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Windows 7: MBR/BCD Missing/Invalid Unable to boot without Boot CD

28 Mar 2012   #1
foxnet

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
 
 
MBR/BCD Missing/Invalid Unable to boot without Boot CD

Problem
My hard drive will not boot without using a bootable CD to reference the Windows partition.

Symptom
When I power on my computer, the BIOS POST displays, then a black screen with a blinking cursor (_) in the top left appears. Nothing happens after this, no error messages or anything.

Current Workaround
I can place Hiren's BootCD (Hiren's BootCD 15.1 - All in one Bootable CD » www.hiren.info) into the drive, and allow the computer to boot to this CD. Once it is booted, I can scroll down to the menu option "Boot from Disc 0, Partition 2", and the Windows 7 install on my C:\ drive will boot like it should.

Background
  1. The drive originally shipped with Partition 1 as a 10gb recovery/restore partition, and Partition 2 is where Windows 7 was installed.
  2. At some point, the recovery partition had data on it accidently deleted, rendering it useless.
  3. Ubuntu was installed as dual-boot with Windows 7. This shrunk partition 2 (Windows 7), and added partition 3 (200gb) and partition 4 (50gb) for Ubuntu. It then booted to a GRUB bootloader which had Windows 7 as the last option on the list.
  4. Uninstallation of Ubuntu. I used the methods shown at this link: The Non-Geek’s Guide To Safely Uninstall Ubuntu From A Dual-Booting Machine
    • Partitions 1, 3, and 4 were deleted using EASUS Partition Manager in Windows.
    • Partition 2 (Windows 7) was moved to the beginning of the hard drive and enlarged to use the entire disc using Disk Management utility.
    • EasyBCD was started to revert GRUB so that Windows 7 could now load.
    • First problem After opening EasyBCD, but before messing with the settings, I closed my web browser, which automatically clears cookies, cache, and all temporary files. When I then pushed the button to 'Add New Entry' in EasyBCD, an error displayed saying it could not find C:\TEMP\somefile (which I believe was the working copy of the BCD store). No other operations worked in EasyBCD after that. Restarting the program resulted in an error message about it not being able to open the system's BCD store because it did not exist.
  5. Rebooted, and current problem (blank screen with cursor) manifested.

Steps Taken So Far
  1. I rebooted with Hiren's BootCD, pointed it to Disc 0, Partition 2, and it booted to a Windows error message saying \Boot\BCD was missing. It stated I should boot with the Windows 7 recovery/repair CD and it would fix the problems. I rebooted with the disc, and after the progress bar "Windows is loading files...", a black and white Windows 7 background appeared with a mouse cursor, then the system rebooted before anything else happened. Thinking it might have made a change silently and rebooted, I left it alone. The same thing happened several times over again, and I decided it was stuck in a reboot loop, and it was not going to work.
  2. I then rebooted with Hiren's BootCD again, and ran the Linux based partition manager live CD it contains. There were several utilities for fixing the MBR and the BCD, but none of them fixed the problem. The BCD program it contained would not work because it could not find the current BCD (which didn't exist).
  3. I found the Microsoft article here: Error message when you start Windows 7: "The Windows Boot Configuration Data file is missing required information" which describes the problem, and proposes a fix. Rebooting to Hiren's BootCD again, I ran the Windows XP live CD it contains, and from there I was able to run some Windows commands such as bootsect.exe, mbrfix.exe, mbrutility.exe, mbrwizard.exe (I believe the versions on this CD are open source free versions, but I could be mistaken). With these utilities, I was able to do a few of the things on the list, but without bootrec.exe, bcdboot.exe, and bcdedit.exe, I was very limited.
  4. I then found a Windows 7 rescue CD online which contained only the utilities (no operating system, just the repair utils), which was offered at a PC repair website. I burned this CD using Hiren's BootCD live Linux to a spare disk, and rebooted with it. This time it worked, and I was able to get to the repair menu.
  5. I selected the option to fix the problems preventing Windows from starting, to which it said it could not find Windows 7 on my hard drive. I assumed this was due to the missing BCD, so using the methods here: Boot Manager gone :( [Archive] - My Digital Life Forums I was able to drop to a command prompt on the Windows 7 rescue disk and run them all. Everything worked perfect, no errors.
  6. I rebooted with the rescue disk ran the fix boot problems option again, and it found my Windows 7 installation, and said there was an error with the partition table. I told it to fix it, and it rebooted and said there was no other problems.
  7. When I boot, I still get a black screen with the blinking cursor, but now I can use Hiren's BootCD to select Disc 0, Partition 2 (Windows 7) and boot.
  8. But I cannot figure out how to get the computer to boot to Disc 0, Partition 2 (or to make Partition 2 into Partition 1 if that is the problem?) on its own.
Additional Information
Code:
Microsoft DiskPart version 6.1.7601
Copyright (C) 1999-2008 Microsoft Corporation.
On computer: KYLA

DISKPART> list disk

  Disk ###  Status         Size     Free     Dyn  Gpt
  --------  -------------  -------  -------  ---  ---
  Disk 0    Online          931 GB      0 B
  Disk 1    Online          465 GB      0 B
  Disk 2    No Media           0 B      0 B

DISKPART> list volume

  Volume ###  Ltr  Label        Fs     Type        Size     Status     Info
  ----------  ---  -----------  -----  ----------  -------  ---------  --------
  Volume 0     D   HBCD 15.1    CDFS   DVD-ROM      500 MB  Healthy
  Volume 1     C   WIN7         NTFS   Partition    931 GB  Healthy    System
  Volume 2     F   External     NTFS   Partition    465 GB  Healthy
  Volume 3     E                       Removable       0 B  No Media

DISKPART> select disk 0

Disk 0 is now the selected disk.

DISKPART> list partition

  Partition ###  Type              Size     Offset
  -------------  ----------------  -------  -------
  Partition 1    Primary            931 GB  1024 KB

DISKPART>
Code:
Microsoft Windows [Version 6.1.7601]
Copyright (c) 2009 Microsoft Corporation.  All rights reserved.

C:\Windows\system32>bcdedit /enum ALL

Windows Boot Manager
--------------------
identifier              {bootmgr}
device                  partition=C:
path                    \bootmgr
description             Windows Boot Manager
locale                  en-US
default                 {current}
displayorder            {current}
timeout                 30

Windows Boot Loader
-------------------
identifier              {current}
device                  partition=C:
path                    \Windows\system32\winload.exe
description             Windows 7 Home Premium
locale                  en-US
osdevice                partition=C:
systemroot              \Windows
resumeobject            {aa76eae3-7848-11e1-ad72-806e6f6e6963}

Windows Boot Loader
-------------------
identifier              {658ef916-7860-11e1-804e-ecffacd7b673}
device                  ramdisk=[C:]\Recovery\9043e7f8-38c4-11e1-a16c-f46d04e219
a7\Winre.wim,{658ef917-7860-11e1-804e-ecffacd7b673}
path                    \windows\system32\winload.exe
description             Windows Recovery Environment (recovered)
locale
osdevice                ramdisk=[C:]\Recovery\9043e7f8-38c4-11e1-a16c-f46d04e219
a7\Winre.wim,{658ef917-7860-11e1-804e-ecffacd7b673}
systemroot              \windows
winpe                   Yes

Resume from Hibernate
---------------------
identifier              {aa76eae3-7848-11e1-ad72-806e6f6e6963}
device                  partition=C:
path                    \Windows\system32\winresume.exe
description             Windows 7 Home Premium
locale                  en-US
inherit                 {resumeloadersettings}
filedevice              partition=C:
filepath                \hiberfil.sys
debugoptionenabled      No

Windows Memory Tester
---------------------
identifier              {memdiag}
device                  partition=C:
path                    \boot\memtest.exe
description             Windows Memory Diagnostic
locale                  en-US

Device options
--------------
identifier              {658ef917-7860-11e1-804e-ecffacd7b673}
ramdisksdidevice        partition=C:
ramdisksdipath          \Recovery\9043e7f8-38c4-11e1-a16c-f46d04e219a7\boot.sdi

C:\Windows\system32>
Screenshots
Disk Management in Windows 7
Attachment 204719


My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

28 Mar 2012   #2
Kevin Ismail

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Hi Foxnet.
Welcome to sevenforums
Can you provide us your screenshot of your listed partition on disk management
just like mine
-disk-management.png

Kevin


My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Mar 2012   #3
foxnet

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
 
 

Hello, Kevin! Thank you for replying. I have added it to my initial post and will add it here as well. I'm not sure how to make it a preview, but clicking the link it made works:

Attachment 204719

I also added output from diskpart at the end of my original post.
I also added output from bcdedit /enum ALL at the end of my original post.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


28 Mar 2012   #4
Kevin Ismail

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

To upload file you can click the attachment icon on the right end of reply-typing box (iconed by paper clip). Tou first [browse] and [upload], wait till it done, and click on [close this windows]. To attach the file, again click on attachment, and click the file listed on it.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
From what I can observe on your volume list, you have the system, no boot drive. I also unable to see if your drive has a mark as "active". So considering you are able to boot by first running Hiren's boot cd, I presume you have the boot file on the drive. My suggestion are:
  1. Use any partition program on hiren to set your C drive as "active" then try to directly boot from it.
  2. When it is already set active but cannot boot from it, try again to boot W7 through hiren, run EasyBCD and try to find and add boot file on drive C and save it.
  3. Lastly, use your installation CD to again repair it (already set it active).
This is coming from my limited expertise. But who knows luck is on you

Kevin

Name:  Diskman2.png
Views: 609
Size:  42.0 KB


My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Mar 2012   #5
foxnet

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
 
 

In the screenshot I have linked as 'Attachment 204719', it says:

WIN7 C: System, Boot, Page File, Active, Crash Dump, Primary Partition

Which appears to be that it is set for everything it should be set for.

Earlier, I did try running EasyBCD to "Install the Windows 7 boot loader to the MBR", but that did not allow the drive to become bootable. It also caused the partition to not boot with Hiren's BootCD until I used the rescue disk to repair the partition table again.

I have a feeling it is an MBR issue, as I can boot into the operating system with Hiren's BootCD (I'm posting from Windows 7 right now), but I am not sure what the issue actually is and how to get a working MBR installed.

Would the partition ordering be an issue? I have one partition, but it is marked as the second partition on the disk. I'm not sure how to make it the first partition, but perhaps it cannot install the MBR properly without a first partition to write to?

-ss-disk-management.jpg


My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Mar 2012   #6
Kevin Ismail

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

OK that seems strange to me as the screenshot show your C drive is good to go.
  • Make sure your HDD is connected to SATA port 0
  • Disconnect any external drive you have.
  • Again run windows 7 through hiren
  • when you run easyBCD. in view setting is windows 7 listed?
  • When running EasyBCD dont use "BCD Deployment" to write MBR. it might cause unpredictablebehavior.
  • Instead, use "Add new entry". Chose windows 7, point it to the drive to C.
Return to me then. I will shout to more expert in this forum to help you out.
Kevin
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Mar 2012   #7
gregrocker
Microsoft MVP

 
 

Boot into System Recovery Options on DVD or System Repair Disk to run Startup Repair - Run 3 Separate Times.

If it will not start Win7 then you'll need to copy out your files, wipe the HD with Diskpart Clean Command to Clean Reinstall, as GRUB can corrupt Win7 beyond repair when on the same HD. We see it all the time.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Mar 2012   #8
Kevin Ismail

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Thanks for extending the help, Greg.
Appreciate it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Mar 2012   #9
Kaktussoft

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bits 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1
 
 

boot into recovery environment, enter "command prompt"
bootrec /fixmbr
bootrec /fixboot

Commands succeed succesfully?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Mar 2012   #10
foxnet

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
 
 

Sorry for the delay in response! I ended up going the wipe and clean reinstall route GregRocker mentioned, and the .iso download, windows reinstall, and data restoration from backups took forever.

I did try your steps first, but the problem persisted.
  • Kevin Ismail: The drive was located in SATA 0.
  • Kevin Ismail: I did have an external drive plugged in, and tried without it connected.
  • Kevin Ismail: Windows 7 was listed in EasyBCD, though using add entry only added a second Windows 7 to the list.
  • Kevin Ismail: I had been using the EasyBCD write MBR feature, but I was under the impression it was a required part of the process. I tried it again without doing so.
  • GregRocker: As mentioned in my original post, it would not boot from the recovery/repair disk. It was just in an infinite reboot loop for whatever reason.
  • Kaktussoft: I couldn't use the recovery/repair disk, but using Hiren's BootCD, I was able to boot into Windows 7 where I could run bootrec.exe and other programs. The output was always good "The operation completed successfully", etc, but the drive was still unbootable.

Interestingly, after doing this clean reinstall I can now boot from the recovery cd that was in an infinite loop before...

Thank you all for the help!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
Reply

 MBR/BCD Missing/Invalid Unable to boot without Boot CD




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