Vista Won't Boot and Repair Options Not Working

Discussion in 'Windows Vista' started by Tennis Ball, Aug 13, 2016.

  1. Tennis Ball

    Tennis Ball MDL Novice

    Aug 13, 2016
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    Hi, first I'd like to apologize for such a lengthy post but this is an ongoing issue and I have a lot of detail to relay. :mushy::D:p

    A few years ago I purchased a Toshiba Laptop with MS Vista. This laptop has been used very little and will no longer boot.

    I was doing a bit of gaming when my game froze. Ctrl+Alt+Del wouldn't allow me to end the game, nor would anything else I tried and since the laptop was frozen for more than 5 minutes or so, I decided to hold down the power button to reset it.

    Upon restarting, the laptop hung at the Microsoft Windows loading screen for about 10 minutes or so, after which I tried to reset it again. On the next reset, it started CHKDSK automatically, which I allowed to run. It found a handful of errors and said it was discarding the files and repairing Windows.


    CHKDSK finished, but said it wasn't able to repair the disk. Afterwards, it restarted and ran Startup Repair, which also failed. It then became stuck in an endless Startup Repair loop.


    I found a tutorial online that attempted to fix the endless loop problem by using the REGBACK command and a few other things, but when I typed CD\Windows\system32\config as mentioned in the tutorial, it says not found on the drive (or something to that effect). It says the same for CD\Windows and CD\windows\system32. Having said that, it did show my Windows, Users and Program Files folders when typing DIR on C: and I was later able to recover the data from the drive using Ubuntu.


    Both Ubuntu and Windows were able to see my Windows partition, though Windows won't boot.


    I was eventually able to fix the Startup Repair Loop by using a Vista install DVD to attempt more startup repairs. The startup repairs didn't fix the booting problems but it did allow me to finally access command prompt from the Vista DVD.


    I've ran more than 30 startup repairs at this point (many of them due to being stuck in the loop) and it does no good. I can't boot into Safe Mode and System Restore doesn't work nor does last known good configuration. Windows says there are no restore points to use, though I did have System Restore turned on.


    I'm also unable to get into Advanced Restore Options by pressing F8.


    After doing a lot of research and asking for advice on other forums, I ran out of options and decided to give Bootrec.exe a shot. I used the /FixMbr, /FixBoot and /RebuildBcd commands. All indicated they were successful but of course this didn't fix my problem and Windows is now no longer seeing my Vista installation. I'm also getting another message upon startup, which is of course caused by the Bootrec attempts I made, but I'd run out of time and had to leave the house before I was able to take note of exactly what the message was.

    After this, Ubuntu is still able to see my Vista partition and I can still access the data.

    I've tried almost everything on it with the exception of reinstalling and doing a repair install.

    I haven't done a repair install because my laptop came with an OEM version of Vista and my understanding is that when I were to reactivate Windows I'd be out of luck because MS no longer supports OEM activations. Is this correct?

    Wouldn't I be unable to activate Windows?

    I did try using the sfc /scannow command. It didn't work at first but after some research I was able to find out how to run it in offline mode. Once I got it working it found some corrupt files but was unable to repair them. It did mention that these files were now stored in the log but I didn't have time to check them before leaving the house. I'll have to check it once I return home. I'll also try running the scan a few more times when I have the time, as I've read it may need up to 3 scans to fix everything.

    I plan to download the System Update Readyness Tool from Microsoft but once I've done that how will I replace the files with me only being able to use command prompt?

    I've considered doing a repair upgrade but I've read that I may be unable to activate Windows since my laptop is OEM.

    I read on another forum:

    "Microsoft no longer provides support for preinstalled OEM (recovery)copies of Vista. If you have one of these, then you must contact the OEM, instead of Microsoft in this tutorial, to activate your OEM Vista."

    This leads me to believe that I will not be able to activate Vista unless I go through my OEM?

    I do have a COA sticker on my laptop still but my OEM didn't provide any install media, so I'm actually using a retail Vista Disc for this.

    I'd really like to fix this laptop without having to do a fresh install if possible, though I realize it might not be. I'm determined to try everything else in the world first though.

    If a repair install would allow me to keep my data I'd be okay with that, but I don't want to wind up with an issue of being unable to reactivate Vista.

    I seem to recall reading somewhere that when reinstalling Vista, even with an OEM COA key you would have to still go through reactivation which would require you to get a new key from MS. Am I mis-remembering this? Would I simply be able to re-enter the key from my laptop sticker and have Windows activate normally (permanently)? If so, I'd go this route.


    At this point I'm guessing there's no fixing this laptop without reinstalling everything but if anyone here has any advice that might help me, I'd love to hear it. Thanks. :mushy:
     
  2. Joe C

    Joe C MDL Guru

    Jan 12, 2012
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    #2 Joe C, Aug 13, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2016
    Sounds to me that your hard drive has bad sectors, which is corrupting your vista files. Find the hard drive's manufacture and then get the diagnostic software they provide to check the health status of this hard drive. Please back up any important data that your need first.
    SSD's have greatly come down in price and with the DAZ loader, you might want to consider a Windows 7 upgrade. Vista's life cycle will end next spring (April 11, 2017)
     
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  3. LatinMcG

    LatinMcG Bios Borker

    Feb 27, 2011
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    #3 LatinMcG, Aug 13, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2016
    slic 2.1 bios is more reliable for win 7 than a bootsector slic2.1 emulation.
    and stil use daz to install cert and key not bootsector (auto) or just vista and daz does same with no mbr change

    clone hdd and boot command prompt from win 7 or vista disk.
    sfc /scannow /offbootdir=c:\ /offwindir=c:\windows (or D or E or F disk )
    if stil no boot after. goto hdd \windows\system32\config\regback and copy all files to folder outside of it
    windows\system32\config
    then overwrite or make current files a copy of first.
    now registry is back to previous working copy.
    this can be done with hirensbootcd.org 15.2 mini xp and has some hdd diag tools too
     
  4. Tennis Ball

    Tennis Ball MDL Novice

    Aug 13, 2016
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    Joe, you're correct about the bad sectors. I thought I'd mentioned that but I guess I omitted it by mistake. Windows says 4 bad sectors found, Ubuntu says 1. I will likely swap out the drive at some point and put Win 7 on it, but if it's possible I want to try to get this one booting again. :)
     
  5. Tennis Ball

    Tennis Ball MDL Novice

    Aug 13, 2016
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    LatinMcG, am I understanding this to mean that the Daz Windows loader can also activate Vista? Or did I misunderstand that part?


    This command "sfc /offbootdir=c:\ /offwindir=c:\windows" is what I used to get the scan working before. I entered it as "sfc /SCANNOW /OFFBOOTDIR=c:\ /OFFWINDIR=c:\windows". I notice my way has "scannow" and you way does not. Do I need to run it again without the "scannow"?


    For the second part, you're saying I need to type \windows\system32\config\regback and then overwrite \windows\system32\config\ with it? This will then copy the registry back to a working version?
     
  6. Tennis Ball

    Tennis Ball MDL Novice

    Aug 13, 2016
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    Thank you both for your input. I appreciate it. :)
     
  7. Joe C

    Joe C MDL Guru

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    #7 Joe C, Aug 14, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2016
    A drive with bad sectors does not get better, only worse. You can probably get this drive to boot up again but it will also fail again too. Connect the drive as an external drive or install it into another pc with a good windows drive on it and retrieve your data first before you start playing with trying to get it working to boot again
     
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  8. LatinMcG

    LatinMcG Bios Borker

    Feb 27, 2011
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    vista will activate with daz.
    my mistake.. long day. yes with /scannow is right i forgot to ad that part
     
  9. Tennis Ball

    Tennis Ball MDL Novice

    Aug 13, 2016
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    Joe: Don't worry, I've already pulled the data off the drive. I don't intend to rely on the drive, I'd just like to use it a little longer before I have to buy a new one.

    Latin: Good to know that Vista will activate with the loader. Was I correct in my understanding of the last part? This: "For the second part, you're saying I need to type \windows\system32\config\regback and then overwrite \windows\system32\config\ with it? This will then copy the registry back to a working version?"
     
  10. LatinMcG

    LatinMcG Bios Borker

    Feb 27, 2011
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    #10 LatinMcG, Aug 14, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2016
    browse to location.. make a backup of the config folder.. then copy the files from inside regback to the config folder overwrite.

    this is of course after u cloned hdd to other disk.. and still wont boot on other disk and youve done your prior steps u took e.g chkdsk /f, fixmbr, fixboot again on newer hdd.

    the copy pate or backup can be done from linux live usb/cd or usb or hirens .. or other pc spare sata cable.
    i make usb with hirens iso and all linux, n more with tool YUMI from pendrivelinux.com
     
  11. Tennis Ball

    Tennis Ball MDL Novice

    Aug 13, 2016
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    LatinMcG: Got it. I'll give that a try once I return home. Thanks :)
     
  12. Tennis Ball

    Tennis Ball MDL Novice

    Aug 13, 2016
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    Well, here's an interesting development from last night. It seems the offline scf /scannow check I did previously partially brought my Vista install back. Windows is now seeing Vista on the drive and it now refers to Vista as being recovered, although Windows still won't boot.

    When Vista came back up it recommended that I run System Repair again, which I did and it made repairs, then still would not boot. I ran System Repair once more and now it says that it detects no problems, yet still won't boot.

    After restarting it now says there is a corrupt Winload.exe file. I've read that if I were to use Ubuntu to copy the Winload.exe file from Windows\system32\boot\winload.exe into \Windows\system32\winload.exe that this may fix my problem. Does this sound right?

    Finally, when Windows "recovered" my Vista installation it is now also showing my System Restore points once again. I haven't tried to use them yet, because even the most recent restore point it's showing is fairly old. If I can't fix this any other way, I might try one of the restore points, but for now I'm going to continue to try other methods. :)
     
  13. LatinMcG

    LatinMcG Bios Borker

    Feb 27, 2011
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    see if it boots in safemode or try bootloging

    but the fix is to use hirens and use password renew to make new user
    then boot and log in to new user.