• How to do a Windows 11 repair install

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    #2608098

    ISSUE 20.49 • 2023-12-04 PATCH WATCH By Susan Bradley Most of us install updates every month with no issues whatsoever. But then there are times when
    [See the full post at: How to do a Windows 11 repair install]

    Susan Bradley Patch Lady/Prudent patcher

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    • #2608293

      There is no reason to raise an alarm about Copilot for Windows.   Just don’t click on it.  Or click on it and try it.  It won’t hurt you.

      3 users thanked author for this post.
    • #2608282

      I created a Windows 10 PRO 22H2 ISO file per your instructions and it worked great. The only issue I had was the first USB I used to create the ISO file on was a previously wiped and reformatted 32 GB USB. Microsoft said there was not enough room. I wiped and reformatted again and got the same error. Got a new USB and it worked fine. Not sure what the problem was because the ISO file was a little under 5GB. Any thoughts as to why?
      Thanks in advance.

      • #2608624

        Any thoughts as to why?

        Your first USB drives might have been formatted as FAT32 that only supports file sizes up to 4 GB. For larger file sizes like a Windows iso file that can be closer to 5 GB, a format using exFAT or NTFS is needed. The How-to Geek website has a good explanation article at:
        https://www.howtogeek.com/73178/what-file-system-should-i-use-for-my-usb-drive/
        Note that some newer large usb drives do come already formatted with either exFAT or NTFS which is probably what happened with your usb drive that worked. Read about the various Pros and Cons of the different formats to choose the best one when formatting.

        A smile is an inexpensive way to change your looks.
        1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2608289

      This is a tip for anyone whose experience is that DISM is not effective in correcting faults (using /RestoreHealth) or in recovering disk space (using /StartComponentCleanup).

      Precede the DISM command with:
      net start TrustedInstaller

      On Windows 10, at least, this service is not always active, but seems to be (IME) necessary for DISM to perform as you would hope.

      Best wishes.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2608339

        Being able to run as TrustedInstaller is a very powerful tool, indeed.  I use a shortcut to invoke a TrustedInstaller Command Prompt.  From there I can run not only commandline, but also any number of programs that run in Windows.  It is quite handy, and I advise caution.  The shortcut is:

        C:\Windows\System32\cmd.exe net start trustedinstaller

        After creating the shortcut, right-click, select Advanced and check “Run as administrator”.

        Trusted-Installer

        Always create a fresh drive image before making system changes/Windows updates; you may need to start over!
        We were all once "Average Users". We all have our own reasons for doing the things that we do with our systems, we don't need anyone's approval, and we don't all have to do the same things.

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    • #2608508

      I take a LOT of precautions with Windows updating.

      Macrium Reflect (MR) is my best friend, and I have up to date Rescue Media for MR. I keep my hardware and drivers all-Intel or all Original Manufacturer, even if someone like the Micro Center has rebranded the hardware. (This is often just a matter of updating the BIOS from the motherboard manufacturer’s web site.)

      I don’t tweak or alter Windows with third party tools. And guess what? Since Windows 7’s early days I have rarely if ever had a Windows Update fail. That is, as long as Windows is not supplying my original drivers or my driver updates. Manufacturers have their own tools for this task. (At least Intel and ASUS and Realtek do.)

      I have occasionally run sfc/scannow and DISM Restore Health, but not often. And I keep System Restore active, making interim Restore Points whenever something major is being changed. I control when I take updates, especially Feature Updates and full Version Updates. (I am on Windows 11 22H2 in both of my PCs, even though they can take the upgrade to 23H2 when it becomes more tested.) And I keep third party software up to date, including driver related software. (Thanks Susan, for the GRC inControl link! And for the Group Policy tutorials. And thanks to Woody Leonhard long ago, for his tip about Metered Connections settings. He also introduced me and others to wushowhide. But read below about the imminent demise of this troubleshooting tool.)

      I also clean up temporary files and do light Registry cleaning. Glary Utilities and CCleaner do a good job without ruining any important system areas. Whenever I accumulate tracking cookies, I use Ghostery and HotCleaner Click and Clean to get my Chromium-based browsers cleaned of their non-essential data. (Ghostery will survive the recent and proposed Google Chrome changes.) This helps Windows stability, not just personal privacy. For Firefox I like Forget Me Not. Monthly I also do the Windows version of Disk Cleanup, including Driver Installation Files and Windows Updates Files. This may also help with system stability. At the same time I force Trim on SSDs. Windows Update does benefit from periodic cleanups, I think.

      My antivirus comes with Windows, though I also scan with the free versions of one or two third party products. So that’s it — I let Windows be Windows, but I let Intel or other third party manufacturers be themselves, not something rebranded by Microsoft or a store brand. And so far, no known virus attacks, and very few updating issues, mostly corrected by running the troubleshooters Windows or Microsoft provide.

      BTW, wushowhide and the framework which supports it are on their way out. PLEASE learn the Powershell ways to control any unwanted or unruly Windows or driver updates. At some point someone will come up with third party and/or open source replacements for wushowhide, but for now Powershell is our (second) best friend. (MR is our best friend, in my opinion. Though System Restore comes in close to the top as well.)

      So, long story short, that’s my setup and my process. Resulting in a clean and junk-free system. And successful Windows updating. Nearly every time. I can’t remember when the last time was that I felt any temptation to do an over the top Windows Refresh or Reinstall. I also can’t remember when the last time was that MR failed to restore Windows properly, including dual-boot setups. Maybe on my old Windows 7/10 WIMBoot ASUS tablet. Long ago.

      Note: These are personal, stand-alone computers, not business workstations or servers.

      -- rc primak

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      • #2609347

        RC,

        Very helpful description of your precautionary procedures.

        I am considering the best option(s) available to protect against hard drive failure and/or operating system failure.  Seems to be many options.  Imaging, cloning and rescue media.

        When you create a rescue media using MR, do you place it on a USB (which can fail, I have two flash drives that are not recognized by Windows 10) or do you place the rescue media on a DVD or both?

        Do you create a system image before the Microsoft Updates or is that included on your rescue media updates?

        Also, do you have a clone of your hard drive(s) (via USB/SATA cable) in the event the hard drive fails?

        • #2609570

          Image is the “correct” way to create an easy recovery backup. Clone is a waste of disk space because you can only have one clone per disk, where a backup / image allows multiple versions on your backup disk.

          MR creates an ISO file which is then written to a USB stick. Keep the ISO and you can recreate a boot USB anytime you want. (I use Rufus for this.)

          cheers, Paul

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        • #2611098

          Macrium Reflect (which BTW is no longer free) uses a WinRE based Rescue Media environment on a bootable USB stick. The MR Program itself creates the rescue USB stick from its own custom WinRE version (which you download the first time you install Macrium Reflect). There is also an option to modify the Windows Boot Menu to allow booting into the same WinRE environment, provide your device can get as far as the Windows Boot Screen. (This is different from the Lock Screen.)

          See Macrium Reflect’s own helpful tutorials, for example:

          https://www.macrium.com/blog/how-to-prepare-for-an-it-disaster-with-macrium-rescue-media-ca7dfcd3ebc6

          This blog entry teaches you about what a Rescue Environment is and why you need one, and it contains a link to the Knowledge Base tutorial which walks you through the creation and use of Macrium Reflect Rescue Media.

          In Macrium Reflect, the actual Backup Image is not an ISO. It’s a proprietary file type, readable only by recent versions of the program. The WinRE environment is an ISO written to a USB stick, with boot files included.

          -- rc primak

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      • #2609949

        Can ALL Temp files be deleted? For example, I was told by my computer repair guy that I should not delete C Windows Temp files cuz some programs need them there.

        Thank You for your help with this.

        • #2610002

          You cannot delete all temp files because some are in use by Windows / programs and Windows won’t let you delete in use files.

          I do not bother to clean up Windows temp files. Windows does a pretty good job of cleaning up, but if you want to do it manually use Windows own Disk Cleanup program – open Explorer, click on This PC, right click on C: drive and select Properties.

          If you are running out of space on your disk, fire up TreeSize free to list the biggest files / folders.

          cheers, Paul

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        • #2610308

          Thank you. Yes now I remember the delete feature. But when I click on properties, all it shows under tools is options to scan disk for errors & optimize drives. Where did it go??

        • #2611100

          Can ALL Temp files be deleted? For example, I was told by my computer repair guy that I should not delete C Windows Temp files cuz some programs need them there.

          One good rule of thumb is, if Storage Management in Windows 10 or 11 can’t delete them, it may be unsafe to delete the temp files.

          That said, third party cleaners like CCleaner and Glary Utilities can remove a bit more than the standard Disk Cleanup or Storage Management tools native to Windows. If you stick with the default setup, neither of these tools will damage your Windows system or your programs.

          Where people get into trouble is when they fall for the idea of saving disk space or speeding up Windows by doing “deep cleaning”. I won’t name the products, but some third party tools are way to aggressive at cleaning temp files, logs, program data and the Windows Registry. Damages cause by over-cleaning may not show up until monthly or Feature updates fail for reasons which may or may not show up as error messages or Blue Screen messages.

          So yes, you do have to be careful. And no, cleaning temp files will generally not be harmful as long as you stick with mild cleaners. However, on modern PCs, the differences in system performance will be minimal, and the savings of disk space will be hardly noticeable.

          -- rc primak

    • #2608662

      I’d recommend setting up a backup PC running Linux or Apple.  I see far more serious issues with Windows 11 on the Internet.  For instance, I see many Internet posts about passwords being deleted and about deleted passwords reappearing.  This sounds like a syncing issue, but it’s been an issue for many months (years?).  Do not attempt to fix Windows 11, but send feedback.  That is the only way Microsoft will improve their process and that is the only way you can get a trusted gage of Windows quality.  I will be keeping backup PCs until 2026 or 2027 (forever may be the best option).  This is based on past experience. Windows 11 is not currently trustworthy, and its development cycle is poorly thought out and Windows 11 contains more than 1 conceptual defect.  That includes a lack of understanding of how users want to use Windows and how badly users with several devices or LAN are affected by OneDrive and the rest of the highly questionable new additions.

      • #2608670

        You are going to have to get a lot more specific about “passwords being deleted” claim.

        Facts please.

        Susan Bradley Patch Lady/Prudent patcher

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    • #2608816

      “But at least we have a tool that works well…”  Yes, provided the system is able to boot.  Microsoft has failed to consider repair of non-booting Windows 10 and Windows 11 systems.  And, oh, yes, I see non-booting systems all too often for whatever reason.

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      • #2608884

        Microsoft has failed to consider repair of non-booting Windows 10 and Windows 11 systems.

        Startup Repair helps you fix common problems that can prevent Windows from starting up.

        First, you need to enter the Windows Recovery Environment (winRE). To do this, you will repeatedly turn your device off, then on:
        1. Hold down the power button for 10 seconds to turn off your device.
        2. Press the power button again to turn on your device.
        3. On the first sign that Windows has started (for example, some devices show the manufacturer’s logo when restarting) hold down the power button for 10 seconds to turn off your device.
        4. Press the power button again to turn on your device.
        5. When Windows starts again, hold down the power button for 10 seconds to turn off your device.
        6. Press the power button again to turn on your device.
        7. This time, allow your device to fully start up.
        8. Select Advanced options.
        9. Now that you’re in winRE, on the Choose an option screen, select Troubleshoot > Advanced options > Startup Repair > Restart.

        Recovery options in Windows — Windows 11, Windows 10

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    • #2608922

      1. Hold down the power button for 10 seconds to turn off your device. 2. Press the power button again to turn on your device.

      Obvious really!

      cheers, Paul

      1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2608930

        If you’re really saying it’s not obvious, that’s why Microsoft provide instructions. But turning stuff off and on again shouldn’t be beyond the capabilities of most people. Just that you need to interrupt startup twice before being able to reach Automatic Repair options.

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    • #2609302

      Interesting article, and certainly something to try. I have one question of procedure. I often read these articles and sense they apply to Pro versions, not Home versions. In the DISM in the last paragraph, you remind us the command needs the server image location. Am I safe in assuming this article applies to both Pro and Home, and that the server location is the ISO location, and that server version also means Home version?
      Thanks

      • #2609573

        This applies to servers only, not to PCs.

        Don’t use DISM on a PC to perform a repair install. It is for fixing minor issues only.

        cheers, Paul

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2609713

          It is for fixing minor issues only.

          DISM is far more capable than fixing minor issues.  Don’t sell it short.

          Always create a fresh drive image before making system changes/Windows updates; you may need to start over!
          We were all once "Average Users". We all have our own reasons for doing the things that we do with our systems, we don't need anyone's approval, and we don't all have to do the same things.

          1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2610919

      I just discovered (a week after Dec 4) that the Dec 4 Excel format of the Master Patch List does not match the other Dec formats. For one, the iOS/iPadOs 17.1.2 is missing from the Dec 4 Excel Master Patch List.

      Is one of the formats more likely to always be more accurate? I have made a habit of choosing the Excel format, but maybe I should choose another one?

      I’ve been waiting for the go-ahead for iOS/iPadOS 17.1.2 for a couple of weeks by looking at the Excel format, but now I’m too late to update because 17.2 is out now.

      So, I’ll have to wait longer. But, I don’t want to miss the go-ahead next time. So, which format is generally the most complete. Maybe one of them is used to spawn the others and the Excel format didn’t get spawned on Dec 4??

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