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Windows 7: BSOD Error - Unmountable Boot Volume

06 Feb 2012   #1

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
BSOD Error - Unmountable Boot Volume

I’m hoping someone can help me find a way to repair the hard drive for my wife’s <one-year-old HP Pavilion dm1 laptop so we can recover her data… at this point in time the partition on the drive is inaccessible (to me at least).

Here’s a brief rundown of the scenario. On Saturday morning my wife woke me up to tell me her laptop had blue-screened while she was working on an online document, and would no longer boot into Windows.

When the system is powered-up it seems to be going through a normal start-up process… displaying the Win7 pulsing logo for a minute or so. Then is switches to a notice asking if the user wants to run start-up repair (recommended) or start Windows normally. If start-up repair is selected the system will eventually display the default Win7 desktop wallpaper, and the hard drive light will indicate activity for a couple of minutes…. There’s even a mouse pointer that can be moved around… but no dialogs, controls, or anything else will ever appear. We left it in this state for more than 30 minutes to make sure.

If ‘start Windows normally’ is chosen the system will eventually blue-screen , with the error reported as ‘Unmountable Boot Volume’.

I tried pulling the drive and dropping it into an external drive bay, but when I attempted to go into the main partition I received a notice that the drive needed to be formatted first (which I obviously didn’t do).

I’ve also tried booting into a Win7 installation disk via an external USB drive (the laptop doesn’t have a built in optical drive), as well as booting into the same from a thumb drive. In each case I selected ‘Repair your computer” from the menu, only to get to the same scenario as before… with the default Win7 wallpaper displayed, but no sign of the System Recover Options tool/dialog… so I can’t even begin to try and repair the install.

On the plus side, she finally seems to understand what I’ve been telling her for years… that she needs to regularly back-up her system. Unfortunately all her research and papers from her current studies at college are stuck on the drive… and we really need to get them back.

Does anyone have any suggestions that might help us get this partition accessible again? Worst case scenario we’ll have to go with a data recovery service… but I’d obviously like to avoid that if I can due to the cost.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Feb 2012   #2

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit

Alright, first and foremost, we want to backup the data. Then we can worry about recovering her computer. I would suggest downloading and burning to CD the program PartedMagic. Then follow the steps in my post to Backup Files Using Parted Magic.

After the files are backed up (assuming PartedMagic can read the drive, which it usually can, but if it cannot, you will have to do this next step to allow it to), use Advanced Boot Options to select Repair Your Computer and get to the System Recovery Options. Then select the command prompt. Do the following:
chkdsk /r c:
chkdsk /r d:
chkdsk /r e:
chkdsk /r f:
.etc until you get the message that the volume could not be opened for direct access. For any drives that do not give the message:
"Windows has checked the file system and found no problems"
run chkdsk again as above. In other words, if it says:
"Windows has made corrections to the file system"
after running the disk check, run the disk check again.

I realize you may only have one disk show up in Windows explorer, but you may have more than one disk through recovery options. This is because the system creates a hidden boot partition (which will be C: in recovery), you may have a recovery partition for your PC that is hidden (which will be D: in recovery), and you will have your primary Windows partition (which may be E: in recovery). A custom PC will likely have at least C: and D: to scan.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Feb 2012   #3

Windows 7 Ultimate x64

I was able to pull some of the files off with Parted Magic, although it was really so-going. Some files would hand for quite awhile, and then some would finally copy, others would time-out, and others still would copy about halfway before the process would terminate.

Unfortunaely I can't boot into Advanced Boot Options, nor can I get into the repair options from a Win7 install disk or repair disk.

I think I might try adding the HD as a drive to a desktop computer and see if I can leverage the repair options from there.

I really want to thank you for your help too... we were able to recover a couple of things that she really needed.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

11 Feb 2012   #4

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit

You're welcome. Sorry to hear some things were not salvageable as of yet. Hopefully pulling them off through another computer will work. Best of luck!
My System SpecsSystem Spec

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