I've experienced some freaky data loss in Windows 7 & tried to recover the files. (More on that in the original question.) The work data is safe but I also decided to copy everything missing back into Windows directory & rebooted thinking that the recovery mode would be a better option for rolling back to a restore point. Shockingly, the only options System Restore gave me were from November 2010 (2.5 years old) despite many updates & installs since. I thought that only the dates were corrupted but when I scanned for software to be affected by the roll-back, the list included everything installed since then. On top of that, something got screwed up in the OS and I can't boot even into Safe Mode - the system BSODs supposedly on compbatt.sys (which I've already tried to copy from the original distro).

Since I have many settings not saved, I don't want to perform a clean install of the OS. The problem is that the install disc keeps on telling me that upgrade can be performed only from the fully-booted system and not from the recovery mode. This is very annoying because all previous versions of Windows could be upgraded from DOS or PE.

Thus, the question is: how can I fix my OS without formatting the drive if it's not bootable & System Restore is broken?

  • When all is said and done if your data is safe you will probably spend less time if you reinstall Win 7 and your apps than if you try and fix your current problem. @Luke suggested doing a clean install without formatting but I think I would format the system partition. Although, if you do reinstall without formatting then your old Win 7 OS plus apps/files will end up in a folder called windows.old - that does sometimes provide an opportunity to recover something you forgot to backup - browser bookmarks for instance.
    – BJ292
    Commented May 24, 2012 at 21:08

2 Answers 2


Copy the data to another drive (for backup), then install a clean copy without formatting. This will be the only way. The Upgrade function is only available for booting systems for a reason

  1. Copy all files from your unbootable Windows system partition to another disk. Copy all files from other partitions also. Do not copy the files from the System Reserved.
  2. Pull other disks from your computer out.
  3. Install the same system on the old disk /clean install/. You will have a new System Reserved partition... 3.Copy all saved files using some external tools /from a disk or USB/. /I am using a Linux/.
  4. Boot your new old Windows. Do not allow this time for repair proposal attempted by Windows or chkdsk.
  5. Use eventually EasyBCD for rewriting BCD and boot menu anew.
  6. Plug other disk in...
  7. Boot from BIOS or use eventually GRUB bootloader...
  8. /Clean, check, repair bootable system only, not in hurry.../

Main problem: it takes few hours...

  • Sorry for my mistake in numbering... I did not write out also: wipe all files from the system partition after clean installation... Sorry...
    – kmb
    Commented Oct 9, 2017 at 16:27

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