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  1. #1
    2 Star Lounger Diogones's Avatar
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    Windows 7 will not boot: possible corruption! (SOLVED!)

    This is going to be quite a post, but here goes nothing:

    I am running Windows 7 Pro 64-bit with SP1 installed, and until yesterday it was working fairly well. As many of you may know, yesterday was April Fool's Day, and
    I'm afraid my computer played quite the joke on me! It was business as usual, and I was dragging a folder to the Recycle Bin when my desktop icons suddenly vanished. I decided to try a few basic troubleshooting tips to correct this: I disabled and re-enabled the "Show Desktop Icons" option, I changed my theme a couple of times, I set my desktop icons to default, and I rebooted the computer. However, nothing seemed to work. I knew the icons were still there, because I saw them in my Desktop folder, and my taskbar and Start menu were fine. The only way I could make the icons reappear was to use the trusty Winkey+ P, and switch the display option from "Computer Only" to "Parallel" or "Duplicate."

    Running out of ideas, I quickly jumped online and searched our incredibly helpful forum. I found another post which suggested rebuilding the icon cache. I entered in the following commands verbatim in an elevated command prompt:

    taskkill /IM explorer.exe /F
    CD /d %userprofile%\AppData\Local
    DEL IconCache.db /a
    shutdown /r


    I know I should have changed the “userprofile” to my username, but I didn't realize that at the time. Anyway, the computer rebooted, but unfortunately, the desktop icon issue persisted. I decided to ignore it for the time being, and began syncing music to my iPod. A while later, there was a power outage, and my comp therefore shutdown unexpectedly. When I rebooted, Windows was all right. After checking to make sure nothing was out of place (besides the missing desktop icons) I shut down and left for several hours. Upon returning, I rebooted the computer and received my next April Fool's Joke – Windows would not boot! The machine would load up the GUI boot screen, but then, instead of displaying the login screen, I would see a black screen with just my cursor visible, and then the computer would reboot. It continued to do this in an unending cycle of failing to boot.

    I used every single boot repair I knew, starting with the F8 options: I tried Safe Mode and Last Known Good Configuration, both with the same results as if I'd booted normally. I ran the kernel debugger with no result, and I ran a memory test, but that came back clean. Naturally, Windows suggested that I attempt to repair it at the boot menu, so I decided to run Startup Repair. It found and attempted to repair an error, but was unable to do so. Thinking that the pre-installed files could be bad, I ran Startup Repair again from my genuine Windows 7 install disc, but the result was the same. The following error report was displayed when I requested further details:

    Problem event name: StartupRepairOffline

    Problem locations (I omitted some because they were either blank or unknown):
    1.) 6.1.7600.16385
    4.) 21202109
    5.) External Media (This led me to believe there was some sort of conflict with the iPod, but I made sure nothing was plugged in when I rebooted other than my monitor, keyboard, and mouse.)
    6.) 2
    7.) No Root Cause

    That last bit is somewhat contradictory, because further along in the error report, one root cause was found, and was listed as “Unspecified changes to system configuration might have caused the problem.” Perhaps the error was caused my attempt at rebuilding the icon cache? That is my best guess, because my computer passed every other check the Startup Repair ran.

    Since Windows couldn't repair the system, my next step was to use System Restore. However, there were no restore points available! For some reason, Windows wouldn't let me access them, although I knew I had them, since Windows had created a restore point when I installed SP1. Since restore points were now no longer an option, my next plan was to restore from a system image I had made a few weeks earlier. I decided to refrain from that option, because I am hoping I may find a solution here that will fix my boot issue, rather than setting me back a few weeks. If all else fails, I can use my system image.
    Since the repair options from the Windows install disc hadn't worked or uncovered anything, and neither had the F8 advanced boot options, I moved to plan B. I have a separate hard drive with Windows XP and Linux Mint installed on it, so I decided to check my Windows 7 drive from there. I booted into XP and ran several virus, rootkit, and malware scans, including an exhaustive scan with McAfee's free anti-virus tool. Every scan came back negative, so apparently there wasn't any malware infection that might have compromised my main drive. I checked the drive for errors with XP's built-in utility, and that also came back clean. So the disc was healthy, which confirmed the Startup Repair's report that there were no bad sectors.

    I was fresh out of ideas, so I decided to sleep on it and shut the computer down. When I rebooted this morning, I was unable to access my XP drive! When I selected XP from the boot loader menu, instead of booting XP up as usual, the screen moved to the Windows 7 boot GUI and then entered its boot failure cycle. So now, for some reason, the Windows 7 boot error has moved to my second hard drive and taken out my XP boot loader. I can still boot with Linux, so I can still access my XP and Win 7 partitions, in case I need to change anything in the boot folder or edit any configuration files.

    Thus concludes my post; I'm sorry if it appears verbose, but I really wanted to cover the entire problem in great detail, just so that a solution may be found that much quicker. So is there a method I haven't thought of yet that may yet save me from restoring or reinstalling Windows? I'm not sure what incited the issue in the first place, but I believe it was either my botched attempt at rebuilding the icon cache, the boot files becoming corrupted as a result of being unexpectedly shut down during the power outage, or even a delayed side-effect from installing Service Pack 1. I haven't installed or downloaded anything recently (aside from updating Firefox) so I really don't know the cause for this boot disorder. And why would Windows 7's inability to boot suddenly afflict XP, which is on a separate hard drive? As I said, I'm completely out of ideas, and this April Fool's joke has me entirely confounded!
    Last edited by Diogones; 2011-04-06 at 09:56.
    "Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent." - Issac Asimov, from his novel "Foundation"

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  3. #2
    Super Moderator Deadeye81's Avatar
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    Hi Diogones,

    Are you able to do a repair install as outlined in this SevenForums tutorial? If so, you can then create a fresh image backup before reinstalling Service Pack 1.

  4. #3
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    I have to concur. A freash up to date Image may have restored your PC in about 10 minutes. Mine has too numerous times to count. The key here is Up To Date. When I make a change on my PC that I keep, I create a new Image and staore it with the older Images on my Ext USB HD. They when my "playing" muffs my OS, I pop in the Acronis Rescue media, reboot and restore my latest Image. Done in 10 minutes. How can you beat that.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


    Sony Vaio Laptop, 2.53 GHz Duo Core Intel CPU, 8 GB RAM, 320 GB HD
    Win 8 Pro (64 Bit), IE 10 (64 Bit)


    Complete PC Specs: By Speccy

  5. #4
    2 Star Lounger Diogones's Avatar
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    Thank you for the link Deadeye, but I'm afraid that solution - while very appealing- will simply not work. I must be able to log into an administrator account with Win7, and since I cannot even get it to boot up, I can't complete that solution.

    Do you mean a bootable CD when you mention Acronis Rescue media, Ted? I wasn't "playing" with my OS, just simply using it. I was just trying to find out if there was a method to possibly undo the icon cache rebuild command, without having to resort to a full system restore. I can use my image restore, it just seemed like a blunt solution to me. Unfortunately, I simply don't have the space to store multiple restore images, and I didn't want to create an image before I rebuilt the font cache, since my desktop icons were missing by then. I'm not even sure if it was the SP1 installation that caused them to disappear, as I had installed it two weeks prior without incident. It just seems strange that my comp would be running fine, suddenly lose its desktop icons, and then fail to boot.

    I suppose I will simply use my image restore, but I won't install SP1 after I do so, just to be on the safe side.
    "Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent." - Issac Asimov, from his novel "Foundation"

  6. #5
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    Yes, the Acronis Rescue Media is bootable, even if your OS is not. Simply plug it in and reboot. You will get the option to boot to Windows or to Acronis. Once you boot to Acronis you will have to point to what partition to restore (if your Image contains info on more than one Image, you can only restore one partition at a time), then point to the location of the Image (in my case that is a ext USB HD), then go for it.

    You might try the Repair Install of Windows. Either insert the original installation DVD or a Windoes Rescue media (Repair media, not sure which is the terminology, can't remember, sorry)
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


    Sony Vaio Laptop, 2.53 GHz Duo Core Intel CPU, 8 GB RAM, 320 GB HD
    Win 8 Pro (64 Bit), IE 10 (64 Bit)


    Complete PC Specs: By Speccy

  7. #6
    2 Star Lounger Diogones's Avatar
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    Thank you for explaining Acronis and the restore process Ted. I think I might try it out as it sounds like a very useful program. Unfortunately, the repair install simply won't work, as I can't boot into Windows to log into an account to run the repair steps. However, I will use my image restore and hope that repairs the XP boot on my separate drive. I think it will, as XP isn't damaged, it's just that it defaults to the broken Win 7 boot sequence for some reason.
    "Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent." - Issac Asimov, from his novel "Foundation"

  8. #7
    2 Star Lounger
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    I don't think you have to boot into windows to do a repair install. Just boot from your Windows 7 DVD. Really what it amounts to is an upgrade install over your broken Win 7 system.

  9. #8
    2 Star Lounger Diogones's Avatar
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    Hey Sierra,

    Are you suggesting that I boot from my Win 7 DVD and select install, and have it install over my existing partition? Would that be the repair/upgrade install you are referring to? According to the Windows 7 repair install tutorial, I have to be logged in as an administrator in order to run the repair. I cannot repair with the disc at boot or in Safe mode. Additionally, I would either have to uninstall SP1 or get a Win 7 disc with SP1 installed on it, as the repair install with a regular DVD will not work if Windows already has SP1 installed.
    Last edited by Diogones; 2011-04-04 at 11:02.
    "Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent." - Issac Asimov, from his novel "Foundation"

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  11. #9
    2 Star Lounger
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    My apologies, I just checked the thread where I received advice about the repair process and you are correct.
    Last edited by High Sierra; 2011-04-04 at 12:30.

  12. #10
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by High Sierra View Post
    I don't think you have to boot into windows to do a repair install. Just boot from your Windows 7 DVD. Really what it amounts to is an upgrade install over your broken Win 7 system.
    The only way to do a repair/reinstall of Windows 7 is to launch the installation while booted into Windows 7.

    What you are suggesting will turn the existing installation of Windows 7 into a file named windows.old, which will not boot. It is only useful for retrieving files, and nothing more.
    Create a new drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "Let them that don't want it have memories of not gettin' any." "Gratitude is riches and complaint is poverty and the worst I ever had was wonderful." Brother Dave Gardner "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else." Sir Thomas Robert Deware. "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Do you understand?" Captain Jack Sparrow.
    Unleash Windows

  13. #11
    2 Star Lounger Diogones's Avatar
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    Great news, everyone! I posted my problem on the Windows Seven Forums (sevenforums.com) and thanks to the expertise of SIW2, I was able to get a working solution! First, I downloaded Paragon Rescue Kit 10.0 and burned it to a CD. After I booted from it, I selected Normal Mode, and then File Transfer Wizard. From there, I was able to access all my files from my broken Windows 7 drive. I copied 5 hives - Default, Sam, Security, Software, and System - from windows\system32\config\regback to windows\system32\config, replacing the hives that were there. Afterwards, I rebooted and Windows 7 was restored! I'm completely overjoyed, as I was afraid I was going to have to restore from my older disc image. I would like to make an image now, before anything else happens, but there is still one problem: the disappearing desktop icons! They are still gone, and even their placeholders are missing. I know they are still there, because I see them in my Desktop folder. Is there anything I can do to recover them?
    "Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent." - Issac Asimov, from his novel "Foundation"

  14. #12
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    I have the following batch file on my desktop. I saved it as Rebuild Icons. (don't remember where I got it.) Copy this and paste it into notepad, then save as Rebuild Icons.bat


    @echo off
    cls
    echo The Explorer process must be killed to delete the
    Icon DB.
    echo Please SAVE ALL OPEN WORK before
    continuing
    pause
    taskkill /IM explorer.exe /F
    echo Attempting to
    delete Icon DB...
    If exist %userprofile%\AppData\Local\IconCache.db goto
    delID
    echo Previous Icon DB not found...trying to build a new one
    goto
    :main


    :delID
    cd /d %userprofile%\AppData\Local
    del IconCache.db
    /a
    pause
    echo Icon DB has been successfully deleted
    goto main


    :main
    echo Windows 7 must be restarted to rebuild the Icon DB.
    echo
    Restart now? (Y/N):
    set /p choice=
    If %choice% == y goto end
    echo
    Restart aborted...please close this window
    explorer.exe


    :end
    shutdown /r /t 0
    exit
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


    Sony Vaio Laptop, 2.53 GHz Duo Core Intel CPU, 8 GB RAM, 320 GB HD
    Win 8 Pro (64 Bit), IE 10 (64 Bit)


    Complete PC Specs: By Speccy

  15. #13
    2 Star Lounger Diogones's Avatar
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    Hooray! The batch file worked! Thanks a lot, Ted, it really saved me a lot of trouble! I'm going to mark this thread as solved.
    "Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent." - Issac Asimov, from his novel "Foundation"

  16. #14
    New Lounger
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    Consider Shadow Protect Desktop

    Great to hear you got it fixed. It is especially significant for me as I work on other people's PCs, and I have long been a fan of Acronis True Image Home and also bought the Paragon Rescue CD. All these are good products, but I have moved away from Acronis to StorageCraft's ShadowProtect Desktop, combined with their free Image Manager, for the following reasons:

    Acronis TM (=True Image) has been very bad at managing its destination storage space. In spite of my repeated attempts to configure it to delete older versions, it would ran out of space and stop working. ShadowProtect (SP) is the descendant of Norton Ghost, but it has come a LOOONG way. Their server grade products are powerful and complicated, however the Desktop version is inexpensive and works well.

    I have a pretty meaty PC, with 1TB C: drive, 1TB D: temp drive (2x500GB in RAID 0), and a 1.5TB backup drive.

    When I tried TM to do an incremental backup of C:, it would take about an hour to determine what needed to be copied, even if the PC had been idle. In contrast SP can complete the entire incremental backup in 7 minutes! The Image manager can consolidate incrementals, so that I have daily hourly backups for 3 days, which are then rolled up on the 4th day to 1 per day, for 14 days. They then get rolled up to weeklies and kept for 6 months.

    SP can be tried for 30 days, so don't take my word for it!

    Oh, and finally, I have no commercial interests in SP or any other program that I mentioned.

    God bless, and happy computing, folks!
    -paul, Down Under
    Photos

  17. #15
    New Lounger
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    You can easily delete IconCache.db (and other files) with PureRa.
    Get it from http://raproducts.org/wordpress/software

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