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Windows 7: "Windows cannot start" (or words to that effect)

26 Nov 2012   #1

MS Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit SP1
"Windows cannot start" (or words to that effect)

Hi all

Anyone had a similar experience recently? This morning, turned on laptop, black-and-grey screen you usually don't see unless you key Fsomething during bootup.

Main message = "Windows cannot start" (or words to that effect) "this may be due to a recent update or...". I've had so many problems with computers you'd think I'd read the screens but I never seem to learn. I simply clicked the offered option to auto-repair which "may take several minutes".

After a half-hour or so the screen cheerfully informed me Windows had not been able to automatically repair itself and would I like to send this information (to...?) or not? I clicked yes. Then, from memory, it shut down and I restarted the computer. Or, it restarted. I need a better memory or attention. Anyhow, the expected screen arrived for my computer password, I entered it and all seemed normal.

Until I tried a Norton scan, and the Norton window told me IN RED my updates were out-of-date and automatic-update was unavailable. Then, after a bit of self-consultation, Norton added there were 4 issues to Fix - so I hit Fix and eventually everthing went reassuringly green.

Then I tried a Malwarebytes scan. Malwarebytes complained its database wasn't there - would it like me to go and get the latest one? Yes please. It did and I did a full scan only to see I had no realtime protection!!! I've left that off for the moment as Norton once advised me they prefer Norton to do the realtime Malware protection.

What has hit me? I have downloaded files from Youtube and but neither of my security programs objected. The last Windows update was on the 15th November (10 days ago) and only Norton and Malwarebytes update daily that I know. Neither of them has fought with the other to this point that I'm aware.

Computer: Toshiba Satellite L840/02K (4 months old)
Windows: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit SP1
Malwarebytes: Malwarebytes Anti-Malware (PRO)
Norton: Norton 360 Version


My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Nov 2012   #2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient


I'd try restoring your computer to a date/time prior to when this problem first happened. You may have to access Safe Mode from the Advanced Boot Options menu.

System Restore

Advanced Boot Options

It's possible that your computer has been infected with some form of malware. It's a common occurrence for malware to interfere with installed security products. Also, no anti-malware product is going to be 100% effective 100% of the time. (If there was such a thing we'd all be using it.) Try running another full scan with Malwarebytes from Safe Mode. Then run a couple more on-demand scanners. These are free and recommended:

Windows Defender Offline (can check for malware before Windows loads)

ESET Online Scanner



If all scans come back clean I would next check for damaged or corrupt system files by running a system file checker scan from an elevated command prompt (option two.) If problems are found, run the scan 3 times and reboot the computer after each scan.

SFC /SCANNOW Command - System File Checker

Please post back if anything helped or not.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Dec 2012   #3

MS Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit SP1

Hi marsmimar

Please forgive my not responding - got swamped by other life distractions. Definitely no rudeness intended. Partly down to these and partly to a lack of faith in my own competence (the "gumbie" bit of my callsign has been thoroughly earned) I eventually paid a local tecchie I use to scan my laptop silly but he came up with nothing.

But I wanted to thank you for the thoroughness of your response and the reference links which I still intend to check out both as education and forward-planning for the next time (and there will be a next time, there always is).

Cheers and again apologies for not responding

My System SpecsSystem Spec

08 Dec 2012   #4

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient


No apologies necessary. I'm glad to hear you were able to enlist the aid of your local techie. Thanks for posting back with the good news nothing was found.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 "Windows cannot start" (or words to that effect)

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