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Windows 7: "Preparing your Desktop" and then blue screen with no HDD activity

21 Dec 2014   #21

XP Pro and Win7 Pro both 32 bit plus Win 8.1 64bit

Re message 20 - I was just about to try unplugging the XP drive when your message arrived, so I have tried that first.

The result was - XP drive inactive - Boot from Win7 drive enabled as first entry - Win 7 drive is active in PW.
Then booted from Win7 DVD and did the startup repair 3 times. The log showed no faults and message was startup OK. I then clicked Finish and shutdown. No change in the situation when restarting..

Then I unplugged the XP drive and checked for Win 7 active and rebuilt MBR in PW. Booting from DVD to get the startup repair and did that 3 times.

When I restarted the PC (XP drive still unplugged) I got the Win7 Welcome screen. First time for days!!!

But that then segued into Preparing your desktop, followed by the blue screen and the Not genuine windows, warning. And that was it - no desktop icons as when Win 7 crashed in the first place.

Before i had done any more work today I checked both drives using Bootmaster. There are two drives with a total of 6 partitions. On five of them there was a file named §BOOT.
On the Win 7 partition there was a file named BOOTMGR from 2010 - years before I bought the DVD.
On the XP partition there were §BOOT (2008), BOOTMGR (2010), NTLDR (2008), BOOT (December 2014)- Seems like too many to me!
By the way, PW does not show all those.

So at least I can sort of get into Win 7, but can't use it. Ctrl+Alt+Del gets me to the usual shutdown screen.

On the Win 7 partition the BOOTMGR entry is still there with the same date.


I only installed Win 7 to learn how to use it after the dire warnings from MS about EOL for XP! It was OK for months but now I can't even get XP to work. And that iw where all my files,email etc are. It seems that the drive still has them intact if I could only boot to it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Dec 2014   #22
Microsoft MVP


Do you see any signs of your User account or did it create a new one, possibly because the old one is corrupt? Try to run a full scan with Malwarebytes and then run SFC /SCANNOW Command . If these won't run from desktop, switch to the bootable AV and SFC methods in Troubleshooting Windows 7 Failure to Start.

See if you can browse via Explorer to your old User account under C:Users. If you see it then I would simply drag your files over to the new account, test all programs to see if they run and if not reinstall them, set up your desktop and browser again.

But if you see signs of further corruption I'd strongly consider a Clean Reinstall Windows 7. If you leave the XP drive plugged in it may correctly configure a Dual Boot.

See if you can install EasyBCD (click Download - no Name or Email required) to add XP on the Add OS Entry tab, letting it autocomplete the drive letter if it will.

As to those earlier Boot files were likely when Win7 was installed earlier as a Dual Boot and configured its boot files on the XP partition as it does. You may need to delete them, if necessary from boot using Copy & Paste - in Windows Recovery Console. If XP won't boot when added from Win7, unplug the Win7 drive, boot into XP Repair console to run bootrec /fixboot and bootrec /fixmbr to see if it will start. If not you may need to run an XP Repair Install or you can simply abandon the XPired OS and browse into it to get its files from Win7 or disk.

I don't know what the other boot program you're using is but it may have corrupted the bootloaders.

Please post a screenshot of Disk Management - Post a Screen Capture Image or PW drive map and listings.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Dec 2014   #23

XP Pro and Win7 Pro both 32 bit plus Win 8.1 64bit


Yes, i still have the Users folder and it still has my account name in it.
So I switched on with the XP drive still unplugged.

Good news first! I am writing this on my PC through Win 7. Not so good / I can\t access IE9 but can access Chrome

Not so good news! I could not boot into any sort of desktop except the blank blue screen. So using some lateral thinking following up something I read earlier, I sued ctrl-alt-del to get into Task Manager and ran explorer.exe. That got me a picture desktop with a few icons AND, a Start button. Many of the links via the Start menu do not work and give messages such as "Problem with shortcut" or "no such interface supported in explorer.exe".

When I installed Win 7 I left all of XP and its files on the existing hard drive. Then added a new empty HD which I partitioned to suit. For the Win7 install I made one partition drive name W: Win 7. Using the basic procedure in Installing more than one operating system (multi-boot) - Windows Help

I then ran the Windows 7 upgrade adviser and followed with the Files and Settings Transfer Wizard (I think those are the correct names).

Installed Win 7 from DVD to W: and then used the transfer wizard generated file to load all my data from XP to Win 7 Obviously, as a lot of the stuff was/is compatible, the system didn't need all the programmes reinstalled as they are on the original drive in the same PC already.

So I think that is now the root of the problem - many of the links will reference the programmes/dats on the XP drive. Foe example, to get Outlook which was installed while using only XP, the XP drive has to be connected.

So now I wonder what that drive will be called in Win 7 when I plug it back in!

The obvious answer is to rename the Win 7 partition as drive W: thus allowing the XP partition to be C: But I wonder what will happen?

I will let you know and I will definitely NOT be trying it until I have reported back!


In Denmark we have our high point on Christmas Eve as the main holiday and family feasts. So I will be a day out of sync with UK/USA later this week . Glædelig Jul og Godt Nyt År
My System SpecsSystem Spec

22 Dec 2014   #24
Microsoft MVP


Where is the screenshot of Disk Management - Post a Screen Capture Image? If unable to make one you can also install or boot Partition Wizard (burned to CD using Windows Image burner) to take a picture of the drive map and attach it back with paper clip in reply box.

None of the methods you used are recommended or would not be expected to cause problems. The steps to get and keep a perfect Clean Reinstall Windows 7 are in the blue link and have been used by over a million consumers without a single complaint or anyone coming back with problems if they stick with the tools and methods given.

Windows 7 will always boot as C when it is correctly installed from booted installer and not another OS which locks out the C drive letter from use. It is best to unplug all other drives during install so that separate HD's remain bootable only via the BIOS, although if you don't like this arrangement you can later install EasyBCD to Win7 to add XP to a Dual Boot, which will still keep either hard drive bootable independently. But if you install Win7 while XP hard drive is plugged in, it will edit the boot files on XP partition and become dependent upon it to boot it's own Win7 hard drive.

If I were you, I would unplug XP hard drive and do a perfect Clean Reinstall Windows 7
including all of the preparatory steps so that you end up with a perfect install instead of a mess, and it will stay that way for as long as you stick with the tools and methods given.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Dec 2014   #25

XP Pro and Win7 Pro both 32 bit plus Win 8.1 64bit


Softlee, softlee, catchee monkey!

As I am at present only able to use Win7 with a temporary profile opened via Task Manager and explorer.exe, my options are very limited. I guess that I am only able to use Chrome as I directly installed it once when I was using Win 7 in its full glory!

So, going to Properties on Computer does show Manage, but clicking on that only gives the message that it won't work in explorer.exe. Similarly with the link to the Snipping Tool - it is there, but won't open. Clicking on Computer itself can't get me the usual list of drives and files for the same reason.

When I have time I will use PW and take a photo of the screen and send it via my wife's PC. I have very little time every day as I have 11 cats and a handicapped wife to care for so have to make the 12 of them my priority. So please don't nag and let me work through your suggestions and requests in my own time, even though it may seem extraordinarily slow to other people.

All the best and thanks for all the help.

PS Yes, I possibly did not go the approved route when I made my PC Dual Boot, but it DID work for over half a year. That is called "Trouble Shooting" - my profession for 22 years
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Dec 2014   #26

XP Pro and Win7 Pro both 32 bit plus Win 8.1 64bit


I have done some more archive work and so attach some "camera screenshots"! Sorry they are not all straight, but I think they are readable.

test3 - PW shows the Win 7 drive with the OS partition marked active. For a control I added an empty USB memstick
test4 - PW shows the same but now with my external (backup) USB One Touch HD
test5 - PW shows the same but now with the XP drive added - OS partition not marked active
test6 - This is what I get after using explorer.exe within the temporary profile that is setup when Win 7 is booted from its HD on startup.

In the last one you can see that I have managed to change the mouse by going direct to its menu from the Search in Start. You can also see the message I receive when clicking on Computer and many of the othe Start menu links that fail.

I checked on the Environment Variables settings for the temporary profile and as I suspected some refer to drive C: and others to drive W: in the same set.

As I have no way of getting to the drives, folders and files, I can't see any way of changing that.

I also cannot use MalwareBytes - although I can attempt to download it, permission is refused and again I can't access the permissions service. I have downloaded it to a memstick, but as I cannot use My Computer to get to the memstick, I still cannot run it.

So now I have tried your suggestions and still cannot run Win 7 in a usable way. XP won't boot at all and it is obvious that the Dual boot files in the root of the HDs are the problem. i would try the fixmbr and boot/rebuild commands if I could get to the Command window. But as XP/Win7 dual boot files prevent booting from the XP HD and even the install CD, I am stuck on that route.

Any more ideas?

Attached Thumbnails
"Preparing your Desktop" and then blue screen with no HDD activity-test3.jpg   "Preparing your Desktop" and then blue screen with no HDD activity-test4.jpg   "Preparing your Desktop" and then blue screen with no HDD activity-test5.jpg   "Preparing your Desktop" and then blue screen with no HDD activity-test6.jpg  
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Dec 2014   #27
Microsoft MVP


Can you run Malwarebytes and then SFC from Safe Mode, or create a new Admin User account? User Account - Create
SFC /SCANNOW : Run in Command Prompt at Boot

If you ran Startup Repair three separate times with only the 7 drive attached and it starts now but will not function then it may be heavily infected or corrupted. In this case if you're not ready to rescue your files to Clean Reinstall - Factory OEM Windows 7 then attempt to disinfect and run SFC from Troubleshooting Windows 7 Failure to Boot.

Separately with only XP plugged in you can try the repairs for it I gave you days ago
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Dec 2014   #28

XP Pro and Win7 Pro both 32 bit plus Win 8.1 64bit


The last point in your message 27 I can answer straight away - Yes! I tried it but as XP no longer boots, I can not get to step 4 as before that stage I get an "operating system missing message" and BSOD.

As far as Malwarebytes is concerned, the Win 7 temporary user profile does not allow me to download anything, AND, even though I have downloaded it to a memstick, as I cannot get to My Computer, I can't access that download to run it.

I have tried to Run lusrmgr.msc and netplwiz etc but as all those are through the path C:/Windows/system32 they cannot run - as I have written before, I originally installed Win 7 on its partition in drive W: and at some point Win 7 renamed that to C: thus making a conflict in environment variables etc.

I have not yet tried to boot Win 7 in Safe Mode, so will do that later today and report back.

If that also fails then I have one more idea, but need a three bits of information first before I try it - in the root of the XP drive there is a folder that does not appear on my wife's PC which has the same XP installation; that is called BOOT, From its date it would appear to have been added by Win 7 at the point where everything started to go crazy. There is also a file BOOTMGR which appears to be identical to the one in the root of the Win 7 drive. I presume that is the one installed for Dual Booting?

Thirdly, is there a way of getting direct to the command prompt on the XP install CD? I have a vague idea that there is a key combination that can do that.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Dec 2014   #29
Microsoft MVP


The XP boot repairs and Repair Install are all done from booting the XP disk as shown in Repair Install tutorial.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Dec 2014   #30

XP Pro and Win7 Pro both 32 bit plus Win 8.1 64bit

I have searched for the XP Repair Install tutorial you refer me to, but can't find it. Link please.

Thanks in advance and Happy New Year!
My System SpecsSystem Spec

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