ChiefTech: If I have a Win 7 disc for either device, it's not in the usual place. I'll add disc hunt to my todo list. At one point, I saw a windows.old file but I can't remember where. Data was backed-up (best I could) via DOS commands.
Britechguy: Per advice, I used a third device to download the Media Creation Tool (64) with updates from last few days. (Hope that won't add issues.) See below though because I'm not getting a clean install with any of the MCTs (pre or post latest updates) I've downloaded.
I'm tempted to try and deal with possible partition issues but don't think hours more learning and condensing/expanding and moving will solve what seems to be a software file issue. You'll see below there are copies of Win 10 on various drives/volumes.
If I choose the last option and reformat the hard drives on desktop and laptop, will the latest MCT, boot-up both?
And is there an MS Office file I can search for and move to external media that I can use to re-install in case a download of paid-for product keys doesn't work? Everything from both machines are still resident though heaven knows how many and on what volumes.
There are several *office*.bin files on the X drive, as well as other bin files which, if I read correctly, are binary files from discs that can be converted to ISO files.
Below is a blow-by-blow of the latest MCT install process in case you it gives you any additional clues.
When I go to Install (on the laptop), I have the options of (1) Upgrade (keep files, settings, and apps) or (2) Custom. When I choose (1), a Compatibility report comes up asking me to remove the installation media and restart so Windows starts normally. But that gets "Please install an operating system on your hard disc" message. And option to run diagnostics, which I've done.
When I choose Repair Computer and choose Continue: Exit and continue to Windows 10 (on volume 3), I get Windows Setup box, click Next, back to Install now, then back to choose Upgrade or Custom.
When I choose Repair Computer and Use a device, I get USB Drive (UEFI) or Internal CD/DVD ROM (UEFI). I choose USB and go back to Windows Setup box, click Next, and back to Install now.
When I choose Repair Computer and Use another operating system, I get "Windows 10 On volume 3" and "Windows 10 On volume 8". No Windows 7 option. Both options take me to Windows Setup.
Repair Computer, Reset, Keep my files takes me back to the Windows 10 on volume 3 or volume 8 options. Choosing volume 3 gets me "Reset this PC: We cannot reset your PC and keep your personal files. You can try Advanced Options for other ways...or you can back up your personal files and completely reset your PC."
Repair Computer, Reset, Remove Everything takes me to the volume 3 or 8 choice. Volume 3 choice: Your PC has more than one drive. Do you want to remove all files from all drives?, then "Only the drive where Windows is installed" or "All drives". First option brings up "Do you want to fully clean your drive?" then options "Just remove my files (Use this if you're keeping PC)" and "Fully clean...if recycling". First choice prompts you to plug-in power and "Resetting will remove: All personal files and user accounts, and apps and programs that didn't come with this PC, and changes made to settings. I click reset and...
The reset starts but at about 3%, "There was a problem resetting your PC" and cancel.
Repair Computer, Advanced Options, System Restore, Win 10 on vol. 3 or 8, results in "No restore points have been created..." for both volumes.
System Image Recovery, vol 3 or 8, plugged in external drive with desktop (not laptop) Win 7 image saved, no other disks excluded, next, warning that all discs will be formatted and replaced, gets restore failed, Windows cannot, the image was created on a computer using BIOS and this computer is using EFI. Close.
Troubleshoot, Advanced, Startup Repair, vol 3 or 8, vol 3, diagnosing, couldn't repair, log file c:\Windows\System32\Logfiles\Srt\SrtTrail.txt created. The laptop is 64 though so that makes sense. Vol 8 same result though log file is saved on drive E.
Troubleshoot, Advanced, UEFI Firmware Settings, Restart to change UEFI firmware settings, click Restart, gets Startup Menu F1 System Information, F2 System Diagnostics, F9 Boot Device Options, F10 BIOS Setup, F11 System Recovery, ENTER Continue Startup. F11 gets me to Device Setup, exited, which brings up Windows Setup.
Troubleshoot, Advanced, Go back to the previous build, gets Windows 10 on volume 4 and Windows 10 volume 9. Vol 4 "we ran into a problem...try resetting your current build". Volume 9, same.