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Windows 7: Windows 7 Startup Repair Superbug

26 Mar 2012   #1

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 
Windows 7 Startup Repair Superbug

Let's get straight to the point:
The Windows 7 Startup Repair Utility included on the Windows installation disk is there to help us repair problems which may arise during the use of our computer and which may prevent the OS from starting, loading, booting (call it whatever you like). Throughout my experience of the past 2 days, I have learned to undoubtedly deny it. Why, you may ask? Well here is the story.

Throughout the last few months my Toshiba laptop (kinda figured it is not the best out there by now) has grown to hate me. At times, the OS would simply refuse to load, presenting me with the classic blinking cursor in the top corner of the screen.
Well, I have decided to fix the situation (which was clearly broken, not only by the above, but even when Windows did manage to load, it would immediately get slowed down to a halt thanks to all of the Toshiba crapware loaded on it! ). Now, let's get this straight: I know my stuff. I have done stuff like this countless times before. This is the first time something this (excuse me) shitty happened to me. I literally felt like pulling my hair out. So, 2 days ago I decided to reinstall Windows fresh on the 500GB HDD sitting in there.

Like any smart man should do, I first backed up all of my stuff to an external hard drive. Great, no hell beyond this point. Just like with any other OS re-installation, I booted the computer of the Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit Setup Disc. Immediately proceeding to the partition selection screen, I encountered a friendly message:
"Windows cannot be installed to this drive because this computer's BIOS may not support starting from it."
Obviously, I proceeded to the BIOS setup to switch the SATA controller mode from "AHCI" to "Compatibility", as clearly I could not have installed it otherwise. Back to the setup disc, I no longer saw the alerting yellow icon. Great. Here's what I did next.

I had 3 partitions on my drive:
  1. System Reserved - The current OS's boot manager. (Should be obvious)
  2. No label - Largest partition on the drive, held all of my system and private files.
  3. HDDRECOVERY - 11.5 GB partition holding Toshiba's greatest invention; the "Recovery" partition. I should also mention that when attempting to recover later from this partition AFTER removing the previous 2, I got quite disappointed to know that I couldn't for similar reasons as stated above.
At first, I left the HDDRECOVERY partition intact. Just in case. Installation finished, the computer restarted, Windows loaded up saying "Updating Registry settings" and "Configuring Services" and finally the moment we have all been waiting for: "Completing installation...". Ah...... not so fast. It took it approximately half an hour to complete that last step before restarting another time. Sitting there all filled with tension, I waited.... and waited.... and waited.... and ... .. Ok, it started to seem ridiculous. All I saw in front of me was a blank, black, screen. And nothing else. Not even a blinking cursor in the top corner of the screen. Nothing. By this time I figured I need to start the Windows Startup Repair program. After I entered the "Repair my computer" section, Windows told me it found problems with my startup configuration and offered to fix it. I thought; "Great, it even figured it out by itself." After restarting yet another time, I was sadly exposed to the same blank screen. After rebooting into the Startup Repair option a few more times, it told me Windows Startup Repair was unable to fix the problem because of a corrupted MBR, which IT WAS SUPPOSED TO FIX!!!! Clearly, at this point, it got so pointless to try to use it to automagically repair shit, and I had to do the rest myself.
Since then I have tried countless procedures (including reloading the Windows 7 bootloader using the ms-sys program from a linux live cd, and also checking the MBR using the linux disk editor), all to no avail. But all was not lost, as I got to the point where I removed all of the partitions from the drive (including HDDRECOVERY, which I have found to be useless and unable to recover anything) and reinstalled Windows 7 on the drive (that is the state of my HDD right now, as a matter of fact).

On with the story, I was able to boot into Windows (somehow magically) by performing the following sequence of commands:
  1. Start Windows Repair from the installation DVD.
  2. Skip through the dialogs, until you get to the list of available options for recovery.
  3. Open the Command Prompt and change the current bootloader from BOOTMGR to NTLDR by issuing the following command:
    Code:
    bootsect.exe /nt52 ALL
  4. Restart the computer, and let Windows issue the following error:
    Code:
    NTLDR is missing.
    Press Ctrl-Alt-Del
  5. Start Windows Repair again, open the command prompt (again) and repair the boot sector on all drives using the following command:
    Code:
    bootrec.exe /fixboot
  6. Repair the BCD store (partition table, I believe) by issuing:
    Code:
    bootrec.exe /rebuildbcd
  7. Change the bootloader back to BOOTMGR by entering:
    Code:
    bootsect.exe /nt60 ALL
  8. Repair the MBR (although I believe this step is not necessary) by issuing:
    Code:
    bootrec.exe /fixmbr
  9. Restart the computer and admire your hard work (if in case it has succeeded)
  10. After enjoying your new Windows installation, shut down the computer.
  11. Restart and see all of your hard work go to waste.
  12. Go to step 1!
Clearly, upon shutting down the computer, Windows seemed to have overwritten the partition table or boot sector. I would like to add that I have not changed the SATA controller mode back to AHCI yet.


Finally, I want to ask:

How would I go about fixing this damn, ****ing, problem???


Thanks in advance,
superbug


PS: I signed up to this forum just to post this, and I think that this may be a Windows bug or a driver problem.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

26 Mar 2012   #2

7 Ultimate x64/7 Home Premium x64
 
 

Did you install all of the drivers specific to your Toshiba after you installed Windows 7?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Mar 2012   #3

Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-Bit
 
 

If you want a brutal, no-nonsense answer, just forget about Toshiba's crappy set up and clean install Windows, as this excellent tutorial explains.

Clean Reinstall - Factory OEM Windows 7

Just make sure you've downloaded and saved the network adapter driver first so you have a way of getting online if you need further drivers.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


26 Mar 2012   #4

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

I agree with seavixon 100%. I feel your pain as my last laptop was a Toshiba, never again. Decent hardware, excellent support but not worth the software woes imho.

Now theres a thought.... have you contacted Toshiba support? They stayed on the phone with me through an almost 2 hour "fix" once, detailing each and every step.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Mar 2012   #5
Microsoft MVP

 

You couldn't run Factory Recovery because it lost it's hotlink when you deleted Windows 7 partition. It might have run before that. But you'd still have the inferior factory bloatware install.

Wipe the HD using Diskpart Clean Command from Windows 7 DVD accessing DISKPART At PC Startup.

Then Clean Reinstall - Factory OEM Windows 7.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Apr 2012   #6

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 
[FIXED] Finally...

Well, I am happy to tell all of you that I managed to fix my problem after a week or so of fiddling around with my Toshiba Satellite A505-S6980.
So, the clean installation of windows did NOT work any differently than any other. What did work however, was an official download from Microsoft of Windows 7 Service Pack 1 built-in. I managed to install Windows 7 on the drive natively on AHCI SATA mode (only after formatting in IDE mode AND issuing the diskpart clean command afterwards , and anyway it probably had better updated drivers...). Although even then it did not manage to work any better than before. After a little bit of more research, I came across a Microsoft article (see KB922976) that managed to solve the problem. Turns out, and nobody took care to mention that officially (**** Micro$hit) you can run some Windows applications in the Recovery Environment such as:
  • Registry Editor - regedit.exe
  • Notepad - notepad.exe
  • Task Manager - taskmgr.exe
  • And others which I don't yet know of...
I loaded my current HKLM\SYSTEM registry hive from D:\Windows\system32\config\SYSTEM by issuing the following command:
Code:
REG LOAD HKLM\SYSTEM_CURRENT D:\Windows\system32\config\SYSTEM
the I ran regedit.exe and applied the changes described in the article linked above applying to all ControlSet00# entries under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM_CURRENT\.
Soon after rebooting the computer, I got an error like the following:
Code:
bla bla bla ... Error reading boot configuration data. ... bla bla bla 
File: \Boot\BCD
Code: 0x.............
bla bla bla
I reopened the Windows 7 Recovery Environment and issued the following:
Code:
bootrec /fixmbr
bootrec /fixboot
bootrec /rebuildbcd
Would you like to add the entries to the current configuration (Yes/No/All)? y[ENTER]
Another reboot, and wuala; Houston, problem fixed.

BTW, I might have forgot to mention that before that I also attempted to rebuild the BCD using the directions mentioned here: Windows 7 Suddenly Won’t Boot – Reboot and Select Proper Boot Device or Insert Boot Media in Selected Boot Device and Press Any Key – Repairing the Windows 7 Bootloader
If you have a problem following the mentioned instructions, READ THE COMMENTS for fixes and suggestions!!!

Good luck!!!


PS: Next time I'm just switching to Ubuntu, which I got to use in the past. Super easy, free, and BUGLESS!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Apr 2012   #7

XP / Win7 x64 Pro
 
 

Now you can add this knowledge to your "know your stuff" arsenal that there is rarely a reason to keep any of the ancillary partitions put on there by the factory for recovery options when you're doing a clean install. If you completely wipe the disk in the first place and do a clean install, you don't have to deal with any of these issues.

As an aside, I'm not sure why you switched from AHCI to Compatibility for the install. The fact that you got that error when simply trying to do a clean install on a 500GB disk should alert you that something isn't right on the disk itself and needs to be fixed before you proceed with the install. That might possibly have been the reason you only reached a black screen upon installation.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Apr 2012   #8
Microsoft MVP

 

This is why I advised above to wipe the HD before trying install.

Incidentally, Startup Repair also automates all of those commands and any others that might be needed sequentially. You only need to make sure the Windows 7 or it's 100mb System Resrved partition are marked Active first.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Windows 7 Startup Repair Superbug




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