Cannot boot or access recovery partition

#1
Helping a friend here. She had multiple trojans and viruses on the computer. Believe the removal has damaged the os. We cannot boot in anyway...safe, safe with networking, normal mode. Created the Vista boot disk and could get to the Repair option as was described HERE
but we cannot repair anything. Says there is nothing wrong with start up.
It's a Dell computer with only recovery partition but we cannot access it either.
If we try to boot in normal mode we get Interactive Logon Process Initialization has failed. Click ok and it just comes back.
We just don't know what to do now. If we ignore the options to enter either Vista OS or the Recovery Partition and click load drivers we can see all drives, how much space is taken, etc. We can also see all the various file folders on the computer but cannot access any of them.
Have been working on this for over 10 days now. "Sometime" in this process we got a message that the System32\winload.exe was damaged, I believe that is what it was, but we couldn't find it when looking in the System32 folder in recovery partition to fix it. We are at a loss.
Of course Dell has been no help whatsoever. Any ideas?
 

JustinW

Super Moderator
Staff member
#2
Hi notnats, welcome to NST

Go to the command prompt:

Code:
sfc /scannow /offbootdir=C:\ /offwindir=C:\Windows
If that doesn't fix things, try the manual steps in the wiki.
 
#3
f that doesn't fix things, try the manual steps in the wiki.
Ok, have looked through these numerous times. But I have a question;
It is noted here;
It was included on earlier distributions of Vista, but was subsequently omitted. If your DVD contains a copy in the boot folder, the instructions can be followed as listed. If not (and our downloadable CD images do not) you will need to pick up a copy elsewhere before proceeding.
I do not have a Recovery CD only the Recovery Partition. I only have that downloaded CD image. So is it actually possible for me to follow these manual instructions or not?
Now I know the manual instructions say this:
You can find a copy in the Bin folder of the EasyBCD download,
I did find the download page. Now is where I get lost.
The download page lists various ones the two I know are on the computer are Vista and the Recovery Partition called Longhorn.
I don't know which one to download from this page Download EasyBCD 1.7.2 - NeoSmart Technologies
Then I note ALL the instructions for say boot to a working copy of Windows. This computer isn't working, so how would I use this? Do I use this on the Recovery Partition or on the actual OS partition.
Sorry, but certainly new at this and don't want to make a huge mistake.

Addendum:

Well, I tried the Vista boot disk one more time and this time it worked. It would only let me use System Restore however but that is what I did. Had to remove all those trojans and viruses again. Seemed to be working well however I couldn't get an anti-virus program to install, I would always be stopped by this message C;\Users\name\AppData\Local\Temp\RARSFX0\basic\setup.exe has been changed you should stop install so I would.
Couldn't get it normal or safe mode to install. Went in there and removed the temp files in there and still didn't make a difference. Stopped, shut down, rebooted and now when I get almost to the desktop I get the message that the Vista program won't validate and go to MS to do so. I click ok, go to the website and it will not validate. All of their suggestions require that you use the Start button but I never get a start button, I never get past that box about the validate now.
What to do? They give you a command prompt to use but I can't do it in safe mode with networking because net start slsvc isn't available in safe mode and I can't get past that non valid operating system box to get to the desktop.
 
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Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#4
You can download the very latest version of EasyBCD from here.
Install it on the system you're talking to us with. (you don't need to use it there)
Then copy the bootsect.exe from the NST/boot/ folder to somewhere you'll be able to access when you've booted the recovery CD on your broken system (a floppy or flashdrive maybe).
When you get to the bootsect part of the recovery, execute it by specifying the correct path address for where you put it.
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#6
I meant the recovery CD hosted on here as an ISO, not the OEM recovery media.
 

JustinW

Super Moderator
Staff member
#7
Sorry for the confusion. We call it a recovery disc here because that is basically all it can do. It cannot be used to re-install Windows. It just basically provides the recovery enviornment utilities a normal Vista installation DVD would. Follow Terry's directions. You'll need to copy bootsect onto a flash drive in order to use in on your broken system.
 
#8
Don't have a flash drive. Can I put it on a cd?
When you get to the bootsect part of the recovery, execute it by specifying the correct path address for where you put it.
I do not get a section by section repair option. The only Start Up repair, is automated and am never asked for a disk.
I know there is Command Prompt there but to be perfectly honest, I haven't a clue on how to do that. Plus this isn't even my computer, am helping a friend here and am concerned I will totally trash her computer if I hit the wrong command.
I am fairly computer knowledgeable but have not used Command Prompt to any great extent.
By the way, Tumbling Toddler certain describes me with this.
 

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Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#9
The instructions here continue on to step 3 if the automated repair in step 2 doesn't work.
It's at that point where you need to have bootsect.exe available. A CD would be ok provided you have 2 CD drives.
I'm not sure what the effect of removing the recovery CD and substituting the 2nd CD would be if you only have one drive.
It should work (the recovery environment should be in RAM), but I've never tried it to verify that it does.
Give it a whirl and verify it for us.
 
#10
Ok tried both ways, with a CD, didn't work. Then got a Flash Drive, didn't work, says file path is wrong.
BUT, just now booted it to Normal by accident...anyway, we no longer got the Interactive Logon Process Initialization failed message. Now instead we can get the log on screen hit Enter and now we get Your License is Bad or Expired or whatever it says, meaning Vista License. Go to Microsoft and validate. We tried that and could not do it.
Have learned one thing through all of this, I hate VISTA!
Not sure what to do now.
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#11
There should be a freephone number for Microsoft in your country, mentioned in the validation message somewhere.
Quoting the number on the PC and explaining your situation should get an authorization code from them.