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Can Win7 be reinstalled from downloaded files?


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#1
Ferrante

Ferrante

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I had XP and upgraded to Win7 via download from Microsoft, so I have no disc. However, the install files appears to be in my DOWNLOADS folder. Can I install by clicking the setup file, or is it going to want a disc? I did not need a disc before. Any suggestions/instructions is appreciated.
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#2
phillipcorcoran

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The downloaded file is for upgrading from an existing installation, so provided you are able to start Windows at the time, that download should be usable again, but since I've never done it I can't swear to it.

However, what if you can't get Windows to run, or the hard drive fails and needs replacing?. Either way you wouldn't be able to run the downloaded file as it will only run from within Windows.

Your best bet is to get a second hard drive (external USB hard drives are easy to fit, just plug it in) and create a "System Image" of your Windows 7 installation. The tool you need for this is built-in to windows 7. This system image is a copy of the entire Windows partition (usually C:).

You will also need to make a "System Repair Disc" so that you can boot from it to access the backup image when you need to use it.

Go here:

Control Panel >> Backup & Restore

First make a System Repair Disc by inserting a blank CD-R & clicking "Create a System Repair Disc" in the left pane.

When it's made, make another (just in case) and store them somewhere safe.

Install a second drive (internal or USB external) and click on "Create a System Image".
You'll notice that you can write the image to DVD discs instead of hard drive, but that will need at least 4 discs on the average Win7 PC, will take longer to create & restore from, and is more prone to read/write errors if the discs aren't high quality.
Plus, you've got to hope you can find them when you need them. It's up to you. My method is to use an external hard drive (two of them, with a system image on each, just in case one drive should fail).

If your Windows get's screwed up, boot your PC from the Windows 7 System Repair Disc and choose the option to restore from a System Image.

Edited by phillipcorcoran, 18 January 2011 - 08:13 AM.

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#3
Ferrante

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Hello,
Thanks for the advice. I made a system restore disc. Now, if I make an image, won't that include any problems I am having? Something is wrong that is making my machine take almost 10 minutes to boot up and it won't shut down by itself when I tell it to. I got up four hours after I hit shutdown and the light on the machine was still blinking rapidly and I had to manually shut the computer down. Can I make an image just using the install files loacted in my download folder and if so, how? Thanks.
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