Vista not booting after changes to easybcd

#1
This is probably my own fault but anyway!!

Had a dual boot Vista/Ubuntu laptop, and wanted to delete Ubuntu, which I think, (long time ago!), had been installed using wubi. Fired up easybcd and was kind of checking around to remind myself what was what. At one point, I got a display of the boot menu but nothing in it! This worried me not a little. Managed to revert back to my previous options but with Vista added in a third time for some reason. Could not seem to delete the third option but saved out anyway. On reboot pc would not start vista, or anything else come to that.

It's an HP laptop so the recovery disk only has 3 options, 2 of them don't work, the third is restore to original factory setup, which I am not about to do just yet. It may not work anyway. There is no command line option! Thanks HP.

Borrowed a recovery disk from a mate. Tried everything I've ever seen suggested by way of bootrec and bootsect. Nothing works. If I enter "bcdedit" I get a listing which looks like you might expect it to. I mean I don't know what bcd is supposed to contain, but the references to drives, partitions and os names all looked ok.

I can boot off an Ubuntu live CD and all my files etc are showing up. I can copy them and delete, so it does not look terminal, but I just cannot get it to boot. 5 days now. Starting to get a bit mental now. Anyone?
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#2
What partition does Ubuntu say is "boot" ?
 

Terry60

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Staff member
#4
And is that Vista ?
 

Terry60

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Staff member
#6
Can you post the BCDedit information.
 
#7
Here is the bcdedit listing. Bear with me on the exact wording as the recovery disk I'm using is in Greek, (don't ask...), and I'm having to translate.

Windows startup handling (or something like)
Identifier {bootmgr}
device partition=c:
path \windows\system32\winload.exe
description Windows Vista 32 bit
default {default}
{bootmgr}
timeout 30

Startup loader program
Identifier {default}
device partition=c:
path \windows\system32\winload.exe
description Windows Vista (TM) Home Basic
osdevice partition=c:
systemroot \windows
 
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Terry60

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Staff member
#8
That first entry should be for the boot manager, the second for the boot loader, but both have a path set for the boot loader if you've translated correctly.
Doesn't the CD give you the opportunity to set the language as you boot it ?
Have you tried "repair your computer" > "startup repair" from the CD rather than entering command prompt ?
 
#9
I tried "Startup Repair". It said there was nothing wrong! The language option changes nothing. I think it's only if you are doing an install. So how do I change the path to the bootmgr? That would seem to be a reason it's not booting? OK, I think I remember a post on this.

Something like
bcdedit /set {bootmgr} device partition=c:
bcdedit /set {bootmgr} path

Then I have to find the right file.

Is it called bootman.exe?
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#10
It's called bootmgr and it's in the root of the "system" partition which on Vista would normally be C:\bootmgr
All Vista/7 boot files are super-hidden and need folder options set like this to see them.
 
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#11
Remember that I cannot get into Vista and so cannot look at file and folder permissions etc, but as far as I can tell I don't have a folder c:\bootmgr. I have one called c:\windows\boot which has 200 odd files called bootmgr.exe.mui......... in different country directories from what I can see.
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#12
That's not a folder. The module is called bootmgr and it's not in a folder. It's directly in the root of the partitition. The things in \Windows\boot are the proto-files which setup uses to create the real boot files during an install.
You should be able to see it with your live Linux distro (and the \boot folder which contains the BCD).
If they are not in the Vista C: disk, then look in your HP recovery partition.
If you find them there, use gparted to set the recovery partition as "boot" instead of Vista and try the boot again.
 
#13
OK, got you now. It is in the root of C: as you said. And BCD is in c:\boot.

So do I now try to edit the bcd with bcdedit and put in the correct path to bootmgr? And the winload entry is OK? And is that bootmgr.exe?


Addendum:


I've edited bcd using bcdedit and it now looks like this. Laptop still does not boot. Can anyone tell me if these entries are OK or is there more work to be done here? In the line named "default", should there be a reference to bootmgr? That seems like a circular reference? I just want to boot straight to Vista actually, not bothered about getting back Ubuntu.

Windows startup handling (or something like)

Identifier {bootmgr}
device partition=c:
path \bootmgr.exe
description Windows Vista 32 bit
default {default}
{bootmgr}
timeout 30

Startup loader program (or something similar)

Identifier {default}
device partition=c:
path \windows\system32\winload.exe
description Windows Vista (TM) Home Basic
osdevice partition=c:
systemroot \windows
 
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Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#14
In your OP you say "I've tried everything...."
Do you mean from
Recovering the Windows Bootloader from the DVD - EasyBCD - NeoSmart Technologies Wiki
I would think that abandoning whatever non-functional contents of your BCD exist by deleting it and rebuilding it from scratch would be preferable to continuing fiddling around with what's in there.
If you delete it, the "startup repair" shouldn't be able to say there's nothing wrong.
 
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#15
Yeah, I did the holocaust solution, but still getting same error on startup. Are you saying I should just delete, (or perhaps rename), bcd and then try auto repair? That would be a new angle at least. I have some other feedback, but if you think that's a runner, I'll try that first.
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#16
Rename sounds good.
I've never had a boot problem that startup repair didn't fix in 2 or 3 passes, so I don't really know just what circumstances ever make the manual stages necessary.
Do you ever see a boot menu ?
 
#17
What I had was a dual boot that was working perfectly. Default was Vista and the second choice was Ubuntu installed via wubi, which means it was just in a folder on the normal windows partition. I understand when you install this way the boot menu you see is provided by Ubuntu. So when you want to uninstall Ubuntu, which was my starting point 6 days ago, (sob), you need to revert to the Vista boot manager first. This is what I was trying to do via easyBCD when it all went pear-shaped. When I try to boot now, I get "error reading disk" and it stops. I don't think there is anything wrong with the drive itself as I can boot happily off an UBuntu live cd and see all my files, move em, rename em etc. Chkdsk finds no errors even with /r switch.

Hold everything!!! This could be one of those really annoying coincidences, since this all started while messing with easybcd to uninstall ubuntu. Anyway, having started at the wrong end logically, by looking to fix bcd and so on, I finally reached the BIOS by working back up the startup tree, and guess what, it thinks the hard drive is busted. The HDD self test says Failed - Replace Hard Disk 1. I know there is nothing, at least, to my amateurs mind, wrong with the drive. All the utils and checks say it's fine, and I can work on it just fine from the ubuntu cd.

What can I do to punish my temperamental BIOS?

BTW, I tried Terry's suggestion of deleting the BCD and running startup repair off the recovery disk. Same problem. But now we know it's the BIOS hardly surprising.
 
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Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#18
Try swapping the HDD cable to a different channel on the mobo.
 
#19
Is there anything I can try that might be less hassle? If it was a desktop I'd have no problem, but on an HP laptop it could take two days to take apart all the bits that I might need to in order to get at the cables. (Speaking from past experience of changing the odd item in it......)
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#20
Sorry, forgetting it was a laptop.
Do you have 2 HDD bays ?
If so try swapping them over and switching the BIOS boot sequence.