As of this morning, my computer was working perfectly fine. And then I made the worst decision ever to allow Windows to actually install some of the updates it kept telling me were available. (I have Windows Update set to notify me about updates, but not to download or install them automatically.) It'd been since July of last year that I'd actually done this, and I'm now seriously regretting the decision to change that, since everything had been working fine. Unfortunately, once the updates downloaded and installed and the system restarted, everything went downhill pretty quickly.
When I clicked to let the system do its restart, it showed where it was installing (finalizing?) the updates. I remember it hitting 30% before it actually restarted, and once the computer loaded back up, it showed that same screen again. I don't recall if it hit 100% or not, but I don't think it did before the computer restarted once more. At this point, it looked like it went to my normal log-in screen, but I think I saw some text that said something about "System Event Manager" before the screen went black. The mouse, however, was still there, only it looked the way the mouse looks before you get your PC all set up the way you want it, like it wasn't reading any of my settings.
I couldn't get the computer to do anything at this point, namely because I couldn't see anything other than the mouse, so I force shut the computer off. When I started it up again, it came up with the error message "Reboot and Select proper Boot device or Insert Boot Media in selected Boot device and press a key". So, I restarted once again and F8'ed into the Bios, where I verified that my PC was reading all of my drives correctly and was set to boot from the Kingston SSD. Manually choosing this drive from the boot menu produces the same error message, however.
So, I put in my Windows 7 disc and let the computer load that, thinking I can use the Repair function to see what's wrong. Except that trying to do that gives me the following error message - "This version of System Recovery Options is not compatible with the version of Windows you are trying to repair. Try using a recovery disc that is compatible with this version of Windows."
Well, at this point, I hit up the Internet for possible solutions, even though I'm not really sure what's gone wrong and what I'm trying to fix. I learn how to use DiskPart from the Windows 7 disc screen, and I'm able to see that even though both of my drives and all of my partitions seem to be there, their assigned letters have gone screwy, and even trying to manually assign them either doesn't work or doesn't stick after the fact. And none of the partitions on the Kingston (which I did not create, so they must have been made when I first installed Windows) seem to be listed as active or as a boot drive.
Some more Googling leads me to hoping I might be able to perform a System Restore from this command prompt I've gotten into, only typing "rstrui.exe" returns the following message - "To use System Restore, you must specify which Windows installation to restore. Restart this computer, select an operating system, and then select System Restore." Now, I don't know if this is because I'm not in the true CMD screen, but rather the one you can Shift+F10 into from the Windows disc.
So, back to the Internet. By this point, I'm just trying to get something to work to let me get into my PC at least a little bit. I can tell that my files are still there because if I click like I'm going to install Windows, and then select to load a driver and choose Browse, I can see them. Yet I still can't get anything to boot up. I find the command "bootrec", so I use "bootrec /scanos", and the system tells me that there are 0 identifiable Windows installations. At least to start. Once I pop back over into DiskPart and get where my OS should be properly labeled as the C drive again, the same command comes back and recognizes that there is a Windows install there. And yet I still can't run a System Restore or get the PC to boot properly.
I'm not sure what else to try at this point. I feel like I'm close to getting somewhere, but I don't have enough knowledge to try to narrow down the cause of this problem, so I'm just making guesses in the dark and getting the occasional hit back. I really don't want to have to reinstall Windows. If anything, if this can't be fixed, I'd at least like to get in and use the System Restore point from right before those evil updates were installed. I've got some files on my C drive that I don't want to lose (and will definitely be moving/backing up elsewhere if I get the chance as soon as this is somewhat fixed), so maybe there's a way to copy the contents of one partition to another via the DiskPart command? It should be noted that I cannot get into the menu to choose to try to boot in Safe Mode, Safe Mode with Command Prompt, etc. - hitting F8 only brings up my Bios menu for me, and I've had no luck with any other keys yet. Even all the forced shut downs I've been doing haven't triggered that menu to pop up, unfortunately.
Not sure what stats might be helpful here, so I'm running Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit on a custom built PC with an ASUS motherboard and booting from a Kingston SSD.
Sorry for the lengthy post! I'm not sure what steps I've tried or what information I've discovered might be helpful, so I figure it's better to include too much rather than not enough. For anyone who's read all the way through this, thank you for that! I'm really hoping someone will be able to give me some direction on what to do here or try next because I'm at a loss and really missing my big PC already.