The Canonical Guide to Fixing Windows 7

Discussion in 'Windows 7 Tutorials' started by alebcay, Sep 2, 2012.

  1. alebcay

    alebcay New Member

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    VERY IMPORTANT: This guide is still under construction! It is subject to change at any time. Don't see something you want? Comment/reply and I'll add it.

    Use the information in this guide AT YOUR OWN RISK!


    This guide is organized by "issues" or problems. Seek help in the section you need help in. This article does not offer specific help, rather, its a troubleshooting guide and its up to you, the reader, to complete the actions. Google it if you don't know how to do it.


    1. Boot-Time Issues (Cannot make it to Windows Boot Manager or "Starting Windows" screen)


    1. Make sure the power is plugged in. As hard as it may be to believe, this is THE NUMBER ONE cause of computers not starting. Make sure that any power strips, etc. that power passes through on the way to the computer are also turned on.
    2. Check the device boot order. When you see "IBM", "Lenovo", or other OEM information on your screen, you should be offered the option of selecting boot device or changing boot device order. The keys to do so are usually F2, F12, F9, F10, or another function key. Make sure that you are booting first from the hard drive, or if it is set to boot removable media first, to take the removable media out of the computer before boot so you can boot to hard drive.
    3. Check and make sure vital Windows boot components are there. Check to make sure components such as bootmgr.exe/bootmgr, winload.exe (on WinVista or newer), ntldr.exe (on WinXP or older), and BCD are in the correct spot.
    4. Make sure that the correct partition is set to be active. Using GParted or other LiveCD, make sure that the Windows drive is marked for boot (on Windows XP or older), or that the Bootloader drive is marked for boot (its a small "hidden" drive only about 200 MB in size on most systems, applies only to Windows Vista or newer).
    5. Check the MBR or rewrite it. If you can get to Windows Recovery Environment or an Install Disk, open a Command Prompt and use the Bootrec tool.
    6. Unload new software or hardware. If you just installed new software or hardware, uninstall it with Windows PE or Windows RE, or disconnect the hardware from the computer.
    7. Undo BIOS update. If you recently applied a BIOS update and ran into this, roll it back
    8. Run startup repair. If possible, insert Windows 7 Install Disk, then use the built-in Startup Repair tool.
    9. Run custom installation. If you can't even start Windows, you can reinstall while keeping settings and personal files safe by inserting your Install Disk, then Install, and click "Custom" when prompted ("Upgrade" requires you to boot onto system, which is not possible here). Your "old" User directories and Program Files can be found in C:\Windows.old after reinstallation.
    10. Use System Restore. If you are the minority of people who are diligent enough to keep restore points, consider rolling back.
    11. Apply a backup or system image You can get to these options from the Repair section of the Windows Install DVD.
    12. Nuke and boot. If your custom installation still doesn't boot, backup the things you want to keep and format the hard drive partition(s). Then, run the Install Disk again, and it should do a "clean" install from scratch.
    13. Replace hardware. At this point, chances are that you have a hardware issue, most probably the motherboard.


    2. Boot-Time Issues (at or after the Windows Boot Manager or "Starting Windows" screen)
    1. Boot in safe mode. This will allow Windows only to load the bare necessities, so that you can made any configuration changes if needed. If boot fails, you'll still see whats wrong, since it will boot verbose mode.
    2. Use Startup Repair. Insert the Windows Install DVD, then select Startup Repair from the Repair your computer section.
    3. Check the BCD. Make sure a BCD is existent and can be read by the Windows Boot Manager. Rewrite it if necessary by using the Bootrec tool.
    4. Check system files. Open Windows Installation Disk, get to a Command Prompt, then use the SFC tool.
    5. Continue with #9 in section #1 if you need more options...


    3. Malware/Viruses/Trojans, etc.

    1. Disconnect from the Internet. Do so as soon as you know that there is an infection on your system. This will minimize the chance of your computer send confidential information such as login details to an attacker, and will prevent the malware from downloading additional "bad stuff".
    2. Reboot and cross your fingers. Sometimes, rebooting might clean up some symptoms.
    3. Run anti-Malware software. Run a FULL scan with whatever software you use. I personally suggest Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware and Spybot Search & Destroy. If the malware is restricting you from doing so, attempt to reboot into safe mode and try again.
    4. Run boot-time scan software. This is optional, but if you find an infection, chances are you have more than one. Consider running a boot-time scan, which will allow your virus scanner to scan for rootkits and remove things infecting files that Windows normally "protects". Examples of such great software include the BitDefender LiveCD, MSE Offline, Panda Rescue Disk, etc.
    5. Run upgrade installation. Insert your Windows Install DVD, then go to My Computer, and double-click the DVD to start the AutoRun executable, or start it manually by opening the DVD, then running setup.exe. The disk used must have the same bit of Windows as you are using right now (i.e. only 32-bit Install disks can be used with 32-bit systems, you can't repair 32-bit Windows with a 64-bit disk, and vice versa). Your personal data will not be affected, but you will need to re-enter license information once installation is complete.
    6. Run custom installation. Insert Windows 7 DVD, and Install. When prompted, select "Custom" as the install mode. Your User data and Program Files will be found in C:\Windows.old, and everything else inside the C:\Windows folder will be overwritten.
    7. Nuke and boot. Backup all of your important stuff, then format the hard drive and do a complete clean installation.
    8. Check hardware/firmware. Although it is extremely unlikely, the most probable cause of any infection at this point is that the infection has latched onto the BIOS or other "boot-time" software/firmware that doesn't get overwritten with installation.

    4. Network Connectivity

    1. Disconnect and reconnect for the network. If you're suffering a slow connection or limited connectivity, disconnect and reconnect to the network.
    2. Cycle the power on the router system. Consider turning off ALL components in which your internet service passes through (except for your computer), and after waiting several minutes, turn it all back on.
    3. Check with other computers. If there are other computers on the same network, check if they are experiencing similar issues. If they are, you may want to contact your ISP.
    4. Reboot computer. After installation or uninstallation of certain software or hardware components, your computer may have some configuration issues that can be ironed out by restarting. This is especially the case if the installation or uninstallation hangs or gets interrupted.
    5. Run socket reset. From Command Prompt, type
      Code:
      netsh winsock reset
      . You'll need to restart your computer afterwards.
    6. Check system files. From Administrator Command Prompt, type
      Code:
      sfc /scannow
      . Any tweaks to system files you've made, such as Uxstyle patching and .dll replacements will be lost. Your personal data is not at risk.
    7. Update device driver. Go to the Device Manager, then go to the properties of the network adapter, and select the Update option, and select one of the two methods provided there.
    8. Cycle device driver. Go to the Device Manager, then uninstall the network adapter (its not really uninstalled, just not recognized by the system). Then, reboot the computer and allow the computer to search for drivers again.
    9. Run upgrade installation. Insert your Windows Install DVD, then go to My Computer, and double-click the DVD to start the AutoRun executable, or start it manually by opening the DVD, then running setup.exe. The disk used must have the same bit of Windows as you are using right now (i.e. only 32-bit Install disks can be used with 32-bit systems, you can't repair 32-bit Windows with a 64-bit disk, and vice versa). Your personal data will not be affected, but you will need to re-enter license information once installation is complete.
    10. Run repair installation. Insert the Windows Install DVD, and go to Control Panel (Category View) > System and Security > Backup and Restore > Recover system settings or your computer > Advanced recovery methods > Reinstall Windows, and follow the further directions from there. Any User data and Program Files will be moved to C:\Windows.old, and you will have to manually move them back later. Again, the disk has to be of the same bit, and you may need to re-enter activation key after installation.
    11. Nuke and boot. Backup all of your important stuff, then format the hard drive and do a complete clean installation.

    5. Miscellaneous System Settings Corruption

    1. Reboot. Restart the computer. This "refreshes" many drivers, and parts of the registry, so give it a try. It may just fix the problem.
    2. Reboot to safe mode. Does the problem still exist? If not, the problem is with third-party components and not Microsoft's core software. If it still does or can be replicated, you may have a bigger mess than you think.
    3. Restore to previous state. If you have a recent restore point, you can give it a try.
    4. Restore to previous backup. If you have a recent back up or system image that you're willing to use, you can give it a try.
    5. Check system files. From Administrator Command Prompt, type
      Code:
      sfc /scannow
      . Any tweaks to system files you've made, such as Uxstyle patching and .dll replacements will be lost. Your personal data is not at risk.
    6. Update device driver. Go to the Device Manager, then go to the properties of the network adapter, and select the Update option, and select one of the two methods provided there.
    7. Cycle device driver. Go to the Device Manager, then uninstall the network adapter (its not really uninstalled, just not recognized by the system). Then, reboot the computer and allow the computer to search for drivers again.
    8. Run upgrade installation. Insert your Windows Install DVD, then go to My Computer, and double-click the DVD to start the AutoRun executable, or start it manually by opening the DVD, then running setup.exe. The disk used must have the same bit of Windows as you are using right now (i.e. only 32-bit Install disks can be used with 32-bit systems, you can't repair 32-bit Windows with a 64-bit disk, and vice versa). Your personal data will not be affected, but you will need to re-enter license information once installation is complete.
    9. Run repair installation. Insert the Windows Install DVD, and go to Control Panel (Category View) > System and Security > Backup and Restore > Recover system settings or your computer > Advanced recovery methods > Reinstall Windows, and follow the further directions from there. Any User data and Program Files will be moved to C:\Windows.old, and you will have to manually move them back later. Again, the disk has to be of the same bit, and you may need to re-enter activation key after installation.
    10. Nuke and boot. Backup all of your important stuff, then format the hard drive and do a complete clean installation.


    6. Software Installation/Uninstallation Issues

    1. Try again. It could just be a one-time occurrence.
    2. Close all program processes. The program could still be open, or another program could be using a shared file that needs to be uninstalled/installed/modified.
    3. Restart computer. Refresh the file system, etc. Sometimes one installation needs to finish and restart before another can complete.
    4. Reboot to safe mode. Does the problem still exist? If not, the problem is with third-party components and not Microsoft's core software. If it still does or can be replicated, you may have a bigger mess than you think.
    5. Restore to previous state. If you have a recent restore point, you can give it a try.
    6. Restore to previous backup. If you have a recent back up or system image that you're willing to use, you can give it a try.
    7. Check system files. From Administrator Command Prompt, type
      Code:
      sfc /scannow
      . Any tweaks to system files you've made, such as Uxstyle patching and .dll replacements will be lost. Your personal data is not at risk.
    8. Update device driver. Go to the Device Manager, then go to the properties of the network adapter, and select the Update option, and select one of the two methods provided there.
    9. Cycle device driver. Go to the Device Manager, then uninstall the network adapter (its not really uninstalled, just not recognized by the system). Then, reboot the computer and allow the computer to search for drivers again.
    10. Run upgrade installation. Insert your Windows Install DVD, then go to My Computer, and double-click the DVD to start the AutoRun executable, or start it manually by opening the DVD, then running setup.exe. The disk used must have the same bit of Windows as you are using right now (i.e. only 32-bit Install disks can be used with 32-bit systems, you can't repair 32-bit Windows with a 64-bit disk, and vice versa). Your personal data will not be affected, but you will need to re-enter license information once installation is complete.
    11. Run repair installation. Insert the Windows Install DVD, and go to Control Panel (Category View) > System and Security > Backup and Restore > Recover system settings or your computer > Advanced recovery methods > Reinstall Windows, and follow the further directions from there. Any User data and Program Files will be moved to C:\Windows.old, and you will have to manually move them back later. Again, the disk has to be of the same bit, and you may need to re-enter activation key after installation.
    12. Nuke and boot. Backup all of your important stuff, then format the hard drive and do a complete clean installation.


    MORE TO COME SOON (hopefully if I find some time, of course
    ;))
     
    #1 alebcay, Sep 2, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2012
    5 people like this.
  2. Mitchell_A

    Mitchell_A Excellent Member

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    Wow, thanks for the guide. This will definitely come in helpful for some people. I myself have found the winsock reset tip to be useful so many times. Keep up the great work, I look forward to seeing some more.
     
  3. bobafanu

    bobafanu New Member

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    Great guide, will definitely benefit from this.
     
  4. alebcay

    alebcay New Member

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    Thanks! School just started up, so my time is getting scrunched up, but I'll try to get around to adding stuff.

    IMPORTANT: From now on, I will be continuously reposting the guide throughout this, since it won't let me "go back" and edit a post after I've created a post after it, so I'll just re-quote then post or something like that.
     
    #4 alebcay, Sep 17, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2012
  5. shubhamstunter

    shubhamstunter New Member

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    nice concept my friend.
     
  6. squirtmph

    squirtmph Active Member

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    I have come to use a software, a guy who works in computer repair.

    Can a be available to post download link here, and If I do how can I do that?

    OR should I post just the name?

    Thank you, for your share!
     
  7. Mitchell_A

    Mitchell_A Excellent Member

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    You can copy/paste a link into your post assuming the program is legitimate and not just spam/cash grab.
     
  8. squirtmph

    squirtmph Active Member

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    Legitimate freeware software.

    I have come to use it for different task on W7 64.
    I am just going to post the name, since I am not quite sure where he got it from. But I do have software save it in My PC.

    If you wanted me to Upload it, please let me know.
    Thank you.

     
  9. Mitchell_A

    Mitchell_A Excellent Member

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  10. squirtmph

    squirtmph Active Member

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    I am glad did you like it!

    I hope other user can have good use to this tool as I personal did.

    Thank you!
     

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