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Windows 7: Dell laptop, Win-7-HP, new HDD - System Repair/Restore fail

24 Feb 2013   #1

Windows 7 HP 64 EN
Dell laptop, Win-7-HP, new HDD - System Repair/Restore fail

Hello everyone,

(I'm really sorry but this is lengthy, because I've tried so much and I'm really stymied. I hope you can bear with me.)

I picked up a Dell Latitude e4310 from a client about 10 days ago. Hard disk failed diagnostics, so I bought a new one, stuck it in and loaded Windows 7 HP 64-bit. Loaded device drivers - no yellow flags. Ran Windows Update ad nauseam until there were no more. Loaded my standard suite of software (AVG, MBAM, Adobe Flash/SWF/Reader, Skype, iTunes, 7-zip, etc.) and the created User Accounts and copied the data over.

Took an afternoon, ready to return computer to client, but there was a blinking battery issue ("not recognized.") Turns out it was the power supply.

Turned it on one last time, logged in, saw another Windows Update available, so I agreed to download/install them. WU said it was fine, "Restart Now," so I did.

System cannot start. Went to System Repair. Could not repair Windows. Went into System Restore. I tried the last snapshot. No luck. I tried the one prior. No luck. I tried the first one available. No luck.

I researched the problem both for Dell Latitude e4310, Windows in general, and any other wild ideas. Nothing.

So, I started from scratch, being a bit more deliberate this time. Delete partitions, erase, format, install Windows, loaded only Ethernet driver, did updates - several rounds. No third party software, no user accounts, no user data.

Same result. Thrown into System Repair, which fails and System Restore (only 2-3 options) doesn't work.

<big sigh>

Pull up my jeans, roll up my sleeves, lots more research but nothing really definitive.....

Restart #3: erase, re-install with a different (newer?) version of Windows 7 HP 64-bit. After initial install, WU reports 2 updates. I do these. After reboot, WU reports 108 updates. Something I found on this site (New set of 9 Microsoft Updates Crash Windows 7 64 Bit Desktop) reports "9 updates that crash Windows 7." List seems similar to several on my list of 108. I check all updates except these 9 and pray. They all load fine, system reboots, all is good. I load more device drivers. Reboot - fine. I load software, reboot, fine. I reboot over and over again, no problem.

But, I can't bear to return the laptop to the client and having to tell them "Don't ever do these updates." Plus, I want to figure out which *one* is the real culprit. So, I decide to test the System Restore, with a system that is having NO PROBLEMS booting.

Restart, F8, "Repair your computer", System Restore, choose the last one listed (before installing iTunes or Skype or something). "System restore completed successfully." Restart - CRASH. Same result as before. System Repair fails. System Restore fails. System is rendered completely useless.

Now desperate, I have even tried Windows 7 HP 32-bit. Without all the detail, I did the first round of 100+ updates and..... same frigging result.

(Aside: this computer was purchased when the client's son was attending a private school. The school's IT department deleted the Recovery Partition, so I don't have that on the original bad disk to work from, either.)

I'm at my wit's end. I've never really used System Restore much, but it's worked the 2-3 times I've used it before. But, the fact that a system update could render the whole thing useless (ON A CLEAN INSTALL!?!??!) just floors me.

While I do this for a living and feel confident that I can always figure something out, I am so deep into this one and have 7-10 days worth of frustration behind me, so I'm sure I'm no longer acting methodically or thinking straight.

Please, if anyone has any suggestions, links, thoughts, I'd be very grateful to hear them. I feel like I've tried everything, but I hope there is something that someone else might think of. I'm also hoping to learn something valuable for future such situations.

Thanks for sitting through this. All - well, most - comments welcome.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Feb 2013   #2
Microsoft MVP


You may have gotten in trouble by loading a bunch of drivers into a driver-complete OS. After install, get online to do all rounds of Important and Optional Updates after enabling Automatically deliver drivers via Windows Update (Step 3).

Only then should you import any drivers that are missing.

I would start over, run the Dell Diagnostics first to know the hardware is all sound now: Dell PC Diagnostics | Dell US, then follow these steps to get a perfect Clean Reinstall - Factory OEM Windows 7
which have never had a reported problem on a Dell whose hardware checks out first.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Feb 2013   #3

Windows 7 HP 64 EN

@gregrocker Thanks for your reply. I failed to mention earlier, but I did run the built-in Dell Diagnostics. Took about 10 minutes for the initial part then 30+ minutes for the complete diagnostics. Passed with flying colors.

At this point, the *only* driver I'm loading is the Intel_825XX_GIGABIT_PLATFORM_A06_290983.exe so that I can connect to the internet via ethernet cable. I have just done it again. Fresh Install of 64-bit version. I loaded that driver - online. WU tells me there are 2 updates to do and it's doing them. "Restart Now." Which I did. Everything good, so far.

Now, I'm told there are 108 important and 6 optional updates. I'm going to do the "Security Updates for Windows 7" and "Updates for Windows 7" and see what happens.

<trudge, trudge, trudge>
My System SpecsSystem Spec

25 Feb 2013   #4
Microsoft MVP


Install all Important and Optional Windows Updates except Language packs. There is no reason to pick and choose. You need all of the Updates, especially any drivers that subsequently come through.

Once these are all done, what drivers are still missing in Device Manager?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Feb 2013   #5

Windows 7 HP 64 EN

Normally, I *do* install all Important and Optional updates, but I know for a fact in this case, as soon as I download/install one of about 9 certain ones, I transport myself back to square one where System Repair and System Restore don't work.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Feb 2013   #6
Microsoft MVP


Then you'll need to isolate the problem Update by installing them singly with a Win7 backup image made first. Backup Complete Computer - Create an Image Backup
System Image Recovery

Once you isolate the problem update because it has caused the problem when installed singly, post it back in our Updates forum and open a support case on Windows Update website which is free email support.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Feb 2013   #7

Windows 7 HP 64 EN

I have now seen some diagnostics messages from Startup Repair....

Boot manager failed to find OS loader.
File Repair: 0x490
Boot configuration data store repair: 0x2
System Restore: 0x1f

upon reboot, i'm seeing "Windows failed to start. A recent hardware or software change...."
File: \windows\system32\kdcom.dll
Status: 0xc0000098
Info: Windows failed to load because the kernel debugger DLL is missing or corrupt.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Feb 2013   #8

Windows 7 Ultimate 32-Bit & Windows 7 Ultimate 64-Bit

Launch a command prompt from Recovery Console

Open Command prompt from Windows Recovery Mode ( heres how System Recovery Options ) Do option 1 if that doesn't work do Option 2 .

Choose Command Prompt on the System Recovery Options
Type C: and press enter. On C:\ prompt type cd windows\system32\ and press enter.

Type the following command, and then press ENTER: sfc /scannow
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Feb 2013   #9
Microsoft MVP


I would start over and this time wipe the HD first with Diskpart Clean Command
of possibly conflicting or corrupt boot code.

Then follow closely the steps to Clean Reinstall - Factory OEM Windows 7.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Feb 2013   #10

Windows 7 HP 64 EN

I have erased all partitions several times. I have re-installed from scratch following the Clean Reinstall instructions at least half a dozen times.

The simple fact is: the System Repair / Restore tandem are breaking after a clean install and Windows Update completing a second round of updates. Last night, I tried doing *only* the updates from 2011, intending to do the 2012 updates next, and then the 2013 ones. Even those 30 updates broke the system instantly.

Reminder: this laptop came with Windows 7 installed.

I have never liked Microsoft and/or Windows, and this just makes the case even stronger. <sigh>
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Dell laptop, Win-7-HP, new HDD - System Repair/Restore fail

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