"Change boot drive" feature doesn't seem to work

#1
I have a computer for which I don't have a Windows only disc; instead, I only have a set of restoration discs that install Vista and SP1, but also bring unpleasant side effects. For example, the discs divide a blank hard drive into 3 partitions: C, Q, and S. C is used to store most of the data, Q stores some random junk that promotes the company's products, and S is the boot partition. The problem is that I only want one partition. To achieve this, I used EasyBCD's "change boot drive" feature to change the boot partition from S to Q. EasyBCD tells me it worked, and at first, it appears to; C drive is now my active partition. Thinking everything is fine, I use Gparted to delete S and Q partitions (if the boot partition was really changed, I don't need S anymore). Then I use Gparted again to expand the C partition to fill the entire hard drive. Here's where the trouble begins. When I reboot, it gives me this error: "Windows failed to start. A recent hardware or software change might be the cause. To fix the problem: 1. Insert your WIndows installation disc and restart your computer. 2. Choose your language settings, and then click "Next." 3. Click "Repair your computer." If you do not have this disc, contact your system administrator or computer manufacturer for assistance. File: \Windows\system32\winload.exe Status: 0xc0000225 Info: The selected entry could not be loaded because the application is missing or corrupt. ---------------------------------------------------------- Using the Windows installation disc is not an option; I simply don't have one. No such disc came with the computer. The discs I have are only restoration discs. The one that installs Vista itself cannot be booted from. Contacting the manufacturer is out of the question as well. I'm out of warranty. I would appreciate any help in fixing this error. I'm willing to re-image if necessary. The computer contains no important information that isn't already backed up. Why didn't the "change boot drive" feature of EasyBCD work? By the way, sorry for the way this message is formatted. I separated this post into neat little paragraphs separated by blank space, but the blank space didn't show up.
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#2
You moved the boot files to Q and then deleted Q ?
I assume you mean you moved it to C, since you say that C became "active".
That would have worked OK if you'd just rebooted from C.
However, expanding C into the space in front of it will have broken the boot after EasyBCD successfully moved it for you.
The BCD doesn't contain letters. The letters you see displayed are translations of the UIDs which the BCD contains into the letters that Explorer uses to describe partitions.
The UID actually used consists of an unintelligible combination of the Drive Signature and the cylinder offset of the start point of the partition.
If you then change the start point of the partition (something Windows will not allow you to do) by using a Linux app to thwart its ability to stop you, you will have produced a situation where the BCD tells the boot process to look for a partition which no longer exists in the position described.
The normal fix for breaking your boot in this way would be to boot your Vista DVD and use its "Startup Repair" option, but if you don't have such a disc, try borrowing one from any other Vista user of your acquaintance. (at a push a W7 DVD might work too. A friendly W7 user could Control Panel > Backup/Restore > "create repair disc" for you, which would be worth a try.
Last resort is
Easy Recovery Essentials
 
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#3
Yes, you are right. I did move the boot files to C using EasyBCD. I'm not ready to buy Easy Recovery Essentials. I need to know for sure it works, and even the most minor problem could prevent that. Is there another way to do this without a Windows disc? For example, EasyBCD has a "BCD Deployment" feature that allows creating bootable media. Is there any way to use this bootable media to place the boot back in the correct position after C drive has been expanded and moved?
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#4
EasyBCD's a Windows app. It needs a working OS to do anything.
You can use it on a working copy of Windows to create a bootable USB drive, but all it can do is make something you have (e.g. a Windows ISO download or EasyRE ISO download) into a bootable form if you don't have a CD-ROM drive. (Burning the ISO to a disc is much simpler).
You'll need one of the bootable resources already mentioned to fix the boot.