Hello everyone. This is my first post with a question. I searched the forums and didn't see anything quite like it.
I have a Velocity Micro computer with a RAID hard drive (in case this matters) on which Windows 7 Professional is the OS. I've forgotten the RAID number designation, but it's the one in which there is no data redundancy. Both of the two physical disks (1 TB each) must be in place to form one usable drive, which has a 2 TB capacity. At least that's my understanding. Again, this may not matter to my question, but I wanted to mention it because I'm concerned it could.
The computer also has 12 GB of RAM and a 6-core Intel processor, for what that information is worth.
A year or so ago (after using the computer for at least a year), software that had worked fine slowly began to fail, one by one. I'm not sure of the order, but they include...
-Windows Update wouldn't download anything or even notify me of updates anymore
-WinTV stopped working; I could no longer record TV shows
-the Windows program that monitors whether I have security software running or need backups or updates vanished from my tray
-BOINC 6.10 kept giving me a message about zero status but no finished file, or something like that
-BOINC 7.0 wouldn't install
-Weather Watcher could no longer be double-clicked to open
-couldn't boot in one operation; I had to get to a point in the process (I've forgotten the details) and then shutdown and start again
-the Start/Windows menu became shorter than it used to be, though I'm not sure what went missing
-and there were other things
I had routinely run scans with Malwarebytes Anti-malware and with Panda Cloud Antivirus before all this happened. Until it stopped working I religiously updated Windows. I did periodic defragmenting and occasional scans for disk errors. In short, I think I did a pretty good job maintaining the computer. The one thing, sadly, that got neglected was the thing that could save me most right now: a complete backup or disk image. I meant to, but it didn't get done.
But I had several power failures in my house (I could only guess, but probably at least half a dozen in that first year of owning the computer). And once I woke up to the smell of smoke and (although it wasn't thick enough to be visible) I traced the smell to my computer's power supply. I'm not sure either of these points are relevant either. After cleaning dust from the power supply this never happened again, but now I have a battery backup (UPS) to prevent further sudden shutdowns, which I fear may have caused file corruption -- that's possible, right?
About last December things got suddenly worse. My first indication of a more serious problem may have been a MBAM scan which reported (as I recall) a couple hundred problems, where it would normally be unusual for such a scan to find a single problem. But I was very skeptical of this and, thinking MBAM itself may have become hosed, tried at least one and probably two or three alternate malware scanners. If memory serves, they included Emsisoft and probably Panda Cloud AV, and neither turned up anything. Right or wrong, I attributed the MBAM result to just another casualty of what I had begun to suspect were numerous corrupted files.
Then one day shortly after the MBAM thing, the computer started getting lots of blue screens, and shortly after that, it got a blue screen during every boot. I am no longer able to see my desktop. For nearly a year I've resorted to my old laptop and an even older desktop computer to get online and do other things.
I can provide the blue screen image (taken with my camera) and any more detail that is requested, but in the interest of keeping this down to a small novel, I just want to say I've tried numerous things in the 11 months or so since that blue screen issue started. They've included System Restore, the Windows 7 installation disk, booting into Safe Mode (which is not possible anymore, as I recall) and so on. Lately I've been experimenting with Linux Mint, and have been able to boot the computer successfully in that OS and see many (presumably all) of my old videos, photos, documents and the like. This seems to imply that there's nothing wrong with the hardware, further supporting my suspicion about corrupted files (in Windows?).
But I've become weary of all the different repair options still available to me and I'm not sure what to do next. I guess that should be my initial question (and ultimately it is my main question), but at the moment I'm particularly curious about this scenario:
I buy a new internal hard drive, install it in one of the free bays, then boot with the Windows 7 Professional x64 Operating System disk provided to me by Velocity and install Windows 7 onto the new hard drive. Then I designate (somehow, in BIOS maybe?) the new hard drive as the boot drive and keep the existing two-disk RAID drive in place so I can get to my old data. Maybe I could remove Windows 7 (or what's left of it) from the original drive, or just leave it sitting idle, if that's possible, but the point is I'd have access to my old files, I assume.
Is there anything wrong with this scenario? Would I have to remove Windows 7 from the RAID array before I'd be able to use the new hard drive? Are there any troubles I could expect to have? And of course, would this really allow me access to all my old files and programs, assuming it was Windows that was hosed and not some other issue.
Maybe this shouldn't be my first step, but after nearly a year of research and putting it off to take care of life in general, my head and notes file are both swimming with options to try... Google BSOD's, keep exploring Linux Mint until I'm confident I can find my way around all my old files, try my Velocity "system repair disk" again (though it didn't help, as I recall), try Windows PE, various other rescue disks, just offload (in Linux) whatever valuable files I can think of to an external drive and reinstall Windows on the original RAID drive, try another memory test utility (the power-on-self-test reports nothing wrong), try another disk scan, a rescue disk from Macrium Reflect or Kaspersky or Avira, etc. The list seems endless and just as I seem to be making headway in one approach I either run into a problem, a question, or a distraction (I see an article for something else I should try). I don't want to resort yet to
because it seems the hardware is just fine.
Incidentally I've also started collecting ISOs for various useful-looking utilities, with the intention of installing them onto a flash drive with XBoot. I had previously used Unetbootin to create my Linux Mint live USB, but ran into trouble when I tried to update Mint on that flash drive; evidently a mistake. Anyway I wanted to try making a multi-boot flash drive, and have already downloaded Kaspersky Rescue Disk and a couple other program ISOs. This particular pursuit was halted when I started researching whether I could create "persistence" on my flash drive, but that's another story.
In summary -- thanks for hanging with me this far -- is my new-hard-drive-and-Windows scenario possible, and is there something else I should try first? Maybe I already have... feel free to ask questions. I'm sure I'm forgetting some useful information; this has been going on for so long I've almost forgotten what Windows 7 looks like!
Thanks for reading and have a nice Thanksgiving everyone.