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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Windows 7 - Preparing your computer for first use

After using Symantec System Recovery 2011 (aka Symantec Backup Exec System Recovery) to restore an image backup of a physical Windows 7 machine to a virtual machine using the "Restore Anywhere" option, I was left with a machine that was stuck on the message: "Setup is preparing your computer for first use"

The "Restore Anywhere" option is a way of saying I am restoring to disimiliar hardware.  Also, I tried the restore to VMware VSphere 5 and VMware Workstation 7 and I had the same results.

Below are some steps that helped me resolve this.

While you see the message "Setup is preparing your computer for first use" you can press Shift F10 on the keyboard and you will see a command prompt.
Type in taskmgr.exe and you will get the Windows Task Manager
Look for a process called windeploy.exe and kill it (End Task)
Then you are taken to the Windows Logon screen where you can login normally.

Then follow these steps:

1. Within Windows, Click Start - Run, type 'regedit.exe' and press Enter.
3. Within HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\Setup you will need to change the following values:

Here is an example of what the registry values could look like

This is what the values needed to be changed to:
 "CmdLine"="" (This field should be Blank )

Now click START and run MSCONFIG.EXE

On the General tab you may see it set for Selective Startup, and on the Boot tab you will see a reference to a Windows installation that is in "Recovery".

This is where it is confusing, but on the General tab, under Selective Startup, check the box that says "Use original boot configuration", and you will see it immediately uncheck the "Selective Startup" and check the "Normal Startup".  Also if you now look at the Boot tab you will see another bootable installation.

Now reboot, and you'll likely get a nasty message from the Boot Manager that says it cannot boot.  So you boot from your Windows 7 CD and choose the Repair Option.  It will detect the issue, correct it, and reboot.

And now finally you should have a working Windows 7 machine again.


  1. Thanks so much! This worked perfectly!

  2. This also works for Restoring Server 2008 and SBS 2010. I was testing Disaster Recovery of a SBS 2010 onto a differant hardware config and I got into the loop of "Setting up your computer..." After performing the Restore for the 3rd time, I decided it was time to see if anyone else was having this problem too. Glad to see the answer.

  3. works perfect! i did not need to do the repair at the end. i started in safe mode first, then rebooted. its back online, Thanks David!!!

  4. didnt wprks for me .. after kill windeploy.exe, log on screen not shown .. just configuration and notice dont turn off ur computer .. it takes long time and nothing happen after that ..

  5. Also for me... after kill process:
    Preparing to configure Windows
    Do not turn off your computer.

    What I can do?

  6. Hey David! Nice blog! Love people trying to help out. Great job!

    I've just reformatted my 4 year old Dell Studio 1735 with windows 7. Install went swimmingly, everything was nice and groovy. Then i got to the "Setup is preparing your computer for first use" message and this is where it went sour... You see, i tried all the solutions that i found on the internet e.g. repairing through boot menu, bootrec /fixMBR, bootrec /fixBoot, bootrec /rebuildBCD and so forth... And then i stumbled upon the Shift F10 trick. But the thing is, nothing happens when i press Shift F10. So that sucks. Any tips?

  7. Excellent!! This worked very well thank you!!! :)

  8. The task manager opens and hangs. Cannot proceed further. Please help.

  9. Perfect! Thanks for the info.