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KarlCole
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3yr old Pavilion AIO27-a030 going through "set up" again

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HP Pavilion All-in-One - 27-a030
Microsoft Windows 10 (64-bit)

Summary: My 3yr old Pavilion AIO27-a030 wants to go through the initial "set up" upon starting.  

Background: after 3 yrs of no issues, I start my computer on 1/16/2020 upon which it acted like its never been used before...my normal screen was replaced with the typical new system 'welcome' screen and had to go through the set up process again.  (Today makes the 3rd time I've had to do this.)  Fortunately my data files are still there.  I've run diagnostics, which show everything is fine and system updates automatically.  Last update was the day before (1/15).  Would appreciate any help!

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WAWood
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@KarlCole 

Unfortunately, there is really nothing you can do to prevent this in the future -- but there are things you can do to protect yourself.

 

As to the first, MS has NOW a sad history (with Win10) of pushing out Windows Updates that have corrupted some PCs.  One of the most infamous not only reset the PCs, it also erased their "documents" folder and subfolders -- effectively removing all the folks data files and settings!  MS's response was to put out a patch, after they FINALLY admitted to the problem, so that did not continue to happen.  But ... there's no guarantee that future Updates won't cause similar issues.

 

As to the second, to protect yourself I would recommend two things:

1) backup your files to external media

2) perform full image backup to external media -- on a regular basis

 

For 1) I would use a large USB stick to store the files and folders you can't afford to lose.  This will give you something to restore FROM later, should they get erased.

 

For 2), I I personally prefer to use third-party Backup solutions as they tend to be both more flexible and more reliable than any built-in solutions.

Macrium Reflect (MR) provides a FREE version that can be used to image and restore partitions or entire drives.

What I recommend is the following:
1) Download and install Macrium Reflect (MR) from here: http://www.macrium.com/reflectfree.aspx
2) Run MR and choose the option: "Create an image of the partition(s) required to backup and restore Windows" to write a full backup to an external drive or USB stick
3) Use the option to create a boot USB stick or CD

My experience is that MR, when using the High Compression option, typically can compress the saved image file to about 50% of the USED space in the OS partition. This means if you have an 80GB OS partition, and 40GB is used, MR only needs about 20GB to store the image file.

I use this all the time and it typically takes less than 15 minutes to do the image backup and about the same time or less to do a restore.

Plus, MR has the option to Add a Recovery Boot Menu entry. This allows you then to boot into WinRE, and you can then use that to do a restore -- when you can't boot into Windows!

NOW, you have the means to restore a full working system from the external drive or USB stick in only a few minutes.

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