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Win7 Won't Boot, Can't Run In Safe Mode


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#1 Desdinova

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Posted 01 April 2018 - 05:54 PM

So I'm having an issue I'm flummoxed to repair.

 

Turned on the computer and it hung on the splash screen for ten minutes before running the "Can't boot" routine asking if I wanted to repair. I tried to do so and after it ran through the motions, I was informed that Windows can't boot and I was then presented with the list of options (Repair, Restore, etc.). I selected Restore and chose the most recent restore point (and I've booted successfully since that point) and after THAT was completed, I was told that the restore was successful and to restart the computer. I did and the whole cycle started over again.

 

The Win diagnostics reported no errors other than "bad driver or recent hardware change" was causing the problem. Since I haven't had any hardware changes, I assumed it was a bad driver so I tried to boot into safe mode and was unable to do so; it proceeded with the same previous behavior.

 

A week or so prior, Win would only mount two of my already-plugged in USB drives; some drives (and those plugged in after booting) required me to run Disk Mount and assign drive letters at which point they'd work fine for that session. I assume the USB driver might be the culprit (just a guess) but since I can't boot into safe mode and reinstall it, I'm not sure what to try next.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!! Thanks! :)



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#2 JohnC_21

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Posted 01 April 2018 - 06:39 PM

Does tapping F8 and selecting Use Last Known Good Configuration get you out of the loop? Does the error give any hint as to what file is causing the problem or a stop code?



#3 Desdinova

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Posted 01 April 2018 - 06:51 PM

Thanks for jumping in.

Tapping F8 just brings up the BIOS boot order (which I found strange, that's usually F2 or DEL). Win doesn't give me the Last Known Good Configuration (which I also found a bit odd). And unfortunately, nothing more than "bad driver" is found on any of the scans.

 

I also tried Hiren's (which has let me boot just about every other time I've had non-hashed FAT boot issues with PCs). I tried Grub4Dos...nothing. Grrrr...


Edited by Desdinova, 01 April 2018 - 06:52 PM.


#4 JohnC_21

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Posted 01 April 2018 - 07:07 PM

Is this an ASUS computer? Tapping an F8 on a ASUS usually gives a boot menu.

 

I'm not sure this will work as a system restore failed.

 

Download the iso of Mint Cinnamon. Burn to a DVD by right clicking on any Windows 7 or later computer and select Burn to Disk Image. If you have a spare USB flash drive you can use Rufus with the iso to create a bootable USB flash drive. 

 

Boot Mint and do not enter anything until you are at the Mint Desktop. Click Computer. Your HDD will be in the lower left pane shown in GBs. Clicking on it will mount the drive and you should see your Windows files. Browse to Windows\System32\config\Regback. Look at the sizes and dates. If the date is before your problem and the files are not zero bytes copying these backed up files to the config folder may get the computer to boot. Browse to Windows\System32\config and rename the five registry hives with a .bak extension.

 

System

Software

Default

Security

Sam

 

Once you have renamed the above hives browse back to the Regback folder and copy/paste the files to the config folder. Exit Mint and reboot. 

 

https://blog.linuxmint.com/?p=3457

 

https://rufus.akeo.ie/



#5 Desdinova

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Posted 01 April 2018 - 07:10 PM

Thanks! I'll give that a try and post the results.



#6 Desdinova

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Posted 04 April 2018 - 01:53 PM

I tried the steps posted above and I ran into the same issues; it seems the Regback files dated from after whatever borked Win happened.

 

If need be I can Use Paragon to restore the drive but if it's possible to restore things to a more recent date, I'd prefer that. Any other suggestions?



#7 JohnC_21

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Posted 04 April 2018 - 02:15 PM

Have you run sfc /scannow at a command prompt? 

 

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/929833/use-the-system-file-checker-tool-to-repair-missing-or-corrupted-system

 

If it's due to a bad driver or service it would help to know what file. The only thing I can think of is to attach the drive to another computer using a USB adapter and running AutoRuns on the offline drive. Look in the Drivers and Services tab and uncheck any third party drivers and services. Do not remove the items, just uncheck the box next to it. If it's a Microsoft service or driver than using AutoRuns will not help as you will not know which service or driver is bad.  But, because the System Restore completed and the computer still failed to boot could indicate a deeper problem other than a driver.

 

Boot Mint again. Click Menu and type Disks in the search box. Once Disks open click the hamburger icon or three horizontal lines in Disks and select Smart Status. Look for any failures. 

 

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/downloads/autoruns

 

http://www.winhelponline.com/blog/analyze-offline-system-autoruns-feature/

 

I would not know how to restore an image and then recover all your settings from more recent date. You could copy the registry hives before doing the image recovery then copy them back using Mint but I have never done this before and it may make things worse because of the differences in dates. 



#8 Desdinova

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Posted 04 April 2018 - 02:41 PM

Thanks, I'll give the scan a try and see what it says.



#9 Desdinova

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Posted 05 April 2018 - 10:09 PM

Well, I am thoroughly stumped. I couldn't run sfc because I kept getting caught in the whole "Windows is attempting a repair..." loop that would shut down the scan once it was started. I found out how to get around the inability to boot into safe mode on an ASUS motherboard but the load would hang after loading the class.pnp driver and then reboot.

 

I was able to use Mint to migrate any files that might get nuked by doing a drive restore using Paragon so I went ahead and booted off of the rescue disc and restored from the last back-up. Since I've successfully shut down and restarted numerous times since the back-up, I figured that would fix any Win or driver issues.

 

Nope, it's doing the same thing. The only info suggesting any issues I've gotten from any of the Win scans during repair attempts are:

Problem signature 01: 6.1.7600.16385

Problem signature 02: 6.1.7600.16385

Problem signature 03: unknown

Problem signature 04: 21199876

Problem signature 05: AutoFailover

Problem signature 06: 5

Problem signature 07: BadDriver

OS Version: 6.1.7600.2.0.0.256.1

Locale ID: 1033

 

Is any of that meaningful to you?

Oh, and that Mint disc is pretty cool! :)


Edited by Desdinova, 05 April 2018 - 10:35 PM.


#10 JohnC_21

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Posted 06 April 2018 - 07:31 AM

If you did a Paragon restore and it's doing the same thing then I have to hazard a guess it's a hardware problem or the image was also corrupted somehow but that successfully booted a number of times. Can you get back to a normal boot selecting Use Last Known Configuration by tapping F8 at boot?

 

I would download UBCD. Burn the iso to a CD and boot to the menu screen. Select Parted Magic. On the Parted Magic desktop is a Disk Health icon. Click it and run the short test. If that passes run the long test.

 

If the hard drive passes then boot UBCD and under the Memory section select Memtest86+. Run the test for a minimum of 6 passes and preferably overnight.

 

If you computer is UEFI you may need to change the UEFI settings to legacy boot.

 

http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/

 

http://mirror.sysadminguide.net/ubcd/ubcd538.iso

 

When you used the Disks program in Mint did you see a large amount of Reallocated Sectors or Pending Sectors? There are two Reallocated listings. One may show a very large number.



#11 Desdinova

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Posted 09 April 2018 - 12:14 AM

Curiouser and curiouser...

So I ran the Parted Magic tests and both passed without issue. When I used the discs programs in Mint, I didn't see any issues with the sectors.

 

I ran Memtest86+ for around thirty hours and every test passed.

 

Grasping at straws I then booted up the most recent Hiren's and selected Plop Boot Manager, saw that it would only let me choose which partition I wanted to boot from and tried to exit out. Instead, it ran the program on the MBR and the PC actually booted up. My display settings were all set to default but I was quickly able to get the system looking and behaving normally. I ran SFC and the CBS.log said that it found some corrupt files; some of which it could repair and some it couldn't (I saved it on an external drive so I can retrieve it if desired). I also updated the graphics drivers (they've given me issues before) and checked the USB drivers (as the USB ports were behaving strangely before everything went pear-shaped).

I then rebooted the system...and it went back to the same behavior as before. So I tried booting off of Hiren's and running Plop again, but was unable to duplicate the successful boot.

So it clearly CAN boot, I'm just baffled as to why Plop worked and then didn't.

Does any of this give you further insight as to what the hell is going on?

And I want to just say again how truly grateful I am for the help you're giving me!



#12 JohnC_21

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Posted 09 April 2018 - 10:58 AM

One last shot and then I am out of ideas. Download BootRepair. Boot the disk. If it cannot access the internet via your Wifi and password then use Ethernet. 

 

At the Repair Screen select Recommend Repair.

 

https://sourceforge.net/p/boot-repair/home/Home/



#13 Desdinova

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Posted 09 April 2018 - 06:25 PM

Yay!! Boot-Repair banished whatever evil was keeping the system from booting! You are a basket of fresh-baked puppies covered in awesome sauce! Thank you so much!! :)



#14 JohnC_21

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Posted 09 April 2018 - 07:25 PM

Your Welcome,

Glad that worked for you. That disk saved my bacon on a dual boot system of XP and Ubuntu after I reinstalled XP and lost the GRUB boot loader.






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