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Vista only boots to startup repair

This is a discussion on Vista only boots to startup repair within the Windows 7 , Windows Vista Support forums, part of the Tech Support Forum category. Hey, Since yesterday I've been trying to get my pc (running Vista Home Premium x32) up and running again, after

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Old 03-08-2012, 01:17 PM   #1
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Since yesterday I've been trying to get my pc (running Vista Home Premium x32) up and running again, after the 2nd bsod this week. After the first bsod my pc booted like nothing has happened, but now, whatever I try, it only boots into startup repair.

That wouldn't be a problem, but every time it "looks for problems" only to return that "Vista cannot solve these problems - click 'Ok' to shut down bla bla". I've been googling and found that the problem is more common, but nowhere have I found a good detailed solution. Many hints were given though, that it would be best to use a Vista recovery disc.

However, my DVD drive has never worked properly; even when it sees and detects the drive in the BIOS and Boot menu, and even when it's the only thing selected to boot from, it will still only boot to startup repair.

So I spent the rest of today making a bootable usb key. I followed instructions meticulously (I got a Vista Repair .ISO) and now my pc detects the key, and I can select to boot from it, and the first few steps go as they should (Select USB to boot in BIOS etc), as soon as I select that I want to load the Vista repair utilities, it continues to load as it's done all day and go straight to startup repair.

In other words, my pc will only go for startup repair, which does nothing good, regardless of what I do. It won't boot in safe mode, it won't boot from the Vista boot CD I made, it won't boot from my USB key, no matter what way I set my BIOS.

It's getting really annoying because I don't want to reinstall Vista and lose all my files, but I'm starting to think that's the only way out...

Any ideas?
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Old 03-09-2012, 02:34 AM   #2
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"I don't want to reinstall Vista and lose all my files"

That's why you should always have backups on a different drive, then re-installing Windows would always be an option without losing anything.
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Old 03-09-2012, 02:44 AM   #3
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I'm now in the process of creating a USB bootable Vista installation disk. Maybe it'll actually boot off that.

Edit: Yep, but sadly I didn't do that any time recently :'-(

Okay, the external harddrive that I made bootable contains the proper Vista installation files, and I did get it to boot from the USB drive. I got into the 'Repair installation" menu. From there I started another Startup Repair, en though it now said it was at least repairing, it still ended saying it can't fix the problem.

I've tried System Recovery and and Complete System restore (system recovery, when I click that it tells me to type rstrui.exe /OFFLINE:C\:Windows, so I did that in the Command prompt) but neither finds a backup. I've used system restore before, in Vista, and then it worked properly. Is there anything wrong with the command I'm giving?

I did chkdsk in the command prompt but it said it was fine. Memory testing doesn't work (it says something is blocking the rebooting of Windows). I don't really know where else to go from here... I assume I can at least use the command prompt to copy some data onto my harddisk before completely erasing everything?

Also, being the noob that I am, I assume simply formatting C:\ and reinstalling Windows there does more harm than good?
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Old 03-09-2012, 11:39 AM   #4
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This is a way to recover data from your drive Use Ubuntu Live CD to Backup Files from Your Dead Windows Computer - How-To Geek
you can also remove the drive and put it in a usb caddy and then hook it up to a computer and copy the files

Eliminate all other factors, and the one which remains must be the truth.
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Old 03-09-2012, 04:25 PM   #5
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Hi, Follow the advice to backup your data. Then, I note you say you can get into a command prompt from the RE (repair your computer) if so you might try this.

Enter the following commands to fix the issue.
We need to determine what OS the RE assigned a drive letter to (not always C) so at the x sources prompt type:-
 bcdedit | find "osdevice"
press enter (use the returned OS drive letter in the following cmds (assume C:).

Press enter after each cmd (you type what is in red)
cd windows\system32\config

C:\windows\system32\config> ren default default.old
C:\windows\system32\config> ren sam sam.old
C:\windows\system32\config> ren security security.old
C:\windows\system32\config> ren software software.old
C:\windows\system32\config> ren system system.old

C:\windows\system32\config> cd regback

C:\windows\system32\config\regback> copy default c:\windows\system32\config
C:\windows\system32\config\regback> copy sam c:\windows\system32\config
C:\windows\system32\config\regback> copy security c:\windows\system32\config
C:\windows\system32\config\regback> copy software c:\windows\system32\config
C:\windows\system32\config\regback> copy system c:\windows\system32\config

Restart computer, If this fails you will need to do a recovery install.
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Old 03-12-2012, 06:16 AM   #6
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Typing bcdedit | find "osdevice" (that's a shift+\ right) does nothing. I've tried unplugging the HDD and replugging it but in either situations diskpart list disk lists 5 disks, 4 of which are listed as removable but empty, and the last being my USB startup 'disk'. Also, a /rebuildbcd or /scanos both return Number of Vista Installations found: 0.

Startup repair from the Vista installation drive returns error "NoOSInstalled". It seems then, that it would be a HDD problem?
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Old 03-12-2012, 06:52 AM   #7
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With the above in mind, I went to the website of the manufacturer of my HDD (Western Digital) and got the appropriate diag-tools. Copied the contents of the ISO to a flashkey and it's now running several tests. Fingers crossed it'll manage to repair something.
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Old 03-13-2012, 02:21 AM   #8
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Ok, I solved it. Eventually I got sick of it.

What I did was use the SATA drivers I got from Acer.com to be able to at least see the content of my HDD, copy some key files to my external harddisk, and reinstall Vista.

Actually, no files were lost, and I'm typing this from said pc. Thanks for your help everyone!
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