What is a PC FreshStart? How does PC FreshStart work?

What is a PC FreshStart? How does PC FreshStart work?
What is a PC FreshStart?
A FreshStart is an automated tool that allows you to image a new drive with clean, up to date
installations of Windows and popular software like Internet Explorer, Skype, and iTunes. It also
automatically and securely copies over any user data, settings, and favorites to the new drive so that
things are right where they left them when their PC boots from the new drive.
A FreshStart is not just another ghosting service that transfers everything from the old drive—With
FreshStart, new system and application software is installed, and the user’s data files are virus and
malware-scanned before they are copied over to the new drive, so any PC software problems are left
behind. Plus, nothing is deleted from the old drive, so everything remains on what is now a back-up
drive. Even better, unlike most ghosting tools, a FreshStart fully supports upgrading from an HDD to an
SSD, which means you can transfer data without any trouble.
A majority of the service is fully automated—the most difficult part of the FreshStart process is installing
the hard drive. Simply follow the prompts of when to connect and disconnect the old drive, and the
program takes care of the rest. A full FreshStart with data transfer usually takes about an hour,
depending on the PC’s USB connection type and the amount of data being transferred.
How does PC FreshStart work?
The FreshStart Process is broken down into 10 easy steps:
Gather Your Supplies
Download the Imaging Tool
Download the WIM Image
Image the New Drive
Install the New Drive
Boot the PC
Connect the Old Drive
Run the Program
Disconnect the Old Drive
We’ll review each step and provide tips to help make the process as easy as possible. For more
information, be sure to visit our website: http://mypcfreshstart.com/DIY
Step 1: Gather Your Supplies
The first step to a successful FreshStart is to gather all of the necessary items you’ll need to complete
the process. These include:
• New HDD or SSD
The PC owner will need to purchase a new drive to be image, with a minimum requirement of at
least 240GB of space. We recommend upgrading the PC to SSD technology, but if the user needs
more storage, a faster HDD can work.
• Drive Dock
You will need a drive dock in order to image the new drive. We also recommend purchasing a
drive case with USB 3.0 connector. This will allow the user to use their old drive as an external
• A FreshStart License Key
You will either need to purchase an individual key from an online retailer, or you can purchase
multiuse keys from CyberSpa directly—email info@cyber-spa.com for more information.
• A Service PC
You will need a PC that can connect to the Internet to download our software and that has a
working USB port to which you can connect the new drive for imaging purposes. The better and
faster the Imaging PC, the faster the downloading and drive imaging process will be.
Step 2: Download the Imaging Tool
To download the FreshStart Imaging Tool, turn on your imaging PC. Go to our website to download the
latest version: http://www.cyber-spa.com/materials-providing-freshstart-service/
When the Imaging Tool is installed, you can double-click on the desktop icon to launch the program.
Step 3: Download Your WIM Images
Your next step is to download the FreshStart WIM images that you will use to image new drives. We
recommend having all of the WIM images installed on your service PC so that you can quickly image the
user’s drive.
The FreshStart WIM images average 12GB in size and the time it takes to download an image depends
on your Internet speeds, so you may wish to do this at the end of the day.
1. Open your FreshStart Imaging Tool and click on the “Download Images” button.
2. Select the WIM Images you need from the list of available images, then click “Begin
Downloading Images.”
3. Once the download is complete, you may exit the Image Downloader.
Step 4: Image the Drive
Start the Imaging Tool
First, turn on your service PC and launch the Imaging Tool by double-clicking on the desktop icon. In the
top left corner, enter your FreshStart license key, then click “save.”
Select Your Image Settings
Go to the Image Settings section of the screen. Here, select the Windows OS, OS version, and bit type
for the WIM image need for the user’s PC.
Imaging Tip: If you make a mistake while imaging the drive, don’t worry! You can reimage
the same drive an unlimited number of times for 90 days after your initial imaging. Just
stick the drive back into the drive dock to reimage it with the correct settings selected,
and reinstall the drive when it’s done.
You’ll see a box labeled “UEFI.” By default, this box is unchecked. Most Windows 7 computers run
Legacy mode boot, including PCs that upgraded to Windows 10. If you are FreshStarting a PC that
originally came with Windows 8 or Windows 10, check the UEFI Boot button.
Select the App Settings
Now you’ll need to select the App settings for the new drive. There are four service options:
FreshStart This is our premier service that includes the virus scan and data & settings
transfer. If you’re going to migrate the user’s data and settings over to the new drive, select this
option. This choice is selected by default.
Start Fresh If the old drive is dead or the user doesn’t care about transferring data, this is the
option that allows you to create a brand-new Windows profile with new installations of popular
software like Internet Explorer, Skype, and iTunes. No data is transferred with this option, but
you can always try to manually recover data after the FreshStart service.
Data Transfer (DT) For users who want their data transferred over to a new PC, simply
choose this option. You will image the new PC’s drive with the appropriate FreshStart WIM
image, then follow the FreshStart process as normal.
Restart This feature is meant for users who want to recycle, donate, or sell an old PC, but
don’t want their data getting stolen. Reimage the original drive in the user’s PC to erase the data
and build a new Windows user profile preloaded with select popular software.
You will also see an option for installing drivers. By default, this option is selected so that the program
knows to grab any drivers it finds on the old drive once it’s been connected. If the drivers are corrupt or
you’re copying files from an old PC to a new one, this box can be unchecked.
Write Image to Disk
With all the settings selected, connect the new drive to the imaging PC. Once the program recognizes
the drive, it will pop up in the list of available drives. Select it, then click “Write Image to Disk.”
A format warning will appear, letting you know that any data on the connected drive will be erased.
Click ok, and the imaging process will begin.
The time it takes to image your drive depends on your PC’s specs. A fast system setup may take less than
five minutes. Check back every ten minutes or so to see when the new drive is ready.
Step 5: Install Your New Drive
When the imaging process is complete, you can now safely install the new drive.
Tip! If you’re unfamiliar with how to replace the hard drive in the PC, we recommend going
online to the manufacturer’s website for instructions. You may also be able to find a video
guide on YouTube.
Once the drive is in place, turn on the PC. While the computer is turning on, install the old drive into the
drive enclosure.
Step 6: Boot the PC & Connect the Drive
When the computer turns on, the computer will boot into the Windows desktop. The FreshStart
program will automatically start up and begin to install drivers and initialize files for the FreshStart
process. Once the program has finished installing the initial files, it will stop on a screen that states
“Awaiting the old drive.”
This is your cue to connect the old drive. The program should then recognize that the old drive is in
place, and it will begin a forensic analysis of the drive to ensure that the data can be read.
Step 7: Let the Program Run
This forensic analysis takes about 10-15 minutes, so you can leave the PC alone for a bit to work on
something else. When the progress bar reaches 40%, the program has determined that the old drive’s
data is readable. The FreshStart program now automatically begins the virus and malware scan as it
transfers the files over.
Note: If there are issues with the old drive or the new drive installation, this is when error messages
appear. Please read the “Error Messages” section at the end of this guide for assistance.
Step 8: Disconnect the Old Drive
Once the data transfer is complete, the program will end on a screen prompting you to disconnect the
old hard drive.
The program will then restart the PC multiple times in order to load each profile on the computer. So,
for example, if the user had three Windows user profiles on their PC, the PC will reboot three times.
Step 9: Housekeeping
When the program has finished rebooting into each Windows profile, it will stop on its respective
Windows login screen. All profile passwords have been changed to “password” for ease of use. You can
log into the profile of your choice to get to the Windows Desktop, at which point the “After a
FreshStart” PDF will open. An Icon for this document will also appear on the desktop for easy reference.
After a FreshStart Readme PDF
The After a FreshStart Guide explains what things that the user will need to do to finish the FreshStart
process (things that we cannot automate). These Include:
Changing their Windows login passwords
Reentering any encrypted internet connection passwords
Downloading any missing drivers and setting up their local printer
If they are running Windows 7, activating the Windows License Key*
Recovering any license keys for any third-party software (like QuickBooks or Games) that were
not auto-loaded for the user. We create a file folder that captures these so the user can easily
download and activate new copies of other software they paid for.
*NOTE: Windows 8.1 and 10 keys will activate automatically as soon as you connect to the
Internet. For Windows 7 users, you will need to manually activate or reactivate the Windows 7
Key. We recommend doing this for the user before they pick up their PC:
1. First, locate the Windows 7 License Key. The 25-digit product key can be found on a
sticker on the PC.
2. Open the Windows Activation by clicking on the Start button.
3. Right-click on Computer, then go to properties.
4. From there, click on Activate Windows Now. You’ll see an option to change the
product key.
5. If the PC did not have Windows 7 previously, or the sticker is missing or illegible, the
user will need to purchase a new key.
6. When prompted, enter the 25-digit product key, and click Next.
The key is now active, and the user is ready to use Windows 7.
Errors Messages
There are a few possible errors you may encounter when you first start the FreshStart service:
1. No Bootable Device Error Message
This error message will pop up immediately after you turn on the computer. The actual wording may
vary by make and model, but you will see something that looks similar to this:
No Bootable Device
On newer computers, the computer might be trying to do a secure boot and cannot recognize the new
drive. To fix this, simply remove the FreshStart drive from the PC, and reimage it using the Tech
Console. Be sure to check off the “UEFI” box in the Image Settings section, then reinstall the drive and
boot the PC once again.
2. Drive Connection Error Message
If the Select Old Drive appeared in the first few minutes it means one of three things:
The old drive is not connected properly to the SATA Cable. Reconnect it.
The USB port you are connected to is not working. Try a different USB port.
Or the Hard Drive could be damaged and cannot be read (see next error message).
Once the program recognizes that the drive is properly connected it will continue automatically.
Note: The PC must have at least one working USB port in order to do a FreshStart with Data Transfer.
3. Drive Damage Error Message
In cases where the drive is damaged or corrupted, at some point in the first few minutes of the service
process, a “Warning!” pop up box will appear:
Warning Pop-up Box
The FreshStart program allows people with damaged or corrupted drives to activate the new hard drive
by creating a new Windows profile. The user will be starting over with a new hard drive and new
software, and the data files and the settings on the damaged drive would not be transferred.
Also, once the FreshStart is concluded, they can attach the old damaged drive and see if
any of the files are visible and can be transferred by the drag and drop method to the new
drive. If the user chooses this option, click the Start Fresh icon and then click OK. The
system will complete the process in about 10 minutes.
4. Non-responsive Machines
On rare occasions, it’s possible that the computer will get stuck and will not load once it gets to the BIOS
part of the boot up process. Microsoft reports that this delay is part of the installation process, and once
the installation is complete, the PC will start as normal on subsequent boots. If the computer seems to
be stuck on the loading screen after getting past the manufacturer’s screen, please allow up to 5 hours
for the OS to complete the installation. For more information on this issue, please visit the Microsoft
If, after 5 hours, the computer still cannot boot, there may be a hardware issue with the machine, such
as a broken motherboard. These PCs cannot be FreshStarted.
6. Disabled USB Ports
A PC must have a working USB port in order to get a data transfer. If the user doesn’t care about getting
the data transfer, simply click on the “Start Fresh” button to build a new profile for them. If they do
want a data transfer, you can try the following workaround.
For PCs with a CD/DVD tray, you can disconnect this device and use the SATA bay to connect the old
drive. The program will recognize the old drive and then proceed as normal. When the FreshStart
process is complete, you can disconnect the old drive, reattach the CD tray, and then install the drivers
for the device after reconnecting to the internet.
For PCs without a CD/DVD tray, the user can create a new profile using the FreshStart program so that
they have a working PC. However, they will not be able to transfer data over until the USB port has been
fixed. At that time, they will need to manually move over their files and data.
7. New Windows 7 Machines with 3.0 USB Drivers
There have been a few cases where a new PC comes with all USB 3.0 ports comes installed with
Windows 7 and the option to upgrade to Window 10. In these cases, the FreshStart process will require
a slightly longer process, as the Windows 7 OS does not natively support USB 3.0 drivers.
For users who wish to keep Windows 7, you will need to complete a few extra steps:
 Begin the imaging process as usual on the user’s new SSD / HDD
 Boot up the new machine and set up the owner’s account
 Restart machine and change boot mode to legacy
 Check if any chipset drivers need to be preemptively downloaded (Windows 7 with USB
3.0 ports)
 If they do, download the .exe for the drivers
 Connect the new drive to the machine as an external drive
 Copy the .exe into a desktop folder on the new drive
 Disconnect the drive and power down the machine
 Remove the original drive from the machine and install the FreshStart drive
 Boot up, install drivers if necessary
 Start up the FreshStart program, and connect the drive when prompted
 Finish the FreshStart process as normal
8. Failed FreshStarts
On occasion, you may come back to a PC and find an error that says “FreshStart Failed.” In most cases,
the FreshStart fails when its attempt to read the old drive times out. This is usually because the old drive
is failing or dead—the FreshStart program might get stuck trying to read a bad section of the drive and
thus cannot progress farther in the data transfer process.
In these cases, what you can do is complete the FreshStart process by creating a Start Fresh profile.
When the process is complete you can try to manually drag and drop the files over to the new drive, or,
if this is for another person, they can try this themselves when they get the PC home.
If you need to, you can exit the program. Disconnect the old drive, then click on the FreshStart icon on
the PC’s desktop to relaunch the program. Give it a few minutes, and when it prompts you to connect
the old drive once again, simply click on the “Start Fresh” button to finish without the data transfer.
Additional Resources
If you have any questions about the FreshStart process or would like to read more about the FreshStart
service, we invite you to visit our website:
On it, we provide technical assistance and have FAQs to give you more information about the product
and service. Any other questions? Email us at info@cyber-spa.com
Thank you!
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