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Windows 7: Can't boot from internal drive, and C: seems to be empty

07 Mar 2014   #1
Kotrab

Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit
 
 
Can't boot from internal drive, and C: seems to be empty

Hi everyone. This is my first post. I'm running W7 on a HP laptop, and my machine suddenly refused to boot. I got the error message about incorrect shut down, tried to boot it in safe mode and all other modes offered, but couldn't get past a file called aswRvrt.sys.

I've been able to boot from an installation DVD and tried repairing startup, restoring to last working restore point, but no luck.

Also, I thought all my files were supposed to be on C drive ( which is still listed as the System drive), but now they're on another drive -- which has changed a couple of times (first it was called D: then later that changed to E: when I rebooted from the CD). The C drive now seems to have nothing on it when I run "dir" command at DOS prompt. It says

"Volume in drive C is SYSTEM
Volume Serial number is CC01-3478
Directory of C:\
File not found"

If I look at the list of drives using notepad Save As (running from DOS prompt), C drive does seems to have something invisible on it that shows up as taking up 35 MB of a total of 198 MB (which sounds like a very small C: drive to me).

Has my boot drive somehow been renamed as D:? Is that even possible? Can I just use "diskpart" to rename it, or will that wreck things even more?

Thanks for reading this far, and for offering any suggestions you may have.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
.
07 Mar 2014   #2
ignatzatsonic

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit
 
 

A few questions to get started:

How many physical hard drives in this laptop? Just one?

When things were working right, did you have just one partition (C) on that internal hard drive?

I assume all of your personal files (pictures, video, etc) are also on C, not some other drive or partition?

Are your personal files backed up?

Have you made a set of recovery disks or does this laptop have a built-in recovery partition?

Have you attempted to run the hard drive manufacturer's disk tools?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Mar 2014   #3
Kotrab

Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by ignatzatsonic View Post
A few questions to get started:

How many physical hard drives in this laptop? Just one?

When things were working right, did you have just one partition (C) on that internal hard drive?

I assume all of your personal files (pictures, video, etc) are also on C, not some other drive or partition?

Are your personal files backed up?

Have you made a set of recovery disks or does this laptop have a built-in recovery partition?

Have you attempted to run the hard drive manufacturer's disk tools?

Hi ignatzatonic

Thanks for your questions.

There's only one physical hard drive. There was always a recovery partition, and I can still see one listed as F: drive. I've tried to attach a screenshot of what I see if I load notepad at DOS prompt and view Save As. Please let me know if hasn't uploaded properly ( I'm working from my ipad).

All my personal files were on C: drive but are now showing up as being on D: drive - but not always - the drive letter has changed at least once.

I have a Dropbox backup of my most important files, and have been able to back up less important files to an external USB drive from DOS prompt.

I thought I had made recovery discs, but can't seem to locate them now.

I'm not sure of the brand of my hard drive, so haven't tried any of their disc tools. How can I find this out, and do I download their disc tools or should they already be on the computer somewhere?

Is it possible I've been infected with some sort of malware that keeps reassigning drive letters or something like that?

(BTW: I'm in Australia so my replies may not be very prompt sometimes.)


Attached Thumbnails
Can't boot from internal drive, and C: seems to be empty-image.jpg  
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

07 Mar 2014   #4
AddRAM

Windows 7 Pro x64 Windows 10 Pro x64
 
 

Can you flip your picture around ?

Very odd your C partition is showing as MB and not GB

Or is Windows on D ?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Mar 2014   #5
Kotrab

Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit
 
 
Flipping screenshot

I've tried flipping the screenshot but am still getting the hang of the upload function - see if this is better...


Attached Images
Can't boot from internal drive, and C: seems to be empty-image.jpg 
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Mar 2014   #6
bigmck

Windows 7 Home Premium 32-Bit - Build 7600 SP1
 
 

The partition listed as C: is only the System drive and should not have a letter. Your D: drive with 64 GB looks to be the one with the OS. Is D: the one with the OS?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Mar 2014   #7
ignatzatsonic

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit
 
 

Not sure WHY the drive letters may be scrambled, but, looking at that picture:

Windows must be on D, which presumably used to be C. I assume your data is on this same partition? Or do you knowingly keep your data on a different partition than Windows?

What is now C appears to be the "system reserved" partition that normally has no drive letter. Your boot files are likely in this partition.

F is the recovery partition. Was it always F?

HP Tools is familiar to me and includes HP proprietary stuff. Was it always E? You can likely Google what it contains.

I assume Jim's Expansion Drive is an external? Was it always H?

I don't have the slightest idea about the X partition. I assume it is part of your one and only internal drive? Has it always been there, as X?

Have you knowingly done any fiddling with system settings or attempting anything unusual for you in the time immediately prior to this issue?

Have you done anti-virus and anti-malware scans?

What is that X drive?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Mar 2014   #8
gregrocker

 

The drive letters may not be the same in Recovery mode, so that can be ignored for now.

WOrk through the steps for Troubleshooting Windows 7 Failure to Start reporting back results as you go. It starts with disinfecting since it may not start or accept repairs until it is clean.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Mar 2014   #9
Kotrab

Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit
 
 

Thanks gregrocker, I'll work through the steps and report back.

bigmck: as far as I can tell drive D: contains the OS, but whether it's still a functional version of the OS I'm not sure. I don't know how to test that. Perhaps the troubleshooting sequence will help me work that out.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Mar 2014   #10
Kotrab

Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit
 
 

Sorry for the long delay in updating. I worked through the troubleshooting checklist, but found myself going round in circles after a while, running up against the same problems repeatedly. Eventually I decided that the only option was to reinstall Windows 7, which I did. The new installation has now been running for for than a week, and so far no problems, but I do have one last question.

I opted not to reformat the partition but to keep a copy of my original installation (renamed Windows.old) -- which made it so much easier to set up my new installation without having to resynchronise my whole Dropbox folder (58 GB) or dig into my external backup of files that weren't in Dropbox. I first ran scans of the whole system (including the Windows.old folder) using Malwarebytes, Avast, and the disk I made of Windows Defender Offline as part of the troubleshooting steps.

My question is: should this be enough to assure me that there isn't some residual malware that's going to pop up down the track?

Thanks again for helping!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Can't boot from internal drive, and C: seems to be empty




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