boot loop on repair install

Jamesey1
Jamesey1 used Ask the Experts™
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I am working on a friend's computer. it crashed??? and he tried to restore and it ended up in a boot loop. No bsod. loops at the windows spash screen loading.

I made an image with acronis 10 and tried to do a restore with a retail then an oem mce 2005 dvd. with either one it boot loops when it gets to the point at which the main setup gui comes up. basically the blue screen loading phase of windows completes, it reboots then it boot loops.

I was hoping the repair install would straighten out his issue.

Any insight would be appreciated. The license coa says windows media center edition 2005 so i'm pretty sure I have the right restore cds.
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Will it boot into safe mode?
Use the Windows CD to boot to the recovery console and do a chkdsk c: /f then reboot

Author

Commented:
won't boot into safe mode, i'll try it again so I can tell you exactly what it does,

I will run check disk then post back. I first have to put my backup image back on as right now I have an incomplete repair install.
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Author

Commented:
safe mode hangs at the same spot which is best described as the windows loading screen right before you get to the user logon screen.

running chkdsk c: /f now

Author

Commented:
ended up running chkdsk /r

found no errors. same issue

Author

Commented:
I have tried using f10 and the built in recovery tool to launch system restore. hangs at the same place.

hardware diagnostic tests all pass.

I have now slaved the drive and am running an avg scan against the drive looking for a boot virus???

Commented:
Download Windows Memory Diagnostic CD and use it - I've had it found RAM errors that other tests have not located:
http://oca.microsoft.com/en/windiag.asp

Also try disconnecting as much hardware as you can for during the install.

Author

Commented:
avg virus scan came up clean but dr web is still pulling out trojans. once that is completed I will pop in a memtest86 as well as windows memory test as above and post back.

Author

Commented:
windiag finished in 30 min and came up clean. Didn't run memtest. I have nice and modem cards I can remove and try to boot again.

Author

Commented:
removed all cards from slots, unplugged cdrom as well and tried to boot. no luck hangs on a blue windows screen as before
Commented:
Are you still trying a repair install?
Do you have another drive you can put in and try a clean install on to ensure the rest of the hardware is OK?

Author

Commented:
I figured that would be my next test. I have a backup so I can do a few things one being a format install. after that try a format install on a different cd drive or differend hd. I'm giong to try a format install and see what happens

Author

Commented:
format and install worked on with all hardware in system. ???
Commented:
Was that a format and install on the same hard drive or a new one?  I presume the latter:

Either the old drive was corrupt in some way that chkdsk could not see or there was some problem with the pre-existing Windows installation of a type that a repair install could not fix..?  I don't know what would cause it to die at that point though.  Maybe there are some setup logs you could look for on the old drive that might give a clue:
http://windowsitpro.com/article/articleid/40200/what-log-files-does-windows-xp-create-during-installation.html

Author

Commented:
same drive, formatted and ran a repair install to the newly formatted drive fine.
Commented:
Oh well at least it wasn't a hardware fault then.

So what are you going to try now?  Are you going to try restoring your Acronis backup again?
If that fails to boot properly again, you could try booting with the Boot Log enabled from the F8 screen and see if that gives any clues.
Actually, from your initial question it's not clear whether you made an Acronis backup before or after it all started going wrong.  If it dates from when all was well, then did you ever verify that the backup was OK?  If from afterwards then it may prove to be of little use really if it dates to when a failed restore had already been tried.

The Restore CDs you refer to sound as though they didn't come with the system itself.  It's one thing doing a repair install with a retail CD against a retail OS that you installed yourself, but it's another trying a generic OEM CD against a bought PC that might have had all kinds of things done to its image by the manufacturer.  Doing a repair with a retail CD against an OEM-based image might also be "interesting" - not least when you try and feed it the licence key off the side of the PC!

Author

Commented:
I made the backup before I began working. At that point the machine was not booting. So i have a backup of the initial broken state which allows me to try things without consequence.

I have just tried using an ubcd to roll back the registry, that didn't work.

I restored the image again and tried fixboot then fixmbr. fixmbr said it was an invalid mbr and wrote a new one.

I then finished running chkdsk /r. it said if found and repaired errors.

The restore disks made from the computer do not work. I downloaded an oem mce 2005 HP restore iso from the net and have tried that. (That works fine on formate etc)

I have not tried a retail cd. (coa says mce 2005 which led me to believe it is oem) But it is also true that I am not using the original oem disk that came with the machine

Author

Commented:
I've looked for other oem iso's for hp restore for mce but don't find much. I'm unsure what service pack is installed on this tower as well. COA doesn't say anything which makes me believe the license is sp1 or nothing.

I am going to try getting my hands on another oem hp restore disk and try that... Any other thoughts?
Commented:
I would have thought you ought to use a CD of the same service pack level as the OS the machine currently had on.  I presume (but don't know for sure since it's MCE) that you can slipstream a service pack in yourself to the CD if need be.

The trouble is that the failed restore that pre-dates your backup may have left it in a wrecked state.  What had actually been attempted?

I presume you've also tried something simple like "Last Known Good Config"?  There is also a way of manually hacking in the registry out of a system restore point on the disk using the recovery console that can be used to get out of tricky situations.

Author

Commented:
Here's the update. A system restore had been tried through the built in utility as I understand. he also tried to create restore cds and use those. I wasn't there for that part so that information is coming from someone non technical. At that point I received the machine.

I had hp overnight the original factory cds to me. Unfortunately they only have an option for format and reinstall. There is no repair as an oem cd would allow me.

I can get part way into safe mode. Enough to see that sp2 is installed by looking at the edge of the gui banner that says safe mode etc.

Last known good config doesn't help.

I'm game to see if I can get in and find a sys restore point to run. Can you give me some insight.

I've never done the slipstreaming method but have heard it can work.

Author

Commented:
I was able to google search how to get into the recovery console and navigate into the "system volume information" directory. Unfortunately there are no restore points when I get down to it

Looking into slip streaming...

Author

Commented:
the restore cds that came from hp say xp media center edition 2005 with rollup 2. I have been trying to use a mce 2005 oem with sp2.

I am going to try and get creative with nlite to see about creating an mce2005 with rollup 2 or rollup 2 and sp2?

Author

Commented:
So using nlite to 'create' a slipstream leads me to believe that the shipped cd has no service pack. The cd does say it has rollup 2 on it.

It appears my last ditch will be to create a mce 2005 cd with no service packs and rollup 2. I don't know where i'm going to find that sort of cd. It's too bad the factory cd will only format the machine unless someone knows a way that I can create a bootable iso from the factory cd that will function as a cd capable of a repair install...
Commented:
Does the factory CD have a normal i386 folder on that you can give to NLite to have SP2 slipstreamed into?  It may not work but it's worth a try.  The i386 may well be altered in some way so you can't just do a manual install from it - if that's the case, I don't know how that's done for you to be able to work around it.

Author

Commented:
hmm, it does have a i386 folder. I'll give it a shot to make an iso out of just the i386 folder w/sp2.

Author

Commented:
Tried to make an iso out of it. appears to work until it asks for me to manually point to a folder called cmpnents on cd2 which I simply doesn't exist.

At this point I have run the factory restore which completed without error.

I am now trying to pull the user profile over. I am now having trouble there. The profile is 4gb and I can only get about 300mb before it starts asking me if I want to copy my docs to the destination folder. (Betther described as halfway through copying my docs it tells me there is already a my docs and do I want to consolidate the two. There is no other my docs in the my docs folder. get it. rather goofy.) So...

I restored the backup to another disk drive and am performing dskchk /r on the drive then I will try to copy over the profile again.

If that works i'll create the user on the factory restored machine, copy in the profile, then I can see what apps are missing, make a list, run a tool to recovery license keys from a slaved drive and continue on...

hinges on me getting a good user profile though. I'll post back

Author

Commented:
so I can't copy the user profile. It is about 4gb but I can only get about 300mb. Then it starts doing things i've never seen such as saying it doesn't have permission and trying to copy the my docs again even though it already has???

To get up to speed, I restored the back up to another drive, slaved it and tried to copy. No luck. ran dskchk on it and found errors. (errors came with the backup) Still no luck.

Ran chkdsk twice and it still found errors through recovery console. (put it in as primary) It can't check disk from within xp slaved. crashes simply saying it can't complete. defrag also fails saying it can't save data. I suspect my next trick will be to use NTFS getdataback and try to grab the user profile.

I'm going to need a beer.

Author

Commented:
chkdsk isn't cutting it. Can anyone recommend a good free disk repair tool to work on an ntfs drive either slaved or setup as primary?

Commented:
Recuva (www.recuva.com) is good for recovering data.  If you have some money you could try something like SpinRite or R-Studio.  R-Studio is for data recovery, SpinRite for fixing disks.
Once you've got what you can, repartition the drive and see if it is formattable or not.

Author

Commented:
Ok so here's how it worked out. When the recovery was tried (originally) it screwed up all sorts of things. I was not able to repair the disk in the end to get the user profile however so some reason there was a folder called USERDATA that had all the profile information in it located at the root??? rather than under docs and settings/user

I used that to restore the user profile...

Not sure what the moral of the story is on this one. I appreciate everyone's help as I worked through this one.

Author

Commented:
Solution was a team effort to find a work around. I greatly appreciate those who stayed with the thread to help me.

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