Windows 8 recovery console, command prompt unable to see C drive

I have a computer that is experiencing the following error in the image below.  When going into advanced options to go to the command line, I get an X prompt with the loaded tools used to try to fix the issue.  

What's weird is heading over to the C drive gives me mixed results. At first using the command "cd c:" would keep me at the x prompt.  After several minutes, typing in the exact same command took me to "c:\windows" but there was no system 32 and very few files listed, even if I went to the root.  

Does anyone have any ideas?  I know I need to read the srttrail.txt file to get the exact issue but I can't even make my way to that directory let alone that log file.  This is an HP Pavilion p7-1421 PC.  

I did a utility diagnostic scan from HP and the drive checked out.  I tried to use a linux disk to boot from (after having to turn off that stupid secure boot) but it doesn't seem to find the correct partition that way either.  

Batson-error2.png
shonadleAsked:
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McKnifeConnect With a Mentor Commented:
If you have the windows partition and now it is almost empty (checkdisk shows nearly everything is available), then the installation is deleted by whatever means. If you have no backup, reinstall. You could of course go and try undeletion tools on it ("recuva", "test disk")and you might be lucky and find a lot of files are recoverable.
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Alan HendersonRetired marine engineerCommented:
Have you tried running System File Checker from the command prompt?

sfc /scannow
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rindiCommented:
Use the HD manufacturer's diagnostic utility to diagnose the disk, not the HP stuff. Most of those tools are included on the UBCD:

http://ultimatebootcd.com
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McKnifeCommented:
Hi.

We cannot be sure if the drive c: of your installation got mounted as c: - please make sure. To do that, I would open notepad at the command prompt, when notepad starts, ppress ctrl-O (open file) and use the open file dialoque as a file browser...makes things much easier.
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noxchoGlobal Support CoordinatorCommented:
This automatic repair is based on WinPE. Means that it loads first into WinPE environment where you can perform the necessary repair action. Then it will prompt rebooting into Windows.
In WinPE the partitions on the drive are mounted the different way than in Windows. The MSR partition becomes also a drive letter thus you saw in C: drive Boot folder and BootMgr file. If you are using UEFI then you saw there also EFI folder.
You need to get to D: drive which is the next drive letter after C: (remember that C: is assigned to a service partition). This will you allow to get to Windows folder locating drive.
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shonadleAuthor Commented:
Thank you for all your responses.

Noxcho:  the D drive is the recovery drive and only shows the recovery folder.

Rindi: I used ultimate boot CD, it is saying that the drive is fine.

McKnife: Opening notepad, I browsed through the disk letters (which coincidentally are the same that showed up when I bootted into Linux).  For C there is only a WIndows directory (which has hardly anything in it.  One text file called Build in a sub folder called PBR).  The D drive is called recovery and has a recovery folder.  E-H are removable disks which relate to the memory card drives of this HP model.  I & J are the two DVD drives . There is a K drive (local disk) which is empty except for a recovery text document.  Last there is a Boot X drive which I assume is the temp folder for the current boot up.

It's like the hard drive got wiped out somehow.
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McKnifeCommented:
To locate your windows partition, please execute the following commands:
diskpart
list disk
select disk x (x being the number of the disk in question)
list partition
->now you should see the partitions listed together with their size which should let you identify what partition holds windows.
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shonadleAuthor Commented:
Thanks McKnife.  Partition 4 appears to be the one I want.   Not sure what to do after that.
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shonadleAuthor Commented:
Also, when changing  notepad to show the drives and their sizes, it's drive C that does show the large partition (1.3 TB) but as I said before, there is nothing but practically an empty windows folder on it.
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noxchoGlobal Support CoordinatorCommented:
D: drive was suggested as an example. Try all partitions with C: D: E: F: G: till you see the one which has all you need.
Or use a Rescue Kit to boot this laptop from and see which partition is Windows one.
http://www.paragon-software.com/home/rk-free/download.html
It has a File Transfer Wizard which allows browsing partitions in boot environment. It has also a Boot Corrector tool designed to fix the boot issues.
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shonadleAuthor Commented:
All of them are empty or listing what few folders are in them.  I used a Ubuntu disk to boot up from and it lists the partitions exactly the same way as above.  I will try paragon.
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McKnifeCommented:
You made out c: to be the parttition in question, but the windows directory is empty - it seems it's damaged. So isn't windows starting at all are what are the symptoms that led you to using the recovery environment?

Maybe a file system error, use
chkdsk /r c:
from the recovery command prompt.
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shonadleAuthor Commented:
The symptoms are the user went out of town and shut down his computer (he did not notice if any windows updates were installed or it shut down weirdly).  Off for the whole week.  Came back to have it booting like the images shown above.  

Running chkdsk now.  Will take a couple of hours.
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rindiCommented:
Does the PC have more than one physical disks? Maybe the one on which Windows was installed has failed completely and so doesn't show in any diagnostic tool, or it isn't properly connected?

Or your client started a factory restore, which he then stopped right after starting when he realized what was happening. This would explain why the Windows directory is practically empty.
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shonadleAuthor Commented:
The chkdsk completed.  Attached is the end results not that they help with much.  

Rindi, I do feel like it started a factory restore and didn't complete.  I don't know what he did before he finally got to it me.
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shonadleAuthor Commented:
Okay I don't know why it won't let me attach the image to the previous post, will try it this way:

2015-02-23-14.03.29.jpg
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shonadleAuthor Commented:
Thank you to everyone.  I've told the client that forever reason, their hard drive has lost it's data.  They did have an offsite backup so it's time to find out if they picked a good one.
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