I'll go ahead and number the options/steps just to keep my train of thought going in the right direction.
1. I cannot start the system in Safe Mode of any kind (simple, with networking, with command prompt). It starts loading the files to do so then freaks out a couple files in and dives straight towards Startup Repair. That aside, I do have Malware Bytes on the system and had just run it hours before this mess. For fun here are the system issues I had been cleaning up
prior to all of this with the help of the guys at Bleeping Computer. I believe we'd gotten pretty far into the process before this new catastrophe.
2. Okay, I made the disk via a clean laptop and got it going in the damaged system. The program got started but that's all it got. The program first told me that the definitions are out of date and needed updating. Nothin' doin' on that front so I tried running a scan (Quick, Full, & Custom) but only received a message stating "Windows Defender Offline couldn't scan your PC." Whee. After that the system restarted and went into Startup Repair quickly. The problem details were the same.
3. Since DWO didn't work I went right to my System Recovery disc previously created (on the same system that created the DWO disk). It could not find any System Restore points. I went right to the command prompt and followed the steps for SFC SCANNOW. After a while the results came back with a simple "Windows Resource Protection did not find any integrity violations." After restarting multiple times I was still unable to get past the bloody Startup Repair error.
4. I created the bootable Partition Wizard disc and it seemed to run as it should. I can't tell you how happy I am to see his data is still in place. That actually takes the edge off of this whole mess. I restarted the system and it didn't go into it's usual shpeal but it did go into a diagnostics mode. I ran the memory test and all portions passed without problems. Next I ran hardware diagnostics and chose the extended test.
I am currently running the extended test and it should take another couple of hours. I'm heading out soon so I'm going to let it go and do its thing while I am away. I'll post an update on how the test completes and if it behaves tomorrow. Truth be told, I'm not holding my breath. I have a feeling I'll have to save his data and start from scratch especially since he needs to get underway for travel on Thursday.