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I deleted 60% of the contents in WinSxS folder, now my laptop won't boot


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#1 kc07

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Posted 18 July 2016 - 03:44 PM

I was trying to upgrade from windows 8 to 10. and after deleting every personal file, the C drive (I partitioned into 2 drives) still didn't have enough space. so I found that the culprit was the WinSxS folder. And the idiot me decided to delete the old files, thinking it didn't matter. Now I can't even get into safe mode or login to my desktop. Is reinstalling windows my only option? If so, if I download windows 8 installation files online and put into an usb, will I still be able to upgrade to windows 10? since most copies online are pirated. Is there a way to use CMD to get my existing product key and use that same one to input it into the pirated copy? Any other ideas would be appreciated. 

 

Thanks for any help in advance. I just want to maintain a legitimate copy of windows and upgrade to windows 10 before microsoft's deadline. 



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#2 CKing123

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Posted 18 July 2016 - 04:17 PM

Hello kc07 and :welcome: to Bleeping Computer

 

First of all, WinSxS doesn't take as much space as you think! It will seem like it is taking gigabytes of file storage but it is actually not due to the way it was designed! I won't go into too much detail about it.

 

Now I can't even get into safe mode or login to my desktop. Is reinstalling windows my only option?

First of all, what happens? Does your computer just "hang"? 

Is reinstalling windows my only option? If so, if I download windows 8 installation files online and put into an usb, will I still be able to upgrade to windows 10?

You may not have to reinstall. If you want to upgrade quickly though, then it might be the quickest option. Are you using Windows 8 or 8.1?

 

Windows 8 and 8.1 use different product keys, and you can only upgrade from Windows 7 or 8.1 to Windows 10. Did you build this computer yourself, or did you buy the computer? If you bought a computer, the product key for Windows 8/8.1/10 is stored in the UEFI (firmware) so you don't have to worry about retrieving it

 

If you are using Windows 8, then you can download the ISO legally from here by entering your product key and upgrade to 8.1 and from there, to Windows 10. If you are already using Windows 8.1, then you can create a bootable installer for Windows 10, and it will accept Windows 7 or 8.1 product key and be activated for free if done before the deadline.

 

-CKing


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#3 kc07

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Posted 19 July 2016 - 10:57 PM

Thanks cking.

I get to login screen, type in my password and then nothing happens.

I bought this laptop and it came with Windows 8. I think I upgraded to Windows 8.1

I will try the latter. Will my laptop automatically generated the product key?

#4 CKing123

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Posted 20 July 2016 - 08:02 AM

I will try the latter. Will my laptop automatically generated the product key?

Not really. Basically, computers that came with Windows 8/8.1/10 have their product key stored in the UEFI, so that when you reinstall, you don't have to find and type the key. Windows 10 will also check for Windows 8.1 key being stored in UEFI to activate itself


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#5 kc07

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Posted 20 July 2016 - 11:45 PM

Cking!

 

your method worked like a charm. Thanks a ton.



#6 CKing123

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Posted 21 July 2016 - 08:56 AM

No problem :)

 

Just be careful of system files. 

 

When you deleted all those files in WinSxS, you will notice that your disk space barely went up by a few MB. See here. Essentially, Windows Explorer does not report the correct space used by this folder because of hardlinks.

 

-CKing


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