Can't Start in Safe Mode, only Normal Mode. C-Drive not bootable.

I have an HP machine running W7 with several drives.  My computer boots and runs normally, but can't access via F8 or F10 function.  When it starts in Error Recovery mode, I cannot select safe mode, only normal mode, and I cannot hit a key to skip the timer.  It appears that I have two partitions on the main drive; a 2gig system partition that I believe is a recovery partition, and my main C partition which is 450gb.  I ran HD Tune and it says Partition 1 is Bootable and Partition 2 (C-Drive) is not.  In W7 Disk Management, Partition 1 shows as System, Active.  Partition 2 shows as Boot, Page File, Crash Dump.  I don't know if this is indicative of my inability to F8/F10 at boot.  I used Acronis TrueImage to create a clone of this drive a year ago for backup.  Maybe Acronis cloning process disabled these features.  Read somewhere not to make partition Active if is doesn't have a boot loader.  Don't know how to tell if partition has boot loader, except that W7 Disk Management states status of drive as Boot, Page File, Crash Dump.  But HD Tune says it is not bootable.   Need to straighten this out and restore my ability to F8/F10 on boot.
Steve MeyerSystem Analyst and DeveloperAsked:
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Kent DyerIT Security Analyst SeniorCommented:
Download Ultimate Bood CD for Windows..  I think you can download BART-type of bootable CD from Microsoft as well..  Once you get into to one of these CDs, then you can start repairing your MBR..

HTH,

Kent
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nobusCommented:
what HP model is this?  there are different methods starting the factory reset
http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/document?cc=us&lc=en&dlc=en&tmp_geoLoc=true&docname=c01867418

>>  and I cannot hit a key to skip the timer  <<  that is not a big problem - let it just time out

use the free Paragon rescue cd :  http://www.paragon-software.com/home/rk-express/
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rindiCommented:
2GB for a recovery partition wouldn't be large enough for windows 7. A standard Windows 7 installation takes around 10GB space, and then you'd have to add the additional software HP has installed, like AV, office trial, DVD authoring etc., it would probably at least need double that space. Although the recovery system will do some compression, you are still generally left with probably around 15GB for that partition.

So that can't be a recovery partition, or someone deleted things on it and reduced it's size, or maybe it was a recovery partition for a previous OS, like XP, but also for that it would have been rather small.

When you install Windows 7 the standard way on a fresh HD, it creates a small 100MB boot partition (which is also the active partition), and Windows gets installed on the rest of the disk. That small 100MB partition doesn't get assigned a drive letter. It holds the boot loader and a \boot folder. Your partition, although larger than the standard boot partition, probably also holds that \boot folder...

When you say you can't use F10 or F8, do you mean you want to get into the BIOS?

If the system doesn't react to keyboard input there, try connecting the keyboard to another USB port, some PC's only have 1 or 2 ports active at boot time for keyboards or mice. Or if the PC has a PS2 keyboard input, try a PS2 keyboard instead of a USB type. A further option to try is to reset the CMOS to defaults (remove the CMOS battery, and use the clear CMOS jumper on the mainboard, check the manual for details).
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nobusCommented:
i suppose he wants to start the recovery with the keys.
for Pavilion series, it is the F11 key
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rindiCommented:
Then that probably wouldn't work, as the recovery partition would have to be larger than those 2GB he mentioned.

Use the recovery DVD's you made when you got the PC to start the recovery instead...
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Steve MeyerSystem Analyst and DeveloperAuthor Commented:
My machine is HP Z420 Workstation.  I have about 500gb used space that includes about 120 applications besides OS.  Are we talking repair, or restoration of OS?  Is what is happening, the machine is booting on partition 1 and then starting OS on partition 2?  I'm hoping for diagnostic utility to tell me what is wrong and option to repair (install loader on partition 2, make Active, and make partition 1 inactive?  Can some tell me what they think the problem is first, before advising how to repair?
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rindiCommented:
Normally the PC will boot off partition 0 and then load windows from partition 1.

That is absolutely normal. But what isn't normal is the size of partition 0. As I mentioned earlier, if it was a recovery partition it would be much larger than 2GB, and if it was the normal Windows 7 boot partition, it would be about 100MB. So I assume something was changed to your system, and that is why you are probably having problems.

Also, as I have already mentioned, if you can't change any selections with your keyboard, try connecting it to another USB port, or use a PS2 keyboard if your PC has a PS2 port.
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Steve MeyerSystem Analyst and DeveloperAuthor Commented:
Rindi, I am not having keyboard problems.  I am not having problems running in normal mode.  I just can't use the F8 or F10 on boot, and I can't select safe mode on the error recovery or boot screen.  The system will only do a normal startup, and restart (when requested).  Windows starts normally and runs normally otherwise.   It would be nice, if I could force (F8) to safe mode when I want to trouble shoot issues.  It appears you and agree the machine is loading from partition 0 and loading windows from partition 1.  On what partition is the error recovery/boot screen that shows the option to select safe mode.  Have I already moved to partition 1 when this screen appears, or am I still running software on partition 0?
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MereteCommented:
Are you tapping F8 constantly before the bios screen and the you get the advanced options screen I've heard some newer HP dont have the Black dos screen but rather choose a drive screen.
I would try to hit F8 then dont select the hard drive boot but hit F8 again to get the Advance  options screen and select safemode press enter
you'll see the safemode in the 4 corners, to get back to normal windows just reboot.

Windows 7 boot ini differes from XP
There is also the msconfig approach
Go to start / run  type in msconfig select safemode minimal
Boot configurationTo exit safemode while in safemode
Click Start , enter msconfig in the search field, and then press enter to open the System Configuration window.
On the General tab of the System Configuration window, select Normal startup and click OK .
Restart the computer when prompted.
The computer will be in Normal Mode.
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Steve MeyerSystem Analyst and DeveloperAuthor Commented:
Tapping F8 does not work.  The ability to F8, or select safe mode or hit any key to skip count down timer during boot is disabled.  I can only wait for the countdown timer to finish and the computer boots normally.
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rindiCommented:
That doesn't mean you don't have keyboard problems. Once windows has started and loaded your USB drivers they will work fine, but before that, without any OS loaded, the keyboard just isn't available, and that is when no input works. So try other ports or PS2 keyboards. On some mainboards only a limited number of USB ports work together with HID devices at those early stages of booting.

How exactly startup repair works I don't know, it's an internal m$ thing.
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nobusCommented:
just to put everything straight, can you post a screenshot of disk management, showing all partitions on the disk?
if you are using an USB keyboard, is it connected to the back of the PC?  best use the topmost ones
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Steve MeyerSystem Analyst and DeveloperAuthor Commented:
Let me check the keyboard issue.  I have a kvm switch, and this could be the problem.
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MereteCommented:
Lol those precious missing details , phsychic experts we are :)
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Steve MeyerSystem Analyst and DeveloperAuthor Commented:
It is not the KVM Switch.  I am to the point of restoring entire computer.
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nobusCommented:
if you cannot solve the problem in a couple of hours, that is the best option imo -
for details, see my post above
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Steve MeyerSystem Analyst and DeveloperAuthor Commented:
Have tried everything, nothing works yet...    Looks like I am going to have to do a reinstall.  Bummer.
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MereteCommented:
Sounds like you just have a first boot problem?
Windows doesnt see your windows system partition and it's not first inline.
Recapping>> what is happening, the machine is booting on partition 1 and then starting OS on partition 2?
What is the drive letter in your boot configuration in the bios?
Did you change anything like the boot time ?
boot order in the bios?
What brought you to this as those details may help to undo it
Which partition is set as active?
If you have 2 partitions and made the wrong one active it is missing the boot files
Open your run type in msconfig. look in the boot what is written there
boot loader system configurationIf partitioning changes were made, verify that the correct partition is set active.

You say>>I have an HP machine running W7 with several drives.  My computer boots and runs normally, but can't access via F8 or F10 function.
When it starts in Error Recovery mode, I cannot select safe mode, only normal mode, and I cannot hit a key to skip the timer.  It appears that I have two partitions on the main drive; << in error recovery?? but it safemode works normally?
It is normal not to be able to access safemode while in error recovery mode.
there is lots of details all over the place here but I'd say that you just need to fix the boot loader
here are some sources that may help you please review them noting the steps and warnings, I have provided several on teh same subject but different methods to cover all basis for safety in saving your files on this HDD
How to make windows 7 partition bootable
quote>
To boot to the Windows 7 drive you need 3 things.
 The partition with the boot files has to be active.
 Put the boot files in that active partition, if not already there.
 and the active partition has to be the first one the system encounters during boot.
http://windowsforum.com/threads/how-do-you-make-windows-7-partition-bootable.37277/
Mark a partition as active from Micrsosft
Warning!!
Don't mark a partition as active if it doesn't contain the loader for an operating system. Doing so will cause your computer to stop working.
http://windows.microsoft.com/en-au/windows/mark-partition-active#1TC=windows-7
How to Manually Repair Windows 7 Boot Loader Problems

Modifying the Windows 7 boot loader with the Boot Configuration Data Editor tool<< this one can be done within windows
Extract>>>open the Start menu, select All Programs, and then choose Accessories. Right-click on Command Prompt and select Run As Administrator. Once in the command window, type bcdedit. This will return the current running configuration of your boot loader, showing any and all items that can boot on this system.

This final source, extract
if the Problem:
When attempting to boot into a Windows 7, Windows fails to load. Instead, the following error message is displayed:
BOOTMGR is missing
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nobusCommented:
did you try without the KVM ?  that shoeld make things easier
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Steve MeyerSystem Analyst and DeveloperAuthor Commented:
I was able to boot into safe mode through msconfig.  However, the problem with selecting safe mode from the startup menu turned out to be the KVM switch.
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nobusCommented:
tx for feedback
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