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Windows 7: Laptop crashed... C: and D: drives switched?

20 Jun 2011   #1

Windows 7 Home 64 bit
Laptop crashed... C: and D: drives switched?

I apologize in advance if this is in the wrong forum, but the oddness of this issue kind of made it difficult to classify.

Some background info: My laptop is an HP and runs Windows 7 Home Edition (64 bit). Because the nature of my computer problem prevents me from viewing any of the specs, I could not fill out a lot of the computer info in my profile. By default, everything (including the OS) installed on the C: drive, which is the system's primary hard disk (~500 GB). There is a D: drive, but I honestly can't remember what it's for.

Yesterday I was browsing the CBS news website when my computer spontaneously restarted itself. As it restarted, it showed a black screen that said "Windows is loading files" with a gray loading bar. After about a minute of that, it went to cloudy blue sky background, and a Windows 98-esque dialog box came up, labeled "Startup Repair". The box said "Your Computer was unable to start. Startup Repair is checking your system for problems". Again, a couple minutes pass and nothing comes of it, so it brings up a black, fullscreen menu for HP's "Recovery Manager".

The middle column of options, labeled "I'd like to identify any problems", has a "Run Computer Checkup" box. I chose the option "Launch Check Disk for the Windows Partition". CHKDSK runs, then brings me back to the previous screen, at which point I ran "Launch Check Disk for the Recovery Partition". Again, no results.

I go back to the Recovery Manager, and the left column is labeled "I need help immediately". The latter two options are for a complete system recovery, which would return the computer to the original factory condition and wipe out all of my files and programs. Not wanting to resort to that, I chose the first option, "Microsoft System Restore", Long story short, none of the 3 restore points are able to fix the issue, and the last step of the restore process (restarting the computer) just brings me back to the "windows is loading files" screen I described before.

I'm not sure if it's relevant, but I noticed that when selecting a restore point, the "confirm disks to restore" dialog box says "You must always restore the drive that contains Windows. Restoring other drives is optional". There are two checkbox choices below: "Local Disk (C:) (System)" with its status listed as "Ready to Restore". Next to it is a checked box which is grayed out, and thus can't be unchecked. The second option on the list is "Local Disk (C:) with its status listed as "The drive cannot be found". Next to it is an unchecked, grayed-out box which cannot be checked. Again, proceeding with this fails to restore the system.

Thus, I go back to the recovery manager to find the right-hand column of options, labeled "I'd like to take precautions". I click the "File Backup Program" option, and select the type of files I wish to make a backup of (music, movies, docs, etc). It then takes me to a screen that says "Scanning: The File Backup WIzard is creating a list of files to back up. This process may take several minutes. As it creates the backup, it shows a progress bar and one line of text, which is a real-time path to all of the files its including in the backup. At this point, I recognize my entire folder and file hierarchy, except that everything is listed as originating on the D: drive (eg "D:/Program Files/music/"), whereas normally everything is on my C drive. I allow the backup to continue, and save the 133 GB file on an external hard drive.

I also wanted to note that at one point during this (I forget where, exactly), I clicked a "Help" button, which brought up a notepad file. Using File->Open, I was able to view all of the contents of my machine, except the names of the C and D drives seemed to be switched - "D" was listed as the 500 GB drive, and included everything that should be on C, such as Program Files, the Windows folder, etc. "C" was listed as a small (~30 MB) drive with essentially nothing in it (at least nothing that notepad could open).

I'm so sorry for the novel-length explanation, but that's about as condensed as I cold make it without omitting what may be crucial details. Does anyone have the slightest idea what is going on here, or what may have caused my computer to just crash like this? Are there any diagnostics/solutions for this, or should I throw in the towel and restore it to its factory condition? Thank you in advance for any help you can provide.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Jun 2011   #2

Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-Bit

Welcome to Windows Seven Forums.

1. Your D Drive should be HP's recovery partition.

2. Your C Drive should be your Windows 7 operating system.

3. If you have a Windows DVD or a boot disk you could try a system repair and a full anti-virus scan in Safe Mode.

I'm hoping other people more knowledgeable than me can put you on the right path, but I think it quite likely you may have to restore your computer to its factory settings.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Jun 2011   #3

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient


In Recovery Console the System Reserved would show C: & the OS D:

Scan HD with this tool:

Press the F8 key repeatedly at boot up or use the Startup disk.
Try this:
Startup Repair
Note: You may need to do startup repair 3 to 4 times.
Startup Repair - Run 3 Separate Times
Startup Repair Infinite Loop Recovery
System Repair Disc - Create

System Recovery Options
System Restore

Did you make your HP Recovery Disk?
My System SpecsSystem Spec

20 Jun 2011   #4


You should use the Win7 Repair CD instead of HP's bloated System Utilities which weigh down Win7 to begin with. System Repair Disc - Create

But first use a bootable AV scan to make sure any infection is cleaned: FREE Bootable AntiVirus Rescue CDs Download List

Then boot the Repair CD to run Startup Repair repeatedly. Startup Repair should automate System File checker, System REstore and Disk check but if not run them separately from System Recovery Options:
SFC -SCANNOW Run in Command Prompt at Boot
Disk Check

Test your RAM and HD: RAM - Test with Memtest86+
Hard Drive Diagnostics Tools and Utilities (Storage) - TACKtech Corp

You can copy out your files with the Repair CD: Copy & Paste - in Windows Recovery Console

You can run HP Factory Recovery from boot which is more stable than the Recovery Disks which should remain a backup: HP Backup and Recovery Manager

You could also find a Win7 installer to clean reinstall to get beyond HP's bloatware: Reinstalling Windows 7
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Jun 2011   #5

Windows 7 Home 64 bit

Thank you all for replying - I appreciate your time!

theog: unfortunately, the only other computer I have access to (the one I'm using to post this) is a Mac, so I can't run the Microsoft Standalone System Sweeper.

I've attempted to use the Startup Repair about half a dozen times sequentially, but nothing ever comes of it.

I followed the instructions in the "Infinite System Loop" you posted, but the computer still failed to start up correctly. I did learn for sure (steps 12-14) that everything is definitely on the D: drive rather than C: . All of the files listed in that guide are all in their right place, and everything in the RegBack folder has a nonzero filesize.

Unless I'm mistaken, it looks like the purpose of the "System Repair Disk - Create" link you posted is for getting to the "System Recovery Options" menu, which I *can* get my machine to do by pressing F8 at startup.

I don't have any sort of HP recovery disk, and I cannot recall if the computer even came with one. I think that everything I'm supposed to "need" to fix anything is already on the laptop. Attempting a System Restore (from any of the 3 restore dates) results in an error.

As much as I'm tempted to just restore it to the factory status, its frustrating to see my whole file directory RIGHT in front of me on the D: drive, but unable to touch it...
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Jun 2011   #6


In the post just above I told you how to retrieve your files. If you can't create a Repair CD as shown in tutorial from any Win7 machine, then burn to CD Paragon Rescue CD: Paragon rescue disk; change drive letter; recover data

If you are interested in repairing your installation then you'll need to work through each of the steps I gave you, not ignore them.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Laptop crashed... C: and D: drives switched?

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