Windows won't boot up. BOOTMGR and registry file get blamed?

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Windows won't boot up. BOOTMGR and registry file get blamed?

Postposted on Fri Feb 25, 2011 4:13 pm

Sometimes, when I'm watching video (Hulu for example) in Firefox or Opera, the computer starts to freeze. The sound of the video continues, but the video freezes. I can't un-maximize the window, or drag it around. Everything else becomes very unresponsive, although the mouse works. Ctrl Alt Del does bring up the blue logon screen, but Task Manager takes literally minutes of waiting to open. Ending the firefox process does nothing. Selecting shutdown from the CAD menu starts the shutdown process, but then it goes to that black Windows Is Shutting Down screen and then freezes, forever.

When I turn off the power manually, the next boot up is going to result in one of the following:

1. "Detecting Primary Master Drive... Not found" on the very first BIOS screen
2. "BOOTMGR not found" when booting into windows
3. "Windows registry file is corrupt or missing" when booting into windows

Usually it fixes itself if I keep restarting the computer and/or leaving it alone for a bit and/or booting off a windows 7 USB and picking Repair. But this time, when I try to boot off the USB, it says the boot config data file does not contain a valid OS entry, and mentions boot/BCD. If I try to boot off my HDD, it shows the black screen with the logo that slowly comes together and "Windows" underneath it for about half a second (not enough time for the logo to come together of course) and then it gives #3 above.

I installed a HDD check program, it's been saying 100% health. On the other hand, when I connect an old HDD, it boots into windows fine.

Windows 7, everything up to date, E7400, HD 4850, 4GB RAM. The HDD is very new, had good reviews off newegg.
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Re: Windows won't boot up. BOOTMGR and registry file get bla

Postposted on Fri Feb 25, 2011 5:02 pm

It's too random and quickly progressing for RAM breakdown, and a broken videocard or driver wouldn't stop you from booting, so it's simple:
Your hard drive may be a bad apple.

I've replaced broken hard drives before, and yes sir, it can make the system syrupy-slow in use - if it allows booting at all. If the system is still workable, you should check other parts of the SMART reading utility you used - for example, it may register as healthy but still generate thousands of read errors or PIO fallbacks.
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Re: Windows won't boot up. BOOTMGR and registry file get bla

Postposted on Fri Feb 25, 2011 11:50 pm

Just ran Hitachi's proprietary utility, did a 3-hour Advanced Test of the HDD, it returned no errors.

Also, I tried putting the HDD and the USB boot device on a different system--same exact error messages (registry, BCD, etc.) as on my system. Is a piece of software or bug messing with boot files? Because it looks like it's not a hardware issue.
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Re: Windows won't boot up. BOOTMGR and registry file get bla

Postposted on Sat Feb 26, 2011 12:20 am

As meadows mentioned, even after running tests and all, I would still point my finger at the HDD, which can be in good mechanical health (spin, head read write speed, etc) but can contain magnetic surface errors, bad sectors and cause data corruption, in this case, OS files.

load up your hard drive as an USB device on another windows installation (don't try to boot to it, as this won't work straight out on systems other than your own), backup important data and run a CHKDSK /R (command prompt) on the disk. You'll most likely encounter bad sectors and such.

This utility can identify and update tables regarding bad platter surface sections and prevent the OS from writing information on these, no problem there, but several of these might be indication of a failing hard disk. Thorough format, reinstall OS, but if it happens again, or you notice corrupted files, replace the hard drive.
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Re: Windows won't boot up. BOOTMGR and registry file get bla

Postposted on Sat Feb 26, 2011 1:43 am

TaBoVilla wrote:As meadows mentioned, even after running tests and all, I would still point my finger at the HDD, which can be in good mechanical health (spin, head read write speed, etc) but can contain magnetic surface errors, bad sectors and cause data corruption, in this case, OS files.

load up your hard drive as an USB device on another windows installation (don't try to boot to it, as this won't work straight out on systems other than your own), backup important data and run a CHKDSK /R (command prompt) on the disk. You'll most likely encounter bad sectors and such.

This utility can identify and update tables regarding bad platter surface sections and prevent the OS from writing information on these, no problem there, but several of these might be indication of a failing hard disk. Thorough format, reinstall OS, but if it happens again, or you notice corrupted files, replace the hard drive.

You're saying the windows chkdsk utility will find errors that weren't found by the 3 hour utility released by the manufacturer of the HDD, which required burning onto a CD and booting into from BIOS? I'm running chkdsk now (by the way, I can access everything on the messed up HDD when I hook it up to as a secondary drive while booting into a different HDD's OS).
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Re: Windows won't boot up. BOOTMGR and registry file get bla

Postposted on Sat Feb 26, 2011 1:56 am

Yes, [i think] he's saying that they check different things.
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Re: Windows won't boot up. BOOTMGR and registry file get bla

Postposted on Sat Feb 26, 2011 3:35 am

Make no mistake, I could've suggested that bad RAM or a buggy CPU might just have happened to corrupt the OS files and screwed with booting, but they don't cause extreme slowness during uptime, only hard drives do. (RAM can cause some jittery slowness or "application stopped working" errors, but that's still ten thousand times faster than the system hanging on a paging request.)
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Re: Windows won't boot up. BOOTMGR and registry file get bla

Postposted on Sat Feb 26, 2011 4:21 am

Spinrite to the rescue??? This will tell you if the drives a dud in a heartbeat:
http://www.grc.com/spinrite.htm

You have all the signs of a failing hard drive. Some can be repaired to full health using a program like Spinrite, as mechanically, your drive is probably ok. Other times the drive is at the point of no return. At least you'll know?

I had a similar issue a while back, and posted it on here (use the search!). One of my drives was on it's last legs, and Spinrite was able to identify a 2nd drive from the same array that was having many 100,000's of read/write errors in sectors (I never noticed them in normal use because the firmware on the hard drives fault tollerance was set very high). I retired that drive too, and run Spinrite every few months to check hard drive health... Might be worth the small outlay for future hard drive health on whatever systems you usein the future too, as well as solving this issue.
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Re: Windows won't boot up. BOOTMGR and registry file get bla

Postposted on Sat Feb 26, 2011 4:42 am

Okay, so I ran the chkdsk utility (not from a cmd prompt, from the dialog box), this is what the results were: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/8331498/chkdsk%202-26-11.png

rcs2k4: That site says it's for XP? Does it work with Win 7?
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Re: Windows won't boot up. BOOTMGR and registry file get bla

Postposted on Sat Feb 26, 2011 6:25 am

forklift wrote:Okay, so I ran the chkdsk utility (not from a cmd prompt, from the dialog box), this is what the results were: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/8331498/chkdsk%202-26-11.png

rcs2k4: That site says it's for XP? Does it work with Win 7?

:o Well, thats not exactly a healthy drive, but it could be worse. it's got a wiff of drive failure about it, especially at the number of index entry's it deleted and oprhan file recovery. This corruption usually occurs when (as an example) Windows tries to write data to that sector in question, but it fails. Both Windows and your HDD's firmware will try again many times before it gives up. You then get a crash, BSOD etc...

As a result, quite a few sectors have been flagged as un-usable by the looks of that, so some of the disk is now being ignored by windows for read / write requests. How does it hold up in day to day use now you've run this??? As for Spinrite, it's better to use it for prevention, rather than cure once you get into a routine with it. It's the industry standard at recovering hard drives in a really bad way, and on their last legs. At the very best, it will make your drive fully healthy and usable, and in the worst case, it will identify the drive as in poor health and recover all the data off the disk it can so you dont loose any data. You then send your HDD to the storage heavens and go and get another one. Spinrite uses a DOS like boot manager, and as such will work with ANY operating system - I use it on both systems in my sig (Windows 7 & OSX), and it's fine.
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Re: Windows won't boot up. BOOTMGR and registry file get bla

Postposted on Sat Feb 26, 2011 12:19 pm

Have you tried a different hard drive cable? I've seen flaky cables cause intermittent errors like this...
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Re: Windows won't boot up. BOOTMGR and registry file get bla

Postposted on Sat Feb 26, 2011 2:18 pm

just brew it! wrote:Have you tried a different hard drive cable? I've seen flaky cables cause intermittent errors like this...
Not to mention flaky motherboard connectors (or, less frequently, a failing controller/channel in the chipset, so if there's a SATA port connected to a secondary SATA controller on your motherboard, that's worth a try too).
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Re: Windows won't boot up. BOOTMGR and registry file get bla

Postposted on Sat Feb 26, 2011 3:51 pm

UberGerbil wrote:
just brew it! wrote:Have you tried a different hard drive cable? I've seen flaky cables cause intermittent errors like this...
Not to mention flaky motherboard connectors (or, less frequently, a failing controller/channel in the chipset, so if there's a SATA port connected to a secondary SATA controller on your motherboard, that's worth a try too).

Well like I posted above, I've tried a different system (which includes a different cable), same exact results. So even if the motherboard/cables were to blame, their damage is done even if I use different hardware.

Anyway, I've formatted the drive and reinstalled Win 7. Are the errors in the chkdsk output above bad? Should I try to get a new drive from Hitachi?
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Re: Windows won't boot up. BOOTMGR and registry file get bla

Postposted on Sat Feb 26, 2011 3:53 pm

forklift wrote:Well like I posted above, I've tried a different system (which includes a different cable),

It was not clear (until now) whether you'd used the same cable or not when you moved the drive to the other system.
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Re: Windows won't boot up. BOOTMGR and registry file get bla

Postposted on Sat Feb 26, 2011 10:42 pm

Well, so far so good after the format/OS reinstall.

If this crap happens again in a couple weeks I'm going to cry and get a new HDD.

Thanks for the help, everyone.
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