Restore from system backup image didn't fix boot issue
I have a Windows 7 Pro x64 box with a 128GB SSD and a 500GB HDD in it. Recently, I ran into some booting trouble with Windows. First, while my startups used to be lightening fast, thanks to the SSD, the time from POST to desktop became increasingly longer. The desktop wouldn't appear for minutes at a time, and I would have to wait at a black screen after the splash logo before I'd reach the desktop.
I ran Malwarebytes, AVG 2012 Internet Security, Spybot S&D, and Trojan Hunter on my installation, but nothing turned up. One day, the computer simply stopped booting to the desktop, and would simply hang at the black screen before login, with a mouse visible, but without any keystrokes being recognized, including the venerable CTRL-ALT-DEL.
I decided to run Startup Repair from a System Repair disc I had made awhile back. Startup Repair found some issues, but it reported that it repaired them, and I attempted to reboot again. No dice. I ran Startup Repair a few more times, but no other issues were found, and booting still didn't work.
At this point, I decided that restoring from the Windows Backup Image I had created in Windows Backup would work. I had made the backup before the slow startup issue began to appear, so I thought it was a working backup.
I connected my external drive that contained the backup, and ran the System Restore program from the WinRE disc. However, when I was presented with the option to format and erase the target disk (my SSD) I decided against it, because I didn't want more formatting to cause unnecessary writes to the SSD. The restore ran without a hitch, and I rebooted Windows.
But it still didn't work! I'm completely at a loss; the backup was a good copy as far as I know, and I hadn't tampered with either the backup or the drive it resided on at all, but it still did not fix my problem.
I have a couple of questions:
1.) Naturally, my first query is, does anyone have any advice as to how I may fix this issue, and get Windows booting again?
2.) Why didn't the Restore work properly? Was it because I didn't allow it to reformat the drive? If so, should I run it again, this time enabling that option?
3.) I have read on the 'net about the black screen hang issue, but does anyone have an idea what might have caused it? I haven't made any untoward modifications of my system, except for downloading and installing the latest Windows Updates and updating all my existing apps.
4.) Would an in-place repair install of Windows work? I do have the retail disc when I purchased my copy of Windows 7 Pro, so could I insert that, boot up from it, and do a repair install to fix any issues with the OS?