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Fool or edit the Windows 7 Install DVD?


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#1 MarkAtHome

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 10:48 PM

Hi -- my system is currently down after running a defrag/compress MFT routine done by Paragon Software's Partition Manager (the "why" really doesn't matter at this point).

This occurred when I chose to do both procedures to my C & D drives, the former being the system boot drive, and the software needed to reboot to complete the procedure. After reboot, the software displayed four indicators (sans text), which I surmise represented both drives, with two processes each.

The first two completed in seconds, the third about 15 seconds, and the fourth was still doing something after half an hour. I reset the PC at that point, and that is all she wrote.

I have no less than 31 discs sitting here that I have used to try and fix this the bootup process to no avail. Microsoft provided me with a Sr. Engineer team and they are ready to close the case as unresolved.

My sytem is Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-Bit, 12G RAM, many internal and external drives all thoroughly checked with various Windows & Unix-based utilities and there is nothing wrong with the hardware.

I can access all files on all drives but cannot get to the Windows desktop.


Thought #1:

Run an ole fashioned, in-place, version to version upgrade by booting the Windows 7 DVD, which is not supported by Microsoft (which does not mean it cannot be done).

In my mind (and possibly only there... ), you would need to discover how the DVD knows that it started the PC when it's booted, and circumvent that by having the DVD "think" it is being launched from the desktop.

I have already experimented with the environment by directing everything toward my C-Drive and my user profile, etc., instead of the environment set by the DVD, but that did not work.

I am guessing that upon bootup, the DVD is writing something to the system boot disk, and when Upgrade is chosen after selecting Install, it reads what it wrote, and subsequently denies the upgrade (it has to be run from the Windows 7 desktop).

Thought #2:


Extract the Windows 7 DVD's ISO file and modify the install.wim to include everything now unaccessible on my C-Drive along with fresh EXE, SYS, DLL, etc. from the wim and then recreate it, place it back into the ISO's directory structure that was extracted, recreate the ISO and burn it to DVD.

This is fresh to me so I do not yet have all the details worked out in my mind as to how this would happen. I have also sent this idea to my Microsoft contact.

Any ideas, especially with detailed how-to's, would certainly be warmly welcomed! I am getting too old for this... :-)

#2 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 05 August 2011 - 09:28 AM

Why don't you simply:
  • try booting that machine "as is"
  • describe EXACTLY what happens

Till now, you seem like having well described what you already did and what you plan to do, but not WHAT is the actual problem.

I can access all files on all drives but cannot get to the Windows desktop.

is not a detailed enough description, you need to tell us WHAT happens from the moment you boot the machine by pressing the power button until you get to where you are stuck, and the more details you provide, even those that you think not relevant, the better as they may help diagnosing the issue and (hopefully) implement a fix.

:whistling:
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#3 steve6375

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Posted 05 August 2011 - 09:23 PM

Yes, please describe the symptoms rather than saying 'doctor, my baby is sick, I tried calling a friend but it is still not better - can you help?'.

All we know is that your computer doesn't get to the Desktop - but quite a lot happens before the Desktop and some clues would be helpful!

Presumably you booted from a Win 7 64-bit Recovery DVD and tried to repair the boot and system drives??? What happened?

What 31 discs? Do you mean IDE or SATA hard disks, USB disks, external SATA disks, Recovery DVDs, or what? Posted Image

#4 MarkAtHome

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Posted 06 August 2011 - 03:30 AM

I fully appreciate all the help being offered.

USMT is a possible solution, I have been told, but that is a little premature, as I have not given up trying for an almost complete restoration (i.e. all programs and their settings intact; OS settings would most likely not be).

Please note that I have well over 30 years of experience troubleshooting systems, and it is ironic that I find myself failing to fix my own.

Before ever contacting Microsoft via its partner network, I used as many of the tricks I could find up my sleeve as I could unearth.

Once I realized that I needed help, being a Microsoft partner, I was afforded the help of a Sr. Engineering team who worked with me on this for another two weeks -- everyday including weekends.

Everything tried was unsuccessful, but as much effort as I know Microsoft put into this (and I was certainly surprised by the large number of resources utilized), I also know that all was done within Microsoft's set procedures. I do not have set procedures and am able to think outside Microsoft's box, so I am not done.

We will be closing the ticket on Monday as unresolved. But...

I have two ideas that I would like to try, noted in my OP, and would appreciate any assistance in getting either of them to work.

Thanks!

#5 RoyM

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Posted 06 August 2011 - 05:19 AM

My sytem is Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-Bit, 12G RAM

I am guessing that upon bootup, the DVD is writing something to the system boot disk,
and when Upgrade is chosen after selecting Install, it reads what it wrote,
and subsequently denies the upgrade (it has to be run from the Windows 7 desktop).


***********************************************************************************
"I would assume this is because you used a sp0 DVD, that's why it asks for upgrade"
"How about slipstreaming the Install DVD to SP1 and then boot from that"

Not knowing what you have already tried and what was borked and/or subsequently borked
there are only a few suggestions to offer.

It's just a shame that you hadn't joined sooner to create
your own PE3 to boot from and repair your system with.

#6 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 06 August 2011 - 10:59 AM

I fully appreciate all the help being offered.

No, you don't. :thumbdown:

You don't do ANYTHING to have it be of any use to solve (hopefully) your situation.

You may have 30 years experience but if you don't give us a description of the problem, and what happens, we are all (you and the members trying vainly to help you) wasting our time. :(

This is the VERY base for ANY kind of troubleshooting:
http://homepage.ntlw...ard-litany.html

UNless of course what you are looking for is not (hopefully) a solution but rather a number of wild (no matter if educated or not) guesses :cheers:.

More explicitly, you are falling under provisions of points #f., more exactly ALL from #f1. up to #f4., of the "common sense advice" attached to Rules:
http://reboot.pro/in...tion=boardrules

f. Always think why you are here asking for help:

FACT#1

It is because you are not able to solve that problem by yourself.


Always think why other members might be able to try and help you:

FACT#2

Because they are good guys/gals and know more than you do.


The above implies that AFTER you have done your best to comply with points a-b-c-d of the rules, if any member trying to help you asks you supplemental informations and details, to run one or more programs or to do a determinate series of actions and to post results, it is because there are REASONS for this procedure. (you remember, you weren't able to solve this problem by yourself and they know more than you do.)
So, it would be VERY APPRECIATED, and, as said, it will better the quality of the assistance you might receive if you would:
f1.- Post JUST the problem you are having, with needed details, but WITHOUT suggesting what the solution is according to you.
f2.- Temporarily "disconnect" your mind from your idea of WHAT has caused or is causing the problem you have, and of HOW the fix should be made, solving a problem means finding it's SOLUTION, the method through which the latter is found is not relevant and viewing it from just one side can even prevent from finding the solution.
f3.- DO AS YOU ARE TOLD, do not introduce variations of ANY KIND in the given instructions, there are REASONS why they are suggested, and REASONS why they are suggested in the given order and yet more REASONS why other procedures are NOT suggested
f4.- DO NOT think you are smarter than the member who is trying to help you, even if generally speaking this might happen, it DOES NOT apply on the specific topic, nothing can upset more a willing helping member that someone that asks for advice and later does not try the given suggestions and/or does another thing. On the contrary, once the suggested steps have been tried and gave no result, your ideas are welcome, in other words we try to troubleshoot in a "logical" way, as in the famous Sherlock Holmes saying "when you have excluded the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth", but we like beforehand to exclude the possible, the common, the probable, and this approach solves problems in a MUCH faster way in a large amount of cases.
f5.- BE PREPARED to spend some time interactively searching and (hopefully) finding a solution, remember it is you that are having the problem, the only reason why another member tries to help you is to share and expand his knowledge, and to be gratified by an even small thank you when the solution is found. There are a number of members that, as soon as they see that there is no pre-made one-size-fits-all solution one or a few clicks away, simply disappear from the board, leaving behind an unresolved problem and, possibly, a disappointed member who tried vainly to help.


@allanf
OT :ph34r: but not much ;), a lot of people seem like not fully understanding the subtle difference between "experience" (please read as "knowledge") and "seniority" (please read as "years in service"), though they usually tend to go along, it is not always the case, and BTW we have seen here in several occasions that some yutes :(:
http://www.imdb.com/...es?qt=qt0404568

Vinny Gambini: It is possible that the two yutes...
Judge Chamberlain Haller: ...Ah, the two what? Uh... uh, what was that word?
Vinny Gambini: Uh... what word?
Judge Chamberlain Haller: Two what?
Vinny Gambini: What?
Judge Chamberlain Haller: Uh... did you say 'yutes'?
Vinny Gambini: Yeah, two yutes.
Judge Chamberlain Haller: What is a yute?
[beat]
Vinny Gambini: Oh, excuse me, your honor...
[exaggerated]
Vinny Gambini: Two YOUTHS.

have contributed with ideas and insights that a number of "experienced" peeps completely failed to produce.... :cheers:

:cheers:
Wonko

#7 MarkAtHome

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 09:05 PM

My sytem is Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-Bit, 12G RAM

I am guessing that upon bootup, the DVD is writing something to the system boot disk, and when Upgrade is chosen after selecting Install, it reads what it wrote, and subsequently denies the upgrade (it has to be run from the Windows 7 desktop).


***********************************************************************************
"I would assume this is because you used a sp0 DVD, that's why it asks for upgrade"
"How about slipstreaming the Install DVD to SP1 and then boot from that"

Hi Roy -- Microsoft provided me with a retail version of Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit with SP1 already integrated, so slipstreaming was never needed.

The DVD never asks for an upgrade, and I am not sure how you got that from what I said. But, to elaborate on that, though, if you boot your system with a Windows 7 install DVD, you can only do an install, with or without formatting. If you launch the DVD from the Windows desktop, you then have a choice to upgrade (you have a choice if the DVD started the PC, but it will not permit an upgrade at that point, instead telling you to re-run it from the Windows desktop).

#8 MarkAtHome

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 09:38 PM

The use of Offline USMT is probably a premature response but it followed on from your thoughts.

When you add up the combined years of experience of all respondents to your topic, you'll find it easily exceeds one hundred years, and if Wonko the Sane is kind enough to respond again, you could just about double that! ... ;) ...

As you are aware, the first step is to determine what it is that is actually broken, then assess the possibilities for repair. Only then can it be determined if your ideas are also a bit premature. There may be alternatives.

Nevertheless, your thoughts should be addressed. First thought is that "Upgrade" is a front-end for a number of processes, some of which can only be run on a full OS as compared to the Installation DVD OS (Windows PE). I expect that, at the least, your PE would need Internet Explorer, MSI and possibly .NET framework. Second thought is that merging files from a broken system with files from a fresh installation image sounds like a recipe for "dll hell", but you never know. At the least, the PE would need imagex.exe to capture and apply WIM images, and you'd need a good knowledge of the switches used for the copy process.

Anyway, you should describe what happens when you boot normally, in particular the point where it fails to reach the desktop.

Regards

Hi allanf -- I agree with what you say, but I did not present the problem as you and others describe. I presented two problems as thoughts, specifically addressing how to fool the Windows 7 DVD and nothing more (the thread's title echoes this).

The information I provided prior to stating what I was asking for was intended to be background, for those who might ask -- I was not looking to re-diagnose that which was diagnosed to death. I never asked for help in diagnosing anything, but I was asking how I might accomplish either of these:
  • How can I boot the Windows 7 DVD and have it believe that it was launched from the Windows desktop?
  • What is the best way to create a new DVD from the Windows 7 DVD which, when booted, will install (not upgrade) my settings instead of the DVD's original default settings. Do I need to address anything other than the appropriate version of install.wim? In effect, this would be an in-place version-to-version upgrade.
I incorrectly presumed that providing background to the issue would circumvent the "Why do you want to do this", etc.

#9 MarkAtHome

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 09:58 PM

No, you don't. :thumbdown:

You don't do ANYTHING to have it be of any use to solve (hopefully) your situation.

Hi Wonko -- I would suggest that consider you re-reading the OP. I asked only for what I asked and not for what you believe I asked.

You may have 30 years experience but if you don't give us a description of the problem, and what happens, we are all (you and the members trying vainly to help you) wasting our time. :(

This is the VERY base for ANY kind of troubleshooting:
http://homepage.ntlw...ard-litany.html

If you re-read my OP, I never asked for troubleshooting help. Good link, though. Please consider reviewing that, too, as you have, yourself, succeeded in violating the very rules you are so rudely throwing in my face.

If my OP was unclear, I apologize. Check my reply to allanf above as I tried to be a bit more precise.

Best regards,
Mark

#10 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 17 August 2011 - 08:34 AM

If my OP was unclear, I apologize. Check my reply to allanf above as I tried to be a bit more precise.

Yep, to me is completely UNclear. :(
I simply do not understand WHAT you want to accomplish (final goal).
If you try to expand on it, maybe I (or some other member) can help.
I simply do not understand what "ugrade" you are trying to "install", nor if you are trying to do the whatever you are trying to do on a functional system or on your "botched" one.
If you could describe again in more detail the whole idea, I would appreciate it.
I seem vaguely to understand that you want to change/set some settings during an install (or re-install) something that is normally made through an UNATTENDED (scrpted) install.

:cheers:
Wonko

#11 sbaeder

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Posted 17 August 2011 - 04:29 PM

Hi allanf -- I agree with what you say, but I did not present the problem as you and others describe. I presented two problems as thoughts, specifically addressing how to fool the Windows 7 DVD and nothing more (the thread's title echoes this).

The information I provided prior to stating what I was asking for was intended to be background, for those who might ask -- I was not looking to re-diagnose that which was diagnosed to death. I never asked for help in diagnosing anything, but I was asking how I might accomplish either of these:

  • How can I boot the Windows 7 DVD and have it believe that it was launched from the Windows desktop?
  • What is the best way to create a new DVD from the Windows 7 DVD which, when booted, will install (not upgrade) my settings instead of the DVD's original default settings. Do I need to address anything other than the appropriate version of install.wim? In effect, this would be an in-place version-to-version upgrade.
I incorrectly presumed that providing background to the issue would circumvent the "Why do you want to do this", etc.

as for #1 - simple answer is you can't. Did you mean how can I boot a customer made DVD (or UFD) that has enough of a windows desktop so that the installer would think it could do an upgrade? And would I (similar to the recent discussions on Aero and VSS) have to hack any binaries to make that work, etc.

On #2, what "settings" are you looking to preserve? is it just this ONE time, where you are trying to get back to your working system, or somethign more "generic".

BUT, without a way to get a "good enough" version of windows running (since a PE knows it is a PE and can't restore the machine)...

On a separate "tack"...have you tried using a different disk to do a clean install of windows, (i.e. into a NEW disk partition or new disk) and then use THAT running OS to do an in-place upgrade of the original version on the original disk?

MAYBE that would be a way to get around your lack of just biting the bullet and backing up what you have and re-installing things...and I'm sure you've heard this before, but *IF* you had an image backup, you could have just restored it...

Sorry couldn't resist...

GOOD LUCK
:cheers:

#12 MarkAtHome

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Posted 19 August 2011 - 01:19 PM

Yep, to me is completely UNclear. :(
I simply do not understand WHAT you want to accomplish (final goal).

Well, the final goals, depending upon which of the two problems I presented, would be:

1. Most direct, and probably the most difficult, would be to find a way to fool the Windows 7 DVD into believing that it was launched from the Windows 7 desktop, when in fact it was booted.

You see, when the DVD boots the PC, one's choices of the type of install are limited (Upgrade will not work), since it thinks that it, the DVD, started the PC. I want to tell the DVD how it was launched, providing whatever environment the Upgrade would need to run, short of a Windows desktop.

2. If #1 cannot be resolved, I would want to customize the Windows 7 DVD, so that when booted, Install is chosen, Custom selected (Upgrade, while visible would not work since I could not get around #1), and disk formatting refused.

I would extract the Windows 7 SP1 Install DVD to a folder, W7SP1, on a working PC. Change drive/dir to W7SP1, create W7SP1Wim, extract install.wim (might be in folder W7SP1Sources) to W7SP1Wim, change to W7SP1Wim, locate the appropriate version of Windows 7 (in my case, it is in a folder called "4"), and extract its contents to a subfolder called W7SP1Wim4.

Now the fun begins where I would go through the files, folders and registry hives of W7SP1Wim4, editing where necessary, values that would reflect the downed PC instead of default values.

Once completed, replace the original folder "4" from install.wim, and replace it with the newly edited one.

Recreate install.wim and copy it to W7SP1Sources, create new ISO, burn it to a DVD, boot it on the downed PC, and choose Install/Custom without formatting.

This would provide a fresh install with my files and settings and not the default.


If you try to expand on it, maybe I (or some other member) can help.

That is what I was hoping for!

#13 MarkAtHome

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Posted 19 August 2011 - 01:46 PM

as for #1 - simple answer is you can't. Did you mean how can I boot a customer made DVD (or UFD) that has enough of a windows desktop so that the installer would think it could do an upgrade? And would I (similar to the recent discussions on Aero and VSS) have to hack any binaries to make that work, etc.


Hi sbaeder -- yes, I know. I have been hearing that mantra repeated over and over again. What that means (to me) is that there is no Microsoft-supported way to accomplish what I am looking to do, not what might be possible.

Developers I have known, and know, would simply look at that statement as a challenge to prove it wrong. Think of all the fun you might have thinking outside Microsoft's box! :-)

On a separate tack...have you tried using a different disk to do a clean install of windows, (i.e. into a NEW disk partition or new disk) and then use THAT running OS to do an in-place upgrade of the original version on the original disk?

Yes, that has crossed my mind, but I have not tried that yet. It is worth looking into. Do you know whether you can pass control of the PC from one disk and/or OS to another on the same system?

MAYBE that would be a way to get around your lack of just biting the bullet and backing up what you have and re-installing things...and I'm sure you've heard this before, but *IF* you had an image backup, you could have just restored it...

Yes, I heard that. I have not yet found a reliable (since the early days of Drive Image) backup system that I feel comfortable with. In between various text bench tests, I did an image backup of the downed PC's boot/system disk, it took 6 hours with the lastest Acronis, and it was corrupted. I then used FastCopy and copied the drive to another, and it took 2 hours and all files were fine. Go figure.

I have five internal and 7 external drives, adding up to about 15T. As a Microsoft partner for decades, I have tens of thousands of dollars worth of software installed and highly configured. I believe that this is part of the reason Microsoft provided as much senior support as they did in order to help me.

In addition, imagine the headache involved with making a call to Microsoft and other vendors, for each individual piece of software, in order to clear product keys. Yes, I will lose all the OS settings and tweaks I made, but I can live with that, as they are documented. It is a lot more than simply biting the bullet. FWIW, I have requested, at least of Microsoft, that they clear all my products keys, just in case. I have not received a response to that one yet.

Sorry couldn't resist...

Not a problem on my end. Thanks for participating -- it's appreciated.

#14 sbaeder

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Posted 19 August 2011 - 02:47 PM

Hi sbaeder -- yes, I know. I have been hearing that mantra repeated over and over again. What that means (to me) is that there is no Microsoft-supported way to accomplish what I am looking to do, not what might be possible.

That's why I said "simple" answer... What is "possible" would probably involve some sort of hacking of either the "setup" (so that it doesn't care if it is running in a "PE" or hacking the PE so that it looks more like normal windows - which is what they are doing to get VSS and "areo" working (see other posts here that refer over to other forums)

Do you know whether you can pass control of the PC from one disk and/or OS to another on the same system?

Not sure I understand this part...I think that if you were running windows, and started the installation, AND selected upgrade, that it would look for all the possible places to upgrade? Similar to when it tries to "fix" an unbootable system. But, worth trying, especially given the amount fo resources you have available!

Yes, I heard that. I have not yet found a reliable (since the early days of Drive Image) backup system that I feel comfortable with. In between various text bench tests, I did an image backup of the downed PC's boot/system disk, it took 6 hours with the lastest Acronis, and it was corrupted. I then used FastCopy and copied the drive to another, and it took 2 hours and all files were fine. Go figure.

Yes, when doing an image backup, there are many tools, and you almost always (for critical systems) need to do the "verify" step after it is done. I also find it a good idea to do it off of the PE boot environment as opposed to a backup of a running system...I use the Active@Disk stuff - seems to work pretty good for me over the past few years - and has recovery tools as well.

Good Luck!

#15 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 19 August 2011 - 02:48 PM

1. Most direct, and probably the most difficult, would be to find a way to fool the Windows 7 DVD into believing that it was launched from the Windows 7 desktop, when in fact it was booted.

You see, when the DVD boots the PC, one's choices of the type of install are limited (Upgrade will not work), since it thinks that it, the DVD, started the PC. I want to tell the DVD how it was launched, providing whatever environment the Upgrade would need to run, short of a Windows desktop.

Well let's try tackling this one ONLY for the moment.

BTW, this is still the IMHO the "way" you think you should do it, not the actually final goal. :ph34r:

Let me see if I can understand it (the final goal). :unsure:

You want to upgrade , but upgrade WHAT? :dubbio:

I mean, what does "normally" the upgrade choice do when launched from the Windows (WHICH windows) desktop?

If the idea of the original way it works is (for example) to upgrade a running install of XP to 7, provided that we find a way to fool it to start "normally, i.e. as if it was launched from Windows desktop", WHAT will be upgraded? :unsure:


But you mentioned running upgrade from a runnning 7 desktop, WHAT is the result in that case?

Are we talking somehow of the "double-install" method? :unsure:
http://www.winsupers...h-upgrade-media
http://www.winsupers...h-upgrade-media

Or you are thinking of use the "upgrade" option to try and "repair" the botched install you initially posted about?

Is the idea that of having a DVD (in the sense of physical optical disc inside DVD drive) or that of using a DVD image on some other media? (like USB stick or hard disk)
Is the target disk (internal hard disk) writable? (meaning is it already partitioned, with one or more formatted volumes or is it still to be "initialized")?
Can we use a part of the hard disk for a temporary storage?

I know it seems like I'm making a lot of seemingly pointless questions, but unless I can understand the problem (and I do need the answers to them in order to do so) there is no way I can try and help.

:cheers:
Wonko





#16 sbaeder

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Posted 19 August 2011 - 03:16 PM

the "upgrade" option has a couple of usage patterns. In addition to allowing an upgrade - not from XP :whistling: but from "a supported earlier version" - of windows. It can be vista or even win7 (example, upgrading from SP0 to SP1), it can also be used to do the "repair" that was available in XP - the one where you go past the initial question of Install vs. repair (selecting install), and then later, choose the same disk and use the "R" to repair.

This is what I am pretty sure is desired, since all the other talk has been about repair of his existing setup...

But, be that as it may, what he is asking could also be phrased as can I create a bootable, standalone environment that allows the "setup.exe" off of the installation media to be run so that I have full access to the Upgrade option?

To do that, it would have to identify itself as a "proper" version of windows , where "proper" is what we have to figure out. We already know that a standard PE isn't "proper", we also know an XP installation isn't "proper", and we know that a newer version (i.e. trying to use an SP0 DVD on a working SP1 system) isn't proper. So we know a lot of what is NOT proper...we just don't have the rules for "proper"...

Thant was why I suggested a full hard-disk install of a known "proper" environment - i.e. a working copy of Win7-SP0 on a separate drive...Maybe that is proper - won't know until someone tries it out.

:cheers:

#17 MarkAtHome

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Posted 22 August 2011 - 08:04 PM

I apologize for my absence, but have been quite busy tending to my aging dad and haven't been home to work on any of this. I hope to have things stabilized with him by the end of the week (he is in his 80's, and has been a handful for his wife, so I have been traveling back and forth between northern NJ and PA).

Thanks to you all for hanging in there.

#18 MarkAtHome

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Posted 29 August 2011 - 02:36 PM

You want to upgrade , but upgrade WHAT?

I mean, what does "normally" the upgrade choice do when launched from the Windows (WHICH windows) desktop?


In the olden days, an in-place upgrade implied a version-to-version upgrade as a means of repairing your OS.

This was done as a last resort, and was an option when you booted the install media (CDs back then...). When that media booted, you were asked if you wanted to repair or install, and the answer should be no, at that point. You would then let it continue further, and would again have the option to repair, to which you would answer yes. An in-place (version-to-version) upgrade would then take place, retaining all your installed programs and their settings. You would lose any tweaks you might have applied to the OS itself, but the OS would have been repaired.

Now, if you boot the Windows 7 DVD (we are now dealing with an image, rather than files), and you choose install, you are offered two options -- Upgrade or Custom.

If you choose Upgrade (and have Windows 7 installed), it will state that since it, the DVD, started the PC, you need to re-run the Upgrade from the Windows 7 desktop. If you cannot get to the desktop, you cannot run Upgrade.

If you choose Custom, you would be doing a direct install, with the choice of whether to format the drive first, but either way, you would no longer have your programs recognized as being installed.

#19 MarkAtHome

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Posted 29 August 2011 - 02:43 PM

the "upgrade" option has a couple of usage patterns. In addition to allowing an upgrade - not from XP :whistling: but from "a supported earlier version" - of windows. It can be vista or even win7 (example, upgrading from SP0 to SP1), it can also be used to do the "repair" that was available in XP - the one where you go past the initial question of Install vs. repair (selecting install), and then later, choose the same disk and use the "R" to repair.

This is what I am pretty sure is desired, since all the other talk has been about repair of his existing setup...


Correct.

But, be that as it may, what he is asking could also be phrased as can I create a bootable, standalone environment that allows the "setup.exe" off of the installation media to be run so that I have full access to the Upgrade option?

To do that, it would have to identify itself as a "proper" version of windows , where "proper" is what we have to figure out. We already know that a standard PE isn't "proper", we also know an XP installation isn't "proper", and we know that a newer version (i.e. trying to use an SP0 DVD on a working SP1 system) isn't proper. So we know a lot of what is NOT proper...we just don't have the rules for "proper"...


Someone else shared with me this: Back in the days of Windows NT badly fragmented MFTs were common. If the system can't read the MFT, it can't boot. We used to solve it on Citrix Metaframe servers by creating an NT boot disk on a floppy and booting up to the OS. I'm not sure if on Windows 7, a straight up boot disk can be created to run the copy of Windows on the hard drive. I don't see why not. Do you have access to another Windows 7 machine? I did a little searching and there are lots of tutorials on creating Win 7 boot disks but none specific to what we're talking about here.

I have shared that with Microsoft, as well, and they said that it could not be done. Or can it? :dubbio:

#20 MarkAtHome

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Posted 29 August 2011 - 03:12 PM

Windows 7 Upgrade Paths

That's all fine ... :good: ... EXCEPT for the minor detail that it is necessary to be able to boot the "From" system in order to perform the "Repair-In-Place Upgrade" ... :chair:


That is correct, allanf. That is what Microsoft supports, not necessily what is possible.

I wonder about one of sbaeder's suggestions. Say you had a dual boot system with twin Win7s, and one of the OSes went down. If you booted the other OS and stuck in the Install DVD and selected "Upgrade", would it find and offer to upgrade the broken OS?


Worth trying.

what does the "Upgrade" do? Does it package up the existing Windows system files and settings into the Windows.old folder, then do a clean install, then unpack the Windows.old files and settings over the top of the clean install? There are a couple of other tools that can create the Windows.old folder.


I honestly do not recall seeing a Windows.old folder after doing an in-place upgrade, but that does not mean it was not there, only I do not recall whether it was, or whether it was done temporarily by the upgrade and then removed.

I'm not sure what you mean by "extract". 7-zip can extract WIM images, but at this stage cannot put them back. So, you will eventually need imagex. Why not use it to start with?


Microsoft was working on something along these lines in their lab.

While they were busy, I used 7-zip as a way to extract my version of Windows 7 from the install.wim to look at, and to copy parts back to the downed drive. I had not yet gotten to recreating the WIM (never did so before), and presumed that ImageX would be utilized, once I addressed learning more about the tool -- I never had a need for it before! lol That is one reason I left it up to Microsoft...

I had an idea of laying down the two images - one broken, one fresh - side by side and comparing them, then trying to merge them.

Firstly, create a RAM-loading WinPE boot DVD that includes imagex. To do that, download the Win7 AIK, burn it to disk, re-insert the disk, and install the WAIK. Then download the Win7 SP1 WAIK Supplement, burn it to disk - it's just a bunch of replacement files, so:


 

xcopy E:\ "C:\Program Files\Windows AIK\Tools\PETools" /ERDY

Work with Windows PE

Customization: You'll have to copy imagex from the installed WAIK directory to the mounted (RW) winpe.wim image. Any critical (mass storage) drivers required? Use dism. Then commit the changes to the WinPE image.


Boot the broken computer with the boot DVD, and use imagex to capture a WIM image of the broken system/boot partition. Save the new WIM to a DVD, USB device or network.

Create a partition the same size as the broken system/boot partition. (WinPE has diskpart to do this job.) In WinPE, get access to the new WIM and use imagex to "apply" the WIM image to the new partition. Create another partition and insert the install DVD. Locate install.wim on the DVD, changing drives by entering "d:", "e:", etc, and using "dir" command to find out where the heck the DVD is (or use diskpart -> list disk/list vol). Use imagex to "apply" the correct install.wim image (index #4 is it?) to the second partition. Compare the files on the two partitions.

One problem is the differences in ages of the two images - the "used" one has no doubt had hundreds of megbytes of MS updates applied. You could actually service the "unused" install.wim image offline with Dism.exe to bring it up to date (or up to the date of the "used" image), however, if you are eventually planning on deploying the image, you will probably need to "generalize" it which can only be done on a running system. So... I'm thinking as I write here... you'd be better off installing the image properly, running it, updating it, "generalizing" it with sysprep, and capturing it. Then apply it and compare it with the broken image. Then deploy it...


Great stuff for me to absorb. Thank you.

Oh! Boy! It's hard to know where all this is going when we don't know what we are trying to fix! So... just some ideas really.


We are not trying to fix anything, per se. I am looking, pretty much, for a way to hack my way into doing the in-place version-to version upgrade from the booted DVD, or some facsimilie thereof.

Your ideas are good ones and worth looking into. Again, thanks.

#21 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 29 August 2011 - 04:10 PM

I finally see it. :yahoo:

You are trying to replicate on 7 the behaviour of the 2K/XP "Repair install":
http://www.michaelst...pairinstall.htm
(and yes it was the "same thing" as the "Inplace upgrde" on XP).

But again, is this a "theoretical exercise" or it is to be applied to a "currently botched" install? :unsure:

:cheers:
Wonko

#22 MarkAtHome

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Posted 29 August 2011 - 10:50 PM

I finally see it. :yahoo:

You are trying to replicate on 7 the behaviour of the 2K/XP "Repair install":
http://www.michaelst...pairinstall.htm
(and yes it was the "same thing" as the "Inplace upgrde" on XP).

But again, is this a "theoretical exercise" or it is to be applied to a "currently botched" install? :unsure:

:cheers:
Wonko

YAY!!!

Both, actually. I realize that you are itching to get more info, and I would like to give you more info, but that would place me in a difficult situation, as I gave my word way back in February to be discrete. Of course no one would know if I whispered in your ear, but I would know, and my word is all I have.

#23 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 30 August 2011 - 08:31 AM

I realize that you are itching to get more info, and I would like to give you more info, but that would place me in a difficult situation, as I gave my word way back in February to be discrete. Of course no one would know if I whispered in your ear, but I would know, and my word is all I have.


That's allright, as of this I have found a remarkable demonstration. This margin post is too narrow to contain it.

:cheers:
Wonko

#24 MarkAtHome

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Posted 30 August 2011 - 01:13 PM


Hmmm... copying bits and pieces is the recipe for "dll hell" that I mentioned earlier.

My understanding is that the XP setup was an "installer". In contrast, Vista introduced a file-based image (WIM) for it's setup. The image is "applied" to a volume, and all the files are simply laid out on the volume. USMT and the GUI migwiz ("Easy transfer..."?) grab user files and settings (some limitations) so that they can be added to a new installation. The obvious contrast between XP and Vista/Win7 installation/upgrade is that it's no longer text-based - it's a fancy GUI; and my assumption is that the GUI for a Win7 "Upgrade" needs a fullish OS to run.

The difference between the Install DVD OS (WinPE) and the full Win7 OS is so vast that it is difficult to know what precisely causes the setup/upgrade to recognize that it is being run from WinPE. It could be a registry key or the existence/non-existence of any number of .exe and/or .dll files, or a combination of all. If someone was able to get past the first step, it would be possible to ascertain the actual processes run by "Upgrade" then attempt to add all the dependencies to a WinPE.

Regards

Hi allanf -- As of yesterday, Microsoft said they would mount the WIM and see what they can come up with.

Installing a parallel version of Win7 onto another drive/partition and launching the DVD for an upgrade will only upgrade the current OS, not one that might reside on another partition/disk, so that idea will not work, but maybe modifying that a bit:
  • Boot the Windows 7 DVD and do a clean install on another drive/partition, without entering my key or launch activation.
  • Open a command prompt, via the start menu where I will find myself at the NewDrive:\Users\Mark> command prompt
  • Capture the current environment via SET >SET.bat
  • Edit SET.bat so that the entries issue those SET commands, rather than displaying them, and change all references from NewDrive: to C: (downed drive), etc.
  • Execute SET.bat
  • Change to C:\Users\Mark>, issue the SET command to verify all changes.
  • From that command prompt, launch setup.exe from the DVD and choose Install/Upgrade
Do you think that is worth pursuing?

#25 MarkAtHome

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Posted 30 August 2011 - 01:18 PM

That's allright, as of this I have found a remarkable demonstration. This margin post is too narrow to contain it.

:cheers:
Wonko

Should I dare ask what that means? :unsure:

Edited by MarkAtHome, 30 August 2011 - 01:19 PM.





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