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  1. #1
    2 Star Lounger Diogones's Avatar
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    Restore from system backup image didn't fix boot issue

    Hey all,


    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?
    "Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent." - Issac Asimov, from his novel "Foundation"

  2. #2
    Gold Lounger Roderunner's Avatar
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    Have you tried this SFC Commands.docx
    George's PC Specs. / Laptop. Desktop.

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    curiousclive (2012-10-06)

  4. #3
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    Insert your installation disk or rescue disk and when you get to the Installation screen choose Repair my PC. Run the automatic repair option. This might fix your MBR.

    You can also try to manually repair the MBR:

    How To Geek shows the method.

    This should fix the MBR. It sounds as though your Win 7 Backup Image did not include the MBR in the Image. This is one place where the 3rd party apps beat Win 7 Backup and Restore. I would definitely switch to a 3rd party app. Many discussions on these apps are in the Maintenance forum.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


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  5. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Diogones View Post

    1.) Naturally, my first query is, does anyone have any advice as to how I may fix this issue, and get Windows booting again?

    Diogones,
    Hello... Is there any way for you to check the PC's power supply ? Do you have a spare that you could "swap out " with? Another thing would be to check for loose Power Supply connectors. Just my first guess... Regards Fred
    PlainFred

    None are so hopelessly enslaved as those who falsely believe they are free (J. W. Von Goethe)

  6. #5
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    Does it boot in Safe mode?

  7. #6
    5 Star Lounger
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    I would do the restore again but this time let it reformat the drive. As if you don't maybe the faulty system files causing the problem may not get replaced so have same issue after restore.
    Before that I would run an admin command prompt and type sfc/scannow then press enter and let it check for corrupt system files.
    Clive

    All typing errors are my own work and subject to patents pending. Except errors by the spell checker. And that has its own patients.

  8. #7
    Super Moderator jwitalka's Avatar
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    If Safe mode works, try the Clean Boot diagnostic procedure:
    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/929135

    Jerry

  9. #8
    2 Star Lounger Diogones's Avatar
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    Wow! What a great community! Thanks for the many prompt and varied suggestions! I'll try to explain what has transpired with my situation since my first post:

    First, I wanted to rule out the possibility of a faulty power supply or bad hardware. I tested my computer with another power cord, as JustPlainFred suggested, but the problem persisted. I also ran Memtest twice, and the results were negative, so the RAM is all right. I was able to boot up into a live Linux CD that I had, so I knew that the motherboard couldn't be bad. I ran a disk check on my two hard drives, and I found some interesting results. The SSD, with Windows installed on it, was just fine, flagged as active, bootable, all of that. The 500GB hard drive, on the other hand, was reporting some bad sectors. It also failed a self-check, and couldn't report on a "good" SMART status. I was also unable to access the hard drive via the file manager in Linux, as I was prompted with some disk access errors.


    Now normally this wouldn't affect Windows' ability to boot up, because even though the storage drive has some issues, it's just that - a storage drive. My OS is on the SSD, which seems healthy enough, so what's the problem? When I set up my installation of Windows on the SSD, I moved all of my user folders to the 500GB drive, so that my files would reside in their proper directories on the roomier drive. Since that drive is going down, could it be possible that I cannot load Windows because it cannot access the appropriate user files? Every shell folder was copied, with the exception of the hidden folders (AppData et al.) and the Desktop folder.


    Don't worry, it gets better.


    I followed some of the suggestions in the excellent guides everyone linked - thanks a ton for that - such as using Startup Repair 3 times, running sfc from the command line in the WinRE, and rebuilding the MBR, BCD, and boot sector. Holding my breath, I rebooted.


    At first, it appeared as though I had the same problem: the OS appeared stuck on either the black screen or the Windows logo screen. But then, slowly, painfully, over a period of probably 20 to 30 minutes, Windows gradually moved from the logo screen to the black screen to the welcome screen, and eventually to the "loading your desktop screen." After being presented with a few more small dialog boxes in the upper left corner, indicating different services being loaded, I finally reached the desktop.


    Boy, was I in for a shocker!


    The desktop looked nothing like mine, (it had the old-school, Windows 2000 look to it) none of my files were there, and I couldn't access My Computer, the Control Panel, and other basic Windows apps. Fortunately, I was able to connect a thumb drive and take some screen shots, so I'll let you determine what it could mean:


    Weird Windows.jpg


    The fact that the desktop claims that my copy of Windows 7 isn't genuine is absurd, and it is the first time I've ever seen that message after owning this computer for over two years.


    I received a popup message from the notification error stating that "Failed to connect to a windows service Windows could not connect to the User Profile Service service. This problem prevents standard users from from logging on to the system."


    I'm really at a loss now. I've never even heard of this before! Is this some sort of temporary account that Windows has created for me? And why can't I access my drives from My Computer?
    "Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent." - Issac Asimov, from his novel "Foundation"

  10. #9
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    If there are issues with your profile, that can indeed happen. Usually this goes away when you login again (I have it happened a couple times), but I am thinking you do have some disk errors.

    Even from the beginning, the fact that Window actually booted, made me think there was nothing wrong with MBR, but it does seem clear that your disk has issues and data may have been lost.

    Try running chkdsk /R on the harddrive and see what comes of that.

    I do hope you have a backup of the data.

  11. #10
    2 Star Lounger Diogones's Avatar
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    Thanks for your reply ruirib! Yep, I've done a backup of the system already; I booted into my Linux Live CD and copied all of my important files off of both the SSD and the 500GB drive to another location, so nothing should be lost. I think you are right: because the Linux Disk Utility reported that the HDD had errors, and because I moved my shell folders from my User account to that drive, it could be that Windows cannot access those folders, and thus cannot load my profile.

    I will probably have to reformat the drives and do a clean install; I'm loathe to do it because it's just more writes to my SSD, but it's probably the only way I can get myself out of this mess.

    I'm not sure what exactly caused this problem: from looking at the 'net, there are a number of different people who have had the same problem, all with varying theories as to how it started. The only two things I've done to change my system is install Windows updates, and I ran CCleaner's registry cleaner. Other than that though, I find the whole situation funny, because I ran sfc both from the weird Windows environment I booted up in, and in WinRE, and no system errors were reported.

    I'll try the chkdsk method, and we'll see what happens from there.
    "Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent." - Issac Asimov, from his novel "Foundation"

  12. #11
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    If you have disk errors, it may not have been caused by anything you did. Personally, I do not run registry cleaners, unless in very special circumstances, but I don't think CCleaner is the reason for the errors.

    Imaging may spare you from similar troubles, in the future. Consider using it. With an image, even if you have to replace a disk, it's very easy to restore its contents from the image.

  13. #12
    2 Star Lounger Diogones's Avatar
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    I agree completely with you ruirib: having an image is absolutely essentially. However, that's just why I was confused: I created a disk image with Windows Backup, and even restoring that, it didn't work. Now either this could be because the disk itself is damaged, (which it wasn't; the storage disk was) or because the restore process did not reformat the disk, as I didn't choose that option. It's true: a third party disk imager would probably have already fixed the problem, because it would have automatically formatted the drive, which would most likely work. I may choose to restore from my backup, only this time restoring with the format option, and seeing if it will work.

    If the image restore didn't work though, then there's something else - not software, probably hardware - going on.
    "Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent." - Issac Asimov, from his novel "Foundation"

  14. #13
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    This is one reason why I switched to a 3rd party Imaging app. Imaging is just too important to leave to a very basic Imaging app. I am just not sure the Win 7 tool Images both the partition in question AND the MBR. The 3rd party apps do include the MBR.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
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  15. #14
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    If the image restore didn't work though, then there's something else - not software, probably hardware - going on.
    The 500GB hard drive, on the other hand, was reporting some bad sectors. It also failed a self-check



    Hardware is my guess.
    Have you tried booting with just the SSD connected?
    If you found that the other drive may be bad disconnect it and try to reboot.
    Last edited by minahan1; 2012-10-11 at 06:34.

  16. #15
    Bronze Lounger DrWho's Avatar
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    I'm going to have to cast my vote with Medico.
    Only a good 3rd party backup program (I use Ghost) will make a total image of your C: drive, MBR, warts and all.
    So before you do a total drive (partition) backup, make sure there are not any errors on the drive.
    (I'm talking about a real hard drive here, not an SSD)

    Ghost will actually do a quick check on the drive and refuse to do a backup if there are disk errors.
    You have to run Chkdsk /r/f to fix the drive before backing it up. You would not want to back up a drive with errors on it and then restore those errors to a new drive.*

    * You should also, do your backups from a Bootable CD or Flash Drive, not from within Windows.
    That takes Windows completely OUT of the equation and assures a much better backup.
    To do a restore to a new drive, after your old drive has died, you're going to need to have your backup/restore program on some external media anyway. Eh?
    If your restore program (and your backup) is on the drive that just died, you're S.O.L.!


    If you DO a whole drive or partition backup, you MUST be able to verify that backup as GOOD. Any backup program that cannot verify the backup image, is worse than Worthless. Don't waste your time with programs like that, regardless of who wrote them.

    I've been setting up Backup schemes for persons, businesses, Banks and Corporations for over 30 years, so I do have some experience with the subject.

    Cheers Mates!
    The Doctor
    Last edited by DrWho; 2012-10-11 at 09:10.
    Experience is truly the best teacher.

    Backup! Backup! Backup! GHOST Rocks!

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