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Windows 7: Windows has stopped booting. Advice needed please!

14 Nov 2013   #1

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit
 
 
Windows has stopped booting. Advice needed please!

My PC has two SATA drives, for storage, and two 128GB SSDs. One of the SSDs has Microsoft Flight Simulator (FS9) installed on it. The second is divided into two partitions: the first has the O/S, the second Microsoft Flight Simulator X (FSX).

The first sign of trouble was when aircraft fuselage textures stopped loading in FS9. Eventually, when this didn't clear, I decided to reboot. After I did so, the FS9 SSD was completely missing from My Computer. Tried rebooting a couple more times. No joy, and the Asus BIOS splash screen was taking ages to move onto the Windows is starting up phase, so I assumed that the drive had failed. I unplugged the faulty SSD, and all was OK. For two or three reboots...

Then, rebooting once again a little later, all I got was, after the BIOS splash screen, a black screen with one line of strange characters. A few letters and numbers there, but mostly stuff like you might find in Wingdings font, musical notes, patterns and shapes. I took a photo of this. I can post it if really needed, but don't expect the exact string will help much. It's the same string of characters every time..

I booted using a BartPE DVD and went into the explorer utility. The O/S drive itself is clearly OK (it would be a bit much for both to fail in 30 minutes!) as both partitions on it, the one with the O/S and the one with FSX, are accessible in BartPE and I can browse through the various folders.

Also, the small System Reserved partition with a folder called 'Boot' and the bootmgr & Bootsect.bak files are there too.

I tried the boot repair option from the original Windows 7 x64 installation disc, but after running for some time and then telling me I should try to reboot, I got the same string of characters as before.

If the C drive and the System Reserved drive are there OK, any ideas why am I getting that string of characters and the PC won't boot any further? Another hardware problem somewhere???

I looked in the BIOS itself, but apart from the FS9 SSD not being listed, I saw no difference; but I am not too sure what I am looking for there to be honest.

Thanks for any help with troubleshooting this.

Martin

My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Nov 2013   #2
Microsoft MVP

 

Work through the steps for Troubleshooting Windows 7 Failure to Start since infection cannot be ruled out and the normal repair routine might not work if it's infected.

Test the SSD's with the manufacturer's firmware. Check for firmware upgrade.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Nov 2013   #3

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit
 
 

OK, I'll work through that (will take some time I guess) and post back. Thanks.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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14 Nov 2013   #4

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit
 
 

OK, very first step: I unplugged my two SATA drives (the faulty SSD was already unplugged) and rebooted. The PC went straight into Windows as normal!! I am going to take advantage of this and make an up-to-date System image onto an external HDD whilst I am in Windows. I'll run an anti-virus scan and then with Malwarebytes too. Then I'll reconnect each of the SATA drives and take things from there. If that causes the boot failure again I'll post straight back.

I wonder what this implies, as the two SATA drives themselves had no problems in themselves (I checked them with Hard Disk Sentinel as soon as the problems started today. 100% clean)..
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Nov 2013   #5

Win 7 PRO x64, WIN 8 PRO x64
 
 

sounds like your sata controller on your motherboard may be going bad or a drive is causing it to hang at times. what motherboard is it? is it the Asus P6X58D-E ? are your ssd's in the gray (marvel) ports?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Nov 2013   #6

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit
 
 

.. are your ssd's in the gray (marvel) ports?

No, should they be??

I found that the PC booted OK if only the SSD with the O/S on it was installed. Plugging in either of the two SATA drives stopped the from PC booting. I went into the BIOS, with one SATA plugged in to see if it was recognised (it was) and to check settings, but I made no alterations there. For some odd reason, the PC then booted fine & the SATA drive was recognised in Explorer.

Then plugged the second drive (also 1TB) in and the system said it needed to run checkdisk, which has been running for over two hours now, "Fixing incorrect information in file record segment ...". Seems to be doing this for every single segment - it's past 500000 now - it could run all night! I'll let chkdsk run to completion of course and post back what happens.

So, should I plug my O/S SSD into the grey Marvel connector?? Can you direct me towards the info about this? Googling it for the past 15 minutes hasn't helped... The PC was constructed with the connections as they are now...

One problem I have - I have posted about this here before, but was unable to fix it - is that my O/S disk is only Disk0 in Disk Management when no other drive is plugged into the M/B. When I add a drive, the O/S drive becomes Disk1 or 2 or lower and the data/backup SATA drive bcomes disk0. Not sure if that's a factor, and even if it is, what I can do about it, short of wiping everyting and starting again (a very, very, very last resort with my setup for various reasons).
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Nov 2013   #7

Win 7 PRO x64, WIN 8 PRO x64
 
 

the gray ones are your sata 3 ports so i would since your ssd's should be sata 3 and would get better performance
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Nov 2013   #8

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit
 
 

Well, one of the SSDs is, I think, defunct.

I'll try plugging the O/S drive in there, once I get the SATA drives sorted out.

You say my SSDs should be SATA3. How to tell?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Nov 2013   #9
Microsoft MVP

 

Remember to assure the correct HD you want to boot is set first HD to boot in BIOS setup.

Are you booting your choice of OS HD's via the BIOS or using a Windows Boot Menu?

With all drives plugged in please post back a screenshot of Disk Management - Post a Screen Capture Image.

To get the System to boot with all HD's plugged, assure that the OS drive marked System Active is set as the first HDD to boot in BIOS setup.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Nov 2013   #10

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit
 
 

In the BIOS the SSD with the O/S is set as the first disk to boot. I have now plugged it into a grey Marvell SATA3 port and in the BIOS I have gone into Onboard device Configuration and set the Marvell 9128 Controller to AHCI Mode. I think that is correct, no?

Checkdisk ran all night, "Fixing incorrect information in file record segment ..." then changing security IDs. The result is that the drive has been wiped clean! Great!!! All that is left is a file, bootsqm.dat. Any ideas why this is the case? Again, I have all the data that was on the drive backed up (I think!) but why has checkdisk removed every folder and file that was partition? I wasn't expecting that.

Are you booting your choice of OS HD's via the BIOS or using a Windows Boot Menu? I don't see what you mean by that - I am not in a multi-boot setup and have only one OS HD. I attach a screenshot of my Disk Management. As soon as I connect a SATA HDD, the SSD drive (with the 'System reserved' Partition and The C drive) is kicked off the Disk0 spot.

The PC boots OK now - I get a new Marvell info screen during the boot process, but I suppose that is normal.

Assuming the SSD on which I had FS9 is indeed dead (still a few tests to do) I was thinking about replacing it with a hybrid drive, like this one:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Seagate-ST10...1Tb+SSHD+drive

Plugs into SATA3 port too I think?

A good choice, in people's opinion?

Thanks,

Martin


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