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Windows 7: Cannot boot

20 Apr 2011   #1
anaron

Windows 7 Pro 64 bitv & Windows 10 Home
 
 
Cannot boot

Daughter decided to run Regseeker on her Windows 7 Pro computer. I advised her not to no avail. I did make her create a restore point before the cleanup. Now her computer will not boot. Goes thru the Dell logo then goes into repairing start up only to say it cannot repair start up. I cannot get it into safe mode with command prompt or any other option boot option. It goes to a black screen with a working mouse cursor that appears to be reshaped by the safe mode. She does have a backup on a hard drive that is about 2 months old. I hooked it up with a usb adapter and did get her computer to boot to the old drive. Everything is still on the primary drive. The strange thing is I checked the restore points on the old drive and it shows her last restore point on the primary drive. I wanted to restore to that point but my mind tells me that won't work as I am not on the primary drive. I could do a backup from the old drive to the primary drive but she has a lot of programs she has bought and downloaded that she will use and she did not say any of the execute files nor keep any purchase records. Any advise on the best and safest way to get the primary back to booting with minimal loss. Kind of afraid of damaging her only back up so I am real cautious.
Ron


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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20 Apr 2011   #2
Night Hawk

W7 Ultimate x64/W10 Pro x64 dual boot main build-remote pc W10 Pro x64 Insider Preview/W7 Pro x64
 
 

If you don't have a reocvery disk provided being the usual for the newer Dells you can create a repair cd on another 7 machine or download the iso image for one at Download Windows 7 System Recovery Discs — The NeoSmart Files

Once you boot live from the repair cd you can select the automatic Startup repair tool and try running that a few times with a restart seen inbetween each run. Hopefully that will be able to repair the problem without the need for a full system recovery just to fix a boot up problem by replacing a most likely now missing system file.

If you can id the one or more files since Regseeker does have a file search option it's also possible to manually expand them from a 7 recovery disk or other 7 install media if available. The Startup repair tool however would be the first thing to try.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Apr 2011   #3
SIW2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista x64 / 7 X64
 
 

Probably worth trying Shadow Explorer. ShadowExplorer.com - Manual


Install it on the booting drive ( I think you call that the "old" drive) - see if you can find windows\system32\config in the sick drive ( what you call Primary drive ) last restore pt.

Copy ( rt click and export ) the config folder to the sick drive\windows\system32 replacing the damaged one.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

20 Apr 2011   #4
Shootist

Windows 7 Pro x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by anaron View Post
Daughter decided to run Regseeker on her Windows 7 Pro computer. I advised her not to no avail. I did make her create a restore point before the cleanup. Now her computer will not boot. Goes thru the Dell logo then goes into repairing start up only to say it cannot repair start up. I cannot get it into safe mode with command prompt or any other option boot option. It goes to a black screen with a working mouse cursor that appears to be reshaped by the safe mode. She does have a backup on a hard drive that is about 2 months old. I hooked it up with a usb adapter and did get her computer to boot to the old drive. Everything is still on the primary drive. The strange thing is I checked the restore points on the old drive and it shows her last restore point on the primary drive. I wanted to restore to that point but my mind tells me that won't work as I am not on the primary drive. I could do a backup from the old drive to the primary drive but she has a lot of programs she has bought and downloaded that she will use and she did not say any of the execute files nor keep any purchase records. Any advise on the best and safest way to get the primary back to booting with minimal loss. Kind of afraid of damaging her only back up so I am real cautious.
Ron
You say you booted the computer from a USB drive that has a backup copy of Win 7 on it?
As far as I know a full version of Windows will not boot from a USB drive. Especially if it was just copied over to that USB external drive.
In other words If I copied my current working install of Windows 7 onto a USB external drive and then removed my main boot drive and tried to boot to windows on the USB drive it would NOT work.
So I suspect you are actually using the BOOT files on the main drive. That is why you are seeing a restore point from that install of Win 7.
Not sure where to go from here.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Apr 2011   #5
anaron

Windows 7 Pro 64 bitv & Windows 10 Home
 
 

The drive she has the two month old backup on is a WD internal ide drive that I attached to her computer with an usb/ide adapter. This is a clone of the original drive that a friend of her's made, I assume the same way I hooked it, as her Dell is all sata. It is a bootable functioning clone.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Apr 2011   #6
Shootist

Windows 7 Pro x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by anaron View Post
The drive she has the two month old backup on is a WD internal ide drive that I attached to her computer with an usb/ide adapter. This is a clone of the original drive that a friend of her's made, I assume the same way I hooked it, as her Dell is all sata. It is a bootable functioning clone.
Ok but Windows, a full working version (Not one that was made with Win PE) as far as I know, will not boot from any USB attached drive. To many variables.
But I"m going to give that a try. I have a full working second drive as a backup.

Try taking her drive out of the system and then booting off that USB attached IDE drive.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Apr 2011   #7
Night Hawk

W7 Ultimate x64/W10 Pro x64 dual boot main build-remote pc W10 Pro x64 Insider Preview/W7 Pro x64
 
 

That's because an image was restored to the ide drive before placing it in the external enclosure retaining the boot sector as well as boot files. As for restore points those are mainly registry backups but won't help if your daughter used the Regseeker option for searching for drivers and ended up deleting any of the main files.

Yet the cloned drive is bootable with Windows loading from that? Sounds like the bootsector on the Dell's main drive needs repair. You can use a live repair cd to enter the fixboot, fixmbr commands to see the mbr repaired as well as the manual rebuild of the BCD store if that turns out to be the case. How to use the Bootrec.exe tool in the Windows Recovery Environment to troubleshoot and repair startup issues in Windows

SIW2's suggestion as well as the Startup repair can also be given a whirl to see if either one will see results.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Apr 2011   #8
Shootist

Windows 7 Pro x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by anaron View Post
The drive she has the two month old backup on is a WD internal ide drive that I attached to her computer with an usb/ide adapter. This is a clone of the original drive that a friend of her's made, I assume the same way I hooked it, as her Dell is all sata. It is a bootable functioning clone.
I just did a test.
I shut down my PC and disconnected my internal boot drive.
Took my backup drive (this is a drive that has an exact copy of my boot drive) and connected it to my PC with a SATA to USB adapter.
turned my system on and hit the F8 key to bring up the One Time Boot Menu for my system.
Selected the USB attached SATA drive as the BOOT device.
Windows started to load and the Blue Screen.
You can NOT boot a Full version of Windows from a USB drive.
That mean that your daughters system is starting to boot from the USB drive but then going to your internal drive to finish the BOOT.
That is because the BOOT file, the file that tell the OS where to find the files (on XP it was call BOOT.INI and was in the ROOT of the C drive) it needs to complete the loading of the OS, is looking at the internal drive. Specifically the second partition on Drive 0.
That mean if you had some type of recovery CD that had a file manager on it you could copy over the files from the first partition on the USB attached drive to the first partition on the internal drive and the OS should start right up.
That first partition on both drives is 100MB in size and is a hidden partition call System Reserve with no drive letter assigned to it when booting into the installed OS. There is no way to get to it from a normal boot of the OS, that I know of.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Apr 2011   #9
anaron

Windows 7 Pro 64 bitv & Windows 10 Home
 
 

Night Hawk's recommendation to use a repair dics finally resolved the issue. Ran it for the fourth time and was about to give up when the machine booted up to the original drive. Everything appears to be fine but will do a restore back to her restore point she created just before the crash. Thanks everyone. This was a little over my head but hopefully all is coming out well.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Apr 2011   #10
Night Hawk

W7 Ultimate x64/W10 Pro x64 dual boot main build-remote pc W10 Pro x64 Insider Preview/W7 Pro x64
 
 

I'm glad to hear you saw results using the Startup repair tool. Sometimes it will take a few extra runs to finally get something fixed however.

Without a 7 recovery disk something else to look into they can come in real handy at times. The option for creating a repair cd is also present in 7 as well. Simply go into the Control Panel>Backup & Restore section and look just below the option to create a system image(full image of main drive) for the create repair cd link seen on the left side.

Since you have a spare drive available once you are sure everything is back to running normally you want to consider installing that or another second drive to store a full system image in case of any furher mishaps! That will save you a lot of headaches when something gets ??? Backup Complete Computer - Create an Image Backup[2]=Backup

If Windows gets trashed again you can boot from the repair cd you just made and opt to restore a full image of the drive back to it while booted live from the cd. You can even start a restoration while still booted in Windows which will start the restoration tool and restart automatically to proceed with the restoration.

A second guide for recovery with a full system image can be seen at System Image Recovery[2]=Backup

A restoration generally only takes about 20 minutes or longer depending on how large the image is. The feature has been tested repeatedly since 7 was in RC form and found reliable to date. The most important thing however is simply saving you from another possibly larger headache if you are not able to repair the Dell's preinstalled 7 the next time.

Just a few things to run by you here.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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