Most people do not even think that this is possible in Windows 7 and went out the door with XP. While this is not the entire truth, not all situations will allow for a Repair Install on a Windows 7 machine. Although, if you just want to freshen up the OS without loosing all of your data and programs, you might want to give these steps a shot to see if they can save you hours of backing up and re-installation. You must use the installation media that corresponds to your current OS. If you have SP1 installed, you must use a SP1 OS disk. If you have 32bit installed, you must use a 32bit Windows 7 install disk.
If you don’t have your original install disc or lost it, some of these links still work and you may be able to obtain a legal copy of an ISO of Windows 7. You still need a valid product key with these and no we will not provide any keys or hacks here. Use it only if you have lost your disk or want an ISO for safe keeping. Hope you have some time on your hands as they are large and direct links, not in torrent form.
Starting The Windows 7 Repair
Turn on the PC and boot into Windows or Safe Mode and log into an Administrator account as this level of clearance is needed to preform the following tasks. If you have a firewall other than Windows Firewall installed, disable it as well as any antivirus programs to make sure they do not interfere with the process–especially registry blockers like Spybot S&D. In addition, make sure that UAC is turned OFF.
Insert the DVD or USB bootable and have it run the “setup.exe” to start the media.
Click on the “Install Now” Button.
Do not click on the “Repair Your Computer” option as that will take you to the Recovery area which is not where we want to go.
You will normally get prompted to “Go online to get the latest updates for installation”, select it as it will allow any needed updates to make the transition for the repair easier (you have to have an Internet connection for this to complete without errors).
After the updates, accept the License Agreement.
Important: Next it will ask you “Which type of installation do you want” of which you HAVE to choose “Upgrade” because if you choose “Custom” and go through with it, you wont have any data left when it is finished.
Now the Windows installation is beginning and throughout the process the screen may go black for a split second–this is normal.
Finally, when it is through with the full repair install, you can enter the Product Key and allow it to activate once the PC is online. Go through the basic install procedures like picking the Time Zone, setting the Update configuration, and selecting the Network Settings. All should be good and a final restart may be needed. If it boots back up correctly, you are ready to go!
Repairing Windows 7 Summary
We have learned how to do a complete Repair Install. This should be performed after all initial steps have been attempted to get your PC back in correct working order. It is always a good idea to test the RAM and HDD to make sure that the problem doesn’t lie further within than the Operating System. Like stated at the beginning of the article, make sure you use the correct media for your correct version of Windows from the correct Service Pack to the proper version. Otherwise, this will likely not work or error out.