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Windows8 Revert T/o Windows7

Posted on 2013-01-15
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Last Modified: 2016-11-23
OK, I had Win7 on my laptop. I downloaded and upgraded this installation to Win8 using my Technet copy of Win8.
I have a file server on which I created a System Image of the the laptop BEFORE I installed Win8. I have numerous problems/bugs with Win8 and NEED to restore my System Image. Now, when I use my Win7 repair disk with the intention of choosing the networked System Image, I get all the way to the point of choosing my image but then get the message the network can't be reached but this is not the main problem. If I use either the Dell datasafe software OR reboot into Win8's recovery options by holding down shift then clicking on restart I get the option to restore a stsyem image but when clicking on it I get the screenshot shown in image1.
I understand my probems are caused by WIndows8 making the disk a GPT instead or a MBR disk. I could follow this article to convert the disk BACK to MBR http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/26203-convert-gpt-disk-mbr-disk.html

Only BIG problem here is I beleive I will loose my Dell recovery partition.. How can I get My Win7 Image back folks ? Whats your thoughts ?? Really need help !!
Thanks
IMG-20130115-073402.jpg
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Question by:mrmad1966
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by:Ram Balachandran
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i guess you need to  format the drive you installed Windows 8 and then try a network boot.
Currently Windows 7 repair disk and existing Windows 8 file are conflicting
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by:rindi
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Are you sure your disk was converted to GPT when you installed Windows 8? GPT isn't a requirement for Windows 8, and if the drive is already initialized for mbr I don't think a Windows 8 installation will convert it to GPT (and if it does, I'd expect it to have nuked the Dell recovery partition anyway).

I would first boot to the PartedMagic LiveCD, then use it's partition editor to look at your drive. It should show you what partitions you have, and whether the disk is GPT or MBR, apart from that you can also use it to delete the Windows 8 partition:

http://partedmagic.com

If your disk is still MBR, I suggest you copy the backup you made of Windows 7 to a USB disk, and then try restoring it from there.
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by:McKnife
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Please try to copy the system image to a usb drive, connect that and retry.
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by:mrmad1966
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UPDATE:
I have not used partedmagic yet. I booted using Win7 repair disk, choose the system image (Now on USB drive ) as suggested, then got error, see attached image.
On a reboot, the laptop went into win8's on system repair where I again choose the local image bit again got the same error I posted in my first screenshot at the beginning of this thread !
IMG-20130115-093300.jpg
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rindi earned 200 total points
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You need to provide Windows 7 with the Disk Controller's driver so it can find the disk you want to restore to. Get that driver from the Dell Download site and put it on a USB stick. You should then be able to load that driver before you try the restore.
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by:garycase
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I'd just swap in a new disk and restore the image to that.    Actually, that's what I would have recommended to do when you wanted to install Windows 8 -- as then if you wanted to revert (as you do now), you could simply replace the original disk.    Especially if you want to retain a factory recovery partition, it's always a good idea to use a DIFFERENT disk when trying new OS's.

However, since it's too late to do that, I'd boot to a good 3rd party partition tool and "look" at the exact structure of the disk.    Boot-It BM is an excellent choice, as it shows a very thorough view of the disk structure in Partition Work.    But any tool you're comfortable with would work -- or even the partition tool in a CD-bootable Linux distro.

If the disk has truly been converted to GPT (as you indicated), then your recovery partition is long gone => you may as well boot to a tool to zero/nuke the disk;  then boot to the recovery disk and restore your image.
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by:David Johnson, CD, MVP
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You might want to read my article on When Windows 7 System Restore Won't and the accompanying video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JUI2SFUpqsw
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by:mrmad1966
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UPDATE
I have tried PartedMagic but it had exclamation marks next to the c drive saying something along the lines of being unable to read the filesystem.
I have burnt the hdd drivers to disc and truied to load them from the 'load drivers' prompt but it still appears as if Win7 will NOT see the c drive.. :-(

I really dont think the recovery partition is blasted as I can see it when inside WIn8..
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by:garycase
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If this is a UEFI system Windows 8 has likely enabled Secure Boot.    Go into the BIOS and disable Secure Boot.    Also, have you tried simply booting to the recovery partition and restoring the OS?    [For most Dell's that's Ctrl-F11 during POST]
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by:mrmad1966
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secure boot is disabled.   Neither f8  or ctrl-f11  gets me access to the recovery  partition..
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by:garycase
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If Ctrl-F11 isn't working, the MBR has likely been modified by Windows 8.

What MAY work is to boot to a 3rd party utility that allows you to modify the MBR and set the Recovery Partitiion as the Active Partition.

For example:   Download the free demo of Boot-It BM [http://www.terabyteunlimited.com/bootit-bare-metal.htm ];  create a bootable CD using the included MakeDisk utility;  boot to the CD -- select CANCEL at the first prompt; then Okay.    Go to Partition Work;  then click on View MBR.    Select the Recovery Partition (you can tell which one it is by the size) and click "Set Active".

Then just reboot the system and you should be able to do a recovery.
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by:mrmad1966
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UPDATE
Boot-It shows a MBR so this combined with being able to see the recovery partition suggests it has not been converted.. Sadly Garycases last suggestion did not work :-(
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by:rindi
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Try restoring using other driver versions. PC's often have several different controllers and also need different drivers if they use another setting. Or what you can also do is connect the drive to another PC and use that to restore your image. When that is done put the disk back into the original PC and check whether it boots OK.
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by:garycase
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I assumre you're certain that Ctrl-F11 is not working =>  note that on newer UEFI systems you have a VERY small window of time when this will work during the reboot process.    Try turning the system off;  then pressing the power button and IMMEDIATELY hold down the Ctrl key and repeatedly press F11 (keep holding Ctrl down;  but don't hold F11 ... just press it several times a second) until you the system starts the boot process.

Assuming that's definitely not working, try booting to an install CD (Vista or '7 will work).   After you select the language & keyboard options, you'll see a "Repair Your Computer" choice.   Do that;  then at the next set of choices go to Command Prompt.    At the command prompt you should have access to the restore partition -- usually as D:   Try the following commands:

D:
CD Windows
CD Tools
pcrestore

... if there's noTools folder, it's probably located in Windows\System32, so try this instead:

D:
CD Windows
CD System32
CD Tools
pcrestore

Note:   Dell has used a variety of different restore partition structures over the years -- yours apparently isn't directly bootable (since you tried making it active);  but if it uses the pcrestore utility this should work.     If the restore partition is mapped to a different drive letter, obviously you use that instead of D: in the above commands.
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by:mrmad1966
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UPDATE
 At this moment in time, I have managed to start the restore process.... I  will update you all asap.  fingers crossed.
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by:mrmad1966
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OK, Thank you all.
Turns out a combination of things got me sorted..

1.Only the Boot-IT software confirmed that the disk was STILL MBR. The partedmagic one failed dismally.
2.Once the image was copied over to the usb drive the PC still had issues seeing it. Turns out after running chkdsk the external drive holding the image had bad sectors developing.
3. The drivers did need downloading for the disk controller.
4.Only after setting the c drive as 'Active' & not the recovery partition did I finnaly get the job sorted AND retained my recovery partition..
Thank you to everyone I will distribute points as fairly as possible..Appreciate ALL your help..
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