Boot Problem With Vista Ultimate on Gateway PC

#1
Two days ago my Gateway desktop stopped working. I tried rebooting it and got the NTLDR message that told me to press alt ctrl del to reboot. Once I did that, I was able to get into safe mode by pressing F8. I didn't think initially that I was going to have big problems with the computer. But after not being able to succesfully reboot back into Vista after several attempts of rebooting, trying safe mode, etc, I realized I need to get help solving this issue. I have already downloaded and created two cd's with the torrent program and image burn, yadda yadda yadda....Some of the first few times of being able to reboot, I was able to try to get it to repair itself, but it kept asking me to log on as an administrator or a user. I was not able to log in, as it didn't accept any of my passwords eithe as a user or admin. After 3 times trying to log in like that, that option was no longer available when I rebooted hitting the F8 key. My computer was partitioned to have a drive for "recovery", but for some reason, i cannot access it. I have tried rebooting of course making sure the computer was able to boot from the cd, and even from the usb, as I had the iso image on the usb stick just to see if it would work. The furthest the computer gets now is it reboots, goes through the black screen that says windows is loading, and sometimes it shows me the files that are loading, and it stops on windows\system32\drivers\crcdisk.sys and stays there for a long time, then finally a black screen appears with my white arrow pointer for the mouse. Thats it. Oh, this is a Gateway computer from Best Buy, 16 months old, with an authentic version of Vista Ultimate on it. I cannot find my cd anywhere at all, or else I would have tried it already. Fortunately my photos and files are backed up on a separate harddrive. I don't want to really install a clean copy of Vista over this because there are software programs and email that I have not backed up yet, and I would hate to lose them. I believe my data is still intact, and this is probably caused by loading my MS Digital Image Composer Suite Anniversary Edition software the other day, and then asking it to scan my computer for all my photos and videos so I could organize them. That was the last thing I did with the computer before it crashed at 3am, and I had to reboot to get it to respond. So...I am stuck with a blank screen, with just a mouse pointer, and no way to get my Vista to reboot. No error messages anymore, just completely nothing at all. What should I do?
 

JustinW

Super Moderator
Staff member
#2
Have you tried "Last known good configuration" from the advanced options menu (menu used to access safe mode)? Have you tried startup repair? From your description above, it sounds as if you have only tried to restore to a previous time using an available restore point. This would be the cause of asking you for a user password, etc.
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#3
Hi vanboven, welcome to NST.
Are you dual-booting ? I ask because NTLDR is the XP boot loader and you say you're getting messages from it ! Failing at crcdisk sounds like you've got a corruption problem on your HDD. If you are dual-booting or if you have another PC you can try it on (the one you're using to communicate with us now ?) you could try running chkdsk on your Vista disk to see if it can fix any dodgy blocks.
You shouldn't need a password to use the "startup repair", only if you enter the recovery console to issue individual commands, but it sounds like you're getting past the boot process anyway, so it shouldn't need repairing.
Have you tried restoring to a point before you installed the suspect photo manager?
 
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#4
Tried that too...still nothing but a blank screen no cursor even!

When I first suspected I might have problems with the installed software I last loaded, I immediately went to System Restore, thinking I would be able to solve the problem. It did restore, but it made things worse. i was able to run check disk twice, but no errors were found.

I did try all the options listed on F8 to start the computer, all of them in fact. Nothing worked. Just a blank screen comes up and no cursor now.

I am not dual booting, only run Vista Ultimate 32. i have been trying to successfully boot all night and finally after pressing F10 while starting up, I got a screen message that said:

Edit Windows Boot Options For: Windows Setup
Path \windows\system32\boot\winload.exe


[ /DETECTHAL/ MININT/ REDIRECT RDIMAGE OFFSET=8192 RDIMAGELEGTH=3101088 RDPATH=MULTI (0) DISK(0) CDROM (0)\ SOURCES\BOOT.WIM
]


It was expecting me to edit that path at that prompt, but none of it made any sense to me, and the only other choice was to choose ENTER so I did, and it rebooted same as before, coming up with just a blank screen.

I can't access a command prompt, I can't load anything onto the computer, because unless I boot up from a disk, or a usb, I am pretty limited on tools or repairs I can make on my own. I don't have my Vista cd right now, i can't seem to locate it, but on the back of the computer is my Vista Ultimate serial number on a MS sticker.


The computer I am communicating with now, is my laptop, also running Vista Ultimate. It is how I can make image cd's or look up information on how to fix my desktop right now. If there was a way I could somehow connect the two computers to allow my desktop to glean the necesary boot files, or drivers or whatever just so i could get it going again, i am all ready to try that. I don't know if thats even remotely possible.:huh:
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#5
Winload is the Vista bootloader, which is started by bootmgr. I've no idea of the parameters. Wait around for a while in case Guru can suggest any course of action in which manipulating winload parameters might help.
My own response at this stage would be reinstalling Vista, but I dual-boot, so I've got a choice of system partitions, which both keep all my data in an independent 3rd partition (including mail), which is backed up daily on a physically separate HDD, so I've nothing to lose but the time taken to reinstate the OS, windows updates and 3rd party apps.
 

JustinW

Super Moderator
Staff member
#6
In the meantime I'd start looking for your Vista DVD or borrow one from a friend. As long as you enter the product key on the sticker attached to your PC, it is legal.
 
#7
I was able to get the startup repair program to run, using the .iso of the vista repair disk. however it was not able to successfully repair the disk, and i copied the problem signature for reference if I needed it later. I am able to get to a command prompt, so I am looking for commands that I can type in that will repair what I need to. Not sure what I am looking for exactly, just need to boot up vista so I can back up the last part of my data (email and some documents and software that was downloaded). I am just glad the computer finally recognized that I was trying to repair it, and allowed me to get to this screen. I had to press Ctrl+I while just after it was done loading windows files, with the white status bar on the black screen. Any ideas on what I can type at the command prompt to get Vista to fully load again? I do have the product key on a sticker on the back of my machine.

Oh! one more thing, I forgot to mention that instead of the c:\ prompt, it is showing the x:\ prompt
I know I have read something somewhere on how computers get to this, and naturally can't do the repairs because they are looking in the wrong place for the files. Any ideas on how/why it's at the x:\ prompt and not the c:\ prompt and how do I get it back?

Addendum:

Ok, after checking around and seeing what was on the c:\drive, it appears that there is no Windows directory? When I try running c or x bootrec.exe/fixmbr and bootrec.exe/rebuildbcd or even bootrec.exe/scanos, I get the message that "Total identified Windows installations: 0"

But when I click on c: and hit DIR, I can see all my other files there, just not Windows. I know I sound like a complete idiot, but what do I need to do, so that I can get windows back on here, and reboot normally? I heard my sister in law has my Windows Ultimate CD, I guess I loaned it to her for the same reason a few months back when hers crashed. I don't want to overwrite my files, but what should I do to get Windows back? Be specific, as I think I have lost my brain lately, and can't even figure the simplest comptuer stuff out.
 
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JustinW

Super Moderator
Staff member
#8
X: is the default drive letter assignment given to the disc you have booted from. Vista's probably on C:. Look for any other folders that would indicate you are looking at the right partition though (ie. "Program Files" or "Users"). Wihtout a Windows folder, you'll need to re-install for sure.
 
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Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#9
If you can see your files from the recovery console, but windows is missing, you should still be able to copy your folders to somewhere else. It's been 20 years since I last used DOS commands every day, but shouldn't something like "copy c:\myfolder x:\mycopy" work (CG, Mak or Justin, anyone with recent DOS type experience - please comment)
Or you could use a bootable Linux perhaps, to copy your stuff off, before a nice clean format and reinstall.
 

JustinW

Super Moderator
Staff member
#10
Do "xcopy /?". Xcopy allows you to copy entire directories and thier contents at once. A live Linux cd (Ubuntu) would probably be quicker though.
 
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#11
So what you are saying is that whereever I see my Windows file, just copy it to the c:\? Just the entire thing, and everything will be fine after I reboot? That seems too good and easy to be true. I would like to know how it magically disappeared on me just like that. Very odd. So I need to find out how to copy, apparently there are other methods. I have seen mention of Ubuntu but I dont know what it is yet. I want the easiest possible way to do this. Couldn't I just run a transfer cable from my laptop that also runs Vista Ultimate to my lame pc and do the same?
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#12
No I was saying, copy your stuff off to save it before you're forced into a reinstall of Vista.
 

JustinW

Super Moderator
Staff member
#13
And Ubuntu is a version of Linux. It was mentioned because you can download a live CD to boot from. The graphical interface would be much easier to use to transfer your files then trying to use the command-line from Vista's DVD.
 
#14
ok i found my vista system cd that came with my gateway desktop. but i have a question on saving the data that is stuck on my fugged up desktop still, that i didn't yet backup.

If I save some of the files I don't want copied over to the partitioned D:\ drive, will they be safe when I reinstall Vista on the C:\ drive? I can't successfully backup all the email files and the document files that are on C:\ now, because no memory stick is big enough, and I have limited capability since Windows won't boot up.
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#15
That should be fine. If you're really paranoid, you can transport your data in flash-size chunks to another system temporarily. If the bootable Linux can burn DVDs, you can back it up that way too.