Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Fixing a Windows 7 Installation That Won't Boot

This week I had a computer running Windows 7 that would not boot. I caused the problem when I uninstalled Acronis True Image from it, and some of the partition settings that Acronis messes with got scrambled. That has convinced me that Acronis is still flakey, especially after working with a friend who had corrupt '.tib' archives he wanted to restore...but that's another story.

I tried the Windows 7 recovery disk, and after many tries, I still could not get it to boot.

I did some research online and found two sites that give guidance on how to recover the master boot record of a Windows 7 partition:
How to Restore the Windows 7 MBR (Master Boot Record) http://bit.ly/MUbMWp

and

How to use the Bootrec.exe tool in the Windows Recovery Environment to troubleshoot and repair startup issues in Windows

http://bit.ly/LQ516u

Before I tried surgery, I made a Windows 7 installation disk from an iso image (having the original installation DVD will also work.) Booting from it and going into the recovery routines, it succeeded where the Windows Recover CD did not. It immediately recognized my Windows installation and made it bootable.  The Windows Recovery CD and the Windows 7 installation DVD apparently have significantly different diagnostic and repair capabilities.  Good to have both handy, not to mention a recent backup so one doesn't have to go through all this...
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