Vista OS Migration causes Black Screen of Death (with mouse)

Posted on 2013-02-04
Last Modified: 2016-11-23
I have a Dell Laptop running Vista Home 64bit.  The hard drive is getting bad sectors, so I'm trying to move everything to a new hard drive.  The problem is that after the migration, the new hard drive boots to a black screen with a mouse.  None of the usual tricks get it to finish booting (hitting Shift 5 times, Ctrl-Alt-Del, or Ctrl-Shift-Esc)

I prepared the bad drive for the clone by running a chkdsk /F /R C:, using msconfig to boot into diagnostic mode, and configuring the system for auto logon.

I used Paragron Drive Copy 12 to clone the drive, and performed a raw hard drive copy to preserve the Restore partition.  I do receive IO errors during the copy (because of the bad sectors).

The only difference in the boot sequence between the two drives is that the original will pause for 2-5 seconds after the green bar, then I'll see the Windows logo, followed by the desktop.  With the new drive, I get the green bar, and then I'm dumped into limbo with the mouse cursor.  No 2-5 second pause, and no windows logo.

Safe mode doesn't work, and neither does Safe mode with Networking or Command Prompt.  I also tried booting with a boot log, but I am unable to locate the log file in the Windows directory, so I'm guessing it wasn't saved before I hit limbo.

I even tried attaching the bad drive to the laptop via USB, thinking Windows is specifically looking or it (via driver, or service) during boot up, but no luck.

I'm out of ideas, and can use a fresh perspective that doesn't involve reinstalling Windows :)

Question by:rdege
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LVL 88

Assisted Solution

rindi earned 250 total points
ID: 38851245
Have you run the hard-disk manufacturer's diagnostic utility on the bad drive? Those tools can often relocate the bad sectors, provided they aren't too many or too bad. After that run the chkdsk with the repair options again, and then try cloning. You find the diagnostic tools on the UBCD:
LVL 47

Accepted Solution

noxcho earned 250 total points
ID: 38851249
One perspective is repair installation from Windows 7 or Vista boot installation or Recovery CD. This should be done on newly copied drive.
The second is that you run on source drive the HDD vendor made tools to perform fix of bad sectors and then repeat the clone.
Looks as Drive Copy is not able to clone some important data which is located in bad sectors.

Author Comment

ID: 38851270
The bad drive is a Western Digital, so I'll try that later tonight via UBCD.  However, if the copy was unable to read the data from the bad sector, then how is Windows able to during boot?

Also, I did try repairing the installation via the Recovery CD.  I've done chkdsk, as well as the bootrec commands, but to no avail.  What I'd really like to do is a sfc /scannow, but so far as I know, I can only do when I'm actually in the OS.
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LVL 88

Expert Comment

ID: 38851292
Chkdsk only repairs the file-system, nothing at lower levels. That is done by the manufacturer's tools.

A further tool you can try that I didn't mention above, but which is very good at reviving bad disks if the others fail, is the HD Regenerator. It isn't free but worthwhile:
LVL 47

Expert Comment

ID: 38851410
Western Digital has its own bad drive check and fix software. Get one for your drive model on their website.
As for your question - why does OS on bad drive boot - it knows where the data is located - it reads it but will not write to these sectors anything else.
And these sectors are marked by Windows CHKDSK as bad already. Knowing this Copy HDD operation could avoid those sectors.
On the cloned drive try to check via Paragon Recovery CD - which partition is set as active. Could be that active partition flag was set to wrong partition.
Also, see if all partitions are marked as healthy NTFS.
Then you will find Boot Corrector tool on the same Recovery CD from Paragon. Use it to update boot record for the partition.

Author Comment

ID: 38851888
Update: Vista fixed itself.  I'm not exactly sure how, but it repaired itself.  I was going through all of the Boot Menu options one-by-one, hoping for some sort of miracle.  During one of the reboots, instead of the boot menu, I was told that Windows needs to repair itself.  After about 15 minutes of the Startup Repair, the system booted to the Desktop.

I also ran chkdsk on C: again, and the system rebooted successfully.  So I reset msconfig back to normal boot, ran Windows Updates, and everything seems to be stabilizing.

Now I just have to deal with the other lingering problems (sfc returning errors, scheduled task errors, and event viewer system logs don't exist)
LVL 47

Expert Comment

ID: 38852355
Actually the repair from Boot cd of Vista wold have done this repair earlier. Sure if it was Vista Recovery Cd.

Author Comment

ID: 38853659

I had already run the repair from the Boot CD a previous time.  It said that there was nothing wrong with Windows.

That's why I found it odd that the Vista wanted to repair itself while I was going through the Boot Menu options.

BTW, I am currently running an extended test on the bad WD drive using the Data LifeGuard software from the WD website.
LVL 92

Expert Comment

ID: 38853964
i found that some problems are cured by : rebooting - or running the same tool  twice
it suggests that the first run - it "repairs " up to a certain point - and is unable to continue, but on the second run it starts from the "repaired" section, and can go further

btw - you could have used the boot corrector tool from the Rescue cd of Paragon also

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