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Windows 7: Changed graphics card - Windows 7 won't boot, files missing

02 Apr 2019   #1

Windows 7 x64
Changed graphics card - Windows 7 won't boot, files missing

Hi all,

Hope someone can help.

Firstly, I don't run my Windows 7 install in the conventional manner, I actually run Windows 10 from my main boot drive, and I don't have any dual-boot menus or anything going on. I just have Windows 7 installed on my old secondary (previously main) hard disk drive as a sort of back-up OS - basically the only way I can boot 7 is to go into my BIOS F8 boot menu and select the secondary drive from there. I don't use 7 but every now and then I'll boot into it to make sure I update it etc, just on the off chance I ever have a problem in Windows 10.

Anyway, at the weekend, I changed graphics card from a GTX 560 to a GTX 660 Ti, and got my Windows 10 set up with drivers etc (and I am having some lag problems with general performance since the changeover but that's a story for tenforums) and then I tried to boot Windows 7 using the BIOS boot menu and it started to boot, but then quickly changed to "Launching startup repair".

I thought it might be a one-off but no, it happens every time, so I did the startup repair option on the main menu that appears in the Recovery Environment and it went through various stages and then gave me a report, where it said NTOSKRNL.EXE is missing. Sure enough, from the command prompt, looking in System32 folder, there was no sign of NTOSKRNL.EXE, so I ran SFC /SCANNOW /OFFBOOTDIR=D:\ /OFFWINDIR=D:\WINDOWS and it ran, but it didn't restore any files.

Why might this have happened and why is SFC not restoring any files? Is there any way I can get 7 to start as it used to?


My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Apr 2019   #2

Win7 pro x64

Since you have win10 I assume your bios has Secure Boot enabled, and win7 prefers to have it disabled especially when changing hardware. Try disabling secure boot in bios (you may need to use the old graphics card to do so), then try installing the new card.

If that is no help, note that your system is not set up for dual boot in the normal way which means win10 may have overwritten the boot sector on your win7 drive. Try rebuilding the MBR using the below link. Its best if you unplug the win10 hard drive when doing so. A Poor Man's Dual Boot is where you have an OS on two drives like you do and simply change boot order in bios like you do but ALSO you never have both drives plugged in at the same time, lest they mess with each other's boot sector.
MBR - Restore Windows 7 Master Boot Record

btw easybcd may be a better solution going forward so you don't have two competing bootloaders.
EasyBCD - NeoSmart Technologies
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Changed graphics card - Windows 7 won't boot, files missing

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