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orerockonFlag for United States of America

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Windows 7 won't boot - boot folder apparently deleted

Ppretty much says it all, I rebooted Win 7 after installing and quick formatting an OCZ Vertex 2 SATA II SSD drive and associated software, with the intent of copying a partition based image of the system drive (WD Raptor) I had made to the new drive and making it the system drive. That failed (I am trying to figure out why, apparently my backup software, NTI Backup Now! v5, is to blame). Windows 7 flashes a blue screen and fails to boot. System recovery tools, command line recovery, emergency rescue CD, EasyBCD, boot virus rescue CDs, and about 20 other fixes I found online don't do anything to restore the boot directory or make the drive bootable.

I do have another working copy of Win 7 on a laptop and I assume it isn't going to do any good to copy the boot directory to the unbootable system drive and then attempt the fixes again? I am afraid to touch the drive for fear that I might damage it beyond rescue. I have attempted these fixes from another drive that has Win XP (it's a dual boot system). And no, installing a copy of Win 7 on the SSD and starting over is not really a viable option for me ( unless of course the world ends tomorrow and it just don't matter) :) I don't have nor will I likely be able to find the time to reinstall everything and re-tune Win 7 to the demands of some of my high powered an finicky apps, so I will just have to find another occupation in that case (yeah right).

Avatar of Dk_guru
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If you have access to the original HD, use Acronis workstation....

If the other laptop is basically identical hardware (not just visually) you could start with the directory copy, however very intensive and nigh impossible, and you will lose a lot of hair in the process...
I just went through the same process, and the kind of backup you perform is important - you need a disk backup, not a partition backup (Acronis True Home supports this).  A disk backup contains the master boot record and boot manager.  You can try booting the Win7 disc and perform a repair, selecting the option to fix a startup problem.  If you have the backup saved on another drive, you don't need to worry about the data, unless the backup itself is corrupt, in which case you should go back to the original drive.
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As I said int he original question I have tried the Win 7 recovery tools and many other programs, none of which restore the deleted boot directory (or create a new one) on the Win 7 system drive, so they all fail. I am trying out Acronis Backup & Recovery 10 now. Anyone familiar with the bewildering options it has to backup & restore system drives? I don't see anything in their help about fixing an unbootable system drive although it appears that this can be done. I think I get their cloning & migration routine.
If you've got Acronis 10 (which I have) on your Raptor drive, you have two ways to do this, depending on how many drives you can connect simultaneously.

The easiest is to connect the SSD as another drive and run the "Clone disk" option in Tools & Utilities.  This will make a complete copy of your Raptor to the SSD, including making it bootable.  Replace the Raptor with the SSD and it should work.

The second option, typically for laptops, is to go to the home selection, choose "Disk and partition backup", make sure you are in disk mode (as opposed to partition mode), and select the Raptor drive.  Choose a destination to save the image (usually a second drive), and let it do the job.  You will need to go into Tools & Utilities, Rescue Media Builder to create a bootable CD.  After installing the SSD and booting from the CD, you restore from the backup onto the SSD.
Cloning the drive resulted ina  bunch of "Failed to obtain required volume information" arrors but says it completed. When I reboot, the SSD is now not recognized at startup, even when being switched to SATA 0 or 1. It was on SATA 5, do you think that might have been a problem? I will try the latter when I have a spare couple hours LOL
That doesn't sound good - you should not be getting errors on a cloning operation.  The SSD should always be recognized by the BIOS, and a cloning operation should not cause it to not be recognized.  This makes me think the SSD is defective (it should not matter which SATA connector you use either, as long as you specify in the BIOS which one to boot from).
Something else that might work.  Do a clean install on the drive you want to use. This will make the 100MB Hidden Boot Partition plus the main Windows partition. Then Delete the stuff in the Windows Partition and copy the Image there.
Callandor: The drive was working just fine when I had quick formatted it from the old Win 7 drive. I disconnected all but the old drive and the SSD and I get only one choice of Win 7 at boot, which crashes as befrore. With just the SSD drive connected, I don't get any choices, but the BIOS complains that no system drives were found.

coral47: I will try what you suggest, I had done that (formatted the SSD first) but didn't insatll Win 7. I guess the Acronis program attempted to mirror the whole thing instead of just the Win 7 partition? Is there a way to tell Acronis to just copy the Win partition?

I can't say about Acronis, I don't use it, but I was thinking of the NTI Backup Now! copy you already have for the regular C: partition.
>I guess the Acronis program attempted to mirror the whole thing instead of just the Win 7 partition?

When you perform a disk clone, everything, including hidden partitions, are cloned.  It should work exactly as if you had the Raptor still there.  When you boot to the BIOS, does it say OCZ-Vertex2 as the drive?

I have also used coral47's idea successfully - get the drive at least booting to a partition successfully, even if it's another Windows, and then restore just the partition to the SSD.
>> ...used coral47's idea successfully...

Good to know. I haven't tried it yet, but it "looked good on paper".   : )
Something else that might work.  Do a clean install on the drive you want to use. This will make the 100MB Hidden Boot Partition plus the main Windows partition. Then Delete the stuff in the Windows Partition and copy the Image there.

OK I formatted the SSD (again) with the Windows Recovery Tool and installed Win 7 on it. Now, how do I delete everything in the Win partition? I can't delete any system files (I am still in Win XP on the second HD).

Also, when I do the Acronis backup, I see the option for partition vs. files & folders, I assume I check the partition option then select the old Win 7 disk. Now do I select sector-by-sector? I tried with and without sector-by-sector and it fails with an error that it can't read data from sector blah-blah when I select sector-by-sector. It completes the backup when I don't select it.

You should not use the sector by sector option - select the Win7 partition and restore only that (make sure you are not in disk mode).  I actually did a clean install with Win7, then restored the C partition from the partition backup.  It will wipe out the C partition you just created with the install.
Thanks for all the help guys, it looks like it isn't going to fly. The new drive isn't bootable and Win 7 restore says there are system file errors, so I did a chkdsk on the old Win 7 drive and it looks like there were some corrupt files. I wonder why it never said that when I was trying to restore the old drive. Anwyay I used Windows easy transfer to get all my XP stuff onto the old Win 7 drive, but it doesn't look like I can run it from a dead drive. So, is there some utility out there that will do the same from a non-bootable drive? I am not looking forwartd to a week of re-installing everything if I can possibly avoid it.
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Thanks for all the suggestions, it turned out that the drive was unrecoverable, I think due to errors in the boot sector.