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Repairing Windows 7 from the recovery console

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If you remove the ei.cfg file from the Win7 Upgrade media, you'll be able to use it to clean install without having to install Vista first.

The key can be entered and activated after it's installed - I've done this frequently with my Win7 Upgrade media because I don't want to have to install XP first.

Which is it? XP or Vista?  ;)  :P

Vista for Vurbal, XP for me  ;)

Thanks to everyone who offered their advice on this! I had to take a few days off thanks to a vicious cold but as of today the transfer is 100% complete. I ended up having to call in to Microsoft's automated activation number but I expected that.

I also decided to install EaseUS ToDo Backup free on it to provide something closer to an OEM restore experience just in case. Once I get some of the files I backed up a month ago copied to the second partition I can exorcise my office of its bargain laptop possession.

For anyone unfortunate enough to get stuck repairing a Dell with DataSafe (a truly ironic name) backup software, I do now have a few words of advice. The first word that comes to mind is run and that's only halfway joking.

It seems someone at Dell came up with the brilliant idea of integrating half assed backup software with the Windows deployment process. Actually that's not exactly right which is really the problem. Instead of launching their proprietary tools inside the deployment process, a successful restore required me to use their tool directly so it could select the correct (original) install image rather than the DataSafe backup which just looked like it was the original.

Also, since Dell decided to leave the recovery partition accessible from Windows, when the Win7 upgrade ran it used it as the boot partition and changed it from E: to C:. That, of course, isn't nearly as problematic as the fact the upgrade obviously had to also make it the active partition. On the good side I can now definitively say I haven't forgotten how to use diskpart.

The tl;dr version goes something like this. After booting with a Windows disc I started by making the correct (OS) partition active. Next I used imagex to manually apply what various Internet sources indicated was the factory image. In reality it ended up a backup from some point which at least got me to the point DataSafe was available from the Windows repair menu. When I booted the next time I let DataSafe do another restore which applied the actual factory image.

Now I just have to decide if I want to keep anything besides the memory from the Dell. I should probably scavenge a handful of screws from it. Those little bastards like to escape when you're taking them out or putting them in.

Vista for Vurbal, XP for me  ;)
-4wd (March 29, 2014, 09:25 PM)
--- End quote ---

And none of the above for 40hz!  ;D

Sorry. I couldn't resist. (Although I probably should have. ;))


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