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Windows claims "not genuine"; system has wrong letter; regedit.exe won't run


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#1 jazzman831

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 06:45 AM

tl;dr Windows used to be on C:, but after a system restore it's changed to D: I know how to fix it with regedit.exe[1] , but nothing will run in safe mode.

 

Slightly longer explanation I was stupid and deleted some unneeded partitions on my harddrive (something I've done before without incident). Afterwards, the computer couldn't find the boot disk (!) so I used the instructions found here[2] to make the required drive the active drive.

 

After a quick startup repair, Windows loaded again. Only now it says "This copy of Windows is not genuine" in the corner (even though it is genuine), and nothing loads: no start menu, task bar, desktop. The task manager loads, but there are only 3 processes running, and explorer.exe and System aren't one of them!

 

When I boot into safe mode (with or without command prompt... both do the same thing) there's still no start menu, but the task manager at least shows an appropriate-looking number of processes. I go to New Task, type regedit.exe, and nothing happens. If I browse to regedit (btw, this is how I can confirm the drive letter changed to D) and then try again nothing happens. The window blinks but nothing opens.

 

I tried running a repair install, but those instructions assume that Windows is properly working.

 

Is there some other way to safely change the boot disk letter or otherwise troubleshoot why nothing is running?

 

Computer Computer Details: Win 7, Dell but with a new HDD/OS install (old harddrive died... which is what started all this in the first place)

 

THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!


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#2 hamluis

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 09:04 AM

If you can't boot into Windows...then you don't know what the drive letter is.

 

When booted into...any version of Windows is always designated C:.  When viewed from a different version/install of Windows...the drive letter assigned for the viewed Windows install...will change, since only the Windows booted into can be C:.

 

If the original hard drive reflected a hidden partition for booting/recovery purposes...and the new hard drive does not...then I would expect boot problems.

 

Louis



#3 jazzman831

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 10:09 AM

Thanks for your reply.

 

Hrm, this is strange. The drive is actually booting into Windows, it's just not booting correctly. It goes through the "logging on to Windows" rigmarole followed by “creating the desktop” (or some such) and then Windows “loads”, but I can’t do anything. If I open Explorer.exe through the Task Manager I see a version of my desktop with the right icons on there, but I can’t do anything – Windows Explorer doesn’t work (I just get an error message – “not available” or something like it), and a notification pops up saying that this is only a virtual environment and any changes will be removed upon restarting.

 

Is this considered “booting”? If so, then I would think the drive should be C according to what you’ve said, but when I load into safe mode (same process), the only drive listed is D, and that’s where all the Windows files are. And the only way I can even figure that out is by going to “New Task” in the Task Manager and clicking “Browse”.

I suppose it’s possible that the drive is actually on C, but in which case, I no longer know what is keeping Windows from loading, nor why it shows up D in safe mode.

 

I’m not sure if the original hard drive had a hidden partition, but I actually got Windows to load without it, so I don’t think that’s causing issue. It’s only now not working after I (admittedly, not smart) removed a partition that I didn’t need anymore (and didn’t have ANY data pertaining to the current Windows install). I had to manually activate the partition in the DOS prompt on the Windows install disk, then repair the boot files. That’s how I got it as far as I am now.

 

Thanks again.

-Bryan


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#4 hamluis

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 10:18 AM

What model Dell is this?

 

What was used to reinstall Windows on the new drive?

 

Please...temporarily disconnect the cables to all drives which are not the Windows drive or the optical drive.

 

Louis



#5 jazzman831

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 11:22 AM

It's a Dell Optiplex 755.

 

It's a donated computer so I didn't have any of the recovery disks or anything. I used a new DVD copy of Win 7 (Enterprise Edition, if memory serves) to install the OS. At one point it had fully registered and verified authentic.

 

The only drives are the HDD and Optical.

 

-Bryan


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#6 hamluis

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 12:11 PM

Well...that takes the "mystery" out of your "not genuine" warning.

 

There was a Windows 7 Enterprise trial version available for a 90-day trial...but any such version floating around now should be deemed an illegal version, since it's not offically authorized by Microsoft.

 

Based on my interpretation of the BC Forum Rules...there's nothing I can do to assist you with a version which, on the face of facts, is 'not genuine".

 

The Dell Optiplex 755 dates from 2008 or so...Win 7 was not an original install on that system.  If it was "donated" and the "donee" had a valid license for Win 7...I suggest you contact the donee.

 

Excerpt from the BC Forum Rules (link to listed rules in my signature):  "No subject matter will be allowed whose purpose is to defeat existing copyright or security measures. If a user persists and/or the activity is obviously illegal the staff reserves the right to remove such content and/or ban the user. This would also mean encouraging the use or continued use of pirated software is not permitted, and subject to the same consequences."

 

This topic is now closed.  If you have any questions re my actions...please contact me via PM.

 

Louis


 






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