accidentaly installed windows over itself

By SultanGris · 23 replies
Jan 2, 2006
  1. I got an error i attempted to repair with the windows disk by pressing R at the screen to repair it. i sucessfully extracted the missing file, restarted, but for some reason it started installing windows again.

    nothing was erased, except for the files that setup overwrote, and all my previous data, user folders and stuff is on the hard drive. is there any way i can link all that information to the current instalation of windows? or do i have to format and start all over?
  2. SultanGris

    SultanGris TS Booster Topic Starter Posts: 158


    the info is still there, nothing was erased, windows just doesnt know its there, know what i mean?
  3. Vigilante

    Vigilante TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,666

    If you did a repair install, Windows will want to fully complete the install. What happens if you just let it go through the repair?

    Or are you talking "R" as in the Recovery Console? If RC then what file did you replace? Take the CD out of the drive so it doesn't try to boot from it.
  4. SultanGris

    SultanGris TS Booster Topic Starter Posts: 158

    recovery console, it was a few days ago, but it was c:\windows\system32\config\system, or something like that, i had to boot to the cd the first time, but after i repaired the file, i took it out, but when it restarted it started setup, then it asked for the cd again. at any rate, its too late now, its already done, so can i link the files to the new instalation or not?
  5. Vigilante

    Vigilante TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,666

    Most certainly.
    The "file" you are talking about is actually part of the Windows registry.

    Replacing one single registry file, with another that is who knows how much older, can cause ALL manor of strange behavior, if it even works at all.

    And when Windows says that file is missing, something serious probably happened, virus perhaps. A reload is best.

    glad you're back up and running.
  6. SultanGris

    SultanGris TS Booster Topic Starter Posts: 158

    well, im really not back up and running yet, hence this topic. so do you know of how i can link all my info from my old profiles to my new instalation?
  7. SultanGris

    SultanGris TS Booster Topic Starter Posts: 158

    i really dont have a good topic do i, does anyone know of a better topic i could use to draw in the right people? im sure this isnt a common problem, or i would already know how to fix it ;(

    i really dont wanna have to reformat, it takes forever to get things back the way i like them.
  8. Samstoned

    Samstoned TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,018

    there was a utility ms had ,don't know if they still dwload it
    called sys prep that allowed moving profiles
    system builders used it for W2K I used it one time about 4 years ago it made a copy of existing profile ,but it was a copy not recovery
    the first thing is to take possession of the files I would think
    I don't know what exactly you want from them
    so this is not a dual boot error
    only one OS detected??
    if your looking for doc files and anything that was in the os system folders itself you would be lucky to get them back
    if you are talking about programs that are /where on the machine you would have to reinstall all of them
    can you get to system restore and use that to go back to before? I never used it so !!!
  9. SultanGris

    SultanGris TS Booster Topic Starter Posts: 158

    i accidentaly installed windows over itself, all my old profiles and programs are there, but windows instalation is new, and it doesnt see them, file settings and transfer wizard doesnt see them, and this install of windows is acting really strange, cant get the quicklaunch bar to show, and get other errors when trying to open certain menus. i will probably have to format.

    unless i find a way to link my old profiles to this new instalation, i dont know how to get to system restore, never used it before, and when i go here, its not listed.

    You’ll find the System Restore utility on the All Programs | Accessories | System Tools menu

    not sure how else to get to it.
  10. Vigilante

    Vigilante TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,666

    Chill dude! Some of us have lives and can't be on here 24/7 just waiting for responses!

    You say you have a "second installation". What exactly did you do? Did you install XP again onto another partition? Or just into another directory? Or was it a regular repair install?

    The Windows File and Settings Transfer Wizard is suppose to copy profiles, but your "1st" installation is non functional, so you cannot do this.
    Your "new" installation has a new user name right? If so, you copy copy/paste the pertinent profile data from the old folder, assuming you can access it.

    And by "profile" I assume you mean like your My Documents, favorites, outlook express data, address book etc... right?

    Are we on the same page?
    So what exactly does your hard drive look like? In a sense of partition layout and folder structure. Do you have 2 Windows folders? Need some details.
  11. SultanGris

    SultanGris TS Booster Topic Starter Posts: 158

    heh, sorry to be impatient, but when i see my computer in shambles, and think of the hours of work ahead of me i get all depressed and irrational.

    ok, heres the story in a nutshell,

    had some spyware/addware/mallware problems, ran several detection and removal programs, got it all cleared up. defraged, directory consolidated, the whole nine, got it back to near perfect. restarted, picked a diff user profile, got a black screen error

    c:\windows\system32\config\system error, use recovery console to repair.

    repaired with recover console, but for some reason when i restarted after that it wanted to reinstall windows, i didnt stop it in time, so i was scared to cancel it for fear it would totatly screw things up. let it continue, it didnt delete anything except for the windows files that setup over wrote.

    all old data, user profiles, are still intact on disk.

    im trying to recover all the files and settings from the old install onto the new install without having to totaly format and start over, however, with the new install of windows ive noticed a few issues, such as i cannot get the quicklaunch bar to work, when i check the box and hit apply, it doesnt apply, and the selection stays checked. when i close it, and reopen it, its reverts to non checked, and i tried it multiple times, it will not enable the menu.

    also when i go to properties of my computer, advanced tab, click settings under startup and recovery it gives an error that says

    please enter a value between 0 and 200 seconds, then i click ok and it goes to a screen that says system startup, default operating system, time to display, blah blah.

    not sure if i can recover previous settings, or if i have to format, what do ya think, or what other info u need?

    only one partition on hd, windows installed into the same folder as previous windows install, but didnt delete previous instalation first.
  12. SultanGris

    SultanGris TS Booster Topic Starter Posts: 158

  13. SultanGris

    SultanGris TS Booster Topic Starter Posts: 158

    well, that worked about as good as a screen door on a submarine.

    my system volume information directory is empty.

    any other ideas? what about the quicklaunch and the other error i mentioned, am i gonna have to reformat?
  14. SultanGris

    SultanGris TS Booster Topic Starter Posts: 158

    i do not have a system restore tab under system properties, thats where its supposed to be right?
  15. Vigilante

    Vigilante TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,666

    System Restore is supposed to be on a tab if you right click My Computer and choose Properties.

    I would say that a full format would clear everything out from bugs and what not, and would be a good thing to do.

    But you'll have to transfer your data to another PC obviously.
  16. SultanGris

    SultanGris TS Booster Topic Starter Posts: 158

    i just reinstalled windows again, deleting the previous install this time, now i need to figgure out what user profiles are the old ones that i can delete, and i should be back to good.
  17. Samstoned

    Samstoned TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,018

    when you boot does the screen show to OS's choice to boot from
    on some overwrites the default is windows /dir
    and the new is winnt/dir
    see anything like that
  18. SultanGris

    SultanGris TS Booster Topic Starter Posts: 158

    nope, i still have issues though, now internet explorer is acting strange, 2 items wont load on the homepage. probably going to completely reformat and start from scratch.
  19. Vigilante

    Vigilante TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,666

    Once your system starts going downhill like that, taking a corrupt registry, multiple installs over itself, things still not acting right; you can't really trust it to be secure and reliable. Can you? Nope.

    Backup your data to another hard drive, PC, CD burn, whatever. And do a full partition/format on it from the XP setup CD. Deleting all partitions before installing.

    The data you need should be in the "c:\documents and settings\username" folder. Things like My Documents (will be called username's documents), favorites, outlook (*.PST) file, address book (*.WAB), outlook express e-mail (*.DBX) files.
    There is not much besides 3rd party programs that might have data elseware. Such as financial software (Quicken *Qxx files etc), geneology apps, tax software and so on.
    You'll have to look for these things and verify you have them backed up.

    Once you have a safe backup, it's best to wipe it clean.
  20. Samstoned

    Samstoned TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,018

    if you don't have another drive and no access to one
    try making a new partition and copy file to that
    then on windows install should show the 2 partitions
    then delete the one you need to and reformat and reinstall OS
    not sure if any bugs will follow the copied files or not
  21. SultanGris

    SultanGris TS Booster Topic Starter Posts: 158

    yea, i really hate having to format though, i forget where some of the settings are that i like to have set, to kinda personalize it to my taste, not like desktop themes and crap like that, but like windows settings, preferences, and stuff. bout the time i find them all and get it the way i like it, i start having problems and have to start all over, really starting to piss me off;)

    i need to learn more about windows xp, like where it keeps all this info. in the registry presumably, but then how come when i delete the registry and start it fresh, i still have problems. i dont understand how it all works. win 98 was so much simpler, i miss it.

    its not like im your average computer illiterate person, i started playing with them when i was 10 or so, im 26 now. worked phone tech support for gateway computers for a couple years when i was around 18, but my current job field has practically nothing to do with computers, so i dont have as much time as i once did to play with them and learn about them, so win xp has kinda left me behind.
  22. Vigilante

    Vigilante TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,666

    The setup process itself is fairly simple and strait forward. It is just a wizard that walks you through it, much like 98.

    I am more worried about your data, it CAN be saved, assuming you have the means.

    Otherwise, windows is a 3 part program. Made of up its core files, the registry, and then 3rd party changes. If you have a new registry, you may still have a miss-mesh of old files that are still messed up. And the registry is compiled of more then 1 file, so you can replace just 1 part, and that can really screw things up.
    But that is where it is time to just start over. And don't worry, most people get used to reloading once a year! Some people do it just as regular maintenance! Some people like that "start fresh and new" feeling; that feeling of "not making the same mistakes twice".
  23. SultanGris

    SultanGris TS Booster Topic Starter Posts: 158

    i used to format my win 98 once a month,

    its not the setup that i have problems with, its just that its more complicated to me cause im not familiar with it. i grew up on dos, and could do anything with it cause i knew how it worked inside and out, but windows xp is different and i havent learned it all yet. problems i could fix with ease in win 98 are more difficult in xp,

    im not worried about data backup, i can do that easily, but its like i have a virus or spyware or something strange, cause it always eventually goes back to the same problems, but no program i have ever tried can find any virus, and problem persists after spyware removal. it also seems to occur somewhat at random, as i dont install anything, or change anything that i can remember when the problems start. just driving me nuts that i cannot figgure out why its happening.
  24. Vigilante

    Vigilante TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,666

    With time there are always new drivers and patches and fixes put out. This can help.

    If you are going to reload, you can be sure to:

    Install Windows with all the latest Service Packs and updates right from the start.

    Use the latest drivers downloaded off the manufacturers web site, NONE from original CDs

    Load a NEW antivirus and firewall. I suggest Panda or Kaspersky.

    When these things have been done, it would be good to make an image of your hard drive with Norton Ghost perhaps or some other imaging program. This way, you can re-image your hard drive without having to start from the begining again.

    Then be careful what software you use. Don't use P2P software like Kazaa and Morpheus and Limewire and so on, filled with spyware. Don't bombard your PC with Activex Internet Chat programs and all that crap. Follow good Internet edicate from the start. Use Firefox or comparible popup and activex blocking browser. Don't open attachments or files from E-mail or instant messenger unless verified.

    Anyway, I'm sure you know what NOT to do next time. lol
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