Question Windows 10 Laptop Rebooting When Trying To Install Software

Aug 24, 2019
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I have a Windows 10 laptop, and it seems as though it has a Drive C and a Drive D. I assume they're two partitions on one physical drive, but I couldn't say for certain.

When my wife set this computer up, last year, she installed some software (e.g. FileZilla, Opera, and Paint Shop Pro) on Drive D (for reasons I don't understand, and I can't ask her as she died just before Christmas).

Last night, out of the blue, my computer suddenly stopped recognizing Drive D, and I could no longer access the drive at all. (On the This PC screen in Explorer, it just shows Drive D as being NTFS, with no other information at all.)

I was able to download and re-install FileZilla and Opera on Drive C, and they are both working again. They even retained all of their settings, which was a bonus.

However, when I tried to re-install Paint Shop Pro v7 (yes, that's the original v7, from before Corel bought out JASC, and not the newer X7 version) from DVD, my computer went into an endless reboot cycle.

Sometimes, it would start the reboot as soon as I closed the drive tray, and other times it would do it part way through the installation process.

The only way to interrupt the reboot was to open the drive tray and remove the JASC disk.

I know the disc is OK, because it's been used to install this software on many computers over the years. And I've been using the software installed from that disk every day this year without any problem. (There are no licence checks on this software.)

After trying that a few times, I thought I'd look in the Registry, and I found a bunch of entries for JASC software (e.g. Paint Shop Pro and Animation Shop) that are all pointing to the now-inaccessible Drive D, and I was wondering whether their presence was somehow causing the installation to fail and the endless reboots.

So, here are my questions:

1. Is it possible that having all those old Registry entries for JASC software pointing to a drive that cannot now be accessed could cause this reboot problem?

2. If I manually remove all of those JASC entries from the Registry, might that solve the problem? (Or could it create additional problems?)

3. Is there anything else you can think of that would be causing this, and anything else you can recommend?

Thanks!
 

britechguy

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Jul 2, 2019
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First, you are correct that this is most likely one physical drive that has been partitioned into multiple logical drives. I'd say the vast majority of modern consumer-market laptops have a single physical drive bay.

Second, just based on your description, everything just screams, "HDD in process of failing!!," to me.

If you do not already have a replacement drive, get one, you're probably going to need it, and I'd get an enclosure for same in this case, too. Then promptly clone your current physical device (and by clone I mean clone - you get every single partition, including the normally hidden ones, when using the cloning software) to that other device.

If you don't have a backup drive, which are now dirt cheap, you need to get one of those, too, and start taking full system image backups on some regular cycle along with taking separate user data backups, and the Windows 10 File History is really quite good for that if you tweak a couple of its default settings away from keeping everything in every version forever rather than just keeping the most recent version permanently along with a few older versions for several months.

All of the above is based on my presumption you have existing data on this system that you can neither afford to lose and that you do not want to have to pay an exorbitant amount for professional data recovery when the drive fails fully. In situations like this you use the existing drive as little as possible (not at all, preferably) until you can clone it off to a known good drive. At that point you can either try to recover your data from the original drive, knowing it might fail during that process, or avoid that entirely and do your recovery on the cloned drive, which should not fail being new. That cloned drive is also a plug and play replacement for the failing drive in your computer. Know that regardless of which drive you elect to use as your source during a recovery, you must recover on to a separate drive. If you try to recover on a drive with a compromised file system you could end up writing stuff that's being recovered at the moment over stuff that has not yet been recovered, losing it forever.

I like Test Disk and its companion, Photo Rec if things get desperate, for DIY data recovery after a clone has been made.
 
Reactions: markfarrar
Aug 24, 2019
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Brian,

Thanks for your speedy and comprehensive reply.

The good news is that I don't have any crucial data on this machine - that's all stored on a separate desktop computer that I use as a data server.

So, it's really more about having a working PC with the software on it that I need.

I actually have another laptop that's identical to this one - my wife always bought two of everything. However, that laptop has never been configured, so it's still as it came, over a year (or more) ago.

So, one option is just to get that machine set up, which is not a job I look forward to as my wife always did that job.

Otherwise, I could look into cloning the drive. I've never done this before, so does this mean I would clone the current drive to a replacement one and then replace the drive inside the laptop with that new one?

How would this new drive be connected during the cloning process - via USB?

Is that even a job anybody could do, as I'm not one of those people who open up computers?
 

USAFRet

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Otherwise, I could look into cloning the drive. I've never done this before, so does this mean I would clone the current drive to a replacement one and then replace the drive inside the laptop with that new one?
Here, cloning is not indicated.

It needs to start from a fully working drive, and only within the same system.


Even if a clone were to work, any data corruption on the current drive would just be moved over to the new system.
And then you have all the issues of licensing/activation.

No clone for this.
 
Reactions: markfarrar

britechguy

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Mark,

The short answer to the clone question is, at least by my method, is that you can do what you've proposed, connect what will be the replacement drive to the machine by USB cable and clone the system drive over to it that way. I believe there are some cloning packages that are even bootable so that the system disk doesn't even get booted from.

This is all about risk tolerance and data value. If you have some tolerance for risk and the data is already backed up, I wouldn't hesitate to install the clone software on the C: partition of the failing drive and kick it off directly from there. The worst that could happen is that you would have complete drive failure during the clone software install process and be dead in the water. Otherwise, if it does install, there's very little more stress on the drive, per se, when the whole system is idling except for the clone process itself running.

In this case I disagree entirely with USAFRet with regard to cloning. The cloning is not being done so that you have a plug n' play replacement system drive, but so you have a drive to run recovery software on that is not in the process of failing, and could fail entirely while that's being done. After you do your recovery on the clone, which you should take if your data is very precious, or at least attempt to take, you can then do a completely clean install of Windows 10 on it after that process is complete. The cloning is about absolutely minimizing the potential for data loss if multiple recovery tools need to be run against the drive. A perfect clone of a failing drive on a good drive can be hit again and again and again, as needed, with multiple recovery tools, if needed, with no reasonable expectation of failure. A drive that is known to be in the process of failing, or strongly suspected to be in that process, cannot and should not be. And, again, if the data is expendable, I'd just get a new drive, install it, and do a completely clean install of Windows 10, which will be licensed based on the motherboard.

With regard to transplanting a system drive, it can be anything from simple to miserable. If your machine has a drive bay door it's pretty much open, pop out, pop in. If it doesn't, then tearing down a laptop to get to a drive is not fun or easy.
 
Reactions: markfarrar

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