Windows 7 Essential Training
Illustration by Richard Downs

Handling an entire system crash


Windows 7 Essential Training

with David Rivers

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Video: Handling an entire system crash

Sometimes backing up files and folders just isn't enough. What happens when you turn your computer on and Windows won't even start up? You can't access anything. That's a little more serious and we are going to look at a couple of options on how to handle that type of error. Here, from the Control Panel we'll go to Back up your computer under the System and Security section. But we are going to focus on the left-hand side of our screen in the navigation pane. So a couple of options are here to handle those serious boot errors, like creating a system image or a system repair disc.
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  1. 16m 28s
    1. Welcome
      1m 54s
    2. Windows basics for first-time users
      13m 47s
    3. Using the exercise files
  2. 29m 18s
    1. Assessing your hardware and Windows 7 versions
      6m 57s
    2. Upgrading from other Windows versions
      2m 56s
    3. Transferring old files with Windows Easy Transfer
      7m 2s
    4. Dealing with device drivers
      6m 42s
    5. Running a Windows XP program in Windows 7
      5m 41s
  3. 33m 12s
    1. Getting familiar with the desktop
      8m 55s
    2. Handling tasks with the improved task bar
      8m 50s
    3. Accessing your favorites quickly with jump lists
      3m 59s
    4. Finding files and programs with Windows Search
      2m 18s
    5. Using the Action Center
      3m 48s
    6. Keeping information at your fingertips with desktop gadgets
      5m 22s
  4. 34m 24s
    1. Navigating folders and their contents
      6m 59s
    2. Staying organized with your own folders
      4m 44s
    3. Choosing how your folders and user interface behave
      7m 30s
    4. Sharing and protecting folders and files
      5m 27s
    5. Simplifying organization with libraries
      3m 48s
    6. Backing up by burning to CD or DVD
      5m 56s
  5. 24m 44s
    1. Windows Media Center
      7m 22s
    2. Playing media files with Windows Media Player
      3m 59s
    3. Organizing and sharing photos in Windows Explorer
      7m 22s
    4. Taking screenshots with the Snipping tool
      6m 1s
  6. 24m 35s
    1. Taking notes with sticky notes, Notepad, and WordPad
      11m 33s
    2. Creating graphics with Paint
      4m 58s
    3. Performing simple and advanced calculations with the calculator
      5m 20s
    4. Playing Windows games
      2m 44s
  7. 33m 5s
    1. Getting under your computer's hood with the Control Panel
      5m 28s
    2. Controlling system settings
      6m 38s
    3. Controlling sound device volume settings
      6m 38s
    4. Uninstalling programs that are no longer used
      2m 42s
    5. Setting default programs
      5m 10s
    6. Exploring accessibility options
      6m 29s
  8. 21m 1s
    1. Connecting hardware with Device Stage
      2m 56s
    2. Create a home network using HomeGroup
      4m 49s
    3. Controlling what is shared on a network
      3m 26s
    4. Troubleshooting a network and HomeGroup
      3m 58s
    5. Reconnecting quickly with jump lists
      2m 18s
    6. Boosting your computer's memory with ReadyBoost
      3m 34s
  9. 31m 53s
    1. Keeping your PC secure with Windows Update
      3m 44s
    2. Battling spyware with Windows Defender
      7m 41s
    3. Controlling access with user accounts
      4m 32s
    4. Streamlining passwords in Credential Manager
      4m 38s
    5. Using parental controls to block unwanted content
      4m 49s
    6. Securing drives with BitLocker Drive Encryption
      6m 29s
  10. 15m 11s
    1. Printing files directly from Windows
      2m 48s
    2. Troubleshooting printer problems
      5m 15s
    3. Printing power tips
      3m 56s
    4. Printing to and viewing the XPS file format
      3m 12s
  11. 25m 4s
    1. Finding issues in the Troubleshooting control panel
      3m 53s
    2. Sharing issues with the Problem Steps Recorder
      3m 56s
    3. Backing up folders and drives
      6m 36s
    4. Restoring files and drives
      4m 39s
    5. Handling an entire system crash
      6m 0s
  12. 28m 23s
    1. Exploring changes to the UI
      4m 46s
    2. Access sites quickly using Favorites and History
      5m 17s
    3. Connecting to RSS feeds and web slices
      6m 1s
    4. Displaying similar sites with Suggested Sites
      2m 16s
    5. Browsing without navigating using accelerators
      6m 36s
    6. Keeping your browsing private using InPrivate Browsing and filtering
      3m 27s
  13. 1h 14m
    1. Setting up your Windows Live profile
      4m 37s
    2. Downloading Windows Live Essentials
      2m 23s
    3. Tracking dates and events with the Windows Live calendar
      7m 22s
    4. Free email with Windows Live Mail
      6m 14s
    5. Texting live with Windows Live Messenger
      7m 13s
    6. Organizing and sharing photos in Photo Gallery
      9m 46s
    7. Synchronizing photos on two computers with Live Sync
      4m 0s
    8. Controlling content and communications with Family Safety
      6m 26s
    9. Keeping a blog with Windows Live Writer
      6m 50s
    10. Accessing free online storage with SkyDrive
      4m 44s
    11. Creating a movie with Windows Live Movie Maker
      14m 46s
  14. 18s
    1. Goodbye

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Watch the Online Video Course Windows 7 Essential Training
6h 31m Beginner Oct 22, 2009

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In Windows 7 Essential Training, David Rivers helps users of any level feel comfortable with the improvements and enhancements found in Microsoft's operating system. From simple navigation through the updated graphic user interface, David shows how to install or upgrade and get the most out of Windows 7. He covers using the new Internet Explorer 8 and boosting a computer's memory with the ReadyBoost tool. He also highlights hardware configuration options and explores the advances made connecting a home or work system with Windows Live, the cloud-computing environment made available for Windows 7 users. Exercise files accompany this course.

Topics include:
  • Running Windows XP programs within a Windows 7 installation Accessing favorites quickly through jump lists Establishing user settings through Windows Explorer Setting up a home network with Homegroup Displaying similar sites with suggestions in Internet Explorer 8 Syncing photos on two computers with Live Sync
Business Education + Elearning
David Rivers

Handling an entire system crash

Sometimes backing up files and folders just isn't enough. What happens when you turn your computer on and Windows won't even start up? You can't access anything. That's a little more serious and we are going to look at a couple of options on how to handle that type of error. Here, from the Control Panel we'll go to Back up your computer under the System and Security section. But we are going to focus on the left-hand side of our screen in the navigation pane. So a couple of options are here to handle those serious boot errors, like creating a system image or a system repair disc.

Let's start with Create a system image. We'll select that link. Now right away, you're going to see you're prompted to choose where you want to save the back up. Down below, there are three radio buttons, On the hard disc and you can see the hard disc that shows up here is called BOOTCAMP, and down below it appears I can't use this drive, because it's not formatted using the NTFS which is the file system required for backing up. So if I click this dropdown, I do seem to have another drive. It's a removable disc. If I select that, no, it's not formatted properly either.

So if you don't have an additional hard drive, and this is aside from the hard drive containing Windows and what's going to allow Windows to run, you may have to choose from one of the other options, such as one or more DVDs. When you select this radio button, you'll need to have a blank DVD on hand ready to be used for storing this system image. Now the other option is a network location. If you use a network location, be careful. Look what happens down below. Backed up data can't be securely protected for a network target, meaning people will have access to that data. That is, other people who can access the network.

So let's go back to one or more DVDs. Now depending on your hard drive and the Windows system, you may need one or more DVDs. Let's click Next. For my particular computer, this back up could take up to 217 GB of space. That is a lot of DVDs when you consider a single DVD hold just under 5 GB. So I could be sitting here, popping in blank DVDs one after the other as I'm prompted, to back up my C drive that's my entire system.

But if that's my only option, I would click Start backup and I would continue popping in those DVDs. At the end I have a full set of DVDs that contains my whole system. An image of what I am using right now when I turn on my computer. That means if there is a fatal crash, something happens, even if it's physical damage, I can take that image to another drive and restore it. Off I go working just as I was before that fatal crash. But I am going to click Cancel and let's explore another option.

Maybe everything is okay. You just can't get into Windows. You can't boot up the system and you need what's called a system repair disc. That's the third option down here under our navigation pane. Create a system repair disc. Now here, you need to select a drive that will contain the CD or DVD. I've got my blank DVD in there already. It's the only drive for me to select from. And when I choose Create disc, I am going to be creating a repair disc that's going to be used to boot up my computer. So when I turn it on, this is going have to be in the drive already and my computer is going to use this to boot up my system and then I'll have access to that hard drive where there seems be some kind of issue.

And the thing here is I am also going to have some recovery tools on this DVD that will help me recover Windows from a serious error or even restore my computer from one of those system images I might have created. So I am going to click Create disc and I have got my blank DVD in there already. So I am not prompted for it. And you can see it's actually starting to create the disc. I have this progress bar. It's showing me that it's in the stage where it's creating the disc and of course it's going to start copying some of my system information and those tools I was talking about.

In the end I'll be left with a DVD that I can use, should I turn on my computer and not be able to boot it up. If for some reason something has happened to my C drive, this boot disc will allow me to see what's going on my system disc. So let's let it finish up here. Now, eventually you're going to see the AutoPlay window open up. Notice that my DVD here has something on it now. It's called a repair disc for Windows 7 and down below, if I want to check out what's on this disc, I can click Open folder to view files.

If you don't care, you can close this window. I am going to take a peak though and you can see there is a folder called boot, another one called sources, and there is an actual file here, the bootmgr file that was created. This is the file that's going to automatically run when I pop this into my drive and turn on my computer, after some kind of fatal error. So I am going to close up Windows Explorer. The other thing you're going to see is they Create a system repair disc dialog box here. And it just gives you some information about using the system repair.

You can use it to access the system recovery options that, of course, will help you to recover your computer from that serious error. What you should do though when you pop this out is label it. So you wanted to make sure that it's clearly labeled as your repair disc and you can see the name, that they are recommending Repair disc Windows 7 32-bit. If you don't need to see this message every time you create a repair disc, just click the checkbox before you click Close. I am going to leave it uncheck, just to remind me. I don't mind being reminded and I can click OK. And now I can go to that drive and eject it, label it properly and if for some reasons something happens when I turn on my computer and Windows won't start up, it's like I am stuck, I can pop this into the drive and restart my computer and I'll have those tools and that information that I need to restore my system to where it was before the fatal crash.

I am going to close this up and that's another way to backup and restore your system.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Windows 7 Essential Training .

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Q: Is there a way to share files and printers between computers on network running Windows XP and Windows 7 without using the HomeGroup share method of Windows 7, since XP does not have this feature?
A: While Windows XP does not support the new HomeGroup found in Windows 7, there is another way to share files and printers between the two operating systems.  There are a number of steps to follow, but they are all listed here:
Q: Is it possible for a computer running Windows XP to join a Windows 7 HomeGroup?
A: Unfortunately, only Windows 7 supports HomeGroup.  If the Windows XP computer must connect with the Windows 7 computer, there are have two options:

1.  Upgrade the XP machine to Windows 7 and joining will be no problem.
2.  Change the Windows 7 HomeGroup to a regular Workgroup and the XP machine will be able to connect to it.  

Here are the steps to changing a HomeGroup to a Workgroup:
  1. On the Windows 7 computer, click the Start button at the bottom left of the screen.
  2. Go to the Control Panel and choose Network and Sharing Center.
  3. Click the link for "View your active networks.” 
  4. In the next window choose "Work network." That will switch the group from a HomeGroup to a Workgroup so the two computers can talk to each other. However, the same workgroup name and share folders in Explorer must be assigned to both computers before they can be networked.
For ease of use, if there is already an existing HomeGroup on the Windows 7 computer, upgrading the XP machine to Windows 7 would be the recommended course of action. There is a course in the Online Training Library, Migrating from Windows XP to Windows 7, that explains the steps for transitioning to Windows 7.
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