Best way to recover a damaged Win 10 Home upgraded system?


  1. Posts : 4
    Win 10 Pro
       #1

    Best way to recover a damaged Win 10 Home upgraded system?


    I have a desktop PC that originally ran Win 7, and I upgraded to Win 10 64 bit via the free download about 5 years ago. Recently, I encountered a system failure at boot time, with a message telling me that I was missing a file and had to restore Windows. I have no Windows media. This copy is licensed via the upgrade. So, what is the least painful way to get the media I need to restore the system and have a licensed copy? I no longer have any documentation on the original license number. I'm aware of the downloads, available USB sticks, etc. What I need is advice on what actually works best in June of 2020 and at a minimum cost. Thanks for your ideas.
      My Computer

  2. Compumind's Avatar
    Posts : 2,541
    Windows 10 Pro x64, Various Linux Builds, Networking, Storage, Cybersecurity Specialty.
       #2

    Hello Solo44 -

    Welcome to Windows Ten Forums!

    Do you ave a restore partition on your computer's HDD or SSD?
    If so, backup all your data first onto an external device.

    Reboot holding down the SHIFT key.

    Boot to Advanced Startup Options in Windows 10

    If successful you might have to go through several Windows Updates first.

    Post back and let us know.

    Thanks.

      My Computer

  3. Bree's Avatar
    Posts : 15,946
    10 Home x64 (2004) (10 Pro on 2nd pc)
       #3

    Solo44 said:
    I have a desktop PC that originally ran Win 7, and I upgraded to Win 10 64 bit via the free download about 5 years ago. .
    Welcome to Ten Forums Solo44

    You will be pleased to know that it will cost you nothing and you won't need a key, even if you want to wipe it clean and do a clean install.

    When you got the free upgrade from W7 to W10 Home your PC got a digital license for W10 Home. This digital license is stored on Microsoft's activation servers and linked to the unique hardware ID of your PC. You can clean install the same edition (Home in your case) and it will activate automatically as soon as it can contact the activation servers.

    Clean Install Windows 10
    Create Bootable USB Flash Drive to Install Windows 10

    Hopefully though you may be able to repair the existing install. I'll leave it to @Compumind to help you with that as he replied first.
      My Computers


  4. Posts : 4
    Win 10 Pro
    Thread Starter
       #4

    Thanks for your response. There is no restore partition. This is a PC built from scratch several years back. I tried to simplify the situation to get a simple answer, but that is almost always futile as is the case here. So, here's the complete story and feel free to comment on what you think the real problem may be. Background: Over the past 50 years, I've been a hardware and software designer, developer, maintainer, sales engineer, marketing person and have been involved with PCs long before Windows. I usually build my own PCs, but my experience with them is generally limited to my systems, and I make to attempt to keep up with the latest Microsoft twists and turns.

    Situation: the other day, I was doing some work on the system, deleting some programs that were no longer used. In the middle of that, a restart was required to complete a program removal and Windows chose that time to apply some updates. The updates apparently complete OK and the system restarted, but instead of coming up to Windows, I got an error screen from the Windows Boot Manager. The status code was: 0XC000000e and the Info line said that a "required device isn't connector or can't be accessed. The recommended steps near the top of the screen were:
    1. Insert Win install disk and restart
    2. Choose language setting then click NEXT
    3. Click repair your computer

    Being well prepared for failures, I swapped out the hard drive with the weekly backup and rebooted. Same error. Tried multiple SATA sockets - no change. Tried booting from the CD drive, and that worked just fine. So, while I don't believe in such coincidences, it appeared that something in whatever hardware handles the SATA channels was failing - even though the CD drive is on a SATA channel and works fine for booting. So, there you are. It's likely that having a fresh Windows media for repair will have no effect at all, but it's a good idea to have one around, seems to me.

    The UEFI has no trouble seeing any of the SATA hard drives, but can't boot Windows from any of them.

    Compumind said:
    Hello Solo44 -

    Welcome to Windows Ten Forums!

    Do you ave a restore partition on your computer's HDD or SSD?
    If so, backup all your data first onto an external device.

    Reboot holding down the SHIFT key.

    Boot to Advanced Startup Options in Windows 10

    If successful you might have to go through several Windows Updates first.

    Post back and let us know.

    Thanks.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Thanks for your reply. I replied to Compumind's response - see above. Regarding your advice: Can you elaborate on what is meant by "the unique hardware ID"? I can imagine that it includes the CPU type and maybe motherboard, but are there other hardware identities that figure in? My system has evolved over the past few years and while the CPU and motherboard are the same, most everything else has changed. I see that one can purchase a new Windows 10 today on a USB stick, or you can set up your own USB stick as bootable with Rufus and download Windows 10. I've read the feedback on the Windows provided USB sticks, and a significant percent of the users were unable to use the sticks for various reasons. And, I've found that advice that's more than a couple of weeks old usually has expired links, or links that go off into Microsoft Wonderland. That's why I was asking about TODAY'S approach to getting the job done. I'm not looking for a way to get Windows for free, just don't want to waste days of my time chasing things that aren't going to pan out. Thanks!


    Bree said:
    Welcome to Ten Forums Solo44

    You will be pleased to know that it will cost you nothing and you won't need a key, even if you want to wipe it clean and do a clean install.

    When you got the free upgrade from W7 to W10 Home your PC got a digital license for W10 Home. This digital license is stored on Microsoft's activation servers and linked to the unique hardware ID of your PC. You can clean install the same edition (Home in your case) and it will activate automatically as soon as it can contact the activation servers.

    Clean Install Windows 10
    Create Bootable USB Flash Drive to Install Windows 10

    Hopefully though you may be able to repair the existing install. I'll leave it to @Compumind to help you with that as he replied first.
      My Computer

  5. Compumind's Avatar
    Posts : 2,541
    Windows 10 Pro x64, Various Linux Builds, Networking, Storage, Cybersecurity Specialty.
       #5

    @Bree -

    Regarding the clean install -

    If the OP built the system from scratch and used the free download "upgrade" from Win 7 to Win 10 Home is that license still stored at Microsoft?
    Or does he need to load Win 7 again?

    TIA

      My Computer

  6. Compumind's Avatar
    Posts : 2,541
    Windows 10 Pro x64, Various Linux Builds, Networking, Storage, Cybersecurity Specialty.
       #6

    @Solo44 -

    I believe this is what @Bree was referring to:

    https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/...ardware-change

    Obviously, the HW has to be good to begin with.
    Have you run diagnostics on each hardware component possible?

    Is the CD the EIDE type? Ribbon cable?

      My Computer

  7. dalchina's Avatar
    Posts : 25,131
    Win 10 Pro (1903)
       #7

    Hi, given your error message
    0XC000000e required device isn't connected or can't be accessed
    please see:
    FIX: A required device isn't connected or can't be accessed 0x000000E on Windows 10/8/8.1 - wintips.org - Windows Tips & How-tos
    A required device isn’t connected or cannot be accessed


    All versions of Windows 10 are freely downloadable and there is no further cost involved for a given hardware configuration (unless you upgrade from Home to Pro, say)

    What is your current Windows version? Do you know if you have build 1903, 1909 or 2004 for example?
    (As your PC is unbootable I understand you can't obtain it directly in the usual way).

    what actually works best in June of 2020
    My personal view is build 1903. 1909 is a somewhat trivial update and introduced a change and a problem, mostly fixed in updates.

    2004 is just out and some issues are being reported.

    I swapped out the hard drive with the weekly backup
    What sort of backup is that?
    - Cloning
    - Disk imaging
    - From what you say not just file backup..
    Thanks.
      My Computers

  8. Bree's Avatar
    Posts : 15,946
    10 Home x64 (2004) (10 Pro on 2nd pc)
       #8

    Compumind said:
    @Bree - Regarding the clean install - If the OP built the system from scratch and used the free download "upgrade" from Win 7 to Win 10 Home is that license still stored at Microsoft?
    Yes. The way it works is that when you upgrade an activated copy of Win7 to Win10 you get a digital license linked to the hardware ID of the PC. It doesn't matter how Win7 got there, OEM pre-install or installed yourself, as long as it was activated at the time of the upgrade it would have qualified for a digital license.

    The hardware ID depends on a number of factors, in particular the motherboard. Make too many significant hardware changes and the ID will no longer match the one for the digital license. The HDD however plays no part in the hardware ID so can be swapped out for a new one or replaced by an SSD. RAM isn't significant either.

    For more details, see Kari's Win10Guru blog: Windows 10 Digital License explained – Win10.Guru

    The W10 installed by the upgrade would have the generic Win10 Home key, not the original Win7 key. ShowKeyPlus has an 'upgrades' function where it lists any previous upgrades it can find in the registry, along with the keys they had. If we can get this windows working again it may be possible to retrieve the original Win7 key.
      My Computers

  9. Compumind's Avatar
    Posts : 2,541
    Windows 10 Pro x64, Various Linux Builds, Networking, Storage, Cybersecurity Specialty.
       #9

    Thanks.

    Sounds about right. ShowKeyPlus also available from the Microsoft Store.

    Cheers!

      My Computer

  10. Megahertz's Avatar
    Posts : 1,271
    Windows 7 HP 64 - Windows 10 Pro - Lubuntu
       #10

    Solo44,
    First thing you need is a Win 10 installation drive.
    Download the media creation tool
    Run the tool and choose to create a Win 10 USB boot able installation drive.
    You will need a blank USB flash drive with at least 8GB of space to create the media (any content on it will be deleted).
    Boot from the created USB drive and go to repair and choose boot repair. (Click/tap on Advanced options)
    Run Startup Repair in Windows 10

    If all repair fails you can reinstall Win 10 (same version - Home or Pro). You won't need to furnish a license key as your computer now has a registered license on M$ servers (it will activate)

    PS.: Your profile only mention a laptop. Could you please give us the hardware specs of tour desktop?
      My Computers


 

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