Just came out of a real deep mess after my laptop crashed 3 days back. The issue was a fairly common one but none of the solutions found on the internet were working and I had to fix things with extreme prejudice. All my data for the last 5 years exits on the same laptop. By the same laptop I mean even the same hardware. I have opened the guts of this HP Pavilion g4 at least 4 times in the past for everything from CPU fan not working to blown hard disk. But this was another thing all together.
So what happened? I ran Norton Power eraser on my laptop considering all the recent Malware going around (one often meets his destiny on the path he chooses to avoid it). During the process I guess a power failure happened causing things to fail. So when I started the laptop in the morning this is what greeted me.
Now when I installed windows I had a reserved system partition which is a hidden drive in which information regarding how to boot windows ( i.e. where windows is installed etc.) can be found. I figured it must have been corrupted and a simply chkdsk would fix the issue. However I needed a recovery cd. So went about creating system recovery disk. Using the instructions here. Unfortunately the USB wasn’t being detected. So I tried a CD instead by burning the files from my other laptop. This didn’t fix the issue either. So next I copied the files from a windows install cd into a USB and now it was being detected and I came to screen for repair your computer.
Next I tried system repair which would have normally fixed any boot issues, but instead I kept getting the error below “Boot Manager is missing or Corrupt.”
So next I choose the option for Command Prompt from the screen.
So I run sfc /scannow and then ran chkdsk /f /r to find and repair any errors on the disk.
Surprise check disk/sfc shows no errors. So the next step was to rebuild the BCD by running the instructions below:-
And then ran System repair 3 times as mentioned but this didn’t work either. First it didn’t find the Windows installation and the second issue was that even after rebuild of BCD the system wouldn’t boot without the install CD. So what did it fix then?
In the mean time I figured I should connect my HDD to another laptop and backup my data so that took another 7 hours.
Once the backup was done I went ahead and decided to nuke the system reserved partition and build it from scratch so I connected the HDD to the other laptop and formatted the drive using Disk management. Followed by the steps below to build a new system reserved partition.
Since I figured the RebuildBCD wasn’t working I decided to create my own boot files by copying files from the recovery folder on the drive I had backed up using the instructions below
So after this step I needed to make the new system reserved partition active using the steps below:-
So finally I was able to boot without the install media but it still kept coming to the system recovery screen and now I get a new error about
“The windows boot configuration data file does not contain a valid os entry windows 7”
It became obvious that the BCD I copied over was pointing to a drive that doesn’t contain the OS (because I rebuilt a new partition and the drive letter for the original drive on which windows was installed got reassigned). So I needed a way to edit the BCD and tell it where to find my OS.
So I followed the instructions at this site to build a BCD file only which pointed to my correct install directory.
Once this was done I got the error that winload.exe could not be found. This is the file that loads windows after the windows boot process is done. So now I was able to boot but it wasn’t able to find the exe to load windows. So next I copied over the file from another laptop and after boot I was able to starting trying to load windows. However I kept get missing driver files like config.sys etc
This was now the end of the second day and frustration level had reached its peak so I got lazy and simply went into C:\Windows\System32\Drivers\ and copied everything over to the bad drive. Naturally I end up with a blue screen error about ‘session manager failed to create protected prefixes system process terminated unexpectedly with a status of 0xc000003a
So in figured I should give up and called MS and the suggestion I got was to format and reinstall. Which I couldn’t because I have software installed for which I won’t even be able to get the installer anymore let alone product keys. So I went back to the internet for help. At this point my laptop is in a loop restarting every time it tried to get into windows because of the Blue screen of death.
That is when I came across the option to disable Checking Driver signatures. I used the temporary method.
Finally I am able to boot to the desktop. Naturally the first thing I did was take a system image so that I can also get back to this point. After which I had a number of hardware showing bad drivers in Device manager. So went to the HP website and started downloading drivers for software. But even now every time I try to boot I need to press F8 so I needed a better solution to repair the drivers in system32 folder so I upgrade to windows 10. This seems to have fixed almost all the issues expect some new drivers that needed to be downloaded now that the OS was Windows 10 instead of Windows 7. But overall after three days My Laptop is up and running again and back from a near death experience and all my software is working and so is my data.
Was it worth it …. YES!!!! Was it easy ….. HELL NO!!!!