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Windows 7: Need System Recovery Options Advice - will not boot


21 Jan 2012   #1

Windows 7 home premium 64 bit
 
 
Need System Recovery Options Advice - will not boot

Been playing with this for about a week...

Acer Aspire laptop - one day it booted with the following
  • PXE-E61: Media test failure e, check cable
  • PXE-M0F: Exiting Broadcom PXE ROM
  • No bootable device - insert boot disk and press any key
Then it stopped. I put in the CD, selected Repair and booted only to find no operating system listed in the System Recovery Options box. After it finishes searching - to no avail - it brings up another box that reads
  • Windows found problems with your computer's startup options
  • Do you wish to apply repairs and restart your computer?
If I select Repair and restart I get another box that reads Failed to save startup options.


Clicking OK takes me back to the 1st System Recovery Options box - the one without an OS. Although I am presented with an options to Load Drivers, I have no idea where to find them. Why doesn't an operating system as sophisticated as Windows 7 have an automated procedure in place to find the drivers?

Anyway, if I click Next the system assumes that I've selected a system image backup (why?), then displays a message indicating that it cannot find the system image that I've supposedly selected to install.

A couple of Cancels later, and I'm on the Choose a recovery tool screen. Startup Repair only takes me to the Windows found problems... message mentioned above.

System Restore won't work without an OS.

Command Prompt does show me that my folders are intact. If I navigate to C\Windows and attempt to type
bcdedit /export C:\BCD_Backup
c:
cd boot
attrib bcd -s -h -r
ren c:\boot\bcd bcd.old
bootrec /RebuildBcd
I only get as far as the attrib command because there is no BCD file in the Boot folder, only a backup that I apparently created a few days ago while trying to fix this. I then pulled the BCD off the Windows 7 CD and copied it to the Boot folder, tried to reboot, got the same No Bootable device, went back to the recovery console and ran the
bootrec /RebuildBcd
It found the C:\Windows installation and asked me if I wanted to add the installation to the boot list. Hitting a Y told me that The requested system device cannot be found.

When I looked in the Boot folder I see that the BCD file that I'd copied from the CD has been renamed to BCD.Backup.0002 (there already was the .0001 file).

It seems absolutely ridiculous that I have to remove the drive, backup all my files and reinstall Windows, when I've already got a Windows folder, and all my files, music and pictures are already in place on the drive.

Windows XP had a facility to let you do a repair install of the operating system. Why do I not see anything similar in Windows 7?

And what do I do next? I (successfully) ran the bootrec /fixboot and /fixmbr commands, but they failed to effect any change.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

22 Jan 2012   #2
Microsoft MVP

 

Your HD was not being read which generated the original error messages. Try reinstalling your HD while checking all cables and connections. Is it now registered in BIOS setup?

Test your HD using Disk Check and the maker's HD Diagnostic extended CD scan.

Reset BIOS to defaults in BIOS setup, set HD to boot first in BIOS boot order, then boot the CD drive using Acer F12 key at boot.

If Windows 7 isn't detected, open a Command Line to type:
bootrec.exe /fixmbr
bootrec.exe /fixboot

Now see if an installation is found and run Startup Repair repeatedly.

Additional steps here: troubleshooting steps
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Jan 2012   #3

Windows 7 home premium 64 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by gregrocker View Post
Your HD was not being read which generated the original error messages.
I don't wish to sound stupid, but if the HD is not being read at normal boot, how is it being read when I boot from the CD and go to the command prompt?
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by gregrocker View Post
Try reinstalling your HD while checking all cables and connections. Is it now registered in BIOS setup?
Remembering that this is a laptop, by reinstalling, do you mean physically removing the drive from the case, and then re-connecting it? If so, I have already tried that several days ago. Obviously it did nothing. As far as the cables go, there's almost nothing that seems like a real cable, but what there is seems intact. When I go into the BIOS the number 2 boot priority is WDC WD5000BPVT-22HXZT1 which I assume is the HD.
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by gregrocker View Post
Test your HD using Disk Check and the maker's HD Diagnostic extended CD scan.
I ran chkdsk /r /f from the Repair Command prompt. It ran for all but 24 hours and replaced a fair amount of bad clusters, but of course it failed to change anything. Of course I'm still puzzled over the normal boot not finding a hard drive, the recovery not finding an OS, and the command prompt finding a C:\Windows folder, obviously indicating I do have a hard drive. What is it looking for that it doesn't find that makes the PC think there is no HD (or OS)?
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by gregrocker View Post
Reset BIOS to defaults in BIOS setup, set HD to boot first in BIOS boot order, then boot the CD drive using Acer F12 key at boot.
Did that days ago as well. Did not do anything, so I changed the boot order back to CD 1st
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by gregrocker View Post
If Windows 7 isn't detected, open a Command Line to type:
bootrec.exe /fixmbr
bootrec.exe /fixboot
I mentioned that I had run these in the last sentence of my original post.
Will check out the additional troubleshooting link.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


22 Jan 2012   #4

Windows 7 home premium 64 bit
 
 

I forgot to mention.... from the repair console, when I run the command
bootrec /scanos
it returns with
Total identified Windows installations: 1
[1] C:\Windows

Once again, the discrepancy has me baffled.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Jan 2012   #5
Microsoft MVP

 

Why would you assume a failing HD would be read consistently if it is read at all?

A Disk Check that struggles with bad sectors for nearly 24 hours is quite instructive. It should be run again until it is clean.

What did the HD Diagnostics report?

All repair commands are automated in Windows 7 using Startup Repair but the Windows 7 partition or it's 100mb System Reserved partition (preferred) must be marked Active first before running Startup Repair - 3 Separate Times.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Jan 2012   #6

Windows 7 home premium 64 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by gregrocker View Post
Why would you assume a failing HD would be read consistently if it is read at all?
The HD does seem to be read consistently through the command prompt from system recovery - both the /scan OS and directory commands always display the drive contents. Conversely, the boot and initial System Recovery screens consistently fail to detect the HD and OS.
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by gregrocker View Post
A Disk Check that struggles with bad sectors for nearly 24 hours is quite instructive. It should be run again until it is clean.
Will do...
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by gregrocker View Post
What did the HD Diagnostics report?
I have a Western Digital HD diagnostic on a CD that runs an extended and Quick test. Running the quick test yields the msg
Warning! One or more current or worst-case attributes are below threshold.
It displays various values for things like Raw Read Error Rate, Spin Up Time, Offline Uncorrectable Sector Count, etc. I can provide those values if you'd like.
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by gregrocker View Post
All repair commands are automated in Windows 7 using Startup Repair but the Windows 7 partition or it's 100mb System Reserved partition (preferred) must be marked Active first before running Startup Repair - 3 Separate Times.
I do not know how to mark the Windows 7 (or the 100mb System Reserved) partition Active. Could you please let me know how to do that in System Recovery? I will then run the Startup Repair the suggested 3 times.

Thanks for your help. I really appreciate it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Jan 2012   #7
Microsoft MVP

 

Sounds like a bad HD is being confirmed for you by Data Lifeguard CD. Run the Extended Test to be sure.

Partition - Mark as Active (Method Two)
Windows 7 fails to boot
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Jan 2012   #8

Windows 7 home premium 64 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by gregrocker View Post
Sounds like a bad HD is being confirmed for you by Data Lifeguard CD. Run the Extended Test to be sure.

Partition - Mark as Active (Method Two)
Windows 7 fails to boot
The extended test incorporates the quick test into a sort of 'step one' for the extended test. With the results I got from the quick test, the extended test is not enabled to run.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Jan 2012   #9
Microsoft MVP

 

I'd believe the test, then.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Jan 2012   #10

Windows 7 home premium 64 bit
 
 

Do you think a reformat and reinstall on this drive is worthwhile? Or should I just get another HD? It's only about 9 months old.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Need System Recovery Options Advice - will not boot




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