Tag Archives: Windows 7

Migrating Windows 7 to 8.1 without losing your apps

When trying to migrate from Windows 7 to 8.1 I learned that I would lose my installed applications. This was especially frustrating because I knew from the upgrade assistant that there is an option to keep them – it is just not available for my configuration. And even the official guide states that I would have to reinstall all apps.

The solution was: First migrate to Windows 8 (the option to keep your apps is available here) and then to 8.1 (which again allows you to keep your apps). My system is up and running and I did not have to reinstall anything. Voilà! The only question which remains is: why?

Repair a destroyed Windows 7 UEFI boot sector

I recently destroyed my Windows 7 UEFI boot sector by overwriting the corresponding EFI partition. This resulted in an error “Reboot and select proper boot device or insert boot media in selected”. This is how I fixed it (please be careful when dealing with partitioning and boot sectors, backup your data beforehand):

  1. Delete what is remaining of the Windows boot partition (not the Windows partition but the partition of around 128 MB size) and the EFI partition – you can use GParted for this. In the end, you should have at least 229 MB of free space on your hard drive – preferably at the beginning.
  2. Reboot from your Windows 7 DVD. Make sure you boot the UEFI part of the disk: When you open your boot menu by pressing F8, you will see two entries for your Windows 7 disk. One with “UEFI:” in front and one without. Select the former and then don’t forget to press any key if you are asked to – otherwise, the non-UEFI part would be booted.
  3. When Windows starts from the DVD, select the desired language and then press Shift+F10 to open the terminal.
  4. Now we will create the two missing partitions: the EFI boot sector and the Windows Boot sector. Type into the terminal (but leave the #… parts out – they are only comments by me):
    list disk
    select disk 0 #Select the desired disk
    create partition efi size=100
    list partition #Make sure that the 100mb partition is selected
    format quick fs=fat32 label="System"
    assign letter=B
    create partition msr size=128
    list partition #Check for errors
    list vol
    select vol 3 #Use the number corresponding to your windows installation
    assign letter=C
  5. Now copy the EFI files by typing:
    mkdir B:\EFI\Microsoft\Boot
    xcopy /s C:\Windows\Boot\EFI\*.* B:\EFI\Microsoft\Boot
  6. Now we will set the boot configuration data by typing:
    cd EFI\Microsoft\Boot
    bcdedit /createstore BCD
    bcdedit /store BCD  /create {bootmgr} /d “Windows Boot Manager”
    bcdedit /store BCD /create /d “Windows 7” /application osloader
    #This will return a GUID, referred to later as {guid}
    bcdedit /store BCD /set {bootmgr} default {guid}
    bcdedit /store BCD /set {bootmgr} path \EFI\Microsoft\Boot\bootmgfw.efi
    bcdedit /store BCD /set {bootmgr} displayorder {default}
    #Now it's not {bootmgr} anymore but {default}!
    bcdedit /store BCD /set {default} device partition=c:
    bcdedit /store BCD /set {default} osdevice partition=c:
    bcdedit /store BCD /set {default} path \Windows\System32\winload.efi
    bcdedit /store BCD /set {default} systemroot \Windows
  7. Restart. Additionally, I had two partitions with the boot flag which also caused trouble. I changed this with GParted.
  8. [Update] Configure the boot priority the UEFI menu so that the boot partition is the topmost.
  9. [Update] If you still have the problem that Windows is not booting automatically (i.e. the message “Reboot and select proper boot device or insert boot media in selected” is still displayed) but everything works fine when you open the boot menu and select the Windows bootloader yourself, this is the solution which worked for me:
    1. Power off the computer
    2. Unplug your hard drive
    3. Restart the computer, watch the booting fail and then power off again
    4. Replug your hard drive, restart and watch the booting succeed!