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Will a windows 7 repair install lose my applications?

Posted on 2014-04-06
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Last Modified: 2014-04-09
Hi,

My windows 7 ultimate system is doing infinite reboots and I can't get it to stop.  I've tried everything recommended.  I thought it was a virus, but I think it's a corrupted registry or something like that.  It'll start to boot windows, get part way through, and reboot.  Endlessly.

If I do a repair install, will that:

1) overwrite my apps?  (will I have to reinstall and authenticate everything?)

2) repair my master boot record (if there are issues).

I know this isn't a hardware problem, and I tried Anvira and AVG rescue disks that found 1 item and cleared it.  Infinite boot still happens.

Ideas?

Thanks!
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Question by:ugeb
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JoseBarroso earned 100 total points
ID: 39981820
First thing you may try is to repair master boot record (MBR), insert your W7 CD and check, it's one of the first option. You can also try the option right after the boot of your computer, on a black screen, that says someting like this: "Start from the last successfu session"
If that doesn't work then you need to try to repair the system, this will restore some system files since the last time W7 made a restore point. The aplications you have installed after W7 made this restore point could not work. The last thing you have is to make a new instalation, but, you know, you need to copy all your personal data and important files before to a backup disk.
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by:43t3R
43t3R earned 200 total points
ID: 39981827
A WINDOWS repair will not overwrite your apps or installs provided none of them change critical windows system files (99% do not). That is, as long as a drive format is not performed by the user while following the GUI.

Restoring to a restore point might, depending on when you installed the apps and when the last restore point was (when you restore to a last known good point, it will show you dates of the points)

Do you have access to another PC? If so, I would connect the hard drive from the malfunctioning PC as a slave (secondary) drive using either a hard drive docking station (if it is a laptop drive) or SATA/IDE cables and go into a command prompt and type the following:

chkdsk <drive letter>: /x /f

Failing that, can you provide more information on the setup (model, manufacturer, etc) so that we might be able to help you more? Depending on your expertise, you might have to take it into a shop.
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by:bigeven2002
bigeven2002 earned 100 total points
ID: 39981830
Hello,

Since it is booting endlessly, it is likely blue screening.  By default, Windows will auto-reboot when a blue screen occurs.  Did you recently run windows update or install a new device driver?

On the POST screen just before windows begins to boot, you can press F8 for the service menu.  Try last known good configuration first.  If that fails, try safe mode.  If both fail, then proceed with repair or reinstall.

According to Microsoft, if you do a repair of Windows 7, you will have to reinstall all your programs and restore your data from backup.

If you do an in-place upgrade, it will try to preserve your files and programs during install.

Either way, you should backup your data first if possible, and both should fix the MBR.

You can take a look at Microsoft's page on the repair and reinstall procedures for more information:
http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/installing-reinstalling-windows#1TC=windows-7
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by:John Hurst
ID: 39981833
If a Windows Repair Install works properly, it will not overwrite your applications or data as noted above. However, you most definitely should back up first. That way, if the repair fails, you can proceed with reinstalling Windows knowing you can bring your data back.
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by:ugeb
ID: 39981851
Would this be a MBR issue?  It launches Windows (always in safe mode, no matter which option is selected) but always reboots before it gets to the login screen or after.

I tried selecting no reboot on failure, but it still reboots.

There seems to be disagreement as to whether a repair install will overwrite apps. 1 vote for reinstalling, and 2 votes against.  I think I've had to reinstall in the past.  Does anyone know for certain?
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by:ugeb
ID: 39981855
Also, I'm pretty experienced, but I'm no MS MVP.  I don't want to waste countless hours on this.  It's not the reinstalling that's as big a deal as the re-authenticating the freaking software.
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by:John Hurst
ID: 39981859
A repair install will leave your data and applications intact. I think that was mentioned earlier and that is the way it works.

However, (big however), it can go wrong. That is why we suggested backing up also.

So try it. If it works, great.
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by:43t3R
43t3R earned 200 total points
ID: 39981874
I don't think you'll need to reinstall, based on what you have said.

I also don't think it is the MBR, as usually you wont even get to windows when it is that.

I think you should do what the poster above stated and back up your stuff then try a repair.

if that doesn't work it comes down to diagnosing WHAT is preventing it from fully booting - but to do this you'll need a KGCF to compare against (another PC running the same OS) - I would definitely recommend doing this and running the following on the drive from the PC that won't boot:
chkdsk
malware bytes scan
virus scan

you can also get the kapersky boot disk which will check your memory for viruses (not all viruses are stored on an HDD)
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by:bigeven2002
ID: 39981887
I got my info from the Microsoft site directly so that was why I indicated that a reinstall of windows will require reinstalling all apps and restoring data.  It is indicated on the link I provided.  But even if it did preserve those, I generally still plan for those steps.

I think reinstall and repair are two different things here, so that may be where the confusion is.  So I need to correct myself from my earlier post.

Startup Repair is done by booting with Windows 7 DVD, on the Install Windows screen, choose Next, then choose Repair your computer.  It will search for windows installations.  Then choose the option for Use recovery tools, then Next, then click Startup Repair.  This is the method that preserves apps and data, but like what was said earlier, don't take chances with data and back it up first.
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Author Comment

by:ugeb
ID: 39982008
My install is an OEM version and contains no ability to do a repair install.  I downloaded a trial retail copy from

'http://www.heidoc.net/joomla/technology-science/microsoft/14-windows-7-direct-download-links'

and even it wouldn't allow me to do a repair install.

Is it possible to completely reinstall windows, and then do a system restore that I saved from my previous installation?
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 39982014
In this case no.  Back up what you have. You may need to put the drive in a carrier and back it up that way. Once you are sure of the backup, reinstall Windows and recover your data from the backup.
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by:McKnife
McKnife earned 100 total points
ID: 39982329
New addition:
A repair install cannot be done unless windows is bootable. What can be done is a startup repair, but that is not needed as your system is bootable and would not help anyway as startup repair is not meant for this.

You should press F8 and choose not to auto-restart on crashes so you can see the bluescreen and quote the error message here.
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by:nobus
ID: 39982350
>>  I know this isn't a hardware problem,  <<  can you tell me how you know this?
just to be sure
**i found the repair sytem often failing....so a fresh install is about all you can do then
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by:noxcho
ID: 39982448
McKnife is right. You cannot repair Windows when it crashes. Try to boot into safe mode by disabling some components like network.
And when did this start at all?
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by:nobus
ID: 39982726
well - if a repair cannot repair a crashing windows - what's it's use then?
forgive me, but i think i misunderstand something here
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by:McKnife
ID: 39982734
nobus, there are two different things: startup repair and inplace-upgrade (aka "repair installation"). In another thread you did question the same and I answered you already.
[startup repair does not care for buggy services or drivers that keep the system from starting - you would need an inplace upgrade. The i.p.u can only be done from inside windows. On windows xp, we could do the inplace upgrade from the setup dvd, MS changed that behavior from vista on].
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by:nobus
ID: 39982744
thanks, Mc Knife
i believed they were one and the same process - when you boot from the install DVD
(i believe it first does the startup repair - correct?)
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by:McKnife
ID: 39982756
With xp: boot setup, select "install", setup detects the currently installed xp and offers to press "r" for inplace-upgrade"=full repair. With vista/7/...: option is gone and can only be seen when the OS is booted. Booting the setup DVD of vista/7/... you only have the startup repair which doesn't do much.
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Author Closing Comment

by:ugeb
ID: 39990331
Repair install didn't work.  Nothing worked, so points to all.
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