Windows 7 won't boot -- "broken" MBR -- help please!

Discussion in 'Windows 7 Help and Support' started by HelpPlease, Apr 6, 2012.

  1. HelpPlease

    HelpPlease New Member

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    So some time ago I installed Ubuntu and I've ever since been irritated by having GRUB for my bootloader. Stupidly, yesterday I tried to change that. Here are all the steps I've taken so far:

    1. Tried to change bootloader whilst I was logged into Windows 7. Rebooted and it had failed miserably. Error: "BOOTMGR is missing."
    2. Forgetting I still had my Ubuntu Live "CD" on my USB stick, I, very stupidly, tried to install XP besides Windows 7 & Ubuntu in order to if nothing else gain access to the internet through something other than my PS3.
    3. XP installed fine but I found it impossible to connect to the internet for whatever reason. I then remembered the Ubuntu Live CD/USB I had.
    4. In Ubuntu, using a partition manager, I removed the XP partition but evidently I did so quite poorly. This merely resulted in a new error message upon booting up: "Windows failed to start [etc]. Insert your Windows 7 Installation Disc and restart [etc]. Choose the option to repair your computer [etc]. Status: 0xc000000e. Info: The boot selection failed because a required device is inaccessible."
    5. I then installed Ubuntu fully, which restored my bootloader/MBR/whatever it's called to GRUB, however as soon as I attempted to start Windows 7 through the option on the list the previous error returned(#4).
    6. Next I removed my Ubuntu partition as it had become inaccessible and reverted back to using the Live CD/USB. Using this I downloaded a Windows 7 installation ISO that I have placed on a separate hard drive ready to be read as if it were a CD/DVD. (at this point I should mention the copy of Windows 7 on my computer is completely legitimate, however it was pre-installed and I had no installation or repair DVD. I have a recovery CD from Packard Bell, but the only option is to format the entire hard drive. This meant my only option was downloading an ISO from ThePirateBay, but for good reason IMO)
    7. I tried booting into the hard drive that contains the Windows 7 installation DVD data however I got the same error as in #4:
    8. Then I installed Ubuntu onto a fresh partition... again. Just so that I could get GRUB back for the time being and access the internet for help.

    Somewhere along the way, I can't remember where, I wrote down this: "Windows recovery environment: /dev/sda1 & [ext. HDD] -- Windows 7: /dev/sda2 -- Windows XP -- /dev/sda3"

    Also, I can see from GParted here in Ubuntu that all of my Windows 7 data(personal documents and system files) is still entirely unmodified and accessible from within Ubuntu, but for some reason on /dev/sda3 which was marked as being for Windows XP.

    Now on GParted this is what it's telling me: "/dev/sda1 | ntfs | PQSERVICE | 12GB -- /dev/sda2 | ntfs | SYSTEM RESERVED | 100MB -- /dev/sda3 | ntfs | Packard Bell[Windows 7 data] | 630GB -- /dev/sda4 | extended | [no label] | 288GB -- /dev/sda5[this is attached somehow to /dev/sda4] | ext4 | [no label] | 284GB -- /dev/sda6[this is attached somehow to dev/sda4] | linux-swap | [no label] | 4GB"

    If anyone could help me be able to boot back into Windows 7 again I would be eternally grateful. Cheers!
     
  2. MikeHawthorne

    MikeHawthorne Essential Member
    Microsoft Community Contributor

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    Hi

    My advice is to use a Ubuntu Bootable CD with the OS on it, and copy all of your data to an external hard drive, they are cheap and well worth the price. Once that's done at least you data is safe.

    Use the restore partition to get you computer back to where you started
    then reinstall you software and copy your data back to your hard drive.

    In the long run I think it will take you less time then messing around trying to restore your old install.

    If you want to give it a try you will have to remove Service Pack One before you do the repair install unless the Disk you are installing from has Service Pack One on it. If you can't boot into Widows I don't know how you would do that.

    Repair Install - Windows 7 Forums

    Mike
     
  3. catilley1092

    catilley1092 Extraordinary Member

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    HelpPlease, welcome to the forum!

    Looks as though the repair option with your Windows 7 DVD failed. That being the case, and assuming that you have no backup, you may need to pull out the re-install disk, & use it, after following the advice that Mike gave on recovering your data. You do need to recover as much as you need of your personal data.

    I've used my re-install disks a couple of times, & won't hesitate to use them again, if necessary. That's what they're for.

    But one thing that you need to learn is how to backup (image your install) after updating & installing your favorite apps. This will give you a "fresh install" anytime that you need it, only it'll need updating. I still have my original backup from 2009, and although it gave the "black screen" at the beginning, after updating & rebooting, it went away.

    Best of Luck,
    Cat
     
  4. HelpPlease

    HelpPlease New Member

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    Before I go ahead and start backing up hundreds of gigabytes of data, how do you change what a partition first runs when it's called to boot(forgive my lack of technical language here)?

    All of my Windows 7 files, personal and system are on the partition labeled as Windows XP(/dev/sda3). If I could change what the partition considers itself to be then would it load Windows 7 again? Cheers.
     
  5. HelpPlease

    HelpPlease New Member

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    What makes me think this may work is there is a "BOOTSECT.BAK" file in the root of my Windows 7's broken partition(the one calling itself XP) that was created back when I first installed Windows 7. Could the boot sector be what's causing the problem? If so, how would I go about restoring the file mentioned? :)
     
  6. MikeHawthorne

    MikeHawthorne Essential Member
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    If you can do it in Ubuntu you can install a free program called EasyBCD, it will show you your boot info and let you change the order or add a new OS to the list or, eliminate a drive from the boot sequence all together. I've never tried running EasyBCD from Ubuntu so I don't know if the have a Ubuntu compatible version or not.

    One last suggestion, if you start copying all that data, don't try and do it all at once.
    I've run into problems trying to copy 100 gigabytes of stuff in one go, it's better to do it 10 or 15 gigs at a time if you can.

    Mike

    I'm back, it says that EasyBCD will work with Ubuntu.
    Here's the link....

    http://neosmart.net/EasyBCD/
     
    #6 MikeHawthorne, Apr 7, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2012
  7. HelpPlease

    HelpPlease New Member

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    The problem is that you need to in Windows to run EasyBCD and it won't work with WINE(compatibility program). Unless I missed something...
     
  8. Saltgrass

    Saltgrass Excellent Member
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    You say you downloaded a Windows 7 .iso file. Can you burn it to a DVD so you can boot to it? If you are running SP1, I would suggest you go to a legal download site for the .iso:

    Download Windows 7 ISO (Official 32-bit and 64-bit Direct Download Links) « My Digital Life

    Does the Recovery CD you have allow for anything except a complete format? Such as a command prompt window? If you can get into a command prompt, there are some basic commands you can run that might restore the Windows 7 boot. As long as the Active System Reserved partition and the Windows partition are intact, the system should be recoverable. Maybe use G-Parted to get a picture of your Disk Management situation. I think G-Parted will take a picture. Then attach using the paperclip on the Advanced Replies.

    It does seem that some OEM installs will interfere with some Windows 7 repair operations. I have not run a system that had its own Recovery Utilities, so I can not say for sure or even how it happens.
     

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