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Windows 7: Bootmgr is missing, even after rebuilding bcd

27 Nov 2012   #11
Microsoft MVP


The Office Product Key as well as all other software keys are readable by Belarc Advisor - CNET to reinstall with the installer disk which is otherwise available. However you must be able to boot Win7 to run Belarc.

The install must also be able to boot to run a Repair Install with the latest official retail installer which is provided in the tutorial.

The latest installer and everything needed to get a perfect reinstall is in the Clean Reinstall tutorial.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Nov 2012   #12

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bits 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1

Mark "system reserved" active.
delete \bootmgr from that partition (if impossible, rename it)
delete \boot\bcd (if impossible, rename it)

Now startup repair 3 times, with reboots in between. What happens exactly if boot normally afterwards?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Dec 2012   #13

Windows 7 Professional x64

Thanks for the help guys; let me ask some questions and answer some.

I appreciate the advice gregrocker about using Belarc Adviser to detect the Office key, but I'm somewhat confused. If I use the clean install from my HP Recovery partition, won't that wipe out the Windows partition with Office on it before I can run Belarc to get the key from it? Maybe I missed something there.

To answer your questions Kaktussoft: I did mark the System Res partition active, and deleted the \bootmgr and \boot\bcd from that drive, and ran Startup Repair three times, but Windows still didn't boot.

Now you might ask, why is this? Following those steps will almost always fix a bad case of Windows not booting right?

Except it isn't that simple. I have recently found out that the trouble with this Windows installation goes much deeper. How so? Well, when I was exploring the drive contents earlier, as I mentioned in a post or two before this, I noticed that the RegBack folder and other registry hives were missing! On top of that, a huge chunk of the \Windows\system32 directory was flat-out gone!

I think that my friend might have accidentally deleted the directory, possibly in an attempt to delete a nasty piece of malware, because he didn't know what he was doing, or the malware itself deleted the registry and system32 folders. I did check the drive twice for infections using two different AV scanners, but nothing came up.

However, I did find a hidden directory at the root of the primary Windows partition, which used a series of brackets and parenthesis to create an emoticon that looked like a face smiling. My friend swears he didn't create it. Either someone else did as a practical joke, a program did it, or - as I suspect - it is the calling card of some virus or malware infection. Oftentimes malware will leave behind a calling card, and this could have been it. It definitely wasn't a normal part of the root directory of a Windows installation, even an OEM one.

Inside the directory were two log files, which I opened, but I couldn't make head or tails out of them. I should have saved them so I could upload them here, but it probably wouldn't have helped. I might try to recover them, but I don't think it is worth the effort, and I don't even know if it is possible now.

In any case, I feel that I must follow gregrocker's advice, and do a complete reinstall of Windows on the troubled drive. There simply isn't any other solution. I've followed an exhaustive list of suggestions both from this thread and website, and from the Internet in general. As I said, if this were a simple startup problem, I almost certainly would have got Windows booting by now. Instead, it appears to be some sort of other issue, especially with relevant files missing.

I even hooked up the drive to a working Windows computer, and started copying over the winboot.exe file (which was missing from the problem drive) and other system32 files. All well and good, but every time I copied something over, and tried to boot up Windows, I got yet another black-screen error message telling me something else was missing or corrupted. Last I checked, the International Language Files were gone.

Even if I did manage to get everything copied over and moved into its proper place on the drive, there still wouldn't be a guarantee that Windows would boot - or that it would even work properly if it did. As a result, a clean reinstall from the OEM recovery drive using the minimal install option would probably work best.

I've already pulled off most of the important files, so once I get MS Office reinstalled by retrieving the key somehow, then I will be ready to perform the reinstall.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

02 Dec 2012   #14
Microsoft MVP


You are correct that you must be able to boot Win7 to audit the Product Keys with Belarc. It would seem that one would save Product Keys worth hundreds of dollars, so perhaps you have them somewhere. It would take deep research to find how to copy out an Office key, however I've seen it done with Win7 key which is supposedly also encrypted. Consider saving a Win7 backup image which can be mounted in Disk mgmt to later retrieve any missing files, keys, etc.

If you've tried everything in Troubleshooting Windows 7 Failure to Start then you may want to move on to rescue your files and Clean Reinstall - Factory OEM Windows 7 which steps are the same for retail and will assure a perfect install.
to no avail then you've really done everything you can.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Bootmgr is missing, even after rebuilding bcd

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