[SOLVED] Which Files Should I Replace From Broken OS

bigmacsa

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Dec 5, 2017
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Okay so I know this might sound crazy but windows update destroyed my OS.
I’ve already spent all of my waking hours trying to repair it yesterday with no luck. If you’d like to make suggestions on how to replace system files to manually rebuild the OS maybe that might work but idk what or how.
My new plan since I don’t have a separate internal drive to create a new OS on to copy files over is to clone my raid0 array’s C: volume to my external drive which is happening now (est. 15 hours) then i’ll custom reset the broken OS which supposedly keeps all my data but removes appsand settings? So to recap at this theoretical point I’ll have a backup clone of my C: volume and a shotty repaired version of my OS with data and personal files but no apps or old system settings etc. So all that being said my question is, if the only thing broken to begin with was the operating system and everything else should’ve been fine, how can I basically copy my theoretically functional apps/programs and all of the data that I have cloned and paste everything back into the new OS without having to reinstall everything and having data files overwritten and stuff. What I mean is I don’t want to have issues reinstalling my apps and software and games and having them be like starting over, I want it to be like right where I left off. Does that make sense? I know I can copy and paste the program files, but then aren’t there other things like the registry or something and other weird data files I need to replace? Or even old system settings that don’t have anything to do with the actual broken OS?
Here’s an example of my concern, I had discord on my pc with 2fa codes that I needed in order to login on any other device. I’m logged in on my phone but my phone’s discord does not contain these backup codes. If I reinstalled discord on the repaired os won’t it overwrite those precious data files? And then I’ll be locked out of my discord. Any help is appreciated

A revised question: is there a way to mass paste everything excluding broken OS files back onto my repaired OS so that I’m the end it’s like I have the exact same computer but with a fresh OS.

Another side question: in the repair utilities I was unable to see the operating system to find any backups or images or restore points. Might these still help me if I can find them manually? Which folders should I check?
 
You cannot just copy programs on a Windows OS, they must be installed for them to work.

The only way you could get your programs back, if you have previously created a system image and you are restoring them from that image.

A Windows update creating havoc doesn't sound crazy, it happens pretty much every time there are updates.
There are ways to repair the OS if an update have corrupted the OS.
There is Windows System Image that could restore broken system files but if that System Image is also corrupted Windows won't be able to repair itself unless the corrupted System Image is also repaired.

Which Windows OS do you have?
 

bigmacsa

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Dec 5, 2017
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Windows 10 on a custom pc that I have tweaked hundreds of things in over the years. Little custom settings here and there over 4 years adds up. I’d hate to just lose all that over a failed update. I know I can’t just copy and paste a program file and have it load up but surely there must be a way to restitch it in by putting all the files in the proper place and add directories or whatever else no? Am I wrong? What about just mass replacing the old c: folders into the new one? What would happen? Where is the OS located? Is it possible to manually fix it even though the Windows PE couldn’t fix it? I think the main problem was that the OS was completely unrecognizable to the software. Everything had the same error about not finding a windows installation. When I try to boot it goes straight to “undoing changes made to your computer” black screen restart loop. Can’t load boot manager or recovery environment like normal. Maybe a manual way?
 
You cannot just copy a program folder location. During a program setup files are copied to dozens of locations including hundreds of keys written to the five main registry locations.

Are you able to get into safe mode or command prompt?
If you are the you could delete the content of the folder (C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution) that contains the Windows update files.

You could also try repairing your PC from a Windows 10 USB flash drive installation media.
Boot from the Windows 10 USB flash drive and select repair.
 

bigmacsa

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Dec 5, 2017
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Okay thanks I didn’t realize the programs edited so many locations and keys. Okay so what if I installed the program and pasted over it’s main data files with my old data files for that program? For example folders containing saved games or user setting profiles.. I’m pretty sure I can do that with no problem. My main gripe is all of the login/profile stuff like with discord.

I have deleted the software distribution with no positive results.

I’m able to access the command prompt and all of the files on my broken OS using the installation/repair dvd. It won’t recognize the windows installation though. I’ve tried to fix this a couple ways including repairing the BCD but it also won’t recognize a windows installation. Or else it gives me an error saying I can’t load MUi file for BCD strings (2). Or I get an error saying I couldn’t try to repair something because the drive is GPT and not MBR. Currently working on trying to convert it without losing data but I only see paid software options.

I unfortunately don’t have a USB stick large enough. But I don’t see why it would be any different than the DVD option other than being faster.

Thanks


I should also mention that I tried to use the reset option that keeps data but removes apps and settings. I don't have the option to install a fresh OS that way because it says the partition that my installation is on is GPT not MBR so that's what I'm trying to fix. But is this really neccessary if I already have a clone that I'm going to have to pull a bunch of individual files off of anyway? Maybe it's better to just use a fresh install and move over what I want. But here's another problem I'm worried about that maybe you can provide some insight to.. I upgraded from Windows 8, which was an upgrade from Windows 7. That's what my product key is for. If i do a fresh install of Windows 10 won't my Windows 7 key not work for it?
 
If you already have cloned your system before all this happened then you should be able to just restored it back from the clone.

You could use the Windows 7 or 8 key to activate Windows 10. Just skip the activation during setup and activate it after the installation is completed.
 

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