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Windows 7: Repair Disk takes me to text Windows Boot Manager, not GUI

21 Dec 2012   #1

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
Repair Disk takes me to text Windows Boot Manager, not GUI

tl;dr: Hang on the splash screen. Windows 7 repair disk or install disk (.iso from Digital River) brings me to the text-based Windows Boot Manager, not the GUI I expect. Boot Manager options didn't work. Now Boot Manager is skipped entirely and booting from either the HD or the DVD result in a hang on the splash screen.


No new hardware or software installed recently.

Windows hangs on the splash screen, with "Starting Windows" displayed but the pulsing logo never appears.
Restart gives me Windows Error Recovery.
If I follow the recommendation and Launch Startup Repair,
"Windows is loading files..." (bar reaches the end rather quickly and then nothing happens. I'm frozen.)

So! At this point I can't enter Windows normally and I can't use Startup Repair.

Booting with F8, I chose Repair. As before (we've got consistency, at least), Windows is loading files... (bar reaches the end and nothing happens.)

Reset, F8, this time shooting for Safe Mode. Trying for Safe Mode results in a fair list of drivers loaded. we get to \windows\system32\drivers\disk.sys and everything freezes.

At this time it seems worthwhile to introduce other media. To my great surprise, I can't find my installation disks. I use a friend's machine to burn a Win7 Repair Disk and also the Win7 Home Pro install disk .iso from Digital River.

Change boot order in BIOS.
Press any key to boot from CD or DVD... (key pressed)

I'm expecting the pleasant GUI. Instead (with either disk) Windows Boot Manager comes up, olde schoole text: no GUI, no blue wallpaper.
The only operating system listed is Windows Setup [EMS Enabled].
Selecting this gives me a screen stating Windows is loading files... (bar completes twice)
Takes me to the splash screen as before, complete with hang rather than pulsing logo. This, of course, is where I began.
At the Windows Boot Manager I can F8 for advanced options. Safe Modes from this disk act as when I tried it from my HD.
I can also run the Windows Mem Diagnostic. First time I tried I got an error: can't run memtest.exe. Error 0x000000f.

[Possibly irrelevant: I put the SATA drive in an external enclosure and connect it, via USB, to a working Win7 laptop. Laptop says, "is this a cd/dvd or a flash drive?" But the flash drive option is greyed out. I choose cd. It says, "nope, write protected. No dice." I plug it into a WinXP machine, and it's a worse mess. Don't remember, maybe it wasn't able to recognize the file system.]

At this point, I'm licked. I take it to the computer fixit guys. Boots up weird for them, they restart it, works fine. They say the found some bad sectors, some of which were unfixable. They offer to reinstall Windows for $50. I take it home to fuss with it.

Home, same failed boot x3, 4th works fine. Chkdsk shows no errors. Windows has errors with System Restore and also with making a backup. Download drivers via SlimDrivers. I use Macrium Reflect Free twice, once to back up the OS and secret system partitions, once to backup the Program Files partition. Both of these are now on my storage drive. I run Malwarebytes. No issues on C:. I use Magic Jelly Bean Keyfinder to pull my product ID for my Windows install.

This morning I'm ready to get serious about this. I've got (from Digital River) the install disk, I've got my product ID, and I'm sick of this. Boot it up. Ready for a repair install, or maybe even a full wipe. Of course, I can't. Can't use disks to install windows, can't use disks to repair windows.

I know that every so often the OS works. I restart several times to see if maybe I can catch the OS in a good mood. Now it does not go to the Boot Manager Screen, but instead behaves as if I've selected Windows Setup on that screen: "Windows is loading files..." leading to a frozen splash screen. (I'm being VERY careful to only hit my keyboard once to load to the dvd.)

And that's where I'm at. Any suggestions?


My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Dec 2012   #2
Microsoft MVP


Everything that possibly can be done is here for Troubleshooting Windows 7 Failure to Start.

Burn a new DVD or flash stick installer from the link using the tool in Step 5.

You'll need to be able to boot the disk. If necessary Clear CMOS - 3 Ways to Clear the CMOS - Reset BIOS, set DVD drive first to boot. Are you getting a prompt to "Press any key to boot DVD?"

If not try the BIOS Boot Menu key given on first screen. If that fails try the flash stick installer with HD set first to boot in BIOS. If that fails unplug the DVD drive.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Dec 2012   #3

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit

I appreciate the reply.

I've burned the DVD from the link provided. It ends up being the Digital River source that I found before. I thought maybe I had a bad DVD, but I tried it in this laptop and it took me to the Installer screen as it ought.

Went into BIOS on the nonfunctional machine and cleared the CMOS to defaults.
Changed the boot order to CD/ DVD first.
With the DVD in, I'm asked to press any key to boot from CD.
I do so.

I get a black screen stating "Windows is loading files..." and a progress bar shoots across.
A new progress bar moves at a more leisurely pace.
The Windows splash screen comes up, with "Starting Windows," and no logo. Time passes. No logo. Maybe it's working, maybe I'm frozen.
I'll let it sit here for a few hours and see what happens, but so far this seems ungood.


I've checked the DVD - it's good. When it says it's booting from the DVD I can hear it spin up. I'm surprised that these two facts aren't enough to guarantee good behavior.

Any thoughts?

My System SpecsSystem Spec

22 Dec 2012   #4

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit

To try and chase down hardware issues I've tried booting with only one stick of RAM, and varied which one. No change, making me think it's not a memory issue. Tried with the other SATA as the sole HD. No change, suggesting it's not a HD issue. Uh, this leaves my optical drive, motherboard, or PSU.

I'm feeling pretty stuck.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Repair Disk takes me to text Windows Boot Manager, not GUI

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