Restoration Failure (Win7 x64 Ultimate) RRS feed

  • Question

  • Several days ago I managed to screw up my Win 7 installation - my own fault - to a degree that I thought it best to simply restore the previous day's WHS backup rather than to try and undo the damage.  This is a fairly ordinary Asus desktop machine with a Sata 750gig drive divided into C: and D: partitions.  Nothing remarkable to the best of my knowledge.

    I restored the C: image from the previous day's WHS backup, smiled at how easy it was, and watched the subsequent reboot fail.  It reported that Windows could not start and offered to have Windows attempt a repair.  I tried that (actually several times) and would consistently get a report that the problem couldn't be fixed.  Other times the machine would infinitely reboot itself after starting to bring up Windows.  One time only I thought I saw "NTLDR.SYS" flash by as part of a message on the screen for a tiny fraction of a second.

    I pulled the drive and ran 24 hours of diagnostics without incident and reformatted the drive.  Tried the restoration of C: and D: (as the disk was now clean) with no change in behavior.  I tried the BOOTREC command from the repair console (or whatever Win7 calls it) with no reports of problems.  Significantly, BOOTREC /SHOWOS (I think that's the syntax) reported no operating systems on the drive, although the Windows directory was plainly visible along with all the other stuff I expected to see on the C: drive.

    I tried a previous day's backup without change in behavior.

    I've just reinstalled Windows and, of course, my previous Windows installation is resident and labeled Windows.Old.

    I'm irked.  I thought WHS would be the solution to my file/directory level and image backup requirements, and while it clearly excels at the former I'd say I have pretty solid empirical evidence that it is not sufficent for the latter.  I realize that I haven't lost any data, and "only" need to reinstall all my programs and get things physically looking like I spent months fine-tuning.

    Does anyone have any thoughts on this mess?  Is there any reasonable way of getting the now Windows.Old directory to be a bootable OS?


    Wednesday, May 26, 2010 5:07 AM

All replies

  • Art,

    Windows 7 Ultimate automatically creates a 100MB System Reserved partition during a standard install. Boot files are located on this partition. It is not exposed in Windows Explorer but will be shown in Disk Management. If this partition wasn't backed up and subsequently restored, this is the most likely reason why your system won't boot.


    Michael Wheatfill

    Wednesday, May 26, 2010 5:55 AM
  • Assuming Michael is correct about the missing boot partition, you actually can recover pretty easily, though there are a number of steps. You'll start by booting your Windows 7 installation disk after restoring the two partitions you care about (C: and D:). The following is from memory, but should at least be close to right:

    • On the language selection screen, press Shift-F10.
    • Type diskpart and press Enter.
    • Once diskpart loads, type list disk and press Enter.
    • Find your system disk (probably there's only one disk), type select disk # (choosing your disk) and press Enter.
    • Type list partition and press enter.
    • From the listed partitions, type select partition # (choosing your Windows partition, which should be a primary partition) and press Enter.
    • Type active, then press Enter.
    • Close the command window.
    At this point your C: partition is the boot partition, but it's still missing critical files. So boot your Windows 7 installation disk again and do a startup repair. I've found that sometimes you need to do a startup repair more than once for all the changes to "take" properly.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Wednesday, May 26, 2010 1:34 PM
  • Thanks for the two responses.  I'm on the laptop right now, and have to get ready for the salt mine, but I'll take a look after work.

    I'm a bit skeptical because of what I did last night.  Running on the new Win 7 installation, I again booted the Win 7 installation CD and opened up the recovery console.  This time, I was able to find the old (bad) installation with the appropriate bootrec command, and using the "RebuildBCD" option of that command I ended up, as expected, with a dual boot setup.

    The new one boots just fine.

    The old one immediately reboots the machine as it starts up - an infinite reboot loop.

    That certainly seems to indicate that, whatever the problem is, it's internal to the Windows.Old directory and not the structure of my C: drive itself.

    I'm not sure if I want to start moving the various registry hives from the old Windows to the new Windows in hopes of restoring things.  I've done that before and it ain't fun!


    Wednesday, May 26, 2010 1:57 PM