Vista x64 won't boot, BSOD, no luck with recovery disc either

#1
Hello All, I have a serious problem with my girlfriend's computer which I'll try to explain succinctly. Hopefully someone can help me out.

Computer: Advent QC7003 pre-loaded with Vista Home Premium x64 (mobo: Intel DG45ID).

Original problem: minor audio problems and occasional infrequent crashing.

What I did: I started installing the latest drivers from Intel (including audio) and I also updated the BIOS here. The installation process completed successfully; however Vista was now crashing more than ever (no blue screen, just freezing). It would freeze up within 1 minute of the desktop loading. In safe mode, everything was fine so I decided to do a System Restore, as I figured the new drivers had made the problem worse. I restored the computer back by about a week (to a point before the new drivers were installed), but the problem was still there. I did another System Restore and set it as far in the past as possible, but this time the restoration process froze up mid-way through! After waiting for ages, I reluctantly switched the computer off and restarted.

Current problem: Now the computer blue screens immediately after the (c) Microsoft Corporation loading screen - even in safe mode! The blue screen appears regardless of which F8 option I use. The computer came with Vista pre-loaded so there is no Vista installation CD. I have tried using the recovery DVDs as per the instructions, but these just lead to a blue screen after the initial loading screen. I also tried the NeoSmart recovery disc, but to no avail. I tried updating the BIOS with the latest Intel one (IE. not The TechGuys one) via a USB stick, but this came back with a message saying "NTLDR is missing. Press any key to restart."

Nothing I try seems to be working. I am having a nightmare! Is there anything I can do to get Windows to boot? Please help!
 
#2
My first question would be what drivers were you installing from Intel? Normally you get drivers from the manufacturer of the computer.

Advent seems to be a minor manufacturer of desktop PCs in the UK. They don’t seem to have a normal manufacturer’s website where you can download drivers and such but they do have a support forum below. When you’re looking for audio drivers you need either get them from the computer manufacturer or from the sound card manufacturer if there is a sound card or from the mother board manufacturer if the sound is integrated into the motherboard.

http://www.adventsupport.com

Updating the BIOS is something you normally don’t do to a working computer unless you have a specific problem where a given BIOS update will provide a known solution. However I don’t think the BIOS upgrade is causing the problem that you are having. Usually a messed up BIOS upgrade will cause a computer to not boot at all. However for future reference I recommend you not mix doing BIOS updates and driver updates at the same time.

I don’t use system restore points for the very reasons the you are experiencing. I either backup one entire partition as a file to another using multiple operating systems or use a backup program like Macrium Reflect Free listed below. It has the ability to backup all the data on the hard disk to DVD blanks with compression and create a boot restore disk.

Macrium Reflect Free 4.2 build 3141
http://download.cnet.com/Macrium-Reflect-Free/3000-2242_4-10845728.html?tag=mncol;2

So I gather now you can’t boot into the desktop computer at all? Is there data on the computer that needs to be backed up before the system can be restored? That would be data such as mail, word documents, spreadsheets and such. If so you are probably going to want to take the computer to a local computer shop and let them backup the data. You might as well also pay them to restore the system.

If however there is no data to recover you can try the link below and follow the process to either repair or restore Windows Vista from the hidden partition. That should fix it. I seriously doubt the repair will work but the restore should. If that fails there is another link where you can order the restore disks.

http://www.uktsupport.co.uk/advent/pc/QC7003.htm

Once you get the computer fixed I recommend you check what version of the service pack is on the system. A lot of these Vista systems ship with just service pack two or lower. I would download and install service pack three and do the automatic up dates. I would also do a periodic backup with a backup program like the one I recommended above.

The audit program below may be able to determine what type of audio the system has.

Belarc Advisor 8.1p
http://download.cnet.com/Belarc-Advisor/3000-2094_4-10007277.html?tag=mncol;1
 
#3
The drivers were as follows:
  • "Chipset: Intel® Chipset Device Software for Intel® Desktop Boards" (Version 9.1.2.1008)
  • "Video: Intel® Graphics Media Accelerator Driver for Windows* Vista and Windows* 7" (Version 15.17.10.2189)
  • "Audio: IDT* 92xx Audio Driver" (Version 6224.7 v186)
Was I wrong to download them directly from Intel (The mobo is Intel DG45ID)? I just presumed that that would be fine.

At present, Windows cannot boot at all (not even in Safe Mode, last known good configuration, etc.). Also, the "Repair Your Computer" option leads to blue screen so there's no option to repair or restore from the hidden partition.

There are files that my gf would like me to recover from the computer: ideally everything from "Documents" and the desktop, but primarily she wants to rescue her photos as these are irreplaceable.

At a glance, there seem to be some free software tools available that can boot from CD/USB which might be able to help me recover the files. Would you recommend this method? It would be cheaper than taking it to a repair shop and quite useful to learn how to do (presuming it's not too difficult to pick up).

Alternatively, could I physically remove the HDD and plug it into my own PC as secondary storage (via SATA) to retrieve the files? I have XP Professional installed on my machine and available SATA slots on my mobo. There seems to be mixed opinion on this method from what I have googled.

Another method could be to buy a USB enclosure for the HDD and plug that in to retrieve the files. Would I be able to access the files with that method? I don't mind buying an enclosure, as I can sell it again or keep it for future recovery.

PS. Thanks for the links. I had visited Advent Support and UKT Support before posting but neither were terribly useful.

Thanks for your help.
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#4
#5
“At a glance, there seem to be some free software tools available that can boot from CD/USB which might be able to help me recover the files. Would you recommend this method? It would be cheaper than taking it to a repair shop and quite useful to learn how to do (presuming it's not too difficult to pick up).

Alternatively, could I physically remove the HDD and plug it into my own PC as secondary storage (via SATA) to retrieve the files? I have XP Professional installed on my machine and available SATA slots on my mobo. There seems to be mixed opinion on this method from what I have googled.

Another method could be to buy a USB enclosure for the HDD and plug that in to retrieve the files. Would I be able to access the files with that method? I don't mind buying an enclosure, as I can sell it again or keep it for future recovery.”

If you’re comfortable removing the drive and making it the second drive or drive one (the main drive is drive zero) in your XP system that should work. It’s really easy and the fastest. USB technology is fine but hard drive hard drive speed is the absolute fastest. Unless your girlfriend has used a different location for storing photographs and such, all you have to do is locate the top-level directory called “documents and settings” and copy that over to your drive. Personally what I would do is make a folder called z-save on your C drive and copy the above mentioned folder over to z-save. All the user data should be in that folder.

For example documents would be under documents and settings/username/my documents. The picture should be under “documents and settings/my pictures “. Just make sure you find the photographs. If she’s done quite a bit of photographic work there should be several gigabytes worth.

Once you get the data over to your hard drive I recommend you burn down the data to DVD blanks with the program like deep burner or image burn. If you’re lucky the data will fit on one DVD blank. If not you have to break it up and burn it down to several disks.

DeepBurner Free 1.9.0.228
http://download.cnet.com/DeepBurner-Free/3000-2646_4-10250994.html?tag=mncol;1

ImgBurn 2.5.5
http://download.cnet.com/ImgBurn/3000-2646_4-10847481.html?tag=mncol;1


if you have mail that needs to be backed up you want to see which version of a mail client is being used and where that data is. If it’s Thunderbird it’s under program files/Mozilla Thunderbird.

Regarding the drivers, if you got the exact motherboard model correct, those probably are the correct drivers. I checked the audio and I found the same one you did. I did not look for the other two. Personally I use gigabyte motherboards and I never use the integrated audio so that was why was wondering why you went to Intel.

In general, although it doesn’t happen very often, installing drivers can damage or destroy an OS installation. Last year I installed a single driver for a wireless NIC card on a Windows XP SP3 system. It turns out that both the version of the driver on the CD that came with the card and the latest driver on the manufacturer’s website were incompatible will Windows XP. The manufacturers said they were compatible but they were not. This is probably because they were listed as being compatible with both Windows 7, Windows Vista and Windows XP. It turned out that the older driver on the manufacturers website worked fine. That was the one that was not upgraded to work with Windows 7.

What I mean by incompatible was the driver installation completely destroyed Windows XP and went below that and destroyed the multiple boot loader controlling all my operating systems. The result was I had to spend three days completely rebuilding the computer set up. Without a second Intel machine available I had to move some partitions around and make space to load Windows 7 then do the USB thing to remove the data to a Macintosh computer. Doing this kind of stuff on a computer without a full backup of the hard drive is like walking a tightrope without a net. If you’re good you won’t have a problem all that often but when you do it’s really bad.
 
#6
Terry60 - Wow and wow! That was so simple, everything worked so easily! I ran Ubuntu 10.10 (64-bit version) from a CD, it loaded quickly and the interface was so simple to use. I had heard about Ubuntu before, but had never had a particular reason to download it until now. Ubuntu is officially on my radar from now on!

Once it loaded up and I was on the desktop, I just double-clicked on my hard drive and copied the files across to my USB! It let me in with no error messages or anything! I am very pleased!

Pillars of Creation - Thanks for your detailed information on back-ups and clarification on moving the SATA drive into my computer. I will have to be more cautious when I update drivers in future!

Ok, so the new plan (now all the important files are backed up) is to get Windows working again. I am considering buying Windows 7 for my girlfriend as it is better than Vista from what I have experienced (I will probably want to install Ubuntu as well). Can I install Win 7 and Ubuntu with the computer in its current state or will the existing faulty Vista cause me problems? Can I get the existing Vista installation to work again in some way? Will we have to pay for another copy of Microsoft Office or will that install ok with the original key we bought (it's still the same machine, same hardware, etc.)?

Many, many thanks for your help!
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#7
Best to try fixing Vista first (you've paid a fortune for the license. No point flushing that away without at least giving it a shot)
There should be a hot key(s) you can use at power up (I think it's F10 for advent) which take you directly to the hidden recovery partition to "factory reset". That's the best option now your user files are safe.
If you buy W7, EasyBCD will make it a doddle multi-booting all three, or just W7/Ubu if you decide to format the whole HDD and wipe Vista away.
 
#8
I believe the professional thing to do is to put the machine back the way was but with for the latest service pack (sp3) and all the patches applied. Also make sure you load a good antivirus program and do a backup. You can use the Ubuntu install disk you made to run the Gparted partition editor to see if you have a hidden partition.

Go to system, administration, Gparted.

If you don’t have a hidden partition you try the link below to see if you can purchase the recovery media. Check on the shipping time.
http://support.thetechguys.com/recoverymedia

Or you could just take the computer local shop and pay them to restore the operating system. They should have a volume license Windows Vista CD they can use to restore the operating system.

Or you can purchase Windows Vista.

Windows Vista Home Premium SP2 32-Bit Eng 1-pack $112.92
PROVANTAGE: Microsoft 66I-03012 Windows Vista Home Premium SP2 32-Bit Eng 1-Pack


Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit System Builder 1pk $99.99
http://www.amazon.com/Windows-Home-..._1_1?s=software&ie=UTF8&qid=1298569048&sr=1-1

if you go the route of loading an operating system off a CD, you’re going to have to deal with loading the drivers. If you open up the box and see that they are no card attached to the motherboard, then all the driver should be available from Intel because it is an Intel motherboard. If you’re going to reload Windows Vista I would make sure you deploy service pack three and all the patches before you load up the Intel drivers.
 
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#9
Ok, so if possible I would like to restore the machine back to its original factory settings. Gparted says that there is a partition labelled as "Recovery" on the HDD, but how do I make use of it? I can't seem to access it using any repair/restore tools, as it blue screens each time. Each of the following methods have failed to work:
  • All start-up options from the F8 menu (including "Repair computer") [all lead to a Microsoft Corporation loading screen, followed by BSOD]
  • The Neosmart Vista recovery disc [leads to a "Windows is loading files" screen, followed by BSOD]
  • The 2 homemade recovery CDs that were made when the computer was new [leads to a "Windows is loading files" screen, followed by BSOD]
  • The TechGuys OEM Recovery Fix Disk [leads to a "Windows is loading files" screen, followed by BSOD]
The other hotkeys don't seem to be much use either: F2=bios, F10=boot menu (list of drives) and F12=boot pxe. Will the recovery media that The TechGuys sell just be the same as the ones I already have (homemade recovery discs and OEM Recovery Fix Disk)? Obviously I don't want to spend £55 on discs that I already have (/won't work).

Is there another way I can use the hidden recovery partition to get Vista working again? What are the the most likely causes for the blue screen when I'm trying to access the recovery tools? Bad drivers? Corrupt files?

I removed any unnecessary hardware from the machine (graphics and wireless network cards) to see if that helped, but it didn't change any of the results listed above. I also thought it would be clever to disable some settings in bios, but all I managed to do was stop the display working (whoops!)! Thankfully that's all reset back to normal again now.
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#10
Does the BSOD have a stop error code ?
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#12
#13
Tubob,

Stop error message code 0x0000C1F5 Blue Screen Of Death (BSOD)

According to Microsoft “The Common Log File System (Clfs.sys) driver does not fix the $TxfLog file when the file is corrupted.” Translated in English the $TxfLog file is corrupted. So the $TxfLog needs to be deleted.

There are two possible solutions for this problem. You can either use a Windows 7 install disk which supposedly will fix the problem automatically. If you don’t happen to have the Windows 7 install disk, if you’re good with torrent sites you can download a Windows 7 RC (release candidate) copy. The other solution is to use some kind of a boot disk to give you access to the hard drive and manually delete the offending $TxfLog file. Then use the Windows 7 recovery disk to fix the boot.

Not to harp on it again but I suspect that service pack three had been deployed before the drivers were installed would have been avoided. Also again it’s best to make a backup before you start doing things like flashing the BIOS and installing drivers. Tubob can you let us know what service pack is installed if you get the system booting again?

“Looking at the problem a little more closely, it seems that if the $TxfLog file is corrupted, the Common Log File System Driver wigs out at boot time, causing the BSOD. The particularly nasty thing about this problem is that you cannot even boot the Vista distribution DVD to use its repair tools; the BSOD occurs when you boot from DVD too! Basically, it crashes whenever a Windows box tries to mount the file system. . . .

At this point, I broke out one of my favorite sysadmin tools, SystemRescueCD. This is a Linux-based live distro that has all sorts of diagnostic and repair goodies on it. I figured that if I booted the SystemRescueCD disk, I might be able to diagnose, and maybe even repair, the problem.

(Unsolicited plug alert: take a minute to download SystemRescueCD, burn a copy, and add it to your sysadmin bag of tricks. The folks who make and maintain this disc do a helluva good job... it has saved my bacon more than once. Check it out.)

So, here's an overview of how I fixed my system. For part 1, you need a SystemRescueCD disc. Don't forget that Linux commands are case-sensitive, so pay careful attention to upper and lower case letters and spaces between items on the command line. Also note that several of these file names contain dollar signs ($), and the $ must be escaped from interpretation by the shell by preceding it immediately with a backslash (\), e.g. "\$foo" when referring to a file named $foo.

1. Boot the SystemRescueCD disc, answering any localization questions as required, until you get to a shell prompt.

2. Mount your hard drive at /mnt/windows using ntfs-3g, e.g. "ntfs-3g /dev/sda1 /mnt/windows". You may have to "ls /dev/hd*" or "ls /dev/sd*" or "fdisk -l" to figure out the correct device to mount. If you are using a RAID device for your root file system, run "dmraid -ay" to attempt to mount all available RAID file systems, then "ls /dev/mapper" and look for your device. Also, if the NTFS file system is corrupted (which it probably is if you are reading this post) you may have to add the "-o force" flag to the mount, e.g. "ntfs-3g /dev/sda1 /mnt/windows -o force".

3. Verify that you have the correct file system mounted by "ls /mnt/windows". You should see the content of "C:" or whatever is your boot drive in Windows... if you don't, repeat Step 2 until you mount the correct device.

4. Navigate to the first hidden folder: "cd /mnt/windows/\$Extend". Note the backslash before the $; that is important as it keeps the command shell from interpreting the $ (it is really part of the file name).

5. Navigate to the second hidden folder: type "cd \$RmMetadata". Once again, note that the $ is escaped with a backslash.

6. Type "ls". Among the files/folders listed you should see "$TxfLog".

7. Take a deep breath and recursively remove the $TxfLog file: "rm -rf \$TxfLog". Once again, note that the $ is escaped with a backslash.

8. Use "ls" to verify that it has been deleted. (You should see the same listing as in Step 6 except the $TxfLog folder is now missing.)

9. Type "cd /"

10. Type "umount /mnt/windows" to cleanly unmount your NTFS filesystem.

11. Type "init 6" to reboot, removing the CD when appropriate.

At this point, your system will no longer bluescreen, but it may not boot, either. To fix that, here's part 2, for which you'll need a Vista DVD.

12. Boot the Vista DVD and choose "Repair my computer".

13. When the system looks for Vista installations to repair, it probably won't find any. Don't panic; just click Next.

14. In the System Recovery Options list, choose Startup Repair. The system will process for a minute or two, then state that it
needs to reboot to finish its repair. Allow it to reboot.

15. Remove the DVD at the appropriate time and allow the system to boot from the hard drive.

16. If the system complains that it was not shut down properly, choose "boot normally".

17. You may have to repeat steps 12-16 up to five times to "convince" the system to rebuild itself. If the system gets "stuck" during the rebuild process for more than an hour or so, force it to reboot (hit the reset switch or power-cycle the system) and try again.

That's it. With any luck at all you should have a bootable system again.

The STOP 0x0000C1F5 bug is a nasty one, and I am confident that Microsoft will release a hotfix and/or Windows Update for it soon. In the meantime, if you are experiencing the problem, I hope this article helps to get you running again.”

http://www.delmartian.com/nullpoint...0C1F5-0xC1F5-C1F5-BSOD-CLFS.SYS-KB946084.html

"Several people contacted me to inform me that there is FINALLY a fix available from Microsoft for this problem. It seems that the Windows 7 beta disc (and, of course, the Windows 7 RTM disc) includes a “silent fix” for this issue. Apparently, when you boot a Windows 7 disc and it is identifying potential partitions for installation, it silently fixes any problems with $TxfLog that it finds… so if you boot it to the “Install Now” prompt, abort the installation, remove the disc, and simply boot Vista off your hard drive, it should fix itself. This is described in KB970101."

http://www.delmartian.com/nullpointers/STOP-0x0000C1F5-0xC1F5-C1F5-Revisited.html

http://forums.techguy.org/windows-vista/877255-blue-error-stop-0x0000c1f5.html

Addendum:

Download Link for latest April release of system rescue CD for Intel x86 hardware:

http://sourceforge.net/projects/sys...6/2.0.1/systemrescuecd-x86-2.0.1.iso/download

System rescue CD homepage:
http://sysresccd.org/Main_Page

Here is the documentation page for Ntfs3g. It’s a cool little app that lets you edit data on NTFS file systems from outside Windows.

Ntfs3g
http://sysresccd.org/Sysresccd-manual-en_Mounting_an_NTFS_partition_with_full_Read-Write_support
 
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#14
Nice one guys, the machine is working again.

I downloaded a Windows 7 Enterprise trial disk from here: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-gb/evalcenter/dd353205 , booted the broken Vista machine from it and cancelled the Windows installation as instructed. This silently fixed the corrupt $TxfLog file.

I then tried to boot Vista as I normally would from the HDD but it just took me to the Tech Guys recovery options. Having tried all the repair options except for the "Full Destructive Restore" option (including via the array of recovery media I now have), I bit the bullet and restored the Vista machine back to the factory settings.

All the files were backed up previously so it's just a matter of moving them back to the HDD now. Microsoft Office was inevitably removed as well so that will have to be reinstalled, as will all the other software. But at least it works again!

I am now in the process of updating things via Windows Update having just installed SP2. The restore set it back to SP1 so presumably this was the only installed service pack when it crashed. Possibly Windows Update would have installed SP2 prior to it happening, but I have no way of knowing now unfortunately.

Thanks a lot for your help. Hopefully this thread is useful for other people in future too.

Regards,

Tubob