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Vista Home Prem will not boot and loops in the startup repair cycle

Laptop starts, configures updates, boot fails, launches startup repair checking system for problems and loops for hours in that cycle. I have used UBCD to reach DOS prompt but although there is a D:\RECOVERY folder nothing shows in it. I am going to try running CHKDSK then SFC/ scannow but any advice would be appreciated. There is no valuable data on the machine but of course no Vista media or recovery discs either.
1 Solution
Too many computer manufacturers don't furnish a Vista installation DVD with their pcs that are pre-installed with Vista.  Often they only have a hidden recovery partition that you can access to take back your pc to its original factory installation state!  (Thus you lose your data and all installed applications, setting changes, etc.)

If you don't have an installation DVD, then you cannot reinstall Vista without using this recovery partition, and you cannot access the new Vista Recovery Environment, which is what corresponds to XP's Recovery Console.  So, if you don't have a Vista installation DVD, what do you do in order to access the Vista Recovery Environment, at least?  You go to this site and download the makings for a recovery disk:

 Did you try during the boot process hitting the F8 key like every second until you get a windows safe mode promt? If you can get to the safe mode prompt please try accessing the windows OS in safe mode first. Then if that doesnt work then try recovering your system to the last known good configuration in the same menu. If this still does not fix the issue then the only way to fix your issues is with a windows vista disk. You also may want to contact your local computer vendor you purchased your computer from, and they be more than happy to supply you with cds for a minimal fee. Might be worth while down the road just incase your hard drive crashs. Good Luck!
rogerleclercqAuthor Commented:
chrdrm2 - Thanks
Had already tried the F8 option but that didn't work on either Safe Mode or Last Known good config.

Lee Tutor - Thanks.
I have created the Vista Recovery disc and run a "repair" of the C: installation of Vista from it. The operation appeared to complete OK (appx 15 minutes) and system went into re-boot. However it is now showing the same message: Configuring updates Stage 1 of 3 - x% complete. Do not turn off your computer. This is like the previous loop.

The Vista Recovery disc ran once - giving the install/repair choices (I assumed the install Vista was not an option). The two following re-boots have tried to run the C:drive operating system without success.

Is there a more controllable use for the Vista Recovery Disk? I will re-read the info on your link.
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These two articles are useful in explaining how to use the Windows Recovery Environment, which is Vista's replacement for the Recovery Console of XP:

Using System Restore from the Vista Windows Recovery Environment

How to use the Command Prompt in the Vista Windows Recovery Environment
rogerleclercqAuthor Commented:
The Vista Recovery disc offers choice of Install or Repair. The Repair did not achieve anything. The Install option requires input of the product key (No problem) but then the installation cancels with this message:
Windows cannot open the required file E:\Sources\Install.wim. The file does not exist. Make sure all files required for installation are available and restart the installation. Error Code: 0x80070002
I have again selected the repair option and this time have been offered a "System Restore" option which I selected. The repair process immediately flipped back into the familiar "Startup Repair checking system" message which loops. SNAFU still.
Yes, that recovery disk will only give you the Recovery Environment, it can't be used to install Vista.  If you can get to the Command Prompt section on the menu that offers System Restore, etc., then you can try running CHKDSK and SFC  /SCANNOW
rogerleclercqAuthor Commented:
Hi LeeTutor
The bleeping computer link was very informative and may allow a better access to System Restore using Advanced Tools which I never knew about as I had not cancelled Startup Repair. Will report back after I've had some shuteye as its almost 2 am here. I already ran CHKDSK - all reported OK and tried SFC /SCANNOW which was not recognised. I assumed it was an XP thing but now I think it should be there in Vista too?
Yes, it is in Vista, also.  The System File Checker present in Windows Vista has been modified from the Windows XP version, with some missing switches and some additional possible switches.  You run it from an elevated command prompt by clicking the Start orb, clicking All Programs on the Start Menu, clicking Accessories, and then right clicking Command Prompt and choosing Run as administrator.  Assuming User Account Control is active, you will need to reply to a prompt for the administrator password or for a confirmation.  There are procedures you can use to find whether there is an invalid system file found by the SFC tool and replacing it, as explained in this Microsoft Knowledge Base article:

Some Windows Vista functions may not work, or Windows Vista may stop responding

The new syntax for SFC can be found by running the command "sfc /?" from an elevated command prompt.  Output will be like this:

Microsoft Windows [Version 6.0.6000]
Copyright (c) 2006 Microsoft Corporation.  All rights reserved.

C:\Windows\system32>sfc /?

Microsoft (R) Windows (R) Resource Checker Version 6.0
Copyright (c) 2006 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Scans the integrity of all protected system files and replaces incorrect versions with
correct Microsoft versions.

    [/OFFWINDIR=<offline windows directory> /OFFBOOTDIR=<offline boot directory>]

/SCANNOW        Scans integrity of all protected system files and repairs files with
                problems when possible.
/VERIFYONLY     Scans integrity of all protected system files. No repair operation is
/SCANFILE       Scans integrity of the referenced file, repairs file if problems are
                identified. Specify full path <file>
/VERIFYFILE     Verifies the integrity of the file with full path <file>.  No repair
                operation is performed.
/OFFBOOTDIR     For offline repair specify the location of the offline boot directory
/OFFWINDIR      For offline repair specify the location of the offline windows directory


        sfc /SCANNOW
        sfc /VERIFYFILE=c:\windows\system32\kernel32.dll
        sfc /SCANFILE=d:\windows\system32\kernel32.dll /OFFBOOTDIR=d:\ /OFFWINDIR=d:\windows
        sfc /VERIFYONLY

rogerleclercqAuthor Commented:

Thanks. Have accessed command prompt via recovery menu after breaking into the looping by cancelling the usual Startup Repair process and signing in as a user. I don't think UAC is running at this point because the sfc /scannow command WAS recognised but failed to run with this message:

There is a system repair pending which requires reboot to complete. Restart windows and run sfc again.

This laptop has been left looping all night in the hope that it might be resolving issues. My feeling now is that perhaps the corruption lies in the "Configuring updates" process and that if I can prevent this from running I may regain control.

I do not have the Administrator password - only the user password - and without the start orb am not accessing programs in a way to allow a run as administrator option.

Any ideas would be appreciated.

rogerleclercqAuthor Commented:
Have accessed System Restore and it appears to be running for a date I selected 2 days previous to last Windows Update. Last 5 restore points were all Update-related.
I now have a functional desktop. The Vista Recovery disc was thus the solution. Will award points shortly and thanks again.
rogerleclercqAuthor Commented:
Thanks for staying on the case.
It sounds like you have a hard drive failure. Download MHDD bootable CD(it's free) and scan you HDD. If MHDD detect bad sectors, it will generate warnings or error and your next step will be to replace the drive

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