I was seeing inconsistent blue screens of death and other symptoms on my computer that needed to be investigated further. In addition to the BSoDs, I was also seeing a variety of other quirks like going to the “Turn Windows features on or off” window appeared blank instead of the usual list with checkboxes.
I performed a variety of diagnostic steps and came up with nothing wrong. Finally, I ran a Systems File Check (in the command prompt: sfc.exe /scannow) and its results reported corrupted Windows files that it was unable to replace automatically. Instead of opting to dig through the logs and manually replace the files, I went with the option to perform an In-Place Upgrade of Windows 7 in order to get the corrupted/missing files replaced. Going this route allows Windows to be reinstalled while transferring over my files and programs, though it is still highly recommended to back up anything important before you begin the process.
To initiate an in-place upgrade, you insert your DVD and run Setup.exe. The unfortunate trick to this is that your media has to match the version of Windows 7 you have installed. If you have Windows 7 Ultimate, your media has to be Windows 7 Ultimate. Not only that, but if you have Windows 7 SP1 installed, your media needs to be Windows 7 SP1.
With the media inserted and Setup.exe run, you choose to Install Windows and then choose to upgrade. This will keep your files and programs in place. The transfer and reinstall process took a few hours but eventually completed. You’ll have to re-enter your Windows product key and activate it again, so be sure to have that information handy. All my files migrated over nicely and I installed some updated drivers. I’m getting caught up on Windows Updates now but I did a quick check of the “Turn Windows Features on or off” and the list was now appearing and allowing me to install some features I wanted.
Finally, I ran SFC.exe /scannow again and this time it gave me a clean bill of health. My other symptoms were less consistent but hopefully this will be the end of the BSoDs as well.