Vista Refuses to Boot... I fear for my Sanity

#1
No matter what I try, Vista will not boot. I'm fixing a computer for a friend, and I thought she had XP... but she has Vista Premium.

I keep getting the error:

"File: \Boot\BCD

Status: 0xc000000f

Info: An error occured while attempting to read the boot configuration data"

Okay, so I figure I need to run the WinRE off the Vista disc. When I boot up the disc and select "repair computer", there is no operating system to choose from. Nothing shows up in the box. I can't even go into safe mode

What do I do from here?

Ignoring that, I've done many things. I tried repairing the computer automatically, nothing happens. I try to restore it, nothing happens. System restore does nothing. COmplete PC restore does nothing. I try opening the command prompt and do all the things I know how to do:

bootrec.exe /fixmbr
bootrec.exe /fixboot

That does nothing.

Bootrec.exe
bcdedit /export C:\BCD_Backup
c:
cd boot
attrib bcd -s -h -r
ren c:\boot\bcd bcd.old
bootrec /RebuildBcd

That does nothing.

So I figure, it's time to wipe this thing clean and start anew. Well, there's a problem. This PC did not come with a resoration disc from the manufacturer. It was on the HDD and they never burned one. So I'm using a Vista upgrade disc to wipe it clean and install vista. I need the code though. It wouldn't be valid without a code to use. What do I do?


I saw this: http://www.davescomputertips.com/newsletters/20070715.php#2
But in order to get the code I need to:
  1. Open the file and copy the ABR folder to your USB flash drive, external drive, or second internal hard drive.
  2. Double click activation_backup.exe. This will open a cmd window and extract the OEM Vista key. If all goes OK you will see two new files in the ABR folder.
backup-cert.xrm-ms: Backed up activation
backup-key.txt: Backed-up product key

I can't do that if I can't get into Vista! It's like "what's the point?!" Sheesh.


Any help will be appreciated. I'm stomped. I don't know what to do.
 

JustinW

Super Moderator
Staff member
#2
The product key for her computer should be on a sticker located on the computer itself for reference during the installation.
 

Mak 2.0

Mod...WAFFLES!?!?
Staff member
#4
Okay have you tried all the steps in our Wiki to recover a boot?

Repairing the Windows Vista Bootloader - NeoSmart Technologies Wiki

2nd you cant really use a Upgrade disc to install Vista. Even the serial you have will not work. You have a serial for a OEM Full Version which will not work on a Retail Upgrade disc. So that option is right out the door.

Your best bet will be to try and recover the boot and if that fials try to get into the Recovery Partition they must have setup.
 

JustinW

Super Moderator
Staff member
#5
It probably has a recovery partition for sure and unless she has played around too much with the hard disk or it is dead it should be working. Each OEM's method to access it is different and may also be different based on model, so you'll need to find this information.
 
#6
Okay, my huge question is this:

When I run the recovery console, it searches for operating systems. Nothing comes up. It has an option for me to search but I'm not sure what I'm searching for. Can I get clarification on that?

Also, when I try
Code:
c:\boot\bootsect.exe /nt60 all /force
I get
Code:
c:\boot\bootsect.exe /nt60 all /force is not recognized as an internal or external command...
 
#8
That didn't work either, unfortunately. I guess I have no other choice but to wipe the drive and install vista again? I still need a disc and key though...
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#9
Check whether your friend copied the serial number from the PC into the user handbook when the PC was new. They generally have a space for recording such info, and encourage you to do so when you're customizing a new PC.
 

JustinW

Super Moderator
Staff member
#10
I wouldn't be surprised if she didn't... can't begin to count how many times I've gone to help someone with thier computer and they don't know what they did with the documentation and install discs. You'll probably need to contact the OEM at this point.
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#11
I know exactly what you mean. My sister always phones when her PC "goes wrong" or she's forgotten how to do something. Last time, she couldn't get her broadband back after she'd moved all her kit between rooms (the builders are in), so I said "have you checked all the connections from the Orange "quick install" leaflet ? "
"I've no idea where that is !" was the inevitable reply, though she does at least have the excuse that she can't find anything because of the general upheaval caused by the building work.