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Running out of options, Should I run Active@KillDisk?


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#1 Zalus

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Posted 19 February 2015 - 09:12 PM

Hi everyone. I can't boot my windows 8.1 PC at all other than in Active@Boot Disk. The repair functions all fail. The reset and reinstall functions also fail. I tried to repair the MBR a bunch of ways, that failed. I think I might have even made some things worse. When I run Active@Partition Recovery I find 57 partitions, 2 being good and the rest being pretty bad. I think a new boot volume had been created every time the system restarted itself. 

 

This past February 13th I had installed Microsoft's Age of Empires 3, it ran poorly on my more-than-capable computer so I played something else and turned off my computer. I had taken off my glasses at that point, but my girlfriend noticed a weird error message as the system shut down. The following day I could no longer boot into windows and was shown a blue screen of death with a sad face. 

 

I had booting problems before in my life and felt confident I could deal with this one, although I was demoralized. I had just built my dream PC this past summer and this was my first problem with it. I found a URL on the Microsoft website to create a repair USB, which took 24 hour cycle to download. I needed to boot from USB as my PC had no CD drive. To my despair the following Sunday, none of the repair functions worked. I couldn't repair, reset, reinstall, anything. The closest I got to re-installing and formatting the installer rejected my authentic windows 8 key. Instead of being smart and calling microsoft to authenticate my key, I kept asking them how to get into safe mode which I didn't know wasn't really accessible in windows 8. I started to panic and look up my own fixes for my booting problem. 

 

The first website I came across was a Fixed by Vonnie article about how to repair the EFI bootloader. It suggested using EasyRE, but that didn't have a USB version for windows 8. So I followed most of the steps. 

http://www.fixedbyvonnie.com/2013/12/how-to-repair-the-efi-bootloader-in-windows-8/

 

The only problem was that I was unaware that my system was not EFI, and didn't realize this would be a problem until I got to the part where I was supposed to "Verify that the EFI partition is using the FAT32 file system then select the volume and assign a drive letter to it"

All of my partitions were NTFS, but it didn't occur to me that would be a problem and I tried to "repair" the MBR and boot store anyway. Yes I'm aware I should have done none of these things.  :smash:

 

I was spurred on by the unfamiliar disk drives. My PC had an extended C:/ Partition and a D:/ for other things. But in DISKPART I'd found a bunch of volumes that had no rhyme or reason. There was an unmarked drive that seemed to form the rest of C:/ so I created a partition for it in the hopes that Windows would find the OS on it. I started to freak out a little when I booted to EFI errors. 

 

So I looked for an alternative to EasyRE, and found Active@BootDisk. I was joyous. I thought I had found a quick and easy fix. 

Then I did that deep partition scan and saw how messed up everything was. I tried to undo the EFI bootloader commands in CMD but I don't think I did the trick. 

After exploring the Active@ utilities and programs I thought maybe I could use the internet browser to launch a microsoft scan, but for whatever reason my PC wouldn't connect to my wifi and didn't seem to know about my ASUS wifi receiver. Then my mouse settled on Active@Killdisk. 

 

I know there is some risk in wiping SSD's, but I don't know much about it. I just want to purge my drive of all these random partitions and all the data on it so I can do a fresh install of all the things. But I decided before I do any more damage to come here and seek advice. 

 

Thank you! 

 

 



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#2 Zalus

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Posted 20 February 2015 - 08:33 PM

I know it's poor forum courtesy to bump a thread, but would anyone be able to give me some advice? 



#3 Aura

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Posted 21 February 2015 - 01:07 AM

Hi Zalus :)

The best thing to do in your case would be indeed to completely wipe the SSD and reinstall Windows 8 on it. You can easily do that during the Windows 8 installation by bringing up the command prompt via the Shift + F10 keys, then using the diskpart utility. To use the diskpart utility, enter diskpart in the command prompt and wait for it to open. Once there, enter list disk. Every disks present on your computer will be listed. From there, enter select disk X where X is the number of your disk (the SSD). Finally, enter clean to completely clean the SSD, removing every partitions on it. From there, you can simply exit or close the command prompt, select the whole partition to install Windows 8 on and the installer will do the rest by itself.

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#4 Zalus

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Posted 21 February 2015 - 01:07 PM

Hi Zalus :)

The best thing to do in your case would be indeed to completely wipe the SSD and reinstall Windows 8 on it. You can easily do that during the Windows 8 installation by bringing up the command prompt via the Shift + F10 keys, then using the diskpart utility. To use the diskpart utility, enter diskpart in the command prompt and wait for it to open. Once there, enter list disk. Every disks present on your computer will be listed. From there, enter select disk X where X is the number of your disk (the SSD). Finally, enter clean to completely clean the SSD, removing every partitions on it. From there, you can simply exit or close the command prompt, select the whole partition to install Windows 8 on and the installer will do the rest by itself.

 

Thank you, Aura. I ended up doing something similar.    :)

 

I launched CMD from the Active@BootDisk recovery environment after using Killdisk to wipe the whole SSD. I think Killdisk does about the same thing Diskpart's clean command does, just offering an interface and a bunch of intimidating military-grade erasure options. I did a single-pass wipe, figuring it would be best for the SSD and since HowToGeek states that there's no point in doing multi-pass erasures on SSD's anyhow. 

 

Now I'm waiting on Diskpart to format my new C: partition because I thought maybe not including "quick" in the command line would improve the quality of the NTFS formatting..somehow. I'll set it to active and then set up D:. This is my first time creating a partition table on my own, it's kind of exciting. 

 

I'll probably quick format the D: partition though, unless doing  so conflicts with the not-quick formatting of the C: partition. Would it? 

 

Meanwhile I'm watching this guy's tutorial video, wishing I had seen it before mucking around with the bootloader. Though after watching all of it I doubt that it would've changed anything, I think the whole reserved partition got screwed up somehow. 

 

The plan is; After I have both primary partitions C: and D: formatted to NTFS with C: marked as active, I should be able to do a fresh install of Windows 8. 

 

If I get that far today, I'll set up a recovery partition, BCD backup and a System Image Backup in PowerShell. I'm also going to keep copies of my PC's system image on both of my laptops. Is that too extreme? 



#5 Aura

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Posted 21 February 2015 - 01:09 PM

It's not too extreme at all, this is what you have to do if you want to have something to work with if you ever have to troubleshoot your system, or if you get it by a Cryptoware that would encrypt all your files, or even any other malware. I see that you know what you're doing here so I guess the issue was solved really quick :P

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#6 Zalus

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Posted 21 February 2015 - 01:16 PM

It's not too extreme at all, this is what you have to do if you want to have something to work with if you ever have to troubleshoot your system, or if you get it by a Cryptoware that would encrypt all your files, or even any other malware. I see that you know what you're doing here so I guess the issue was solved really quick :P

 

Erm. Not actually. I just learned a lot in the past couple days.  :unsure: Through much anguish. One pair of headphones did not make it. 

 

I'm generally pretty good at dealing with software issues, but this is the most complex issue I've ever had to deal with and didn't even know what file system or bootloader I was supposed to use. I was meaning to set up recovery points and stuff eventually, but didn't believe installing a Microsoft video game would be the tipping point to jeopardize my whole partition table. 

 

Thank you for responding though. Felt really lost! 



#7 Aura

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Posted 21 February 2015 - 01:17 PM

No problem Zalus my pleasure :) Let us know once everything's back in order and if you need anything else!

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#8 Zalus

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Posted 21 February 2015 - 01:39 PM

One question has been nagging me this whole time, and it's probably not a big deal but I can't find anything on google.

 

What is Disk X:? It's a 3.02meg raw fixed disk and whenever I launch CMD it's the default drive. 



#9 Aura

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Posted 21 February 2015 - 01:52 PM

Probably some small unused storage media you have in your computer. Is it a disk by it's own, or part of another disk?

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#10 Zalus

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Posted 21 February 2015 - 01:56 PM

Engh. I'm not sure if the USB drive I made is a recovery drive or an installation drive for windows. 

 

I tried to boot from the USB in question and got the following two errors: 

 

An operating system wasn't found. Try disconnecting any drives that don't contain an operating system. 

Press any key to restart

 

(pressed a key) 

 

BOOTMGR is missing 

Press CTRL+ALT+DEL to restart

 

 

Is this because of the USB or is it something else? 


Probably some small unused storage media you have in your computer. Is it a disk by it's own, or part of another disk?

 

It appears to be on its own as it's never listed as a part of volume 0. Weird, eh? 



#11 Aura

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Posted 21 February 2015 - 01:57 PM

Really weird indeed. I would say that it's part of a firmware drive but I doubt.

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#12 Zalus

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Posted 21 February 2015 - 02:09 PM

Really weird indeed. I would say that it's part of a firmware drive but I doubt.

I'm reluctant to delete it though, seeing as drive X:\ was the default in CMD. I'll have to check it out later.

 

As for the USB, I'm still confused. I mean no duh an OS wasn't found, I just wiped the SSD. 

Originally, I had the option to install from this USB with 'repair' as a option at the bottom of the screen. So logically it should have worked, no? 



#13 Zalus

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Posted 21 February 2015 - 05:10 PM

Kinda bashing my head in at this point. I don't know what I'm doing wrong. I'm making a new windows USB much like the one I had originally used to install windows . 8 in the first place. I don't trust the 8.1 usb tool from microsoft anymore. Nothing on it ever worked. I keep reviewing the settings in my bios (which the last Microsoft support guy I called blamed without ever specifying as to how or why).

 

Set my Drive back to MBR, trying the old key again while the new one is compiled. 



#14 Aura

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Posted 21 February 2015 - 05:13 PM

If you install Windows 8.1 and that you have UEFI, I suggest you to create a bootable UEFI USB flash drive using RUFUS. This is what I just did when I installed Windows 8.1 on my new SSD for my laptop 2 weeks ago and it worked just fine. Where are you stuck? The activation during the installation?

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#15 Zalus

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Posted 21 February 2015 - 05:35 PM

If you install Windows 8.1 and that you have UEFI, I suggest you to create a bootable UEFI USB flash drive using RUFUS. This is what I just did when I installed Windows 8.1 on my new SSD for my laptop 2 weeks ago and it worked just fine. Where are you stuck? The activation during the installation?

 

I'm stuck at just booting from the windows USB, which wasn't a problem prior to wiping the HD (apparently what I have is not an SSD, my bad). 

 

I can select it as active in bios, with legacy and UEFI support, but no dice. Just black screen errors in legacy and blue screen errors in UEFI. 

I got in contact with my brother (who set up my partitions and bios initially) and he said he does everything in UEFI. I also learned that the USB tool on the microsoft website has some crappy issues with UEFI support, and found this page. 

http://www.eightforums.com/tutorials/15458-uefi-bootable-usb-flash-drive-create-windows.html

 

It's worth a try. 






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