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v4 How to fix common boot problems using the Windows PE

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v4 How to fix common boot problems using the Windows PE




The Macrium Reflect Windows PE 2.0 rescue CD includes an option to 'Fix Boot Problems. This article takes you through the steps and options available to recover a non-booting Windows implementation.

Note: All references to Windows XP in this article also apply to Windows Server 2003. References to Windows Vista also apply to Windows Server 2008


There can be be many reasons why your PC won't boot into Windows. Fortunately, you can usually recover your system if the boot process is corrupt by taking an option provided in the Windows PE 2.0 rescue environment called 'Fix Boot Problems'.

  1. Start your PC with the Windows PE 2.0 rescue CD and click the 'Fix Boot Problems' button.

       

  2. Your system is then scanned for installed Windows operating systems.

    Note:
    In a multi-boot environment you will see multiple Windows installations.

       


    Add: Click this button to add a Windows installation that hasn't been detected.

    Edit:
    Click this  button to edit the name of your Windows Installation. The name appears on the boot menu for multi-boot environments.

    Note: If you just have a single Windows installation then you don't have to worry about editing the O/S name as you won't see a boot menu.

    Ignore:
    Click this button not to include the O/S in the Windows boot menu.

    Search:
    Click this button to rescan your drives.

    Click 'Next'
    to continue.
  3. The next page shows disk and partitions on the disks. Windows can only start if the system partition (usually drive 'C') is marked as the 'Active' partition. You can choose which partition is 'active' by selecting it with a check mark.

       

    Click 'Next'
    to continue.
  4. The final wizard page shows the options available to correct the boot process.

       

    i) Reset the boot disk ID: The Disk ID is used by XP and Vista to allocate and remember driver letters and partitions. It forms part of a unique identifier that Windows stores in the registry along with the offset from the beginning of the disk for the partition.

    If you restore the system partition (Drive C:) to a different position on your disk then Windows can get driver letters 'mixed up'. If drive 'C' is now in a location where drive 'D' used to be then Windows may fail to boot. If you reset the Disk ID then Windows will re-allocate drive letter assignments and will correctly set drive 'C' to be the active partition.  

    Note: if your O/S is Vista then you must rebuild the BCD  (last option) if you reset the Disk ID.

    ii) Replace the Master Boot Record: The Master Boot Record (MBR) is the first part of the boot process and is a small program on the first 512 bytes of the disk.

    You need to replace this if your MBR has become corrupted, perhaps with a virus. 

    It's also possible that your PC shipped with a non-standard MBR that doesn't work correctly with a new disk. In this case, replacing with the standard Windows MBR will allow your PC to boot.

    iiii) Replace the partition boot sector code: The partition boot sector code is the second part of the boot process and is a small program that is added to the front of a partition when you format a file system. If this code has been damaged, perhaps due to a virus, then replacing it will allow Windows to boot normally.


    iv) Rebuild the BCD and BOOT.INI files: These files perform the last part of the boot process and tell Windows where to find the operating system, the '\windows\system32' folder.

    XP uses the boot.ini file and if you restore your system partition to a different partition number then this file needs to be rebuilt. e.g, your original disk had a recovery partition as the first partition on disk and your system partition (drive c:) as the second. You restore to a new disk but don't restore the recovery partition as this is no-longer required. The system partition has now moved from partition 2 to partition 1. In this case you may need to rebuild the boot.ini file to reflect this change.

    Vista uses something called the Boot Configuration Data (BCD) as a replacement for the boot.ini. It isn't concerned with the numbering of the system partition but is dependant on the exact offset from the beginning of the disk and the Disk ID. If you have moved your system partition to a different position or reset the Disk ID then you need to rebuild the BCD.
    If your PC won't boot and you are unsure which option to select then selecting every option will usually resolve the problem.

    If you restore the system partition (Drive C:) to a different position on your disk then Windows can get driver letters 'mixed up'. If drive 'C' is now in a location where drive 'D' used to be then Windows may fail to boot. If you reset the Disk ID then Windows will re-allocate drive letter assignments and will correctly set drive 'C' to be the active partition.
    Note: if your O/S is Vista then you must rebuild the BCD  (last option) if you reset the Disk ID.


Example boot errors 

O/S:         Vista
Error: File: \Windows\system32\winload.exe
Status: 0xc000000e

This indicates that the Vista Boot Configuration Data (BCD) is invalid. Take the option to Rebuild the BCD and BOOT.INI files



O/S: 
  XP
Error: <Windows root>\system32\hal.dll is missing or corrupt


This indicates that the XP boot.ini file is invalid. Take the option to Rebuild the BCD and BOOT.INI files



O/S:
   XP
Error: NTLDR is missing

The most probable cause for this error is that your system partition isn't the 'Active' partition. If you have a multi partitioned disk then you must set the partition that contains XP as the 'Active' partition. Select the system partition as the active partition in step 2 above.



O/S:   Any
Error:  Boot failure - This is a typical message but different PCs may have a different message


This indicates that your Master Boot Record is missing or corrupt. Take the option to Replace the Master Boot Record


Details
Last Modified:18 Dec 2012

Last Modified By: jon.dittman@macrium.com

Type: Fix

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