Wrong button in BCD killed my Windows/Linux dual boot

#1
Hi all, this is going to be a very embarrassing post for me to make.

First, I want to say how much I appreciate all the work that has gone into EasyBCD. I bought a Dell XPS 15z with Windows on it that I was able to install Ubuntu 12.04 and dual boot spectacularly easily with the aid of EasyBCD. That is until I hit the wrong button...

I wanted to adjust which OS gets booted by default so I edited the boot menu in EasyBCD, went to deploy it with the Write MBR button, but got distracted and accidentally hit the 'Install BCD' button while my Windows drive ( C: ) was selected. When it asked me if I wanted to automatically load the newly-created BCD store in EasyBCD now, I said no (naively hoping this would cancel whatever I action I had just performed unwittingly). I went ahead and hit 'Write MBR' to change the default option as I originally intended, and restarted the computer to see if it worked.

It did not. My computer will no longer load past a Windows Boot Manager error window telling me:


Windows has failed to start. A recent hardware or software change might be the cause. To fix the problem:
1) Insert installation disk 2) choose language 3) hit Repair. Contact manufacturer if you do not have the disk. (paraphrased this part)

File: \Boot\BCD
Status: Oxc000000f
Info: An error occurse while attempting to read the boot configuration data.


I tried to run Windows 7 repair. It sees a problem with my MBR, but is unable to fix it. It cannot seem to find my OS at all. In the command prompt, I followed all the steps listed here for all three Types of problems (including Nuclear Holocaust) one at a time but none worked: Recovering the Windows Bootloader from the DVD - EasyBCD - NeoSmart Technologies Wiki

I get an error message often that the 'required system device cannot be found'.

I have absolutely no idea what to do here. I am able to start up a Live Ubuntu session and save all the data from my partitions (the Windows partition, the Linux partition, and the OS-less 'Shared' partition I created with the bulk of my data on it).

I'm not well-versed in these kind of things; if it weren't for such helpful people on the internet, I wouldn't have been able to accomplish even the partition. If there is more information I can provide, please let me know and I will be happy to do so.

Ideally, I can fix this problem without having to reinstall or reformat. This is my only working computer that I use for my job and really just want to get back on my feet ASAP so I can get back to work :\

Any help would be very much appreciated. Even if you aren't able to help, I appreciate your time in reading this post.

Thanks,
J
 

mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
#2
Use diskpart to set your Windows partition as active. Our automated repair CDs can fix this if you have no luck.
 
#3
Use diskpart to set your Windows partition as active. Our automated repair CDs can fix this if you have no luck.
No luck, unfortunately. Tried to set all the partitions as active one at a time (restarting the computer each time) to see if it would work. Now it just tells me BOOTMGR is missing. Different error, so I'll count that as progress.

I will try the automated repair CD.
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#4
FYI.
"Write MBR" is in the advanced options pages and has nothing whatsoever to do with "edit boot menu".
Anything you do in "edit boot menu" (99% of anything EasyBCD normally needs to do) is effective the moment you "save settings".
If you start rewriting the MBR, you will generally be undoing whatever you have done in "edit boot menu", not to mention risking destroying your ability to boot at all if the write MBR was unneccessary.
The only time it is necessary is if you have already destroyed your ability to boot with MS bootmgr (by installing XP or Linux in a way that has taken over the boot process from bootmgr e.g.) and you need to put bootmgr back in control.
If it's already controlling the boot, then reloading the boot manager and "write MBR" is superfluous, and probably counter-productive.

EasyBCD Basics - EasyBCD - NeoSmart Technologies Wiki
 

mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
#5
No luck, unfortunately. Tried to set all the partitions as active one at a time (restarting the computer each time) to see if it would work. Now it just tells me BOOTMGR is missing. Different error, so I'll count that as progress.

I will try the automated repair CD.
You should re-run the Windows startup repair after changing the active partition.
 
#6
Thank you, Terry. I didn't know that. I had no idea I was playing with fire otherwise I would have RTFM rather than intuit via button names. Very dumb of me.

Computer Guru, thanks for your help on this. Setting the active partition and running the repair did not work. However, running the automated repair via the CD/USB I purchase from you recovered my Windows partition to full.

I am now stuck trying to get my computer to acknowledge my Ubuntu install. I opened up EasyBCD and added it to the boot menu as I had done before (with the GRUB2 option), but when I select that on boot it cycles through the partitions but can't seem to find anything.

Try (hd0,0): non-MS: skip
Try (hd0,1): Extended:
Try (hd0,2): NTFS5: 2
Try (hd0,3): NTFS5: No ang1
Try (hd0,4): non-MS: skip
Try (hd0,5): Extended:
Try (hd0,5): EXT2:

Is there someway to repair the Ubuntu GRUB without reinstalling/overwriting? I'm afraid I'm very new to this and any help would be greatly appreciated.

Addendum

I was able to solve my issue with a Ubuntu LIVE CD and following the instructions on this website: http://www.howtogeek.com/114884/how-to-repair-grub2-when-ubuntu-wont-boot/ (for anyone else who has this issue and googles this thread)

It lists my Windows OS as 'Windows Vista' in the GRUB2 boot menu, which is incorrect, and I still can't get the Windows Boot Menu to launch into Ubuntu, but I do have access to both operating systems, and that should be enough.

Thanks for your help guys.
 

mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
#7
I'm glad to hear your machine is at the very least operational once more.

Anything you do in EasyBCD that does not involve removing the Windows entry or rewriting the MBR should be non-destructive to both Windows and Ubuntu.

Are you using the latest EasyBCD?
 
#8
I downloaded and installed EasyBCD. This is my first time trying anything related to dual os or linux products. I was having trouble assigning a boot in EasyBCD, it wouldn't recognize either Win7 or ArtistX 1.4 I kept getting a message saying that if I exited that I would not be able to reboot, so naively I unisntalled EasyBCD thinking that would solve the problem. Nope. I am having a similar problem that jttrs had. My issue is I get the following when trying to install/use the System Recover Disc.

"This version of System Recovery Options is not compatible with the version of Windows you are trying to repair. Try using a recovery disc that is compatible with this version of Windows."

I've tried both the 64 and 32 versions with the same result.

My pc
Purchased 10/12
ASUS U57A-BBL4
Factory Win 7
Worked great until I messed it up.

Any advice is hugely appreciated!
 

mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
#9
Those system recovery CDs didn't come from us, we can't help you with them.

Also not sure what the problem you're facing is.
 
#10
I tried to purchase Easy Recovery Essentials for Win7 with two different cc's and got this message "This transaction cannot be processed. Please enter a valid credit card number and type" on both. I also tried calling the phone number and got a vm. I would be happy to purchase the necessary cd's. But don't want to be billed twice.
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#11
If you have access to another W7 machine
Control Panel > Backup & Restore > Create System Repair Disc
Boot that and "startup repair" as many times as necessary to get your BCD back, then use EasyBCD to add a Linux entry.
 
#12
I was able to get Easy Recovery Essentials. However when I run Automated Repair I get the following message in red.

"Unable to find any valid Windows on this computer! Make sure all hard disks are attached. If they have been lost due to disk corruption, you can try to manually recover the partitions with testdisk at the command prompt."

Not sure where to go from here, how to partition etc. I've read the how to's and a lot of the posts on the forum. Thank you very much for your patience.

2013-03-20_16-29-47_685.jpg

Addendum

When I go to Browse/Backup Files this is what I get.
2013-03-20_16-56-40_682.jpg
and this is what I get when I go to Partition Editor
2013-03-20_17-00-05_877.jpg
here is the unknown that has a warning and some notes
2013-03-20_17-03-18_928.jpg

Hi Terry, I just saw your post. I will try that. Thank you :smile:

Addendum

Terry, so this is what I get each time I boot using the win7 64-bit recovery disc I made using another win 7 pc, should I continue this process over and over.
View attachment 2636
View attachment 2637
Thanks again for your help
 
Last edited:

mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
#13
What do you see when you browse the contents of the OS partition with browse/backup?
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#15
Set the OS partition "active" (the "boot" flag in Linux terms, if you're using gparted from our recovery disc). That's where all the boot files are, and where the MBR needs to be pointed for your system to be able to boot.
 
#16
Thanks Terry, for the details. Here is what I've done.
2013-03-21_08-44-28_716.jpg
I checked the box that says "Boot" for the OS previously it had been on fat 32 (I unchecked that box)
2013-03-21_08-47-33_934.jpg
I tried to do the Automated Repair and got this
2013-03-21_08-54-59_145.jpg
 
#17
Thanks Terry, for the details. Here is what I've done.
View attachment 2639
I checked the box that says "Boot" for the OS previously it had been on fat 32 (I unchecked that box)
View attachment 2640
I tried to do the Automated Repair and got this
View attachment 2641
After this I tried the win7 repair disc, and got the same message as before.

"This version of System Recovery Options is not compatible with the version of Windows you are trying to repair. Try using a recovery disc that is compatible with this version of Windows."

Addendum

I tried unchecking all of the other options except the OS which is checked "boot" and the Automatic Repair still doesn't work, and neither does the win7 repair disc.

All I wanted was to try linux artistx and have a dual boot system on my pc.

Now i am back in the Windows Recovery Essentials... not sure what to do from here. Thanks guys for giving me advice, otherwise I'd be totally lost.

Addendum

Any suggestions?

Addendum

I can see all of my files on the OS using the Windows Recovery Essentials. Not sure where to go or do from here. I feel like I am pretty close, and don't want to take my pc to a tech and pay a lot of money.
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#18
Did you try booting the PC after you'd set OS active ?
If so what happened ?
 
#19
Same as before, same message

"Unable to find any valid Windows partitions on this computer!..."

The only thing that is flagged is the boot option in the OS on the partition tab.

Win7 repair disc has the same error message as before also. "Not compatible with this version of windows..."

Addendum

I also mounted the OS system in the Browse/Backup tab. (Where I can see all of my files and stuff. Thanks for helping me :smile:
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#20
Those messages are from the CD(s)
Did you try to boot the PC normally (without a bootable CD in the tray) so that the MBR would find the active flag and chain to the boot sector of the OS partition ?