preferably using boot media rather than from within Windows.  Check the backup after it's made.
  • If you can boot into Safe Mode see if you can remove the AMD Catalyst drivers and your AV program, (to stop it interfering in any other operation - the AV will cease to function after an In Place Upgrade anyway.)  This might allow the system to boot normally and you'd only need to reinstall any necessary drivers and your AV.

And FWIW, I don't use System Restore at all since I've never had it work successfully - it's always been faster to reinstall from scratch than fix the problems and crap it leaves behind.

Target

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Re: HELP! AMD Catalyst update broke my PC - How best to reinstall Windows 7?
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2015, 11:59:11 PM »
If you can boot into Safe Mode see if you can remove the AMD Catalyst drivers and your AV program, (to stop it interfering in any other operation - the AV will cease to function after an In Place Upgrade anyway.)  This might allow the system to boot normally and you'd only need to reinstall any necessary drivers and your AV.

+1 for this

I've had experience with both AVG and Catalyst borking updates so I'd try this first.

and as a rule I just install the video drivers instead of the entire catalyst suite

bit

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Re: HELP! AMD Catalyst update broke my PC - How best to reinstall Windows 7?
« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2015, 01:09:08 AM »
FWIW, in this predicament I would x-fer any recently added data to a cloned backup HD, then switch to that HD, and restore the goofed one.
But in any case I wish you success in restoring your OS.

dr_andus

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Re: HELP! AMD Catalyst update broke my PC - How best to reinstall Windows 7?
« Reply #5 on: September 07, 2015, 04:12:45 AM »
Thank you very much for all the suggestions!

  • If you can boot into Safe Mode see if you can remove the AMD Catalyst drivers and your AV program, (to stop it interfering in any other operation - the AV will cease to function after an In Place Upgrade anyway.)  This might allow the system to boot normally and you'd only need to reinstall any necessary drivers and your AV.

and as a rule I just install the video drivers instead of the entire catalyst suite

Please bear with me, as I know next to nothing concerning OS installations and drivers. A couple of things I don't understand...

1) If I uninstall the AMD driver (if I can even find it where it is, as most of the Windows utilities and system tools are not functioning), how will I be able to use my computer? The last time the driver failed during installation (though afterwards I somehow managed to install it, at the cost of wrecking my system), there was only a hugely pixelated display on a single monitor (normally I use 3 monitors), so it was barely useable that way.

2) I did try to look for the AMD driver without the Catalyst Center installation, but I couldn't find it anywhere. It was my impression that it was not possible to install the driver without Catalyst?

Thanks again.

4wd

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Re: HELP! AMD Catalyst update broke my PC - How best to reinstall Windows 7?
« Reply #6 on: September 07, 2015, 05:26:41 AM »
1) If I uninstall the AMD driver (if I can even find it where it is, as most of the Windows utilities and system tools are not functioning), how will I be able to use my computer?

If you completely uninstall the AMD video driver, (and Catalyst, etc), Windows 7 will use a default video driver, (or an earlier compatible version of an AMD driver), that it has in its driver cache.  You might lose all the fancy things associated with manufacturer drivers but you'll normally end up with a minimum of 1024x768 resolution.

If you think about it, how do you get a display when you install Windows for the first time?

That's the driver Windows will fall back to using.

Quote
2) I did try to look for the AMD driver without the Catalyst Center installation, but I couldn't find it anywhere. It was my impression that it was not possible to install the driver without Catalyst?

Download the ~220+MB Catalyst suite, when you install it choose Custom.  You'll need to select the Catalyst Install Manager but you should be able to only select the AMD Display Driver.

2015-09-07 20_21_33.pngHELP! AMD Catalyst update broke my PC - How best to reinstall Windows 7? 2015-09-07 20_22_27.pngHELP! AMD Catalyst update broke my PC - How best to reinstall Windows 7?

If you also have audio coming through the HDMI cable to the speakers in your monitor, (if it has any), then you'll need to install the HDMI Audio Driver also.

* Ignore what I've got selected since I'm running the installer on my system which already has the latest update.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2015, 05:37:50 AM by 4wd »

dr_andus

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Re: HELP! AMD Catalyst update broke my PC - How best to reinstall Windows 7?
« Reply #7 on: September 07, 2015, 05:42:11 AM »
4wd, thank you very much for that, will give it a try.

BTW, I have another PC where I also have had trouble updating the AMD drivers, and the only way the installation was willing to go ahead was when I caved in eventually and selected "AMD Gaming Evolved App"--which I didn't want to do and for which I have no use whatsoever. I might be becoming paranoid but it felt like an underhanded way to force me to install the Evolved App, which did not endear AMD to me any further...

MilesAhead

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Re: HELP! AMD Catalyst update broke my PC - How best to reinstall Windows 7?
« Reply #8 on: September 07, 2015, 07:24:40 AM »
The mention of uninstalling drivers reminded me of an old support trick that often works in Windows.  Boot into safe mode if possible.  Open Device Manager(right click on Computer then click Proerties and you should see either a tab or link for it depending on the Windows version) then expand the section for the video card.  Find the video card and right click it then click uninstall or delete(whichever it says.. it may vary with the version.. not sure.)  Confirm you want to delete the driver.  Reboot to normal mode.  Windows should detect the hardwre and reinstall the driver.  About half the time it works much better than before this was done.

It only takes a few minutes so it is worth a shot.

4wd

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Re: HELP! AMD Catalyst update broke my PC - How best to reinstall Windows 7?
« Reply #9 on: September 07, 2015, 07:33:34 AM »
BTW, I have another PC where I also have had trouble updating the AMD drivers, and the only way the installation was willing to go ahead was when I caved in eventually and selected "AMD Gaming Evolved App"--which I didn't want to do and for which I have no use whatsoever.

Can't say I've ever had that problem, actually I can't say I've ever had a problem with ATI/AMD drivers at all.

If you want to get rid of the Gaming Evolved thing, look for Raptr in Control Panel->Programs and Features and uninstall it, (had to do it yesterday on my parents machine).

MilesAhead

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Re: HELP! AMD Catalyst update broke my PC - How best to reinstall Windows 7?
« Reply #10 on: September 07, 2015, 08:00:51 AM »
@shades the weird thing is I didn't try the 15.x driver for a long time because it is still labelled Beta.  It has been out for quite a while to be a beta.  It's like they gave up on it.

Hmm, I just found a newer 14.x driver and a 15.x from July 2015.  I will try them out.

MilesAhead

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Re: HELP! AMD Catalyst update broke my PC - How best to reinstall Windows 7?
« Reply #11 on: September 07, 2015, 08:03:00 AM »
BTW, I have another PC where I also have had trouble updating the AMD drivers, and the only way the installation was willing to go ahead was when I caved in eventually and selected "AMD Gaming Evolved App"--which I didn't want to do and for which I have no use whatsoever.

Can't say I've ever had that problem, actually I can't say I've ever had a problem with ATI/AMD drivers at all.

If you want to get rid of the Gaming Evolved thing, look for Raptr in Control Panel->Programs and Features and uninstall it, (had to do it yesterday on my parents machine).

Installing the 15.x beta I did get an issue with the driver install hanging at around 97% done.  If it is a conspiracy or just tired hamsters I do not know.  :)

dr_andus

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Re: HELP! AMD Catalyst update broke my PC - How best to reinstall Windows 7?
« Reply #12 on: September 07, 2015, 08:39:19 AM »
Miles, 4wd, many thanks for the suggestions, will give them a try.

Though at the moment I do have a fairly recent AMD driver installed (v. 15.200.1046.0), and my 3 monitors are working as they're supposed to, so that's not the issue. The problem is that the rest of Windows is acting up (probably due to the failed System Restore operation). E.g. I can't launch the Control Panel and Programs and Features, which suggests to me that I need to reinstall Windows, right?

I also just checked the Event Viewer and it's full of error reports, since the date of the AMD installation and System Restore failure. E.g. one of the error messages says:

Quote
The file system structure on the disk is corrupt and unusable. Please run the chkdsk utility on the volume Acer.

I tried to run the chkdsk utility, and it seems to have identified some errors, but then it itself just disappeared, so I couldn't record the results.

Also, just noticed that if I call up System Information, it says

Quote
Can't Collect Information
Cannot access the Windows Management Instrumentation software. Windows Management files may be moved or missing.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2015, 09:59:59 AM by dr_andus »

4wd

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Re: HELP! AMD Catalyst update broke my PC - How best to reinstall Windows 7?
« Reply #13 on: September 07, 2015, 08:09:25 PM »
The problem is that the rest of Windows is acting up (probably due to the failed System Restore operation). E.g. I can't launch the Control Panel and Programs and Features, which suggests to me that I need to reinstall Windows, right?

Given the nature of your problems, yes I think an In Place Upgrade is going to be the minimum way to recover it short of a full re-installation.  Just make sure to do at least one full disk image before starting, (two onto separate media if possible - test them after), because if you lose any files during the process you should be able to mount the backup images to recover them, (at least with Paragon or AOMEI Backupper, don't know about Macrium Reflect - @Miles ?)

dr_andus

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Re: HELP! AMD Catalyst update broke my PC - How best to reinstall Windows 7?
« Reply #14 on: September 08, 2015, 06:17:00 AM »
Thanks for the advice, 4wd. Though the irony of my situation is that I will be creating an image of a corrupted Windows installation--still, at least my machine is working currently, even if some features are unusable.

I do have recovery media I created when I bought the machine, but then I wouldn't want to restore it to that state, as that would mean losing all my settings and software I installed since then. I guess that is my last option, if everything else fails.

OK, I'm about to get started on this. According to some of the comments on the www.winhelp.us website this can take several days...

4wd

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Re: HELP! AMD Catalyst update broke my PC - How best to reinstall Windows 7?
« Reply #15 on: September 08, 2015, 06:35:49 AM »
Though the irony of my situation is that I will be creating an image of a corrupted Windows installation ...

The idea of the image is to save all the files that you forget about when you do a backup, eg. files on the Desktop, settings for programs (you can usually just copy them back into their AppData folder), etc - all the little things.

Plus it also gives you a baseline, you can always restore it and try some other method that might produce a better result, or restore it to another drive just to copy files off.

But if you can, copy all your Document stuff onto a separate drive which will be easier to restore from if necessary, (rather than mounting a backup image).

Quote
According to some of the comments on the www.winhelp.us website this can take several days...

Sheesh, I don't think I've ever done an In Place Upgrade that took more than 3 or 4 hours and most of that was updating Windows after it had re-installed.

It may pay to disconnect from the network before you start so that the Windows installation process doesn't go searching for updates, which can slow it down a lot.

dr_andus

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Re: HELP! AMD Catalyst update broke my PC - How best to reinstall Windows 7?
« Reply #16 on: September 08, 2015, 06:40:11 AM »
4wd, thank you very much for all your advice, it's really very helpful.

tomos

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Re: HELP! AMD Catalyst update broke my PC - How best to reinstall Windows 7?
« Reply #17 on: September 08, 2015, 10:21:00 AM »
Just make sure to do at least one full disk image before starting, ... because if you lose any files during the process you should be able to mount the backup images to recover them, (at least with Paragon or AOMEI Backupper [..]

did this lately with AOMEI Backupper (free version . created image backup + mounted to recover files). I restored OS partition from image a couple of times as well. Was much relieved that everything worked, as I hadn't done a restore of an image in years.
Tom

dr_andus

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Re: HELP! AMD Catalyst update broke my PC - How best to reinstall Windows 7?
« Reply #18 on: September 10, 2015, 11:03:11 AM »
Well, looks like my PC is well and truly messed up. I just tried to do my first AOMEI Backupper backup, and if I choose in the settings VSS (Microsoft's backup technique), I get this error message:

Quote
Failed to enable VSS. It may be caused because VSS service is disabled or there is no VSS service. Please check and try again.
Information Code:4140
The backup driver works improperly, you could restart the computer to solve the problem.

and if I choose AOMEI's built-in technique instead, I get:

Quote
Information Code:4140
The backup driver works improperly, you could restart the computer to solve the problem.

I guess I'll try to restart the system, and if that doesn't work, I'll uninstall the AMD driver and AVG manually (as suggested by some of you above) and try again. I thought I could unistall those two after the backup, but maybe it has to be other way round?

mouser

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Re: HELP! AMD Catalyst update broke my PC - How best to reinstall Windows 7?
« Reply #19 on: September 10, 2015, 11:13:11 AM »
My philosophy has always been: When in doubt, backup your personal data and docs, and then reinstall the OS from scratch.
Ideally this is done on a new hard drive in case it was a hardware fault on the hard drive (and because it lets you leave the old OS/drive alone).

dr_andus

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Re: HELP! AMD Catalyst update broke my PC - How best to reinstall Windows 7?
« Reply #20 on: September 10, 2015, 12:07:45 PM »
I may still very well have to do that (in fact I won't have another option if my in-place upgrade doesn't work).

But I have so many various software installed for which I may not even have the original installers (yes, I've been sloppy with that, I've learnt my lesson now) that it could take me a couple of weeks to reinstall them all (if I can even get copies of them). This would mean putting all my other urgent work on hold for which I need my machine and software.

I'll just try the in-place upgrade solution to see if by any chance I might get away with not having to reinstall everything manually.

I did a disk check yesterday and it seems to have been fine, so fingers crossed it's not a hard drive problem.

Anyway, VSS still doesn't work, but upon restart AOMEI has been able to get started, so I'm moving ahead (for now).

MilesAhead

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Re: HELP! AMD Catalyst update broke my PC - How best to reinstall Windows 7?
« Reply #21 on: September 10, 2015, 12:54:45 PM »
Anyway, VSS still doesn't work, but upon restart AOMEI has been able to get started, so I'm moving ahead (for now).

Have you checked Volume Shadow Service in the services.msc applet?  It may be set to disabled.  On my Laptop I have it set to automatic but often I have to start it manually using this command from an administrative command prompt:
net start vss

For some reason it seems if I start it manually once then it survives warm booting for the rest of the day.  If it is already running using net start doesn't hurt anything.  It will show a message saying vss was already started.  :)


tomos

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Re: HELP! AMD Catalyst update broke my PC - How best to reinstall Windows 7?
« Reply #22 on: September 10, 2015, 02:55:52 PM »
Well, looks like my PC is well and truly messed up. I just tried to do my first AOMEI Backupper backup, and if I choose in the settings VSS (Microsoft's backup technique), I get this error message:

Quote
Failed to enable VSS. It may be caused because VSS service is disabled or there is no VSS service. Please check and try again.
Information Code:4140
The backup driver works improperly, you could restart the computer to solve the problem.

and if I choose AOMEI's built-in technique instead, I get:

Quote
Information Code:4140
The backup driver works improperly, you could restart the computer to solve the problem.

did you try Aomei via their bootable disc?
I suspect that should work. IIRC it's Win PE based. I made one on a USB stick -- didnt use it to create backup, but it worked well for restore. (Think it's a seperate download from thier site.)
Tom

dr_andus

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Re: HELP! AMD Catalyst update broke my PC - How best to reinstall Windows 7?
« Reply #23 on: September 10, 2015, 03:31:48 PM »
Miles, Tom - thanks for the suggestions. I don't know if it's because my PC is 5 yrs old, but all operations take many long hours. I spent the whole afternoon, evening and night yesterday just running chkdsk (it must have been about 6+ hrs), and right now I'm in the 3rd hour of my very first AOMEI backup. Although the VSS didn't work, AOMEI did finish the backup (took about 2hrs for 284GB), and now it's 47% through checking backup integrity.

dr_andus

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Re: HELP! AMD Catalyst update broke my PC - How best to reinstall Windows 7?
« Reply #24 on: September 10, 2015, 05:23:05 PM »
did you try Aomei via their bootable disc?

Not quite sure what you're referring to. Do you mean "Create Bootable Media: Make a bootable rescue media such as a CD/DVD or USB drive", which is under Utilities in AOMEI Backupper Standard? I will try that next.

As for the backup, AOMEI is telling me that "the image is valid and integrated. The operation has been completed successfully." So tomorrow I can start with the Windows re-installation.