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Windows 7: Win7 fails to start, then starts after reset


24 Feb 2013   #1

Win7 x64
 
 
Win7 fails to start, then starts after reset

I have had two incidents in the past three days of a startup problem with a relatively new Windows 7 Pro SP1 build that uses UEFI. Last Friday I did my weekly clone of C: (SSD) to another SATA drive using True Image (WD Edition), and as usual checked the box that said to shut the computer down after completion. When I restarted I immediately powered down the cloned drive (in a mobil rack), I walked away briefly, and came back to see the computer powered on but the two monitors black and in standby mode. No mouse movement or keyboard activity would wake the monitors or produce any other response. I hit the reset switch and it booted to a B&W DOS-like "Windows Error Recovery" screen that said "Windows failed to start. A recent hardware of software change might be the cause," which gave me two options, to run the startup repair via the install CD or start Windows 7 normally. I selected the latter and it booted fine and has worked well until this morning, with several successful boots in the interim.

Today I had the same issue during my morning boot, but like before I did not watch the boot process and came back to two unresponsive black monitors. As before a hard reset got things working again after the same B&W "Windows Error Recovery" screen. I tried to duplicate the issue by doing a restart and then a shutdown with my normal restart with the power button, and all worked fine for both tries.

I did some searching and found many reports of this issue, but all that I saw were systems that would not boot at all, not the intermittent problem that I have. None that I saw said that doing the startup repair (first option on the B&W screen) worked, so I have not tried that. The only updates I've gotten recently were one for Adobe Reader and three definition updates for MSE. The last system update was five days prior to the first incident, and there have been no other software or hardware changes recently.

Event Viewer shows nothing except during the second boot which produces the B&W "Windows did not start" screen. It is an Event #3 ("The system has rebooted without cleanly shutting down first. This error could be caused if the system stopped responding, crashed, or lost power unexpectedly."). I also see no Memory.dmp file in the \Windows folder. I have not watched this procedure unfold, which I will try to witness for future boot events. Right now I'd appreciate any ideas.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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24 Feb 2013   #2
Microsoft MVP

 

I would use backup imaging instead of cloning which can adversely affect Disk Mgmt settings if not closely monitored.

Please post back a Disk Management Screen Capture Image - Windows 7 Forums
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Feb 2013   #3

Win7 x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by gregrocker View Post
I would use backup imaging instead of cloning which can adversely affect Disk Mgmt settings if not closely monitored.
Would the potential problem be as the drive is powered on prior to launching True Image? It will have an old clone with a drive name identical to the C: drive, and is always picked up as G:. Once TI launches it reboots and runs before Windows 7 fully boots, and I never let the system boot with both drives running. I used this technique in XP for years without problems, so is Windows 7 more problematic for cloning? What do you mean by "...if not closely monitored" and what issues might crop up with Disk Mgt?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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24 Feb 2013   #4
Microsoft MVP

 

Where is the requested screenshot?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Feb 2013   #5

Win7 x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by gregrocker View Post
Where is the requested screenshot?
Note that F: and S: are a USB card reader.


Attached Thumbnails
Win7 fails to start, then starts after reset-diskmgt.jpg  
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Feb 2013   #6
Microsoft MVP

 

Do you mean to have a second page file on the backup drive D? I would turn paging file off and then redirect it to only C: Change Virtual Memory Paging File.

So much about UEFI is still unknown, especially because every EFI BIOS is different. Who knows what consequences can come from cloning to another HD so regularly? I'd at least try backup imaging to compare. I'm not sure any assumptions from old BIOS' can be carried over.

Some owners of UEFI BIOS have weighed the benefits and decided to Bypass UEFI to Install WIn7 normally to an MBR HD.

To understand more about UEFI BIOS watch this video:



If the startup problem persists boot into UEFI DVD or Repair CD to run a few Startup Repairs.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Feb 2013   #7

Win7 x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by gregrocker View Post
Do you mean to have a second page file on the backup drive D? I would turn paging file off and then redirect it to only C: Change Virtual Memory Paging File.
Yes, I manually put a second page file on D: (16gb, which is what Windows 7 was originally allocating for C: and since I had plenty of space there with 16gb of RAM I didn't feel the location was that important anyway. I left 1gb on C: because when I put it all on D: I was getting a warning that Windows 7 wanted to have a minimum of 800mb on C:. What's the harm of splitting it up and putting most of it on D:?

Quote:
So much about UEFI is still unknown, especially because every EFI BIOS is different. Who knows what consequences can come from cloning to another HD so regularly? I'd at least try backup imaging to compare. I'm not sure any assumptions from old BIOS' can be carried over.
Well, at least one thing is certain: With my old machine (circa 2009, legacy BIOS and XP Pro) if I booted the system with a clone running nothing would come of it. A couple of months ago I accidentally let that happen with this new UEFI machine and it booted to the cloned drive (G: ) in the mobile rack. When I instinctively hot-swapped it out everything went black, as you might expect, and a reboot had everything running fine again. My procedure since then has been to set True Image to shut the computer down after completion, then I'll remove the cloned drive before powering on. No problems doing it this way, and I don't think my current issue is related since my procedure hasn't changed.

As an update, the system booted fine this morning.

Quote:
Some owners of UEFI BIOS have weighed the benefits and decided to Bypass UEFI to Install WIn7 normally to an MBR HD.
I'm a bit intimidated by it but so far haven't had any issues, until now anyway. I do like the quick 15-sec. boot time.

Quote:
If the startup problem persists boot into UEFI DVD or Repair CD to run a few Startup Repairs.
Will do and will update here if there's any news. Thanks for the help.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Mar 2013   #8

Win7 x64
 
 

I think this issue is solved. Apparently, when a flash card containing files is inserted in my card reader the BIOS thinks I want to boot from it. Yesterday I encountered the issue again and noticed that the card reader lights blinked several times before another DOS-like window appeared asking for the Windows 7 install CD. I rebooted and all was fine. When this happens the BIOS inserts the USB reader into the boot order (without my permission), but I don't understand why it arbitrarily selects it to boot from.

Gigabyte support verified that this was what was happening and that it was normal, so the solution is to make sure there are no CF cards containing files in the reader when the system is booted.

Oddly, when I hit the reset button to evoke a second boot attempt it always went to the correct drive (SSD) to boot, even with the card still inserted in the reader. I don't fully understand this but this isn't the first time (by a long shot) in my 30-year experience with computers that I've shrugged my shoulders, chalked it up to experience, and simply followed whatever procedure was necessary to make it work.
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 Win7 fails to start, then starts after reset




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