|13 Feb 2012||#1|
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Laptop stuck in BSOD boot loop; StartupRepair, other tools not helpful
I was handed a Windows 7 laptop from a friend last Friday and I've been going over it since that time. It's a Lenovo SL410 with 4 GB RAM running Windows 7 Pro 64 bits. This is the original factory installation and the laptop is 2 years old. Motherboard was replaced about 18 months ago. It has a Hitachi 320 GB hard drive. I ran a Seatools long test over the hard drive and it passed all tests. I ran 12 passes of memtest86 on the RAM with 0 errors. Near as I can tell, that hardware is good.
Yet somehow, this laptop corrupted itself, and now it's stuck in a BSOD/Reboot loop. Booting into safe mode also generates a BSOD. Last known good also crashes. As far as I know, there were no significant events leading up to this failure - it just happened last Thursday night.
Booting into the Windows recovery environment, I've tried at least 20 Startup Repair operations. They generally report "Startup Repair cannot repair this computer automatically." One of the earlier Startup Repair runs reported an error 490, which is apparently a generic unknown error. Less than helpful. I've tried this both from the system hard drive and booting from a Windows 7 Pro OEM DVD.
In a DOS window, I've tried running sfc /scannow /offbootdir=x:\ /offwindir=d:\windows at least twice. That "d" for offwindir is not a typo. The laptop has a Lenovo recovery partition and I think I can click some buttons and put it back to its factory settings - but I really don't want to take that step.
SFC runs for a long time, then reports it found corrupted files but can't fix them. SFC also claims to leave a log file in %windir%\logs\cbs\cbs.log, but this log has no entries from the day I ran sfc.
chkdsk /r runs cleanly and reports no errors.
I've also done at least 3 attempts at system restore to various earlier dates. They all fail and claim to leave the system unchanged.
From a DOS window, I went to d:\windows\system32\config and backed up all the registry hive files and replaced them with files from ..\RegBack. No change in symptoms.
I looked in d:\windows\system32\drivers and only found only a few files dated recently. These are ksecdd.sys, cng.sys, and ksecpkg.sys dated 2/11/2012. Tcpip.sys is dated 9/29/2011 and the rest are earlier than that, most from July 2009.
I tried booting from the Windows 7 DVD and tried an upgrade install. Unfortunately, Windows 7 apparently only allows upgrade installations when booted from the hard drive. And, of course, if I could boot from the hard drive, I wouldn't be going to all this trouble. What happened to the repair/reinstalls we could do with XP? Which genius Microsoft engineer idea was it who decided to get rid of that capability?
Enough ranting - I don't want to wipe and rebuild this laptop. There must be a way to fix it. I refuse to believe those millions of Windows 7 systems in the field are all ticking timebombs.
Oh yes, the BSODs. I scribbled a few of them on a piece of paper:
One from Safe Mode - loading ClassPNP.sys, the system hesitates for a few seconds, then does a BSOD:
Stop 7e, FFFFFFFFC0000005 FFFFFA8005B6D2C5 FFFFF88002566768 FFFFF8802565FD0 (Aw nuts, I think that last one is missing a digit.)
Booting normally -
Stop 50 FFFFF88037C6000 0000000000000001 FFFFF80002E81381 0000000000000000
Stop 7B FFFFF880009a9928 FFFFFFFFC000000D 0000000000000000 0000000000000000
How do I fix this thing?
- Greg Scott
|My System Specs|
|13 Feb 2012||#3|
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Thanks Seavixen32 - I already found that tutorial over the weekend and tried it. The process replaces all the registry hive files with an older version in that RegBack directory. Unfortunately, it did not cure the problem. In my case, I noticed the date on all those files in the RegBack directory was 2/9/2012, and this is the date when the problem was first reported. So it's possible those registry hive files are corrupt. I wish I had a way to go back to an earlier copy.
I'm thinking about pulling the hard drive out of this laptop, connecting to a known good Windows 7 system, copying the files in \windows\system32\drivers to a temporary directory, putting the laptop back together, and then repolacing those driver files one by one. There's gotta be a less tedious way to find my culprit.
|My System Specs|
|13 Feb 2012||#6|
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So far - I pulled the laptop hard drive and connected it to a known good Windows 7 system. I copied everything from the Windows directory on the good system to a temporary directory on the laptop hard drive. I also copied all the data I care about from the laptop hard drive - just in case.
I put the laptop back together, copied everything in windows\system32\drivers to a backup directory, then copied all the files that matched from the my temporary directory into windows\system32\drivers. Still no joy.
But some files were not on my good system - I'm guessing these are Lenovo specific drivers. I deleted all of them from the drivers directory, still BSODs at boot.
The BSODs are stop 7B errors, and this is apparently an unknown boot device. I wonder if I blew away some Lenovo SATA driver in the process? I'm going to catch up on some sleep and then come back to it.
|My System Specs|
|13 Feb 2012||#7|
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After pouring a good portion of my weekend into this laptop, I finally gave in to reason. I pulled the hard drive, copied everything I cared about off of it, put the laptop back together and wiped and rebuilt it from the Lenovo recovery partition. Now it's back to factory settings.
I think what happened in this case is, my customer gets impatient and doesn't hibernate his laptop - he just closes the lid and puts it in its bag and goes on to other tasks. I have a hunch something was open the last time he did this and the battery ran out while it was in standby - assuming it even went into standby when he closed the lid.
So then when he restarted it, everything was hosed and it wouldn't boot. Unbelievable that after 30+ years of making personal computers, we still don't have any notion of reliability in a file system. Windows 7 seems like a giant step backwards in this area.
There were old restore points on this system. I went back to Feb. 4 from the Windows Recovery environment, but this didn't change the symptoms. Several Startup Repair attempts and reboots later, I tried to go back to mid January, but this consistently failed. Then I made a mistake - I pulled the hard drive and connected it to a Win XP Home system I had sitting here and copied a bunch of data from the laptop hard drive. After that, there were no more system restore points on the laptop hard drive. I have a hunch that XP Home system blew them away.
This is a shame because I stumbled across a program named Shadow Explorer that looked promising. Shadow Explorer provides the ability to restore from old restore points and would have been a great tool if I still had restore points on that laptop hard drive.
Anyway, enough is enough. Restore the stupid thing back to factory settings and admonish my user to be more careful next time.
|My System Specs|
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