Followed instruction without a hitch but no go

#1
Hi all, my Windows 7 Pro 64bit computer with two SATA HDDs was in a recovery option loop. I
wasn't getting any errors, it just wouldn't boot. I coulod see all of my files were still
there so I figured that the boot sequence was messed up. At the command prompt, I tried to
run chkdsk /r but it said that it couldn't get control of the volume. I tried to run sfc
/scannow but it said that it needed to run a repair and reboot first. I followed the
directions at http://neosmart.net/wiki/display/ebcd/recovering+the+windows+bootloader+from
+the+dvd. Before I started, I looked at each drive's contents. In my case, windows and the
boot directories were on g: so I put g: in place of the c: in the instructions. When I
rebooted, I got a "bootmgr is missing" message and now windows and the boot directories
(with bcd in boot) are on the f: drive. I was going to go through the procedure again, this
time substituting f: for c:, but when I tried to change the attributes of bcd. it said "file
not found." When I do a bcdedit, it has everything pointing to f: and the identifier number
is the one that I entered. I tried a chkdsk /r and this time it allowed me to dismount the
volume. It's been stuck on 24% of stage 4 of 5 for the last 30 minutes<80492 files of
467696 processed>. Anybody have any clues? I'm going to let this keep running for about an
hour; it seems like the HDD light is lit pretty steady. BTW, why is the windows directory
in f: when it's always been in c:? I checked to make sure that it wasn't a physical
problem by unplugging/plugging the cables from both drives. Now, it's back to looping.
TIA,
Frank
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#2
Each Windows OS has its own map of disk letters v physical devices in its registry. (they're not physically part of the device like the volume label is)
The MS repair disc is itself an OS so it won't see the letters the way the system you are trying to repair saw them.
A chkdsk /r can take several hours on a modern large HDD, so just go and get a cup of tea and a large slice of cake and let it finish, or if it's late, leave it to run overnight.
 
Last edited:
#3
Thanks Terry. So, if it says f:\windows, it's actually c:\windows? Anyway, I restarted the process by booting with a recovery CD. I let it repair my computer and it repaired the startup option: "Windows Boot Manager" and gave it a different identifier than the one I typed in with the instructions. It also added a Windows Recovery Environment with a path of Recovery\windowsre\winre.wim with a Windows Device Partition=D: and C:. What's this mean. Afterwards, I got to the command prompt and ran chkdsk f: /x /r. It ran but it seems to be stuck at 24% stage 4 of 5, but I'm just going to leave it alone.
Thanks, Frank

Addendum

OK, chkdsk completed. Now, when I boot without the CD, it says " BOOTMGR is missing." When I reboot to recovery command prompt and run bcdedit, it has{bootmgr} in partition D: with Displayorder listing the identifier that I had entered. Under Windows Boot Loader, it has device=F:, the path is \Windows\system32\winload.exe, description Microsoft Windows, partition =F:, and systemroot is \Windows. F: is the drive that contains the boot and Windows Directory. I can't find any of my documents. I there any kind of a tool that I can install on a USB drive to check the health of my hard drives? I can go to I: and see the contents of my USB drive.
Thanks,
Frank

Addendum

Here's some more information. When I enter bcdedit, it shows bootmgr as being in drive C:
but drive C: is a volume labeled "Recovery." Drive D: is labled "Boot" and it had a
bcd.old in its boot directory. So, trying to follow the directions again, I tried to fix
the mbr and the boot sector. In the boot directory, there was a bcd.old (which I assumed
was from an earlier bcdedit /export. I renamed it to bcd and deleted it. Then I tried
bootrec /rebuildbcd and it said that it found 0 windows installations. When I run bootrec /scanos it also identifies 0 windows installations. The F: drive, labled "OS," also has a boot directory with no bcd in it. I think that when I first tried to repair this, I wasn't entering the correct drive letter but I caqn't understand why the system can't detect any windows installations.

Thanks,
Frank

Addendum

I just realized that the drive letters displayed in bcdedit's bootmgr section change
depending on whether or not I have a USB thumbdrive installed. Without the drive, bootmgr
is drive D: and the boot errors out with "cannot verify the digital signature of winload.exe, with it installed, it's drive C and it says Bootmgr is missing.
 
#4
In researching this, I'm thinking that it's a problem with the system not knowing where the
windows installation is. I'm doing all of the bcdedit commands with the target being f: (since that's where windows is at) and with the c: and d: both having volume labels of "Recovery" with C: having one Directory: Recovery, and one file: ADRInfos.xml and D: having 5 directories: $RECYCLE.BIN, Boot (with no BCD file), dell, preload, and Recovery and two files: ADRInfos.xml, bcdbackup (resultant from an earlier bcdedit /import command) and the e: being called: "New Volume" but it's empty, except for the empty . and .. directories. It seems like I'm setting F: up to be C: but somehow, c:, d:, and e: don't want to get out of the way to let F: become C:. Is there any way to remove the c:, d: and e: drives, since they just seem like junk anyway?
Is there anything that I do with the bcdboot.exe command?
Thanks,
Frank
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#5
When the recovery environment is booted and you're in command prompt, use the command dir x (where x is A through Z) to tell you which drive is being seen as which letter.
If you've used sensible volume labels when formatting your partitions, it will tell you exactly which partition is currently mapped to that letter. (The volume label is physically attached and constant whereas the disk letter is an ephemeral artefact of the running OS).
If you didn't bother giving your partitions names when you created them, you'll still be unsure of which partition is which.
dir x: will expand the information (considerably) to reveal the files in the partition, which should enable you to make a more informed guess.
dir x:\windows will reveal if there's an operating system mapped at that letter.
Once you have a sensible map of where everything is, follow the instructions with that as your reference.
 
#6
Terry,
I'm pretty well versed in DOS commands. I think that I've already determined that what is
known as F: in the recovery command prompt is my c: drive, The c:, d;, and e: drives, (as
shown in the RC CP) contain nothing of worth. I go through all of your instructions from
the website, aiming them at F:. They all seem successful, so I rebooted and got the
"BOOTMGR" is missing."
So, as I said, I tried to redo the instructions and delete the bcd.old which is in the c:
\boot directory (which I don't think made a whit of difference, considering it was renamed
from bcd to bcd.old.) I do the fixboot and fixmbr, no problem. When I try bcdboot /rebuild, I get the
0 operating systems found, as does bootrec /scanos. So, when I boot (without RE), is the F:
drive (labled OS) somehow supposed to be juxtaposed to c:, or do I need to remove these
worthless drives using diskpart or bcdboot, so that the system files are once again on c:, and redo the instructions aimed at c:?
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#7
As I said in my first reply, disk letters aren't real, just virtual labels stored in the OS registry. As each OS has its own registry, each map is completely unrelated to any other OS, so it doesn't matter what the RE calls them. When you boot W7, it will be calling itself C.
Your problem is possibly related to the fact that your W7 partition is most likely not the location of the boot files.
Before the problems started I would guess that the Dell recovery partition was the location of the W7 boot files, and marked "active", so that the MBR IPL went there to continue the boot process. Almost certainly the copy of bootmgr on that drive will be a custom version supplied by Dell with their own restore and factory reset options included, so repairing it will give you a "vanilla" boot (sans Dell options).
If you've successfully manually rebuilt a set of boot files on your W7 partition, but you still can't boot, check if the recovery partition is still "active".
The system can't boot from a new set of files if it's still looking to start with the broken set.
You can either flip the active bit to the W7 partition and boot W7 directly, or run the repair again pointing to the active partition. The former should circumvent the problem, the latter will put you back to booting via the recovery partition but will most likely remove your custom options.
You'll need to get support from Dell to recover those.
 
#8
Terry,
This has takeen the strangest damn twist. I downloaded Kaspersky Rescue disk http://support.kaspersky.com/viruses/rescuedisk/main?qid=208286083, put it on USB, booted with it, and it found Rootkit.Boot.Pihar.c and Exploit.HTML.CVE-2010-1885.h. As you know, I was unable to boot. but it was because of the viruses, not because of any boot problem. Here's where it gets really wierd. My desktop is in a state reminicient of several years past, with icons on it that I haven't used in forever. My Recent Items has documents in it so old that I barely remember them. All of my restore points are gone. My Documents don't have anything newer than Sept. 2010 in it. But if I highlight the My Documents folder and go to Search My Documents box, I can search under the filter "date modified, earlier this year" and find my more recent documents. If anyone has ever experienced anything like this, please let me know. Thanks for all of your help and patience.
Frank