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Windows 7: System Restore, tells me ChkDisk, ChkDisk tells me System Restore

10 Dec 2013   #1
Diana Doors

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
System Restore, tells me ChkDisk, ChkDisk tells me System Restore

So, my computer froze this morning and I had to do a hard reboot. That caused a few odd problems in Firefox and, more importantly, seems to have upset Windows. The biggest symptom is that when I start any program from the Start Menu, even Microsoft programs like Calculator or System Restore, the "unknown publisher" dialogue pops up. It also sometimes makes 2 rapid high-pitched beeps. Something's obviously been damaged, so I thought a System Restore was in order.

When I try to do a System Restore, however, it tells me that it can't do it until I run a ChkDisk. I schedule one, reboot and it tells me that it can't perform ChkDisk until I use System Restore to restore the system to an earlier point. This isn't much help. I performed several malware tests just yesterday, and my computer was clean, so that's a less likely explanation than it might at first appear.

It's not, however, the first weirdness I've had with my drives. The automatic update before last caused my drive structure to rearrange itself (it now lists "System Reserved" as the B: drive in the "Computer" folder, and I had 2 SATA drives, one USB drive and one IDE drive, and the OS no longer sees the IDE drive, although the BIOS still does. It also counts "System Reserved" as part of the E: drive, which is a data drive, rather than the C: drive, which is the boot drive. And, before the update, that E: drive was my D: drive and the E: drive was the IDE drive that is now missing).

So, there's definitely weirdness going on. It shouldn't be a problem with any of the hardware, as much of my hardware, and this installation of Windows 7, are only 2-3 months old.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Dec 2013   #2

Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit SP1 x64

I suggest you post a screenshot displaying all the details available from Windows Disk Management.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Dec 2013   #3
Diana Doors

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit

Click to enlarge.

Disk Management:

My System SpecsSystem Spec

10 Dec 2013   #4
Diana Doors

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit

Odd, as it seems that the computer does now see the IDE drive, but it doesn't have a letter.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Dec 2013   #5
Diana Doors

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit

I've assigned it a drive letter and it's working again. Weird.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Dec 2013   #6
Diana Doors

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit

I've just realised that my last post is possibly ambiguous. The drive that was missing is working again - I'm still having all the other issues.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Dec 2013   #7

Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit SP1 x64

I am not absolutely certain which is your IDE drive.

My best guess :-

Disk 0 : SATA : "Default" Windows 7 installation HDD with ACTIVE (Bootable ?) capability now relegated to data
Disk 1 : SATA : ABNORMAL Windows 7 installation HDD from which you are currently running Windows
Disk 2 : IDE : Yet another DATA drive that may have been a Windows System of some sort,
Disk 3 : WD Elements USB3 drive (overflowing with data)

I could be wrong, but it seems to me that :-
The BIOS (or user boot options) chooses the MBR of an Active HDD for deciding which Partition on which HDD to jump into for a Windows installation.
Your screenshot suggests that today it chose the 189.91 GB HDD which is shown as "System,Active,Primary".
Yesterday, and again tomorrow, it could choose the 935.51 GB HDD which is shown at the moment as "Active,Primary"

Today it has chosen Disk 1 with a single partition 931.51 GB without any volume name
Last week it may have chosen the 931.41 GB partition and found Windows there,
or it might even have found some Windows within its own 189.91 GB partition.

Your BIOS decision is probably influenced by Disk numbers, which are NOT predetermined.
Microsoft issued a KB acknowledging the issue and excusing themselves on the basis that SATA Disk Numbers are determined by the order in which Disks are "enumerated",
Consequences :-
1: It depends upon which Disk is first to power up and respond to the BIOS,
2: That is affected by the duration of the previous power down.
e.g. Upon a cold Power start my proper Windows System SSD is normally Disk 2, and my two SATA HDD are Disks 0 and 1,
but a Restart involves an extremely short "power down" for all the Disks and my SSD becomes either Disk 1 or even Disk 0

The BIOS only chooses an active Disk.
The MBR of the Active Disk then chooses which partition on which Disk to find and run an operating system.

There's many a slip 'twixt the cup and the lip

I STRONGLY RECOMMEND THAT you use Windows Disk Management and :-

1. Assign a unique System Volume name to absolutely EVERY partition on each Disk,
AND this name should include a clue to the drive letter that OUGHT to be allocated to that partition.
I am happy when Windows Explorer shows me that my drives C:\, D:\, and H:\ have volume labels
C_System, D_SAM_DATA, H_Portable.
Unique names are essential if you are using a Linux Boot Recovery CD which shows partitions with any drive letters,
and even WinPE Boot Disk has shown me the WRONG drive letters.

2. Unless you are happy with uncertainty, or need it for dual booting,
I suggest that you remove the ACTIVE flag from one of the Disks.

If you remove it from the Disk 0 the nameless 935.51 GB partition will always run its version of C:\
and your system will continue to be "Wrong" until it is otherwise fixed.

If instead you remove it from Disk 2 the 100 MB "System Reserved" Disk will always run whatever Windows it wants.
This may make things better for you - but it could go the other way because that is how Windows is.
That is why I create Partitition Image backups in readiness for whenever Windows self-destructs and needs Boot Recovery.
I confidently predict that the MBR on Disk 0 will choose any partition on any Disk,
and I predict that it will be repeatable,
But I do not know which it will be.

I guess that your current Disk 0 was the original Windows 7 system Disk with two partitions (100 MB and 935.41 GB),
but that installation could be badly corrupted if your existing C:\ system is writing data to what it sees as the DATA volume E:\

Another possible choice for Windows may be what is currently seen as the 189.91 GB Letter-less "DATA" partition on Disk 2.

Please note that :-
System Volume Names are recorded on the individual Partitions of each Disk regardless of what version of Windows or Linux.
Partition Letters are a figment in the imagination (and the registry hives) of the Windows that happens to be running.

Please note that although I am aware of many ways in which Windows can self-destruct,
my knowledge is limited,
but Windows mischief is infinite.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 System Restore, tells me ChkDisk, ChkDisk tells me System Restore

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