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Does a repair install redo the registry?

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#1
-X-

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I was just wondering what a repair install does to the registry. As far as I can tell, it does nothing so if you have some corruption in it a repair install won't fix it.

 

Any input appreciated but please don't state something as fact unless you know for sure and can demonstrate it. Thanks


Edited by -X-, 18 July 2013 - 03:50 PM.

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#2
CharlotteTheHarlot

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I was just wondering what a repair install does to the registry. As far as I can tell, it does nothing so if you have some corruption in it a repair install won't fix it.
 
Any input appreciated but please don't state something as fact unless you know for sure and can demonstrate it. Thanks


I don't know the answer for WinXP.

FWIW, the last time I did a repair install it was on Windows 7 ( see here ), it has been years since I did this on a Windows XP computer and I know it wasn't as controlled as that Windows 7 occasion. I mean, I don't have any snapshots of an XP repair before and after to examine what was really done by the process. In that Win7 case I did grab filelists and registries but even they are not perfect because I was rushed. Anyway, let me start by explaining one thing - the only way to say with certainty what was actually done is to get copies of the registry, registry exports, and filelists, but done from outside the operating system. Either pop out the HDD and drop it in another computer setup for this kind of thing and collect the registries and a thorough filelist, or alternatively, if you have access to ERD/DaRT you can boot it up and do the same plus a complete registry export from its registry editor, dumping to a flashdrive. The reason I am explaining this is because filelists and registry exports done on a live system are limited, not everything shows up. Comparisons using them will be totally inconclusive.

Now I can say that the Win7 repair process is a really impressive thing they pull off with multiple reboots and replaced in-use files and such. It preserves installed programs and "settings", this means that non-Windows files are not tampered with, and most importantly the registry with its myriad intertwined keys and data are carried forward - but - additionally, Windows is reinstalled as well. ( Again, I cannot answer about WinXP here ). When I did some diffing ( NOTE: this was a bear of a task, huge registries, needed bigtime CPU overclocking and other prep, Windiff froze, ExamDiff finally worked ) I learned that large swathes of the original registry were copied verbatim, perhaps the whole thing at once, and then machine settings were punched in and/or completely replaced which "fixed" so-called registry corruption. However, "corruption" means different things depending on whose asking. Real registry corruption, like a broken database from file defects like missing delimitters causing a key to run into another should be fixed because when the original file is read-in and written-out they presumably use error checking to toss any bogus keys or data. Corruption can also simply mean changed values in machine keys like device driver settings that leaves hardware not working properly. These would also be fixed in the Win7 process by the ( presumably ) 2nd step that reinstalls Windows. So I would say IMHO, that in Win7 at least that the "registry corruption" is in fact corrected as well as it can be. User programs that were buggy before will still be buggy though, that is by design because no user items are tampered with.

My suggestion is this. You have an WinXP installation with a possibly corrupt registry? Get another equivalent HDD and clone this WinXP system drive from outside the operating system using HDD tools like Seagate DiskWizard. Now you have a nearly identical copy to work with, use this new HDD for experiments. Do what I said above, either pop the clone into another reliable computer and grab the filelists and registry hives or boot ERD/DaRT and get them that way. The latter has an Explorer app for poking around the HDD and collecting files, a CMD window for doing a filelist and a registry editor that can export. Dump them all to a flashdrive marked "before". Then after doing a repair install, repeat the process and get files "after". Later on, 'Diff them to see exactly what changed ( if anything ), you will then have an absolute answer to the original question.

P.S. you will notice from that link that I was also trying to determine whether I could do the repair install directly from the HDD. That means copying the full updated SP1 ISO to the HDD and executing it from there without using an optical. The answer was yes, it works. But again, that is Win7. Now it should be do-able for WinXP considering that there are ways to install from a flashdrive ( and I believe from a HDD ), but I can't recall ever trying it. I suggest that experiment might be done separately to not make it too complicated. But the good news is that if you work from a cloned copy, you can always just start over with another clone if necessary. I would never do this on the one and only system disk though.

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#3
HarryTri

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Windows XP CD has the option for a repair install. I did it once and it is the same with the Windows 7 thing as Charlotte describes it. It restores the default Windows files and registry entries (which means that you loose any service packs or updates installed) without affecting other files and registry entries as those of the several installed programs.


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#4
submix8c

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+1

Any BAD stuff still in the registry and BAD stuff on the OS remains. JUST the WinXP Files and Registry from the Install Files.

 

Done this multiple times. Just did it on a friend's computer LOOOO-ded with trojans/viruses (pr0n-dog). Still cleaning up the non-OS stuff as "we speak"..


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#5
allen2

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To my knowledge a repair install replace/remove the system registry hive but doesn't remove/repair other registry hives.



#6
GrofLuigi

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I think it just executes the .inf's, thus overwriting what is existing in the registry, but I have no hard evidence, so I didn't post before.  :)

 

GL



#7
e-t-c

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In my opinion, its better and faster to repair/replace manually (e.g. with a Parted Magic - CD/USB)

c:\windows\repair\  and from the *.sav Files in c:\windows\system32\config\ (<- this is the used Registry)


Edited by e-t-c, 20 July 2013 - 02:22 PM.

... to exercise patience - and beside learning to l(i)(o)(ea)ving (at the right time) ^L^...

#8
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I'm gonna have to run some experiments in a VM to get a definitive answer.

 

Thanks for all the input!

 

I'll post back whenever I get around to it.


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#9
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Well I conducted one experiment but it's inconclusive because it only involves current user. I deleted HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel and it didnt delete fully. It told me it was in use but it deleted most of the content. Some content auto regenerated itself before I did the repair install. After the repair install, nothing had changed.

 

Now on to local machine...


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#10
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Well I did local machine and same thing. I deleted Wireless Zero Configuration (WZCSVC) service and it did not add it back.

 

So I guess a repair install does jack s*** to the registry even though I see it loading the hives during text mode.


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#11
tomasz86

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The original backup copies of your registry files (located in the %systemroot%\Repair folder) are replaced when the reinstallation is completed. These original registry files in the Repair folder were created either when you started Windows XP or when you last used the Backup utility to back up the system state. If you think that you might have to use the registry backups after the reinstallation is complete, copy these registry backup files to another location before you perform the reinstallation.

Source: How to perform an in-place upgrade (reinstallation) of Windows XP
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#12
HarryTri

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Well I did local machine and same thing. I deleted Wireless Zero Configuration (WZCSVC) service and it did not add it back.

 

So I guess a repair install does jack s*** to the registry even though I see it loading the hives during text mode.

 

And what happens if you delete almost everything? Some things will have to be restored, won't they?


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#13
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I presume the machine wont even boot.


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#14
HarryTri

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I mean that if you do a repair install it must restore the basic keys of the registry in order to repair it.


I always love Windows XP!


#15
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Wireless Zero Configuration is a "basic" key or is it not. Give me an example of a "basic" key..


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#16
dencorso

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Wireless Zero Configuration is a "basic" key or is it not.

 

I think it *is*... However, let's try one or two more: I suggest the Workstation service (aka lanmanworkstation, Wkssvc.dll) as one possible choice or the "Automatic Updates" service (aka wuauserv, kept on even when Automatic Updates are disabled, to allow manual use of WU or MU sites). But there are many other choices, so you may find this reference useful, although I'm  sure you know it already (it's Black Viper's).



#17
jaclaz

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@X.

Make the minimal possible XP system you can make (still booting):

http://reboot.pro/to...fs-below-10-mb/

make a copy of it.

Run a "repair install".

Make another copy.

Compare differences.

 

Admittedly a part of the result won't be "reliable" as you will need for the test to use minlogon, but, set aside initial authentication, all the rest should be "the most amount of changes" that a repair install can produce.

 

It would be easier, much easier, if you use, instead of the "manual" or "through half-@§§ed batches by jaclaz" the nice little Winbuilder package by misty here:

http://minixp.reboot...iles/index.html

 

 

jaclaz



#18
submix8c

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I will NOT swear to this but I believe "System Restore" just MIGHT have something to do with it.

 

In my case, I "got rid of" the contents of "System Volume Information" off-line (Winbuilder Live-XP) and/or "disabled" it in Control Panel->System. The Desktop was messed up, the Admin Tools was messed up, etc etc etc - whole thing was messed up with MAJOR Registry Entries and Files missing. It worked perfectly after the Repair and everything was back to normal (sans a trojan that was a B to get rid of).

 

Give that a shot. Dunno if that's the cause. :unsure: Oh, and I DID back up ALL of the Hives "just in case".

 

And do make it easier for testing via jaclaz' suggestion. :yes: And don't forget that "HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Setup\OC Manager" entries possibly determine what to "put back". ( also :unsure: )

 

OT - PC delivered yesterday. Both of us Happy Campers. ;)

 

(heavy use of emoticons...)


Edited by submix8c, 23 July 2013 - 08:50 AM.

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#19
dencorso

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"System Restore" should restore a previous state of the registry all right.

However, "Repair Install" apparently does not do it at all or does it in a very limited way (I'd think the latter)...



#20
submix8c

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:} Then it probably needs to use the "repair" folder's files (or xxxx.sav?). OTOH, if the "System Restore" files in the "System Volume Information" folder is still good, you could "select" one that is "functional" (prior to the "probem"). This would, however NOT work if you use Recovery Console and would require a minimal "Live" XP that ignores the "protected" and allows browsing as Console limits your file/folder access.

 

edit: OUCH (see next post)! Confirmed that you can access it.

My bad. :blushing: Guess I'm too used to the "other" way.


Edited by submix8c, 24 July 2013 - 01:48 PM.

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#21
HarryTri

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No, it doesn't (I know it from personal experience).


I always love Windows XP!





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