Trying to upgrade Windows Vista to Windows 7 without having to start over. This is for my friend who got the CrtptoDefense Virus. The next computer I get is not going to be Windows. It will either be just Linux or Android. (No – not going Apple. Steve Jobs sucks and his ghost is still running the company.

The following issues are preventing Windows from upgrading. Cancel the upgrade, complete each task, and then restart the upgrade to continue.

An error prevented a required compliance check from completing. Cancel the installation and try upgrading again.

What the hell kind of an error message is that? You would think Microsoft would come up with something with a little more information.

NEW – clarification


Not trying to upgrade a machine with a virus on it. She had a two year old image backup. I restored that and applied all the updates. But I’m trying to upgrade that – not the one that was infected.


  1. charl says:

    That software you are dealing with is very tedious.

    Spend your time elsewhere.


    • jpfitz says:

      Not if you’re knowledgeable about the OS. Registry editing is a must to remove most attacks.

      Here is your first problem. A virus.
      “What is CryptoDefense or the How_Decrypt Ransomware

      CryptoDefense is a ransomware program that was released around the end of February 2014 that targets all versions of Windows including Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8. When a computer is infected, the infection will perform the following actions:

      Connects to the Command and Control server and uploads your private key.

      Deletes all Shadow Volume Copies so that you cannot restore your files form the Shadow Volumes. This means you will only be able to restore your files by restoring from backup or paying the ransom. In some cases the infection does not properly clear the shadow copies, so you may want to use the instructions below to see if you can restore from them.

      Scan your computer and encrypt data files such as text files, image files, video files, and office documents.

      Create a screenshot of your active Windows screen and upload it their Command & Control server. This screen shot will be inserted in your payment page on their Decrypt Service site, which is explained further in this FAQ.

      Creates a How_Decrypt.txt and How_Decrypt.html file in every folder that a file was encrypted. The HTML and TXT files will contain instructions on how to access a payment site that can be used to send in the ransom.

      Creates a HKCU\Software\\ registry key and stores various configuration information in it. It will also list all the encrypted files under the HKCU\Software\\PROTECTED key.”

      If you are upgrading always do a clean install, always.
      Too many registry errors especially if you’re like me and you install all sorts of software for testing.

  2. Mr Diesel says:

    First Marc, never upgrade. Always do a fresh install of Windows.

    If you were using Linux just type in a few commands and everything is upgraded to the latest and greatest for you. I just did one of servers this afternoon. Latest kernel and everything.

    • dusanmal says:

      Oh, if it was just so…
      I use Linux for personal and work purposes since Slackware 1. Part of my duties is to keep a cluster of several hundred Linuxes happy and churning sci data… Another part is to watch for security of those and other Linux systems (so far winning for a decade)… If there was a distro – I tried it and if it was good – used it.
      So, what can happen with these “automatic upgrades” on Linux? – Noting much, but say complete system “manglement”. Most recent example: Ubuntu machine with automatic updates… Modern PC, hard to see the problem arising in the process… Well, it upgraded (tried to) kernel while live downloading data for upgrade. Small oversight – new kernel did not support network hardware. Hence, as soon as it “upgraded” enough that network have stopped working, it started self-mangling on a grand scale, think headless chicken with automatic weapon blazing under the wing…
      So, Linux is better than in the past. You indeed can do anything modern computing requires with it. Some conceptual ideas (as really unified software and OS upgrades) are ahead of MS and Apple. Maintenance is easier than in the past. But it still has condemning pitfalls. Not for people who fall into CryptoLocker traps.

      • Tim says:

        I’ve been playing around with Ubuntu Precise Pangolin 12.04 off and on… I like it {I think} as it is running well as a virtual machine inside XP — I’ll definately leave a small partition on the front of the next drive to install it.

  3. Marc Perkel says:

    I have had upgrades work in the past.

  4. dusanmal says:

    MS Win XP SP2; OSX 10.5.8; Android 4.0.3, no iOS ever – last tolerable versions of various major operating systems. Yes, I use Linux (and Android without Google services or even Google account, the true core of Android).

  5. The Master of all 420 says:

    Not trying to upgrade from 32bit to 64 bit are ye?
    Cast asunder the old, wipe the hard drive and get on with it you twit.

  6. raintrees says:

    I do this for a living, as well. I strongly urge my clients to let me just get a new hard drive, if they want to re-use the old hardware. Clean install, old data (whatever was left after the ransom) is still available, etc.

    Maybe an SSD? Then once your friend is satisfied with the new install, the old drive can be erased and used as a data partition…

    • raintrees says:

      And for Deity’s sake, don’t plug the old hard drive in until Windows 7 is bootable. It keeps Microsoft from making a host of possible dumb decisions (I know, let’s put the OS boot table on the second drive and all of the files on the first hard drive, etc.).

  7. eD says:

    Let me get this straight, you’re trying to upgrade an OS with a virus on it?

  8. Tim says:

    I believe that message is related to Windows Genuine Advantage or whatever they call the DRM stuff these days… perhaps the virus encrypted your license?? Is XP free now?? I like it more than turtles.

  9. Kahless says:

    I always knew Marc wasn’t that smart, buy trying to upgrade a machine that was previously infected by a virus is dumb, dumb, dumb. Just wipe the machine and start fresh Marc.

    • Kahless says:

      Sorry, tried to stop this one. Wasn’t very nice to attack Marc. Its been a long day…

  10. Kahless says:

    Trying to upgrade a machine that was previously infected by a virus is dumb, dumb, dumb. Just wipe the machine and start fresh Marc.

  11. Captain Obvious says:


    • Captain Obvious says:

      And if you’re wondering, you lost us all at “Trying to upgrade Windows Vista…”.

  12. jpfitz says:

    Marc is this a joke? April 8th joke? Or just a let’s all bash M$ post?

    A little reading on the web would have explained what to do.

  13. ECA says:


    Win7 CHANGES the HD format..its NOT FAT COMPATIBLE..
    Also are you using an UPGRADE disk or the FULL install disk..

    There is a DIFFERENCE..

  14. Tim says:

    “”I had to manually assign a drive letter to my system reserved boot partition in order for setup to pass the above compliance check. Once I assigned a drive letter to the boot partition I was able to run the upgrade.

    • McCullough says:

      I also read that the upgrade has to be performed on the boot partition, meaning (OS)Vista MUST reside on that partition for this upgrade to work.

      This is a little different, but along the same lines.

  15. bobbo, I'm just a NOOB in wonderland says:

    Marc “can’t” be trying to upgrade an infected hard drive? (Are you?==meaning all those encrypted data files will still be encrypted? THAT doesn’t make any sense.)

    Marc “must be” just working with the same guy and his “other” hard drive with a nice clean working copy of Vista on it?

    For fun, I would try to do an inplace upgrade but if everything wasn’t hunky dory, then I’d be all ready for that new install.

    Years ago under XP I read that real geeks would do a fresh install every few years just to really clean the junk out. I tried to make an updated install disk with all the programs I wanted to use but couldn’t follow the instructions. I hate it when that happens, but my expertise is not programming or installing….the tradeoffs quite worth it.

    I have to say that Win 7 has been totally stable for me. I get a virus/hijack/redirect every 6 months and so far have been able to clean them out without even using a restore point. This encryption hostage situation is downright freaky.

    Like Marc, I think if I ever get it I will do a fresh install of Linux and learn to use it instead of reverting back to Windoze. Life is a tradeoff so often.

    • Captain Obvious says:

      The last time I had a virus was like in the 90’s. What sort of sites are visiting? Big beautiful feet fetish sites?

      • bobbo, I'm just a NOOB in wonderland says:

        I’m into SWFF (small wonderful…) NOT BBFF. I think my online personna was spoofed on that one.

        Flat out virus? No. Browser Hijacks and Redirect BHO’s that get installed on otherwise legitimate upgrades (Super Media Encoder for instance) that install the crap even when you uncheck it on the custom installs.

        I’ve gotten the Warnings from the FBI, and I’ve gotten Fraud Alerts from my Bank etc that I have ignored or forwarded for their info.

        My Issue Is–I get lots of attachments (photos and slideshows and articles being debated). Hmmm…think I might not open any of those and instead request a link? Can still get hosed that way but maybe one further step away?

        I assume that virus scanners don’t pick it up?…even if specifically selected before opening?

        I’d think with all the expertise that is “out there” that some special unit (funded by legitimate vendors?===Hellllooooo Bill Gates….are you listening you Magnificent Bastard you!) could be constantly tracking these guys down and arresting them………….. for the good of humanity and all that is sacred?

        • Captain Obvious says:

          I double dog dare you. Click on this link.

          • bobbo, I'm just a NOOB in wonderland says:

            Catchy Tune!

            I clicked on your link b-cause I know Marc would never allow viscious code to be on this forum.

            Turns out, best I can tell, I can’t access my Hotmail account because MicroSoft is keeping me safe.

            Will the personal care never stop?

    • MikeN says:

      You can slipstream the service packs onto the install disk as well. Copy the whole CD to hard drive, and run the service pack install on the directory, then burn the files back.

  16. bobbo, I'm just a NOOB in wonderland says:

    Somewhat related…. maybe?…. just got my second notice on my Hotmail account that M$ timed it out for my safety and I need to log in again. OK…… but then I get a message that I need new “security code”. First time I got that I ignored it and somehow just signed into Hotmail without ever using any code. Now, I’m having trouble doing that…. but I’m going to resist clicking on any link to some code.

    Yet….. one of life’s irritants is the BS “security” that so many web services put in your way==COMCAST being the most irritating example. It wouldn’t surprise me HOTMAIL is getting loopy on this too, or that this is a new virus of the contact type.

    Life would be so much better if hoomans would stop making it miserable for the rest of us.

  17. Wisefutureman says:

    Which exactly is the virus : Windows or tbe cripto virus 🙂 ….

  18. Nope says:

    Congratulations! You’re not alone in your recent revelation that Microsoft sucks. You have either just opened your eyes or had them forced open. And sorry about that if you were having a nice snooze too. So maybe now you can join the rest of us fringe lunatic bit mongers when we say M$ and Ass-pole are nothing but low-life over paid money whores who will forever financially rape their unsuspecting sleeping customers.

    But be careful. There’s a new wave of power even more disgusting than that! You see, there are these other giants within cyberspace and those who control access to it with just as much power who will not just rob you but skull-fuck you to death if provoked. And if that group ever settles whatever war they are currently waging will eventually be felt by every man woman and child with access to a glowing screen. And if we don’t protect net neutrality then we will deserve whatever we end up with too.

    Here’s the thing, and it’s nothing new: Money perverts progress. So take a good hard look at who has money and just exactly what they do with it. Also look at what they did to earn it and maybe you will begin to see a pattern of arrogance and conceit which seems embedded in our very culture. Maybe you will recognize this sickness in billionaires with short allegiances and in people like Bill Gates — a man who does wonderful things for third world countries yet has almost nothing to offer his own countrymen who purchased his snake oil.

    Yes, Microsoft sucks. But they’re not the only ones. Here’s my short list of bad players when it comes to technology:

    (AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint)

    Starting to see a pattern yet? Keep looking and maybe you will.

    — Peace Out

  19. Techno Pawn says:

    Let me say, upgrading Windows from one major release to a newer one (like going from Vista to 7) is about the most stupid way to install Windows that there is.

    First, you have to make sure you have the latest service pack installed (SP2 for Vista) and then you need to install all the little updates. You also have to make sure no drivers have issues and that no one has done anything stupid like use MSCONFIG as means to a permanent repair. There must be no incompatible apps running and where Microsoft is concerned, that’s pretty much everything non-Microsoft. (IOW, uninstall all your fancy apps!) Even worse is if your old version was upgraded from an even older version – like XT to Vista and now you want to go to 7 (honk! honk! it can’t be done). And by the time you’ve prepped your old version of Windows to accept upgrading you might as well have done a fresh installation.

    Yes, Microsoft sucks. But there are workarounds like double installation and still other ways to to get Windows 7 installed on a freshly formatted hard disk — even if all you have is an upgrade installation disk. So if you’re curious, here’s a link:

    I did it and it worked! I don’t know if that helps anyone else. But then all I really did was search the Internet.

    • Excellent. Your “double installation” suggestion is what I was going to suggest (although I wasn’t going to bother searching for a good link like you did). Having an “upgrade only” installation disk is the only reason I can imagine for restoring a 2-year-old Vista-based backup image and applying an in-place upgrade. With the opportunity to do a clean installation, anything less seems like folly.

  20. Peppeddu says:

    Hard Drives can fail at any time for any reason without warning whatsoever.

    If you are unable to perform a full install (with all your applications and data) at a moment’s notice you probably don’t have a backup either, and that is just disaster waiting to happen.

    Personally, I never upgrade, always a full install so that whatever screwed up setting/software/whatever doesn’t get carried over.

  21. Tenaya says:

    The most effective encryption algorithms ever deployed are used to display Micro$oft error messages. No method of determining what these messages mean or extracting any useful information about the problem that generated them has ever been discovered (and likely never will be). Long ago, before I gave up trying to decipher them, I discovered that Micro$oft themselves rarely knows, either.

  22. Rex says:

    I switched to Linux (first Ubuntu then Linux Mint) and I never looked back. When I am asked to help fix somebodies computer I am amazed at all the crap that’s installed. My Mint system is clean and always works perfectly. I use VirtualBox to run a copy of XP for those few programs that require Windows, Wine takes care of the rest. I would never go back to Microsoft hell.

    • Sammy says:

      Try reading your comment again….”I will never go back to Microsoft hell”, preceded by “I run a copy of Windows XP virtually”.

      You remind me of every Mac bot who constantly puts down Microsoft, then the first thing they do is load a copy of Windows on their Mac…oh and Office.

    • deegee says:

      Your post sounds like a fanboi.
      If your experience with Microsoft was hell, then you were doing something wrong. As is almost always the case with haters.

      Just because many people are idiots and install tons of crap on their computer does not mean that Windows is a bad operating system.

      I am an IT and 3D software developer (yes, really) for 2 decades. Prior to that I did IC and embedded computer design (I am in my 50’s).
      Currently in my small office I have almost two dozen workstations and two servers all running various versions of Windows. The number of technical issues I have had for decades are near-zero.

      Don’t buy the cheapest computer you can get at Walmart. Don’t buy pre-bundled crap computers. Don’t install crap you plan to never use. Access the Internet via VMs to reduce host infection. Etc.
      Actually learn something about Windows before you use it.

      Windows kicks the hell out of Linux desktop. At least you can be productive on Windows. Anyone who believes that Linux will ever gain any appreciable market share is only fooling themselves.
      Still waiting for that “Year of Linux”?…

      I even worked on a Linux distro team back at the time of Windows Vista, (as programmer on a Package Manager team) and without being too lengthy, the Linux community is their own worst enemy as to why they will never grow into anything serious. I have never before or after experienced such a pack of jerks as the other people on that team.

      Windows XP support has ended.
      Besides, both Windows 7 and Windows 8 are better OS’s than XP.

      • jpfitz says:

        Completely agree. Linux, what’s it good for.
        All you XP fans time to fresh install 7 or 8.
        I don’t take my own advise, I’m still running Vista. One virus in eight years. Easily removed with some reading and registry editing and file deleting in safe mode.

      • flatwombat says:

        Have to disagree with you about linux not being a good substitute for desktop Windows (whatever). I’ve been using only Fedora on my machine(s) for 10 years and have found nothing that I can’t handle. Now, when recommending a distro to friends/family, I always suggest Mint, since it’s easy and fully functional. I have one machine running Mint in a public location that’s been problem-free for 5 years now, plus several 70+ yr. old non-geek friends who have zero problems handling their tasks with Mint.

        • deegee says:


          Linux desktop = maybe for anyone who only needs a web browser — ever.

          For virtually everyone else, good luck finding any apps on Linux that do what you need.

          P.S. I am not a Windows fanboi, I also have a Mac here, and I used to have Linux desktop (mainly Ubuntu and Kubuntu) on a few of my systems, but finally dumped it last year since I just could not do anything productive on the systems — at all (and imho, email, facebook, and surfing the internet for pr0n is not productivity related).

          • flatwombat says:

            Well, it’s all in what you want/need to do. I have no problems running websites, handling normal home bookkeeping, graphics, office apps, etc. Perhaps your needs were different.

            Frankly, as you also know with a Mac, it’s up to the software provider to make things easier and most see their major bucks coming from Windows and secondarily from Macs. Linux is an after-thought for them, however if Google continues to pour money into Chromebooks, Chrome OS, etc., that could easily change.

  23. MikeN says:

    They need to bring back the Bebox, which let you turn off individual CPUs. You would weed out the losers who select all.

    • Captain Obvious says:

      MikeN thinks I’m an asshole. I think he’s a son of a bitch. On one thing we do agree. BeOS was the shit.

      • jpfitz says:

        “Haiku began as the OpenBeOS project in 2001, the year that Be, Inc. was bought by Palm, Inc. and BeOS development was discontinued; the focus of the project was to support the BeOS user community by creating an open-source, backward-compatible replacement for BeOS.”

        • Captain Obvious says:

          Thanks for the pointer, pretty cool. There are some people working on an ARM port as well which means it could run on things like the Raspberry PI. It looks like a good hobby OS.

  24. Judge Hooker says:

    You’re trying to do a standing upgrade? Hahahahaha. Where have you been for the past 20 years? You ALWAYS install from scratch.

    • MikeN says:

      No, I’m sure he’s sitting down. I think he knows PC stuff better than you.

  25. Mr.H. says:

    And you call your self technically inclined? PC support 101, NEVER UPGRADE WINDOWS to the next version. Wipe drive and always do a clean install. Or if you only have the upgrade version of the OS, then do a clean install of the old OS and then immediatle do the Upgrade.

    As has already been mentioned, when you upgrade the OS to the next version, you are also bringing all the CRAP problems you had and didn’t\couldn’t fix from the previous version you were just at before you upgraded. The idea of being able to “upgrade” is mostly for marketing, not real life for anyone knows better.

  26. Number Three says:

    I Just F___ing Hate APPLE!

    Not that there’s much of a difference between Apple and Microsoft.

    Go ahead and look at either company and ask yourself which one has done the LEAST! In other words, which company has done the least to pervert copyright/patent laws, financially rape customers when profits are so huge, and which one is least OPEN! You could even look at which one is the aggressor (plaintiff) in the most court cases too.

    Now take a look at which company has made the most money when fairly evaluated according to units sold and I think you will see that Apple is by far the “winner”! (And I won’t even go into how all Apple ever does is conglomerate other technologies and then get sue-happy whenever someone else wants to do it.)

    Now ask yourself which company you’re forced to deal with on a daily basis and you’ll probably say Microsoft.

    So, like I said, they’re BOTH horrible. Your – our – only choice seems to be which is the lesser of the two evils.

    … That is, unless you use Linux.

    • Captain Obvious says:

      I know a lot of people running the Lenovo X1 Carbon with Linux and loving it. It’s a sweet combination.

  27. Greg Allen says:

    The solution?

    Linux! — if you hate it, you can fix it.

    I am not a partisan hack. I also use Windows and OSX every day. I like them both.

    But, I prefer Linux.

    All OSs have problems but Linuxs’ problems can usually be fixed because nothing is hidden to the user. If you hit a problem, someone on the Internet usually has a fix for it.


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