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Windows 7: Debugging BOOTMGR/BCD at boot time using BCDEDIT

01 Jul 2012   #1

Window 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Debugging BOOTMGR/BCD at boot time using BCDEDIT


When booting into my RECOVERY partition (drive letter R: ) I get the following error:

=======================Windows boot manager=======================
Windows failed to start. A recent hardware or software change might be the cause. To fix the problem:
1. Insert your Windows installation disc and restart your computer.
2. Choose your language settings, and then click "Next".
3. Click "Repair your computer"
If you do not have this disc, contact your system administrator or computer manufacturer for assistance.
File: \Boot\BCD
Status: 0xc0000225
Info: An error occurred while attempting to read the boot configuration data.

The recovery paritition contains the Window7HP installation images. When booting normally into the recovery partition WinPE is the OS, which is packaged in a Windows IMage file at R:\sources\boot.wim . The BCD store (file) is located at R:\boot\bcd and is 256KB in size (pretty large); on my C: drive bcd is 28KB.

At boot time, the BCD does not even get loaded. I would like to debug the BOOTMGR/BCD and find out what exactly the problem is, so that I can try to repair the BCD (in case the BCD is the problem). What follows is an extract of the WBM:

Windows Boot Manager
identifier {9dea862c-5cdd-4e70-acc1-f32b344d4795}
description Windows Boot Manager
locale en-US
inherit {7ea2e1ac-2e61-4728-aaa3-896d9d0a9f0e}
bootdebug Yes
bootems Yes
default {7619dcc9-fafe-11d9-b411-000476eba25f}
displayorder {7619dcc9-fafe-11d9-b411-000476eba25f}
toolsdisplayorder {b2721d73-1db4-4c62-bf78-c548a880142d}
timeout 10
displaybootmenu Yes

I managed to get Bootdebug and Bootems into the BCD store by using BCDEDIT but those options have not shown any debugging power yet; I still get the same error as before without any extra information preceding the error. Maybe there is a log file somewhere but I have not found where, and I have no idea how to dump any debugging info into a log file.

So I was just wondering if anyone could help me out here with debugging the BOOTMGR/BCD ?? What are the commands, the options, the parameters, etc...
I already tried the repair disc for Windows 7 but that only works on the main system drive C: for the real Win7HP; the repair disc does not at all work on my recovery partition (WinPE in Boot.wim).

Thanks in advance


My System SpecsSystem Spec

01 Jul 2012   #2
Microsoft MVP


Have you Marked Recovery Partition Active to try to boot it at restart?

Restart Windows 7 by moving Active flag back to C or System Reserved partition, then run Startup Repair - Run 3 Separate Times.

Now install EasyBCD to Windows 7, on Add Entry tab add WinPE RAMDISK entry, name it HP Recovery, browse to the Recov partition's Recovery.wim or Boot.wim file after unhiding System and Hidden files in Control Panel>Folder options>View. EasyBCD (free Download at bottom of page - no name or email required)

Now reboot, from Boot menu choose HP Recovery or RamDisk entry to boot into Recovery.

If this fails your Recov partition may be corrupt. Try making Recovery Disks from it, order from HP Tech Support or get the superior Clean Reinstall - Factory OEM Windows 7 without all the HP bloatware.

Attached Thumbnails
Debugging BOOTMGR/BCD at boot time using BCDEDIT-recov-wim.png  
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Jul 2012   #3

Window 7 Home Premium 64-bit

I've done exactly that trick with EasyBCD earlier today. It worked very well, I could from my normal C: system partition boot (chose between Windows 7 or WinSetup) and boot directly into R:\sources\boot.wim. That launched immediately the OEM Windows 7 Installer.

However, there is a drawback; it requires a normal functioning bootloader in the system partition. If for some reason my system (C: ) partition would totally fail, then I don't think the same trick would still work for the simple reason that C:\boot\bcd would be out too. In such a case direct booting into the recovery partition is the only elegant solution.

So it would be nice if I could debug the recovery partition's Bootmgr/bcd and repair the problem.

My System SpecsSystem Spec

02 Jul 2012   #4

Window 7 Home Premium 64-bit

I am a bit confused with the usage/interface of EasyBCD. On the system HDD of my notebook there is the system partition (C: ), a data partition, and then the Recovery partition (R: ). The current active boot partition is my C: with Win7HP, and it is here that I run EasyBCD to try to modify and test the recovery partition.
So in the menu of EasyBCD I go to File -> Select BCD Store and I go to R:\boot\bcd . In View Settings it clearly shows I've loaded the bcd store from the R partition despite the fact I've booted from my C drive (Windows 7).
Then, in BCD Backup/Repair taking a backup of R:\boot\bcd is not a problem. However, after having removed/deleted the R:\boot\bcd, restoring the backup in the location R:\boot\bcd does not seem to work in my case; I don't know what folder exactly the backup is restored into???

The confusing thing is that the interface in EasyBCD does not *explicitly* mention in the case of file transfers what/where the source file is and what/where the destination file is.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Jul 2012   #5
Microsoft MVP


Please post back a screenshot of your maximized Disk Management drive map and listings:

1. Type Disk Management in Start Search box.
2. Open Disk Mgmt. window and maximize it.
3. Type Snipping Tool in Start Search box.
4. Open Snipping Tool, choose Rectangular Snip, draw a box around full map and all listings.
5, Save Snip, attach using paper clip in Reply Box.

Tell us what is on each partition.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Jul 2012   #6

Window 7 Home Premium 64-bit

Debugging BOOTMGR/BCD at boot time using BCDEDIT-easybcd1.png

C: is the currently booted system partition
D: is data partition
F: the recovery partition

EasyBCD pane contains content of F:\boot\bcd


My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Jul 2012   #7
Microsoft MVP


You did not maximize the Disk Mgmt window so I can't see all of the listings on list or map. Which is marked Active?

I also need to see the Edit Boot Menu tab of Easy.

What exactly is the performance problem you are having now, or do you just want to know it's config'd correctly?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Jul 2012   #8

Window 7 Home Premium 64-bit

Ok, now I know what you mean, it is the C partition which is ACTIVE (boot partition). As for the Edit Boot Menu in Easy it shows: Windows Setup.
I would like to know where the error message in my first post comes from? Does it come from the BOOTMGR itself, or is there some other instance that shows the message?
Apart from the instance (Bootmgr, or whatever other *.exe) that shows the message, I would like to know what exactly causes the error message? Is the BCD corrupted somehow? Could that be the case? Or could there be a problem with the Bootmgr which became corrupted and can't read the BCD anymore, tricking itself into the opinion that the BCD is corrupted while its not.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Jul 2012   #9
Microsoft MVP


Can you make your Recovery disks? This will assure you have one method if you can't get into Windows 7 to run it and the hotkey fails to respond.

OEM's are all different how they trigger the Recovery partition to boot. Sometimes if Fkey doesn't respond you can mark it Active to boot it, other times it depends upon F8 menu which can be dependent upon the OS integrity since F8 comes with the OS.

If you want highly technical BCD editing advice you can PM our colleague SIW2 who has helped rebuild the Recovery hotlink as here: Dell Recovery Partition - restoring F8 link
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Jul 2012   #10

Window 7 Home Premium 64-bit

Debugging BOOTMGR/BCD at boot time using BCDEDIT-easybcd2.png

This the snip you requested earlier.

I took a ISO backup of my recovery partition on an external HDD, and those ISO files (5 of them) I've burned them onto 5 DVDs. I've also sent the recovery partition directly to my DVD burner generating another stack of 5 backup DVDs. So I got 2 sets of 5 DVDs, plus the 5 ISO images of the recovery partition. I also cloned (with GPartED) my recovery partition to my external backup drive, and I re-imaged the clone back onto my system drive (now located on the innermost (slowest) tracks of the system drive). Strangely enough the re-imaged recovery partition on my system drive DID WORK correctly for a while because I reinstalled my Win7HP several times to verify the integrity of the (re-imaged) recovery partition. I just hope nothing weird has been written into my MBR, or the bootsector or the recovery partition.

I got an ASUS K93SV notebook and the hotkey is F9. I think I could use some highly technical BCD editing advice.


My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Debugging BOOTMGR/BCD at boot time using BCDEDIT

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