Weirdness! Cannot Open ANY disk drives or change settings in Explorer!

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  1. Bree's Avatar
    Posts : 18,785
    10 Home x64 (20H2) (10 Pro on 2nd pc)
       #11

    Thenin said:
    Thanks again, Bree! For your reply and for sticking with me trying to solve this curious problem ...It looks like I have no reliable option but to start a Repair install, which is a horrible process! I consider it horrible because it's never, ever worked in the past to repair a Windows 10 Pro installation...
    ...I'll proceed with a repair install attempt following the directions given here: ... unless you know of a more reliable set of instructions?
    That would have been my next logical step. There's a TenForums tutorial on that, but a quick glance at your link seems like it covers all the basics too. Personally I've never had a problem doing an in-place repair install, my preferred method is to use the ISO.

    Repair Install Windows 10 with an In-place Upgrade | Tutorials

    Unlike both tutorials, I tick 'Not now' for 'Get important updates', preferring to check for updates once the repair is successful.

    Basic steps to improve chances of success are to remove any unnecessary usb devices (except mouse/keyboard) and uninstall any third-party AV before you start the repair install. Failure to upgrade can often be diagnosed from the error codes, so if it fails again post any codes Setup reports and we'll see if we can get it to work.

    One complication if you haven't already got the install media on USB or ISO is that 1809 has just been released. If you run the MCT now to get the ISO it will be for 1809. That can equally well be used to do a repair, but will upgrade you too. If you need an earlier ISO like 1803, this third-party tool will generate links to get one direct from Microsoft.

    Microsoft Windows and Office ISO Download Tool
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  2. Bree's Avatar
    Posts : 18,785
    10 Home x64 (20H2) (10 Pro on 2nd pc)
       #12

    Thenin said:
    In any event, I won't try it until tomorrow afternoon...
    There's one further trick DISM has up it's sleeve that you could try before attempting a repair install - an offline repair. Start at this post (#400) and read the next few as well for details.

    Use DISM to Repair Windows 10 Image - Page 41 - | Tutorials
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  3. dalchina's Avatar
    Posts : 30,073
    Win 10 Pro (1903)
       #13

    Check to see if you can access your drives in Safe Mode.

    Create a new user (if you can...), log in as that user and check the effect.
      My Computers


  4. Posts : 80
    64-bit Windows 10 Pro 1903
    Thread Starter
       #14

    I apologize, Bree, mta3006, dalchina, and anyone I've missed, for the delay in responding. I've been trying about a dozen different suggestions to correct the problem since my last post, and NONE of them have worked.

    I then planned to perform an in-place upgrade, but I wanted to customize the Windows 10 Pro installation media first using MSMG ToolKit v8.9. Since I thought that none of my Windows 10 installations worked, and also that there was nothing indicating that I couldn't use Windows 7 to run the toolkit, that's what I tried. But when the attempt to install the Windows 10 1809 ADK to prepare for this operation kept failing, I only then learned that the full process could only be run from within Windows 10.

    After scouring all my hard disks (about 40 of them!), I finally discovered a bare bones, minimal Windows 10 Pro installation that booted correctly and seemed to work. It still had the horrific Metro Apps interface, which I loathe with the heat of a thousand suns, but I was eventually able to install the Win 10 v1809 ADK.

    But when I tried to run the MSMG ToolKit, I eventually reached a point where Windows would refuse to proceed until I had activated Windows 10.

    Now, I had updated all four of my desktop computers from 64-bit Windows 7 Pro to 64-bit Windows 10 Pro during the free upgrade period. I understood this to mean that from then on I would have a digital license for Windows 10 on all my computers linked to my Microsoft account.

    But apparently, that is a lie! Because Windows absolutely refused to activate, even after trying the activation troubleshooter and entering my Microsoft account info! I then logged on to my Microsoft account to check the status, and it DID show the computer in question (though none of my other three computers were there!)

    SO I called Microsoft support, and after waiting for 15 minutes to speak to a person, I explained the situation and complained that my ostensible "digital license" wasn't worth the paper it wasn't printed on.

    The agent told me to enter the Windows 7 Pro product key for that machine, but that failed. He then looked up the product key and told me that it was a "pre-installed OEM key" (which I don't remember, but is probably true). And he then told me that OEM key had been activated too many times, so he told me to contact the computer's manufacturer. But, I home-built ALL of my desktop computers, so that was obviously impossible (the agent insisted I couldn't possibly have a "pre-installed OEM key" on a computer I built myself, so he essentially insisted I was lying and that I should do as he said).

    So, since the Windows 10 "digital license" was a lie and since I've had too many Windows 7 activations, what the heck do I do now? I sure as hell don't want to buy four Windows 10 Pro licenses, that's for damn sure! But I want legal licences, so what do you folks suggest I do?

    Thanks for your incredible patience!!
      My Computers

  5. Bree's Avatar
    Posts : 18,785
    10 Home x64 (20H2) (10 Pro on 2nd pc)
       #15

    Thenin said:
    I finally discovered a bare bones, minimal Windows 10 Pro installation that booted correctly and seemed to work. It still had the horrific Metro Apps interface, which I loathe with the heat of a thousand suns, but I was eventually able to install the Win 10 v1809 ADK.
    But when I tried to run the MSMG ToolKit, I eventually reached a point where Windows would refuse to proceed until I had activated Windows 10.
    Now, I had updated all four of my desktop computers from 64-bit Windows 7 Pro to 64-bit Windows 10 Pro during the free upgrade period. I understood this to mean that from then on I would have a digital license for Windows 10 on all my computers linked to my Microsoft account....
    So, since the Windows 10 "digital license" was a lie and since I've had too many Windows 7 activations, what the heck do I do now? I sure as hell don't want to buy four Windows 10 Pro licenses, that's for damn sure!
    A digital license is first and foremost linked to the unique hardware ID of the machine. Linking to the MS account is an optional extra, mainly for using the activation troubleshooter after making significant hardware changes, like the motherboard and CPU. As I read your post, each of the PCs has been upgraded from 7 Pro to 10 Pro. Provided they activated (and you haven't changed their motherboard) then each will have a digital license for 10 Pro stored on the MS activation servers, linked to their hardware ID.

    A clean install of 10 Pro on any of them, skipping entering a key when asked, should activate automatically from the existing digital license for that PC. But as I understand it, rather than do a clean install you have found an old HDD with Pro already installed and are trying to press that into use. With 40+ spare HDDs available I would have wiped one and built an install of Pro from scratch for your MSMG Toolkit, but as you've got this far let's try to activate it for you.

    This machine should have a digital license for Pro linked to its hardware ID. The HDD does not form part of the hardware ID. Provided this machine is running on substantially the same hardware as when it got its license for 10 Pro then its license on the activation servers should still be valid and you should be able to activate it by changing its key to the generic 10 Pro key.

    VK7JG-NPHTM-C97JM-9MPGT-3V66T

    Generic Product Keys to Install Windows 10 Editions | Tutorials
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  6. Posts : 80
    64-bit Windows 10 Pro 1903
    Thread Starter
       #16

    Many thanks, Oh Wise One! But I've had a busy week, so it's off to bed for tonight.

    I am extraordinarily grateful for your help! I hope you take pride in your contributions; you've much more than earned it!
      My Computers


  7. Posts : 80
    64-bit Windows 10 Pro 1903
    Thread Starter
       #17

    OK, I'm back. Thanks for your patience.

    I went ahead and bought a new Windows 10 Pro key for the machine in question (it was super-cheap, under $13.00 USD, yet it activated perfectly).

    Then, I used the MSMG ToolKit to customize and de-bloat Windows 10 Pro v1809 x64. Then I installed the customized output from that process, which seemed to work just fine - no errors, and it booted just fine. However, when I launched Settings, no matter which settings link/button I pressed, nothing happened! Shades of my original problem in this thread's OP!

    So I figured that since the MSMG ToolKit process was relatively crude and I couldn't tell if I was using it correctly, it must have produced a bad installer (due to my unfamiliarity with this tool). So I decided I needed to use a tool I was far more familiar with, Win Toolkit.

    So I managed to get through 95% of the process with Win Toolkit, but it didn't like something and failed. But since Win Toolkit was designed almost entirely for Windows 7, the problems I ran into were likely related to issues involving Windows 10.

    At this point, there was only one alternative left: NTLite. That thing is far too expensive considering how rarely I'll need to use it, but I grit my teeth and bought the paid home version anyway.

    As I write this, NTlite is preparing the customized, de-bloated installation ISO. I'll report back regardless of what happens.

    I just wanted to let you know where things stand...
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  8. mta3006's Avatar
    Posts : 956
    W10 Pro v1903
       #18

    At this point, it might be best to try a clean install using the win10 media just as provided by MS, without any customization or de-bloating...
      My Computers


 
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