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Restart Problems/Safe Mode Not A Given Option

This is a discussion on Restart Problems/Safe Mode Not A Given Option within the Windows 7 Support, Windows Vista Support forums, part of the Tech Support Forum category. I was in middle of taking a exam while on firefox, than all a sudden there was was a blue


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Old 05-09-2011, 10:01 PM   #1
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Mistake

I was in middle of taking a exam while on firefox, than all a sudden there was was a blue box in the middle of the screen with an error message telling me the computer had to shut down. So I shut down the computer and when it restarted in System Recovery I got "Launch Startup Repair" and "Start Windows Normally" as my only two options. So I chose Start Windows Normally but it couldn't restart and eventually cycled back to the Launch Start Up Repair.
So I clicked it to do the automatic repair in the Startup Repair, but than that ran for over a 10 hour time period before I realized it wasn't ever going to finish and was stuck. So I clicked cancel and got these other options: System Restore, System Image Recovery, Windows Memory Diagnostic, and Command Prompt. (Which I don't know how to use any of those) But I clicked System Restore *hoping* my uncle made a restore point when he just fixed my computer two weeks ago (other than that there would be no other restore points in place). But it said "To use System Restore, you must specify which Windows installation to restore." Than I realized on the top of the list of options it says "Operating system: Unknown on (Unknown) Local Disk"
The fact it doesn't even know my current operating system lead to me to believe I have to reinstall windows somehow (I say "somehow" since I never have done it before and am nervous. I do have the Windows 7 64 bit disk ready in the driver though) But I have all my important data and all the rest of my stuff in Driver C and am terrified to loose all of it. So I wanted to go in Safe Mode first to try and figure out how to save and protect ALL of my information in Driver C first before I reinstall my Windows 7 disk. But when I turn off the computer and than back on (or press F8 to get it to safe mode like all the websites from my google search says to do to get to safe mode) I only have the option of "Launch Startup Repair" or "Start windows normally" again. There is no Safe Mode option given.

Please help me!!! My knowledge of computers is minimal at best and I don't know what to do or where to even start. And extremely upset at the idea of loosing my data! Any information about how to get my computer to successfully start up normally/fix the issue or at the very least how to get to Safe Mode would be very appreciated!

(My laptop is a HP Pavilion with Windows 7)

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Old 05-09-2011, 11:52 PM   #2
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Welcome tech-disabled.

I don't suppose you remember what that blue box said?

Quote:
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...So I clicked cancel and got these other options: System Restore, System Image Recovery, Windows Memory Diagnostic, and Command Prompt...
You could try inserting the Windows 7 installation discs, which you said you have, booting to the CD (need to change boot order in BIOS), running the Recovery Prompt from the disc, and typing the following ‘sfc /scannow’ (without the ‘’).

Possibly after that procedure, you can go back to your previous step (see below) and will have an OS Installation to pick (instead of it saying Unknown).

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...But it said "To use System Restore, you must specify which Windows installation to restore." Than I realized on the top of the list of options it says "Operating system: Unknown on (Unknown) Local Disk" ...
I suspect what you said is true, you may need to re-install Windows 7. Reinstalling shouldn't be too difficult, as the procedure is rather straightforward these days, just put the discs in and follow the instructions.

To recover your data, there are other things that could be done, such as installing an Operating System on a USB flash drive or plugging your hard drive into another computer. (let's see how the above sfc /scannow goes first).

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Old 05-11-2011, 03:37 AM   #3
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No, sadly I naively didn't pay any attention to what the blue error box said or thought to write it down, believing it wasn't a big deal and the computer would start up again just fine. =/

...Okay I got to the recovery options from the Windows 7 installation CD and typed in sfc/scannow and it said in the command prompt: "There is a system repair pending which requires reboot to complete. Restart Windows and run sfc again." So I did reboot the computer, went onto the Windows 7 disk recovery prompt again and typed in sfc/scannow. But it ended up saying the exact same thing again after I typed it, that there was system repair pending and I needed to reboot.

Also its still saying "Operating system: Unknown" at the top even though I went to the recovery options through my Windows 7 disk, which is weird.
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Old 05-11-2011, 02:29 PM   #4
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Thinking about what could have caused the original error, it might be a good idea to run a check on your hard drive/disk(s). To do this, as before, using the Windows 7 disc, launch the recovery prompt and type 'chkdsk /r' (as before, without the '').

The check procedure will want you to restart your system, it may also take a long time, possibly hours (depending on size of your hard drive). Once completed, see if this has fixed the problem by attempting to boot your Operating System (will of course require changing of boot order, as you'll have boot to CD first).

If not, try the following to attempt to fix a potentially damaged boot file.

I suggest you read through the following web page : How to use the Bootrec.exe tool in the Windows Recovery Environment to troubleshoot and repair startup issues in Windows and follow the instructions, trying the /FixMbr and /FixBoot. After this, see if you can boot into the Operating System.

Edit: out of curiosity, when you press F8 (continuously during boot) to get those options, you listed two and mentioned there was no Safe Mode, but was there a "Disable automatic restart on system failure", if so, try booting that, you may get an error message that could provide more details.
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Old 05-11-2011, 02:48 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen Bowles View Post
...
I suggest you read through the following web page : How to use the Bootrec.exe tool in the Windows Recovery Environment to troubleshoot and repair startup issues in Windows and follow the instructions, trying the /FixMbr and /FixBoot. After this, see if you can boot into the Operating System.
...
Sorry, I should have mentioned the important bits to focus on, which is the first set of instructions to launch bootrec.exe (in the 'more information' part of the page) and then the /FixMbr and /FixBoot.
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Old 05-11-2011, 04:04 PM   #6
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Ok with XP when you don't get the safe mode option and only the OS version, hitting F8 immediately after selecting the OS will bring up that menu and you can then select safe mode. Haven't tested with 7 though yet.
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Old 05-29-2011, 04:06 PM   #7
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Well I took a break from fixing it, only ended up setting it in a unsafe place and the screen got severly damaged. I can't see a main spot in the middle, but some areas around that. So what are my opitions for just exporting all my data from this computer when I can't get into safe mode or normale mode and can't see enough to fix it?
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Old 05-30-2011, 02:45 PM   #8
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(I am annoyed, I type out a rather large message only for it not to be posted, and here I am again).

I am sorry to hear about the new development, really bad.

My thought is that you could try putting the hard drive in another system, one that already has another hard drive and Operating System, and see if you can access the data from there.

You could also install an Operating System on a usb/flash/pen drive, and accessing the data that way. Although, if your screen is destroyed, this might be pointless.

You could also send the laptop into repair, to repair the screen, and we can continue the hard drive repairs later? (Hoping the only damage was to the screen).

Just some of my thoughts.
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Old 05-30-2011, 04:22 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen Bowles View Post
My thought is that you could try putting the hard drive in another system, one that already has another hard drive and Operating System, and see if you can access the data from there.
Good idea - easy to do with a USB/SATA adapter - Newegg.com - Adapters & Gender Changers,adapters sata

Or try connecting a monitor to it - Can You Plug a Monitor Into a Laptop? | eHow.com

Regards. . .

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Old 05-30-2011, 10:39 PM   #10
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Hi, I don't blame anyone for getting confused about the RE in Vista and Seven (Recovery Environment), MS have kept quite about how to use it. In Vista you need the OS Dvd and have to boot from it after language you select the "Repair Your Computer" option. Seven has it built in (not always) and is accessed through the advanced safe mode again "Repair Your Computer", or you can boot from the OS Dvd.

The Command prompt is a very useful repair option yet seems to be misunderstood. When you access it you are faced with a "x: sources" prompt, now the RE does not always assign a drive letter that IS the same as the one you might have your OS on so to work with the CMD prompt we need to know what drive the OS is on to do this at the x: sources prompt type:-

bcdedit | find “osdevice” ( Must inc”).

Now if we wish to repair a registry (load a hive) we would change to this drive lets assume it is C: at the x:sources we type C: then commands such as regedit .exe etc... will work.

However to run sfc and chkdsk we do not, we stay at the x: sources

At the x sources type:- chkdsk c:/r press enter, 5 stages of chkdsk will run.
can take awhile. (if you simply type chkdsk/r at the prompt read only 3 stage will run and it's running on the Virtual RE.. useless)

To run sfc/scannow
at the x: sources type:-
sfc/scannow /offbootdir=c:\ /offwindir=c:\windows press enter
sfc will run can take awhile

This IS the correct way to use the command prompt in RE, don't worry too much about the spaces (you will note I have chkdsk c:/r NOT chkdsk c: /r)
Both will work they are contained internal commands.

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