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MandoTiM

Windows 7, update

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This evening after having been switched on the for the past 3 weeks with the occasional restart my PC decided to ask me to do a Windows Update, again. Foolishly I scanned the programmes it wanted to update and hit the update button without thinking or seeing nothing untoward. Following boot up the system seems to have degraded my C drive to where it was 6 months ago (well 4 weeks ago as I had been away for 5 months prior). Fortunately I do have a recent backup (Mon this week) but I'm not sure whether it has everything on it required, it's an Acronis-2013 disc image. For example the last 4 weeks of mail appears to have disappeared from my account, the updated antivirus licence - gone, all my Adobe Cloud software on trial - gone, all the icons back to where they were in May. Fortunately most of the important stuff, such as photos, data, websites etc are on a separate data drive (again backed up) but apparently in its current form (ie as this afternoon pre update).

 

Has anybody seen anything like this before? Seems strange that Windows can go back to a prior level without asking whether it can.

 

Do I just restore the Acronis image and hope?

Edited by MandoTiM

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Not seen that, sounds bloody odd.

 

Ok assuming a conventional HDD and not an SSD (not sure on running checkdisk on an SSD).

 

I would seriously look at doing a full checkdisk of the drive at the minimum. Then I would run the relevant manufacturers diagnostic over it to check for other problems. "Losing" all that data almost sounds like the file index has gotten a bit borked. A full checkdisk (needs a reboot to run and can take 6 or 8 hours on a big drive) can often fix this sort of issue.

If still no luck you could try Recuva to see what it can find.

Otherwise after the drive check yes just restore from the Acronis image if you want. Alternatively in Windows mount the image with Acronis and explore it and manually copy out any missing files to the separate HDD. For the emails you should be able to import them in to your client once they are copied to your second HDD.

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Have you checked the system clock ,as it will not recognise any profiles after a certain but will be flagged as outdated.

 

Did you have any ransomware on your system and rather than deal with it ,just delete the mail file. It could have tagged all system files and set them back six months.

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Not seen that, sounds bloody odd.

 

Ok assuming a conventional HDD and not an SSD (not sure on running checkdisk on an SSD).

 

I would seriously look at doing a full checkdisk of the drive at the minimum. Then I would run the relevant manufacturers diagnostic over it to check for other problems. "Losing" all that data almost sounds like the file index has gotten a bit borked. A full checkdisk (needs a reboot to run and can take 6 or 8 hours on a big drive) can often fix this sort of issue.

If still no luck you could try Recuva to see what it can find.

Otherwise after the drive check yes just restore from the Acronis image if you want. Alternatively in Windows mount the image with Acronis and explore it and manually copy out any missing files to the separate HDD. For the emails you should be able to import them in to your client once they are copied to your second HDD.

Have run Chkdsk on an ssd on my portable, works but once they start to give disc errors it seems better just to replace them, they get worse rapidly at least in my experience - this happened to my portable just before I went away and left me madly running around trying to recover that machine before I left in May for an extended break. Eventually replaced it but took most of a week to recover the programmes and structure. Hope I don't have to go through that again. By the way didn't see this post until this morning by which time I'd decided to restore the Acronis disc image... now I can't get it to boot which suggests it might be the drive becoming flakey after all. Still don't quite understand why I 'lost' all the programmes. Do have a complete disc copy on another drive but that is from back in May so it probably won't help, was just about to do another update on this but hadn't quite got around to it. Perhaps I'll need to boot from this 'old copy' then do a copy of the programmes/data across from the newer disc image.

 

One of the things with Acronis it looks like the disc image is just that, an image, and access to the individual files is difficult or impossible in terms of bringing them back one by one, the other thing which they don't tell you is that unless you take up their ongoing support with annual fees then you only get support via the forums which isn't necessarily useful if the programme doesn't do what it's supposed to and it could take hours, days or even weeks to recover from a major problem with their software. So it would seem to me that one needs to do a 'disc image' and a 'file backup' of the same drive to cover yourself properly.

 

Thanks,

 

 

Have you checked the system clock ,as it will not recognise any profiles after a certain but will be flagged as outdated.

 

Did you have any ransomware on your system and rather than deal with it ,just delete the mail file. It could have tagged all system files and set them back six months.

no, now trying to get back in and will check this. Ransomware, not a term I've come across before. Only recent installation was a trial of the Adobe Cloud if you can that ransomware? System has been running ESET for many years and never had a problem with it not finding malware and viruses, updated it when I got back in October and was up to date yesterday morning before the problem and even this had reset itself to May and lost the 'new' account details.

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Could the BIOS battery be the problem and all the settings have reverted to default?

 

More of what you have mentioned seems to point to the BIOS battery as it was left for sometime unused ,so battery was not being charged. Get the battery replaced it could be failing on you or leave it running without touching it for 4-5 hours then log in and check Time.

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Could the BIOS battery be the problem and all the settings have reverted to default?

 

More of what you have mentioned seems to point to the BIOS battery as it was left for sometime unused ,so battery was not being charged. Get the battery replaced it could be failing on you or leave it running without touching it for 4-5 hours then log in and check Time.

hadn't thought of that one. Possible but date/time is fine and system has been on 24/7 for the past 4 weeks since I returned ad rebooted several times without problems. I'll check, have a spare somewhere around the house, from memory it's a standard button battery that my tuners et al take.

Edited by MandoTiM

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Well, managed to boot the system off an Acronis USB recovery drive. Back into Windows and in fact everything is at it was as of Sunday when the back was last done so I assume the restore I did before I found it wouldn't boot worked ok. Now I need to do a chkdsk on the C drive and see whether it boots cleanly again then, if not, try to restore the MBR if the disc looks ok and look at replacing the drive before it fails completely.

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Not seen that, sounds bloody odd.

 

Ok assuming a conventional HDD and not an SSD (not sure on running checkdisk on an SSD).

 

I would seriously look at doing a full checkdisk of the drive at the minimum. Then I would run the relevant manufacturers diagnostic over it to check for other problems. "Losing" all that data almost sounds like the file index has gotten a bit borked. A full checkdisk (needs a reboot to run and can take 6 or 8 hours on a big drive) can often fix this sort of issue.

If still no luck you could try Recuva to see what it can find.

Otherwise after the drive check yes just restore from the Acronis image if you want. Alternatively in Windows mount the image with Acronis and explore it and manually copy out any missing files to the separate HDD. For the emails you should be able to import them in to your client once they are copied to your second HDD.

Did the chkdsk - all ok, took a while though!

 

then used Acronis to recover the MBR but interestingly still getting a Harddisk error on boot up (Error 3? - flashes up and disappears so fast it's difficult to catch). However, despite this it seems to be booting into Windows with all my recent files intact (phew!) although these probably came from the system restore rather than the hard drive. I'll look at the diagnostics as soon as I can.

 

Might check the battery as well...

 

thanks for the help, all of you. Still need to do a little investigation on the machine but at least I'm working again,

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then used Acronis to recover the MBR but interestingly still getting a Harddisk error on boot up (Error 3? - flashes up and disappears so fast it's difficult to catch). However, despite this it seems to be booting into Windows with all my recent files intact (phew!) although these probably came from the system restore rather than the hard drive. I'll look at the diagnostics as soon as I can.

Continuing with the saga and to answer one of my own questions (and perhaps somebody else's):-

 

The "MBR Error 3" seems to be an error associated with using Acronis True Image and Windows (particularly Windows 7). ATI suggests using their recovery manager (ASRM) which allows you to go directly into ATI if you have a disc boot problem by pressing the <F11> key. From here you can restore a hard disc and data from a pre-windows operating system running ATI. Unfortunately W7 does a defrag on a regular basis and this throws around ATI to the point where the Acronis Boot Load Manager fails and the MBR Error 3 message starts - it also seems to happen if you do a straight whole disc restore and reinstall the MBR (a check box on the restore dialog).

 

Apparently the best way to fix it is to use the Windows rescue disc (or Acronis version) go into the Recovery Manager, select the DOS-box and rebuild the MBR using the "Bootrec.exe /FixMbr" command. This will take the ATI Recovery Manager out of the boot process but otherwise the boot process should be restored and ATI should work normally from within Windows. If you later have a problem with the disc then use your ATI Recovery Disc (you have one don't you!) to reboot into ATI and do a disc restore as per normal. Alternatively you can restore the ATI RM from within ATI Tools to go back to the 'normal' boot process with ATI installed on the system.

 

I'm still not sure what happened with the data on the disc and why I suddenly found my system 6 months out of date after a Windows Update but at least I now know something more about the process of recovering from a major disc problem using ATI. Whilst I still disagree with their support policy of forcing users to pay an on-going fee for providing support for problems that are built into the system it does seem to work well in terms of providing a workable backup-restore solution for PCs which is a little friendlier than the MS Windows solution.

 

NB: W7 is likely to continue to defrag on a regular basis (unless the system disc is an SSD) and you may need to regularly go through this procedure.

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