Thanks for the update. Sometimes it's best to cut your losses and do a clean install, especially if you have all your data backed up.
For your information, if the computer does not have a factory restore partition, Aoemi One Key can create a restore partition on the hard drive and access it during boot using a key press. It also allows one to update this image unlike an OEM factory restore partition. Of course this is not like creating a disk image on an external drive which would allow you to restore to a clean drive in case of a hard drive failure. For that you can use either Macrium Free or Aoemi's Backupper program. You can also use Windows 7 own imaging program but I prefer the previous examples as they easily let you create multiple images without renaming and also let you easily mount the image as a virtual drive allowing you to explore the contents of the image and recovery any file you may need.