Solved

Installing W 7 Professional into W 7 Home Premium and keeping User data

Posted on 2011-09-07
17
389 Views
Last Modified: 2013-11-05
This is for a customer; I fix PCs for a living.  Assume the retail Windows 7 CD (see below) is never used or activated, a sealed box from Best Buy for example AND is the FULL install version, not the upgrade.

I know there is a way WITH VISTA to do this: The PC partially boots (registry is corrupt or some OS file is corrupt). There **IS** a way to (from a Retail MS Vista CD **of the SAME version of Vista**) to do the install SO THAT the old data folder and program files folder are kept in a name.old folder that is easy to find after the reinstall. And then the user data is not lost and you can copy it into the new Documents and Music and so on folders from the name.old\users\user-name\documents folder and so on. NOTE: I do not remember what name.old exactly is ie it is Windows.old or Vista.old or something like that .

If you do not know how to do this OR what I am talking about DO NOT REPLY TO THIS QUESTION. This is NOT about a SCRATCH REFORMAT INSTALL and is NOT about an upgrade install. The latter is for a working PC going to a later OS; as stated my PC only partially boots.

What I do not remember is if the Retail CD is a different AND BETTER version of Vista, will it work. I,E Non-booting PC is Vista Home Premium and Retail CD is VIsta Professional.However, I am 90% certain that it will work; there is some special option that must be chosen during the Vista install to say the CD is a different Vista version than the PC has.

My question is can I do the above (keep the user folder and the program files folder in a name.old folder) if the partially booting PC is Windows 7 Home Premium and the Retail CD is Windows 7 Professional.

THERE ARE TWO QUESTIONS HERE.

(1) Can I do AT ALL with Windows 7 what I am 100% certain I can do with Vista (ie. do the install in a way that "backs up" the user data and program files folder to name.old **IF** the Win 7 version on the PC and the version on the CD are both the same (ex. both Windows 7 Home Premium).

(2) If the answer to (1) is YES, then will it ALSO work if the version on the PC is Windows 7 Home Premium and the version on the Retail CD is Windows 7 Professional. (i.e CD has a higher version of Windows 7).

And if so what is the key step in the install instructions that must be changed to reflect that the CD is a later Windows 7 version. i.e Tell me what to click or select in one or two relevant steps of the install.

Note: The answer is NOT to remove the HD from the PC, connect it to a Sata to USB converter (making it an external USB HD) and then copy the user data to another external USB HD via a working PC in the middle. Then do a scratch install of Windows 7 Pro and then copy the user data back in from the external HD. I know I can do this but it takes longer and one must be careful to find ALL the user data to copy etc.

i.e. Please stick to the technical question exactly the way I have stated it.

Regards,
  Mike
0
Comment
Question by:mgross333
  • 8
  • 3
  • 2
  • +3
17 Comments
 
LVL 95

Assisted Solution

by:Lee W, MVP
Lee W, MVP earned 200 total points
Comment Utility
1) Windows Vista and Windows 7 BOTH backup any existing installs (when performing a custom install) into a Windows.Old folder.
2) It doesn't matter what version(s) are used.  The setup routine is the same.

**** PROVIDED you don't select any option to format ****
0
 
LVL 2

Expert Comment

by:rdudek101
Comment Utility
leew is correct.  What will happen is that when you boot from the Windows 7 Pro disc, you continue with the setup and choose Custom Installation.  Pick the drive you want to install it on and click next.  Windows will move everything to a Windows.old folder and you'll have a freshly installed windows 7 pro operating system.

Afterwards, you'll have to dig through Windows.old folder for the users/user account folder and just copy the data over.

Any programs that were in Program Files directories have to be reinstalled.

Just be sure NOT TO FORMAT THE HDD during custom setup.  =]
0
 
LVL 62

Accepted Solution

by:
☠ MASQ ☠ earned 300 total points
Comment Utility
You'll get a message during the installation that htere's an exisiting version of Windows "What do you want to do about it" and your choices will be to overwrite it which will lose the data or back it up into Windows.old.

Take the later option, the version doesn't matter they'll get an install of Pro if that's what you're using and their data will be preserved.  Remember though that installed software will need reinstallation as a new registry will be created.
0
 
LVL 62

Expert Comment

by:☠ MASQ ☠
Comment Utility
Oops - which is what leew said :)
0
 

Author Comment

by:mgross333
Comment Utility
Thanks for all the answers. UNFORTUNATELY I did not ask ALL the questions !! (Sorry, I have not had my Starbucks yet).

(1) If the non-booting PC is Windows 7 and the Retail CD is Windows 7 **SP1** will it still work ?
Do not reply unless you are fairly sure here.


BTW, where would I get a SP1 Retail CD? Some one on Craigs List got a comp (free one) from MS at their Cambridge, MA office a few days ago AND it says SP1 on it. While Staples has no W 7 SP1 retail CDs so I assume that MS gave him (a developer they work with) an **EARLY**  version. (Box has 32 and 64 bit versions DVDs too).

ALSO based on the SKU on the box it is Retail not OEM. Also it is in a Retail box, not an OEM pakaging,

SOOO please reply on this question (1).

(2) And one more thing. How can I from a partially booting PC tell if it has SP1 on it or not. With Win XP you just booted from the retail CD and went into the Recovery console and if the dates of many files in the ...system32 folder were 2008 then it WAS XP SP3 (as an example of how to get the SP level for XP).

For Windows 7, to my knowledge there is NO recovery console (ie. a way on a partially booting PC to get to DOS by booting from a Win 7 DVD and then do a directory of the system32 folder and check the dates) and my customers rarely know the answer (I get a blank look when I ask).

Regards,
  Mike

0
 

Author Comment

by:mgross333
Comment Utility
Regarding my question (2) in my post immediately above this one, another option to booting from W 7 DVD is F8 to Repair options and IS THERE a DOS prompt option in there as that would work too. Then I could get the dates of the ...system32 files and find out if SP1 is installed or not.

THIS MATTERS. Even if SP1 Retail CD and Non-SP1 PC does NOT work together for my purpose above, then I MUST know whether the PC is SP1 or not. If no match, THEN ONLY will I remove HD from PC and backup etc etc and then do scratch install. If SP levels match I will follow directions in posts above.

So knowing the W 7 SP level for a partially-booting PC is KEY unless experts here say Retail SP1 CD and non-SP1 PC will still work for my purpose.

Mike
0
 
LVL 18

Expert Comment

by:centerv
Comment Utility
Quite a few issues here. I believe that what you want to do is reload windows over itself. In order to do that you need windows to boot and be running as in win7 you can only start that process within windows.
Have you booted with win7  disk, any vrs, and used the repair option to fix boot problem?
While there you have quite a number of options to repair that install, including system restore and registry repair.

All win7 disks are capable of installing all vrs of windows, determined by the number used.
For latest, download the 90 day vrs from MS, hack it so you can choose which vrs you want to install and reburn. now you have 1 disk for all your win7 installs/repairs.

Any other way and you can save all the files and data in an .old folder, but you still need to reinstall programs and fix whatever other damage.
I've not provided you links, don't have readily available, but you should be able to google them easily.

0
 
LVL 10

Expert Comment

by:Jim-R
Comment Utility
In the past, "Full Version" Windows install disks have messaged something to the effect of:

"Setup has detected a previous installation of Windows.  This version of Windows is for PCs without any Windows previously installed.  Setup will now exit"

Or similar.  Is this no longer the case?
0
Free Gift Card with Acronis Backup Purchase!

Backup any data in any location: local and remote systems, physical and virtual servers, private and public clouds, Macs and PCs, tablets and mobile devices, & more! For limited time only, buy any Acronis backup products and get a FREE Amazon/Best Buy gift card worth up to $200!

 

Author Comment

by:mgross333
Comment Utility
centerv and Jim-R,

Thanks for posting but your replies I.e can not install Windows 7 over itself if PC will only partially boot is COUNTER to the first four posts here PLUS counter to what EE experts told me about Vista (a different thread about a year or two ago) PLUS counter to an MS article with screen shots showing you CAN install Vista over itself and keep the old data and program filles folder in Windows.old with the riight choices during the install. And it does NOT require Windows to boot to start. That is ONLY needed for an upgrade install, not my case. So sorry I believe your are wrong.

Did you read the first four posts here BEFORE posting ? They are 100% clear about what those EE experts think given that my question said the PC only partially boots so those EE experts KNEW the PC would not boot into Windows 7, right ?

Regarding "Have you booted with win7  disk, any vrs, and used the repair option to fix boot problem?
While there you have quite a number of options to repair that install, including system restore and registry repair." I know ALL THAT STUFF (I have been fixing PCs for 6 years now full time) and it does NOT always work. Installing Win 7 over itself will ONLY be done if that does not work I.E. as a last resort.

Can some EE expert PLEASE reply to my two questions in my posts above of 09/07/11 12:05 PM and my post right after that. Those replies would move things forward if anyone knows the answers.

BTW I have now bought from a Craigs list seller (see above) a Windows 7 Retail Professional box with 32 and 64 bit DVDs and also INCLUDING SP1 (it says all that right on the blue box).

Mike
0
 
LVL 18

Expert Comment

by:centerv
Comment Utility
Please, we're not talking about Vista here.
You're so frustrated that you're loosing sight of the task at hand IMO.
Yes, I've read everything before posting.
I don't see anywhere stated that you've attempted to fix the boot issue or load a backup registry
to boot the PC and ' it does NOT always work. " . This is your best option as i see it.
" Installing Win 7 over itself will ONLY be done if that does not work I.E. as a last resort." don't really see what this says as it can only be done with a running system if you expect to keep all programs and data intact in their place with no .old files.
I also don't see you acknowledge that using the methods stated above, although they may be your only option, will require you to reinstall many if not all  of the programs and restore the data in the proper location much as a clean install.
I also don't get what win7 pro has to do with any of if you're trying to repair Home.
If you use pro, then you have basically a clean install and you'll need to use that key.
If you have a complete grasp of all of it and boot up cannot be fixed, then the previous comments have your answer..
Best of luck.
0
 

Author Comment

by:mgross333
Comment Utility
centerv

Regarding
>I don't see anywhere stated that you've attempted to fix the boot issue or load a backup registry

I apologize. I have not been clear. This is not for an existing customer. This entire thread is for long term use as needed.

Regarding "if you expect to keep all programs and data intact in their place with no .old files." I absolutely do NOT expect to keep the programs at all and I thought that was clear; in general it is the customers data that is IRREPLACEABLE; the programs can be resinstalled from customer CDs or emails received when purchased online. In addition I can reinstall Office 2007 in ANY situation on my own. And for AV SW, Microsoft Security Essentials is fine and free. And if the customer has Comcast as ISP, Norton can be installed for free.

Now a few customers have programs that can NOT be reinstalled and I inform them of their options in advance and they choose what to do.

Mike
0
 

Author Comment

by:mgross333
Comment Utility
There is no need to reply to my followup question above " How can I from a partially booting PC tell if it has SP1 on it or not?

As no one here had replied on that, I posted that ONE question in a separate thread at EE and quickly got the answer. See

www.experts-exchange.com/Microsoft/Operating_Systems/Windows/Windows_7/Q_27297358.html?cid=239#a36502244

I still request an answer to the other followup question above which is CLEARLY directly related to my initial question in this thread and MUST BE answered for the first four replies in this thread to be useful AS MY W 7 install DVD is SP1.

i.e
(1) If the non-booting PC is Windows 7 and the Retail CD is Windows 7 **SP1** will it still work ?
Do not reply unless you are fairly sure here.


I strongly suspect it will work because I believe this is really a COMPLETE reinstall (i.e wipes out 100%) the previous Windows 7 install AFTER backing up the user folder and Program Files folder into Windows.old.

But I am not 100% sure. Anyone know the answer with some certainty?

Mike

0
 

Author Comment

by:mgross333
Comment Utility
MASQUERAID and leew

PLease supply some more detail on EXACTLY the key steps needed. ie. A LINK to a "tutorial" where the SCREEN SHOTS are shown for the KEY STEPS after Custom is installed.

leew, your reply has little DETAILED content, I already know I need to select Custom install

MASQUERAID, you supplied some detail but not enough. Again screen shots or a link to the same for backing up the data to Windows.old would be appreciated.

Regards,
   Mike





0
 
LVL 95

Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
Comment Utility
If you fix PCs for a living, you should not be experimenting on your customer's PCs for what is really a common task.  That said, you're asking a question that is EASILY testable by yourself by simply installing Windows yourself.  NOTHING beats personal experience so the comments and assurances here (as with ANY question here or in any other forum) should ALWAYS BE TESTED FIRST.  That may not always be possible, but it is in this case.

The setup routines are basically the same in all versions of Windows Vista and 7 from the simplistic standpoint you're looking at.  Unless you format the drive during setup or choose (and can do) a true upgrade, Windows DOES NOT delete anything.  AT MOST, it creates a Windows.old folder and moves previous installations into it.

> Thanks for all the answers. UNFORTUNATELY I did not ask ALL the questions !! (Sorry, I have not had my Starbucks yet).
Strictly speaking, it's supposed to be one question per question... just FYI.

(1) If the non-booting PC is Windows 7 and the Retail CD is Windows 7 **SP1** will it still work ?
Do not reply unless you are fairly sure here.

what is "it"?  

BTW, where would I get a SP1 Retail CD? Some one on Craigs List got a comp (free one) from MS at their Cambridge, MA office a few days ago AND it says SP1 on it. While Staples has no W 7 SP1 retail CDs so I assume that MS gave him (a developer they work with) an **EARLY**  version. (Box has 32 and 64 bit versions DVDs too).
MSDN and TechNet copies are essentially Retail DVDs.

(2) And one more thing. How can I from a partially booting PC tell if it has SP1 on it or not. With Win XP you just booted from the retail CD and went into the Recovery console and if the dates of many files in the ...system32 folder were 2008 then it WAS XP SP3 (as an example of how to get the SP level for XP).

For Windows 7, to my knowledge there is NO recovery console (ie. a way on a partially booting PC to get to DOS by booting from a Win 7 DVD and then do a directory of the system32 folder and check the dates) and my customers rarely know the answer (I get a blank look when I ask).


There is a recovery option when booting off the DVD.  That option will provide various ways of recovering INCLUDING (eventually) an option for a command prompt.  You can boot using ANY Vista, 7, 2008, 2008R2 bootable media and press Shift+F10 at the first GUI screen (maybe the second - selecting a language) and that should also provide a command prompt.  A FULL command prompt which is FAR easier to work with, not a "recovery console"

Quoting the FIRST SENTENCE in your question:
This is for a customer; I fix PCs for a living.

Quoting the THIRD SENTENCE in your second to last post (before this one):
This is not for an existing customer.

I assume the second quote is accurate?

If you fix PCs for a living, you should be a registered Microsoft Partner and have a subscription to MAPS.  MAPS would then give you the licenses you need (through it and it's TechNet subscription component) to test these things yourself.
0
 

Author Comment

by:mgross333
Comment Utility
leew,

I have asked repeatedly for screen shots for the key steps that cause a Windows.old folder to be created  and you have not provided them.

All other questions in this thread have been answered before your latest psot. I sent you a personal message (via your web site) asking you to post again and answer SPECIFICALLY my request for screen shots (for Windows.old creation) which I made in my last post before this one. You have NOT done that and instead given me advice on how to be a professional fixing PCs. I think after 6 years in business and 3,000 customers served and twenty 5-star reviews of my business from customers at SuperPages.com I do NOT need your advice on that topic.

Regarding installing Windows 7 I just did that Friday (as a scratch install on a new HD which does not involve the procedure I ask about).

Regarding

"If you fix PCs for a living, you should not be experimenting on your customer's PCs for what is really a common task. ."

I agree that I should not be experimenting on customer's PCs and that is EXACTLY why I request the screen shots (or a link to them).

Regarding "That said, you're asking a question that is EASILY testable by yourself by simply installing Windows yourself"

Regretably I do NOT have a PC I can do that on.

Regarding

"This is not for an existing customer.

I assume the second quote is accurate?'

Your assumption is correct and furthermore I already said that CLEARLY in my reply above to Centerv.

If you want to answer the question I asked you too, I would appreciate that. But you have not done that.

Mike
0
 
LVL 95

Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
Comment Utility
> Regarding installing Windows 7 I just did that Friday (as a scratch install on a new HD which does not involve the procedure I ask about).
An install typically takes 30 minutes... this question is worth 500 points... When I bill $150 per hour, 500 points does NOT equal $75/30 minutes (or anywhere close to it).  I've told you how you can LEARN and understand this properly and confidently.  It's you're choice to do the work or insist on others doing it for you.  I've given you my advice, including some tips.

I think after 6 years in business and 3,000 customers served and twenty 5-star reviews of my business from customers at SuperPages.com I do NOT need your advice on that topic.
If your attention to detail is any indication, you DO need my advice.  The e-mail and link you sent me pointed me to another question I didn't participate in - I had to do MORE work trying figure out what question you were referring to.  You contradicted yourself in the question (customer/not customer), and failed ask a complete question to begin with.  Further, if you've got TWENTY five star ratings from 3,000 customers, that's a less than 1% rate for 5 stars...

I agree that I should not be experimenting on customer's PCs and that is EXACTLY why I request the screen shots (or a link to them).
Reading about something and doing it in practice to gain experience are VERY DIFFERENT.  

Regretably I do NOT have a PC I can do that on.
PCs are as cheap as $300.  And frankly, I've got about a half dozen lying around my office.  And another dozen old hard drives - it's not rocket science to pull a hard drive, install and old one and TEST.  And hard drives are dirt cheap.  My opinion - this is a poor excuse for not learning via hands-on experience.

I'm done.  You know what steps you have to take to feel confident and they SHOULD NOT be viewing screen shots.  Best of luck and even more luck to your clients.
0
 

Author Closing Comment

by:mgross333
Comment Utility
More points were assigned to Masqueraid than leew as he provided the Exact choice I had to make at a certain screen to achieve my goal. Points assigned to leew as he was the FIRST to confirm it could be done even if the DVD Win 7 version (Pro) was different than the installed Win 7 version.

Two "partially" scores are because no screen shots were supplied and I am sure they are out there as they are available (I have a print out) for this same (create Windows.old) procedure for Vista and (based on the screenshots for a "scratch" install of Win 7 on a new HD which I **HAVE** printed out) the Win 7 install and the Vista install are EXTREMELY similar (close to identical).

Regarding leew's comments that screenshots are not the way to go and I should try it first on my own PC (which I can not do), my reply is this: The FIRST time I do this on a customer PC, I remove the HD from the customer PC, connect it to a SATA to usb converter (making it an external USB HD) and backup all the customers personal data (to be on the safe side) to another usb external HD via another PC at the customer site or laptop I have with me (depending on which is faster). And then put the HD back in the customer PC and follow the procedure in the screen shots (or Masqueraids post lacking screen shots) and proceed. If the result is OK and windows.old is infact there after the Windows 7 reinstall, then ALL FOLLOWING times, I just follow the screenshot procedure.

Furthermore, I have done a SCRATCH WIn 7 install from my Win 7 Pro DVD on a new HD so it is not exactly like I am unfamiar with installing Win 7 !!

Regarding numerous comments about the Programs File folder backup in Windows.old is useless as the Registry is recreated, my comment is I already know that, and I did not ask about that. Furthermore there is ONE case where the Program files folder IS useful. In my expereince with two programs Quicken and Quickbooks both from Intuit, I have found the user data (i,e the QB or Quicken Database) to be in the Program Files\Intuit etc folder and NOT in the Documents folder in some cases, not all cases.

Mike
0

Featured Post

How your wiki can always stay up-to-date

Quip doubles as a “living” wiki and a project management tool that evolves with your organization. As you finish projects in Quip, the work remains, easily accessible to all team members, new and old.
- Increase transparency
- Onboard new hires faster
- Access from mobile/offline

Join & Write a Comment

Hi Friends, These registry tweaks will help you optimizing your Windows 7 system for any VDI. This will improve the machine performanance and can be used on normal systems also. These are few registry tweaks which will add value by enhancing the …
Possible fixes for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 updating problem. Solutions mentioned are from Microsoft themselves. I started a case with them from our Microsoft Silver Partner option to open a case and get direct support from Microsoft. If s…
This Micro Tutorial will teach you how to the overview of Microsoft Security Essentials. This is a free anti-virus software that guards your PC against viruses, spyware, worms, and other malicious software. This will be demonstrated using Windows…
This Micro Tutorial will teach you how to change your appearance and customize your Windows 7 interface to your unique preference. This will be demonstrated using Windows 7 operating system.

763 members asked questions and received personalized solutions in the past 7 days.

Join the community of 500,000 technology professionals and ask your questions.

Join & Ask a Question

Need Help in Real-Time?

Connect with top rated Experts

15 Experts available now in Live!

Get 1:1 Help Now