Solved: Vista won't boot

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prodda

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Friend has asked me to look at his Acer 5920 laptop (Vista) as it won't boot. He said the last thing he did with it was to uninstall some software (can't remember what tho).

When I first switched it on, it showed a BSOD (error 0x00000024) and then went straight into system recovery mode, setup repair. From there it wouldn't recognise any OS to repair and says it can't repair the problems automatically. I went to the command prompt and did chkdsk /f and /r - this found a large number of errors and apparantly corrected them. I re-ran chkdsk and it didn't find any further errors. I tried to run sfc /scannow from the command prompt but it won't run because of 'Windows Resource Protection'.

I then rebooted to Vista but after the welcome screen it hangs on a black screen, although you can see and move the curser around the screen. I tried to reboot into safemode but get exactly the same result (the last file shown as being loaded in safemode is crcdisk.sys).

I then go back into setup repair and it tells me that it can find no errors to repair! No restore point has been set so I can't use that and my friend has lost his recovery disk. I've reached the extend of my limited know ledge so any help would be much appreciated.
 
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Lets first run a test on the hard drive. If the hard drive is failling then it will need to be replaced and your friend will need to buy a new set of Recovery Discs from the Acer.

When you type in cmd to run sfc /scannow you have to right click on cmd when it appears in the pop up menu and select "Run as Administrator".

Identify the make of your hard drive and then use one of the links below to get the manufacturer's diagnostics for ISO (CD) not the one for Windows.
When the download is complete right click the file and select Extract Here and burn the image to a CD.
In Windows 7 right click the extracted file, select Open With, then select Windows Disc Image Burning Tool then follow the prompts. For all other versions of windows (if you do not have an ISO burner) download this free software. ImgBurn
Install the program and start the application. Select the top left hand option to burn image file to disk and then on the next window click on the small yellow folder icon and browse to the file you have downloaded from the links below. Then click on the two grey discs with the arrow in between (bottom left) and leave it to complete the operation.
Boot the PC into the Bios setup and set the CD/DVD drive to 1st in the boot sequence. Insert the disk in the drive then reboot and the disc will load into dos.
Excelstore
Hitachi/IBM
Samsung
Seagate, Maxtor & Quantum
Western Digital
Toshiba/Fujitsu
If you have a Toshiba/Fujitsu hard drive I would suggest the use of the diagnostics from the Seagate link as this will work on all makes of drive and on any OS.
 

prodda

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Mark - have run the hard drive diagnostics and it's showing no problems. Am unable to run sfc /scannow as I can only access the command prompt via the system recovery module which doesn't give me the facility to run as administrator (I meant to say previously that I also ran diagnostics on the memory and that was also ok).
 
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Not sure if it is available on all the diagnostics but did you run a short or extended test, if you did the short one then now run the extended test just to be sure.

The disk check clearly picked up a lot of errors so I am suprised the hard drive is not faulty. If it passes the extended test then we are looking at a very corrupted file system, quite possibly due to a Virus infection.

Without an install disc and not being able to run the System File Checker there is not much else we can do. To run a repair on the master boot record may be worth a shot but I doubt there is anything wrong with it. Just type bootrec.exe /rebuildbcd at the Command Pormpt and hit the Enter key. Wait for it to confirm completion then reboot and see what happens.

The only other thing I can suggest is for your friend to order a set of Recovery discs and do a fuill reinstall. There may be a Recovery Partition on the hard drive so you might be able to use that. You would need to look at the owners manual to find out what key to use to get access to it.
 

prodda

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Ran both short and extended tests with same result - no problems. Have also tried the bootrec command that you suggested but hasn't worked.

The recovery partition is accesible via F10 so I'll have a go and see if I can reinstall from that - many thanks.
 
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You are offline from Windows when you run sfc, so you need to specify what to scan. You were trying to scan the DVD.

sfc /scannow /offbootdir=C:\ /offwindir=C:\Windows

There is very little that could have been uninstalled that would prevent boot. The drive or something else may have problems. If you get any errors during recovery, like a file that can't be copied, you may as well stop because it will not succeed. Test the RAM and drive if that happens.

Bootrec can do a lot of damage to a system with a recovery partition. It often does not recognize the EISA partition and may make changes in the MBR that prevents recovery from being accessible. If that happens, there are other possible ways of trying to boot the recovery partition directly.
 
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There's a couple of things I didn't know, we live and learn.

Is that the full command to run the system file checker from the command prompt when working outside of Windows. What happens if it finds a corrupt file, will it replace or repair it from the i386 folder (if there is one) automatically?
 

prodda

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Joined
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Thanks guys - I ran the restore from the recovery partition and everything is up and running smoothly again (apart from having about 100 windows updates awaiting). All the photos, data files, etc were on another partition so they are all accessible still. Once again, many thanks for your help.
 
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There's a couple of things I didn't know, we live and learn.

Is that the full command to run the system file checker from the command prompt when working outside of Windows. What happens if it finds a corrupt file, will it replace or repair it from the i386 folder (if there is one) automatically?
Sorry, Mark. I didn't really edit your post. Just pressed the wrong button.

Yes, that's the command for "offline" Windows sfc.

Vista and 7 don't need any outside source for sfc. Almost all the files in system32 are not really there. They are hardlinks to files that are located in the WinSxS folder. So Vista and 7 actually have backups of their own files. That's one of the main reasons for the much-expanded size of the bare installation. But at least there is a good reason for it. :D There are also many shadow copies of all the system files.
 
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Prodda, glad to hear you are up and running again.

Elvandil, thank you for the additional information. Does that command line work in XP or do you need a different set of commands?
 
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Don't know about XP, but you do need a file source, as I'm sure you know. I'll check XP th next time I go to the museum. I think it's right next to the square nails and the papyri. :D
 
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