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Frequently Asked Questions

Here you can find answers to our most common questions clients have utilizing the FreshStart software.

Before You FreshStart

  • What should I do if I cannot find or read my Windows 7 License key?

    You need a Windows key to activate your Windows OS and allow you to use your computer. If you cannot read your Windows 7 key on your PC, you will not be able to FreshStart it. You will either need to find the key, or you will need to purchase a replacement key. These are usually available for about $30 online.

  • Can I upgrade from a 32 bit system to a 64 bit system?

    Yes! FreshStart seamlessly supports the upgrade from a 32 to a 64 bit system. When preparing the new drive, simply ensure that you have the 64 bit option selected and the transfer will continue as normal, so long as the system supports 64 bit.

  • What about my applications and other software like Office or TurboTax?

    The FreshStart program provides automatic installation for the following programs:
    ● Internet Explorer● VLC LAN Player● Adobe Reader● Adobe Player● The selected Windows OS It will install the following if they are found on the old drive:● Firefox● Google Chrome● Skype● iTunes● Office 2010 or 2013 (if it finds a valid install / license key)● Open Office● Zoom● SteamAll other software applications such as TurboTax, QuickBooks or other programs will need to be reloaded. Office 2007 and earlier are no longer supported by Microsoft and must be upgraded, while Office 2013 and later can be downloaded directly after logging into your Microsoft account.
    If FreshStart does not find a viable license key for the Microsoft Office suite, it will install Open Office.
    All of those programs data files however, are transferred and kept in their appropriate folders. If your other program had a license key stored in your computer it has been saved in a text file for easy reinstallation. To see how to recover these license keys click on the “After your FreshStart” tab and open the “After Your FreshStart PDF”.

  • How does FreshStart determine which files to copy to the new drive?

    Our algorithm uses a mix between known folder directories and extensions to determine which files to transfer over. The program moves over all documents, pictures, videos, and audio extensions plus many, many more (minus things like system files e.g. ".dll").

    Our service will also look in the root directory (and all over the drive) for files to transfer (e.g. "C:\"), so you can be confident the data will transfer if it exist. To this date, we have never had a customer that stated a specific file was not moved over (even if so, they still have their old drive that has all the data on it untouched). Try the FreshStart service on every possible customer, just for the time-savings alone (versus looking for the data manually). All of the files we transfer go exactly into the folder tree/structure they were in on the old drive, so the customer will know exactly where all their files are. Lastly, we also make sure no viruses are transferred over, which speeds up the process even more.

    If you notice (or your customer notices) a specific file was not transferred, please let us know and we will add it to our long rules list. We can make those changes extremely fast and easily.

  • What if my data does not fit onto my new FreshStart drive?

    If you receive an error message telling you that the FreshStart drive is not big enough to hold data from the connected drive, what you will want to do is offload some of those files from the old drive to match your new drive's capacity. You can use a cloud service or a storage device to hold the extra files, or even remove files completely to save up some space.

  • What can I do if my hard drive is ok, but the OS is corrupt?

    To FreshStart an existing drive AND keep all the data on that drive, you will need a "swap" drive. Image the swap drive and install it into the PC to pull the data from the original drive. Once the FreshStart is complete, you will need to reimage the original drive. When the imaging is complete, put that original drive back in the PC, and use the swap drive to put the data back on the original drive.


  • Can I FreshStart a unit with a RAID setup?

    No, Freshstart service does not support raid system setups. Our user guides also appropriately address this topic and can give you more detail on what the service entitles.

    If you did not mind breaking the raid setup, the Freshstart service would still be possible on that machine. You would just image the new drive with your selected windows version and place the new drive into the laptop/desktop of choice. Once at the Freshstart HD application, it will ask for the old drive. If you want to transfer data and settings from the old drive, you can connect the old drive (in your case the raid setup mirrors the data onto both drives so you could use any one of the drives as the old drive) via USB and walk away.

    After the data and settings have transferred you will not have a raid setup anymore. If you do not want the data and settings from the old drive, you can click the START FRESH button (circle arrow on the bottom left of the application), which will build a new Windows user profile with the featured software products pre-installed to get up and running in about 15 minutes. In this service, no data is transferred and raid setups will not exist anymore.

  • Can I FreshStart a PC with a Domain account?

    Yes! FreshStart fully supports PCs with domain accounts.

  • I use a newer version of Microsoft Office-- will FreshStart reinstall my version?

    Microsoft has started moving towards cloud-based software, so keys for things like Office 365 and Office 2016 will be hosted on the cloud. To reinstall these programs, you will need to login to your Microsoft Account and reinstall the software from there. For information on how to do this, visit Microsoft's website:

  • I'm having trouble downloading the FreshStart WIM image because of my Internet connection.

    In order to download the Imaging Tool and the FreshStart WIM image you need, a stable Internet connection is required. Fortunately, you do not need to enter your FreshStart license key to download either file.

    If you have access to another computer with a better connection (such as a work computer, or a friend's PC), we recommend using that to download the files you need. You can always copy the files to a portable storage device, then copy them to the appropriate file locations on your imaging PC.

  • What should I do if my PC's USB ports do not work before the service?

    The program requires at least one working USB port to connect the old drive so that it can recognize and transfer any data it finds. If there are no working USB ports, you will still be able to FreshStart your PC by creating a new profile using the “Start Fresh” button in the lower left-hand corner. However, you will not be able to transfer data from the old drive to the new FreshStart drive. You can create the new profile, and if you can get your USB port working at a later time, your can manually transfer the files over by dragging and dropping them into place.

Imaging and Drive Installation

  • What are the four FreshStart Service options?

    When you open the Imaging Tool, you will see four service options: FreshStart, Start Fresh, DT (Data Transfer), and Restart.
    FreshStart and DT include the full virus scan and data transfer to a new drive. Start Fresh and Restart build new Windows user profiles on the imaged drive (no data is transferred).

    If you need a refresher on what each service does, please click on the "Choosing a service?" link and read each service's description. We also recommend reviewing the Imaging a Drive video, found in our training video library.

  • What should I do if my FreshStart drive won't boot after I install it?

    If you receive a “No Bootable Device found,” “Boot Failed,” or “Missing OS” error message after installing your FreshStart drive, this means that your computer is trying to boot in secure mode (UEFI). Fortunately, it’s an easy fix!

    All you have to do is reimage your drive. When you go to the image settings, check off the “UEFI” box, reimage the drive, and then reinstall it. Once you turn the PC back on, it should run smoothly.

  • What should I do if FreshStart says it cannot read my old drive?

    If you see the screen above, it means that your old drive is damaged and could not be read. The FreshStart program allows people with damaged drives to activate the new hard drive you just installed including the Windows operating system, Adobe Reader and Player, Eset Smart Security, and other standard software. This means that you will be starting over with a new hard drive and new software, almost like you just bought a new PC

    Your data files on the damaged drive will not be transferred. This is a better and more economical alternative than buying a new PC, and once the FreshStart is concluded, you 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 your new drive.

    To FreshStart your PC without data transfer, simply click OK when the error message appears on your screen during service. After you click OK, the FreshStart program will continue processing, and your system will typically complete the service in 15 minutes or less.

  • What should I do if my computer has more than one hard drive?

    Some desktop computers have more than one hard drive to boost performance. One drive holds the operating system and allows the computer to boot, while the other drive acts as a giant flash drive and is used for data storage.

    If you know which of the drives in your computer has your Operating System, this is the drive you will need to replace with your FreshStart drive. Your computer will automatically boot up with the FreshStart drive, then prompt you for the old drive once the program starts up. You can connect your OS drive and then FreshStart as normal, and all of your files will automatically be scanned for viruses and malware.

    If you are not sure which of your drives has your OS, remove them both. When you’re prompted to connect your old drive, try one of your hard drives. If the drive is connected but the system still says “Connect the old drive,” that means that the drive you connected was your storage drive. Unplug the old drive and try the other one. Once the drive with the OS is connected, the FreshStart program will continue automatically. In this case, your files will not be immediately scanned since they are no plugged into the computer. However, once you reconnect your storage drive and try to access those files, Eset will detect the files and scan them to ensure they are safe to open.

  • What should I do if my computer has more than one partition?

    For FreshStart to work, the old PC must have at least one partition with Windows installed. The FreshStart program will auto select the first partition it comes across with Windows installed.

  • My FreshStart Key shows no uses left!

    FreshStart keys are linked to the drive they're imaged to, plus the imaging machine used to image that drive. If you made a mistake while imaging the drive the first time, you can simply reimage the drive. Do this on the same machine you used to first image the drive so that you have 90 days to reimage is as many times as you need. Once those 90 days are up, or if you want to use a different PC to image the drive, you will need to purchase a new FreshStart key.

    If you purchased a key, have not yet imaged a drive, and your Imaging Tool is telling you that the key cannot be used, please email moc.riaperntb%40ofni

  • I'm having trouble with my FreshStart key!

    If you are having difficulty with your FreshStart Key, please email us at moc.riaperntb%40ofni for further assistance. Be sure to include the key that is giving you trouble, as well as a brief description of the issue so we may assist your further.

  • What should I do if the computer screen goes black during driver installation, but I can still see the mouse?

    During the driver install phase, if the screen turns and remains black for longer than usual (the screen never returns to normal condition), there is an issue with corrupted drivers copying over to the new drive. You will need to reimage the drive and install the replacement drivers manually.

    To do this, remove the FreshStart drive from the PC and place is back in the drive dock to reimage. Select the same settings as before, then uncheck the "Install Drivers" option under "Other Settings" before writing the image to disk. Reinstall and then run the FreshStart as normal, and after the FreshStart service, manually reinstall the drivers.

During the FreshStart Process

  • I got a "Freshstart Failed" or "Drive Damage" message during my FreshStart, what should I do?

    On occasion, you may come back to a PC and find an error that says “FreshStart Failed” or "Drive Damage" warning. 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.

  • What should I do if the PC asks me to log into FSacct upon rebooting?

    After you disconnect the old drive, the PC will reboot into the PC's main account. However, if the PC boots into a "FreshStart" account and asks you for a password, this means that the PC lost power at one point during the service.

    To fix this, you will need to remove the drive and restart the service. The service should run as normal without any issues.

  • What should I do if my computer is stuck on the loading screen when I boot up after installation?

    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 forums.

    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.

  • What should I do if FreshStart does not recognize the old hard drive?

    If you see the screen below and you have already connected your old hard drive, it means that you did not properly connect the old drive and the USB/SATA cable to your PC. Make sure that the drive is securely connected to the SATA connector and try plugging the USB plug into a different USB port on the PC. Once properly connected, the FreshStart process will continue automatically. If it does not, it’s possible that the PC’s USB port is not working, or that the old drive has failed. In these situations, you will need to use the “Start Fresh” button in the bottom left corner, and no data will be transferred during the process.

  • What if I cannot get the FreshStart to work?

    If you are having a problem with your FreshStart service and your issue is not covered in the User’s Guide or the FAQs, you can contact us directly via email at moc.riaperntb%40ofni

After the FreshStart

  • What should I do if my PC's USB ports do not work after the service?

    Our software pulls all of the drivers necessary for things like activating your USB ports. In rare cases where a driver has not been pulled, what you will need to do is go to the website for your PC's manufacturer. On there, you will find all of the up-to-date drivers that you need to download. If you are unsure which drivers to download, please contact the PC manufacturer for further guidance.

  • What should I do if my Windows Key did not activate after the service?

    For Windows 7 users, you will need to manually type in the Windows Key found on the bottom or back of your PC. Read the "After a FreshStart" guide to learn how to do this.

    For Windows 8.1 and 10 machines, the key should automatically activate once you connect the machine to the Internet. If the key is inactive, you can find your Windows License Key saved by FreshStart in the C drive. You should see a text file called "Product Keys From Old Drive." Open this file, and you will see the License Key listed, which you can then copy and paste to manually reactivate Windows.

    In cases where you have gotten a FreshStart Data Transfer for a new PC, you may see two files. Open one to try activating the key found. If it doesn't work, open the other file and use the other key instead.

    Please note: Currently, Windows 7 is the lowest OS version that Microsoft will upgrade to Windows 10 for free. If your customer had a machine with Vista or XP, they will need to purchase a new key.

  • I have feedback for the FreshStart developers.

    We're constantly working on improving the FreshStart service to ensure that our customers are getting the best experience possible. Please send your comments and feedback to moc.riaperntb%40ofni with "FreshStart Feedback" in the email's subject line.

  • What if I cannot reactivate my programs after the service?

    If you see the screen below and you have already connected your old Our program pulls all of the license keys found on the old drive and puts them into a text file on your C drive. When you go to reinstall a program, you can use this license key to reactivate it.

    If you run into difficulties reactivating any of your programs, please contact the software company for further assistance.

  • I had to Start Fresh my PC. If my drive is failing, should I try to manually grab data anyway?

    The FreshStart program requires specific sections of the hard drive to work in order to be able to grab drivers, data, and license keys during the data transfer process. If your drive is failing or has bad sections (called sectors), it may make it impossible to FreshStart your computer with a data transfer. However, if some of those sectors are still functional, you may still be able to pull data from the "good" sections of the drive after the service is complete.