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Windows 7 bootup missing file

Discussion in 'Tech Talk - Gadgets, Gizmos and Technology' started by Supramom2000, Mar 15, 2013.

  1. Supramom2000

    Supramom2000 In Loving Memory of Onyx-2/23/09

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    I need some advice/help.

    My son has a Dell Inspiron that his dad ordered online from Dell. It came without the Windows Installation disc as most do these days.

    The other day, after it auto-downloaded Windows Updates, something became corrupted or is missing.

    It goes to a black screen with a message that says "windows boot configuration data file is missing required information". It wants him to insert his installation disc, which of course we don't have. His brother has an identical computer that they both got at the same time. Can I make a backup of the Windows OS from his computer and use it on the corrupted one? Is there anything I can do which will not lose all the files saved on the corrupted computer? Typical of a 20 year old, he did not back up any of his documents. His music can be re-synced from his iphone, but he has a lot of college papers on the laptop.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. dennisj00

    dennisj00 Hall Of Fame

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    I'd certainly try the other disc, but first, you need to take the drive out and put it in a USB / SATA enclosure or another PC as D: (or higher) and get a backup.
     
  3. Supramom2000

    Supramom2000 In Loving Memory of Onyx-2/23/09

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    Dennis, you just went way beyond my capacity! I don't know how to do that. But I might be able to have someone else do that for me.

    Thanks for the advice.
     
  4. houskamp

    houskamp New Member

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    try making disk set from other pc (should be a program on it to do that)..
    worst case there should be a key you press on startup that will load the restore stuff fromm manufacturer.. should say at bottom of screen at startup what key to use..
     
  5. dennisj00

    dennisj00 Hall Of Fame

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    Don't load any restore disks until you have a copy or the files from the drive.
     
  6. harsh

    harsh Beware the Attack Basset

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    Use the brother's system to create an emergency boot disc.

    It is IMPERATIVE, as dennisj00 suggests to NOT use a restore disc as it will load the factory image from a hidden partition and revert the computer to something that everyone will regret.

    The magic part is that the restore process doesn't restore everything, just a completely unpatched Windows. No drivers, no applications software, no nothing.

    I recently went through this with a Dell Studio model and was bitterly disappointed with the process.

    This lesson is why they make system imaging software. Trying to rebuild a functioning Windows system is a few days lost if you're lucky.

    The other lesson that you'll learn is that a "System Restore" in a situation like this has, at best, a 50% chance of not bricking the machine.

    What I did was immediately used drive imaging software to back up all of the partitions (the Studio came with four) so I would have something to salvage from. I recommend this step highly. What you do after that is experiment with various recovery processes and restore the disk image if it fails. That's really a topic for a Dell forum as their restore setup is decidedly feeble compared to others I've seen.
     
  7. Supramom2000

    Supramom2000 In Loving Memory of Onyx-2/23/09

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    Thanks everyone for the advice. Just keep in mind that I cannot access anything such as restore points, partitions, etc. The computer does not even boot. 3 seconds after pressing the power button, it goes directly to the black screen with the message that a boot up fill is missing and I will need to boot from disc. I have the F2 and F12 options at the bottom, but nothing else. I cannot even use F8 as it goes directly to the screen I mentioned.
     
  8. P Smith

    P Smith Mr. FixAnything

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    If Win's bootloader is missing/corrupted, how you expect to process F8 ? It's its routine.

    F2, F12 processing by Dell/Phoenix BIOS routine.
     
  9. NR4P

    NR4P Dad

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    Reads as though as soon as your BIOS tries to access the HD, it can't find what it needs. So what Dennis wrote first off is the most important thing. Remove the drive, get it into another PC as secondary drive or a separate enclosure you can access USB or SATA. Then you can copy all the important files.

    One good thing about Dell is that a Dell W7 system disk will load on almost any other Dell PC. Once you have saved your data, you can boot off an external CD or DVD drive with any Dell W7 disk and rebuild your hard drive. And another nice thing about Dell is by entering the service tag at the support site, you can get all the drivers again.

    Painful yes but salvagable.
     
  10. Supramom2000

    Supramom2000 In Loving Memory of Onyx-2/23/09

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    Colbert, WA
    I actually have all the drivers on a disk. They still send those.

    So you guys don't think I can create an emergency boot disk from the other Dell and use it to get to repair options? Or is it that doing this will erase his hard drive?
     
  11. jimmie57

    jimmie57 Hall Of Fame

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    I had a similar problem with Windows XP Pro a couple of years ago.
    I used the original discs from another machine and chose the Repair Option and not the Restore option. Repair does not wipe out your installed programs or the data created by them.
    It repaired the corrupted file ( s ) .
    However it put all the updated system files back to their original state and I had hours of Windows Updates to do again to get it back to the current updates.
     
  12. Supramom2000

    Supramom2000 In Loving Memory of Onyx-2/23/09

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    Thanks everyone! I created a repair disk from the other identical computer and used it to boot from on the corrupted one. It let me choose the repair option and then it fixed the corrupted boot file. Everything loaded up correctly, and nothing at all was lost!
     
  13. dennisj00

    dennisj00 Hall Of Fame

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    Great news! I'd have to say you dodged a big bullet (or your son did!)

    Go buy a lottery ticket and an external 1TB (or larger) drive for backup!!

    Remind them to keep anything important in at least TWO places. Had a friends son bring me an external drive that had his class videos (freshman in videography (sp?)). Because of the size of the videos, he had started using the external drive.

    All it would do is click. We took it to a data recovery place but dad didn't think it was worth $2500 to get it back! Expensive lesson.
     
  14. jimmie57

    jimmie57 Hall Of Fame

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    Excellent. Thanks for the Update.
     
  15. Supramom2000

    Supramom2000 In Loving Memory of Onyx-2/23/09

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    Believe me, I have told them over and over about security and back up! But neither live at home any longer, (he was home visiting for spring break) - so at some point, you have to let them make their own mistakes and learn the lesson the hard way. He did say there was only one document that was not backed up, that was the one he was worried about. Every other one was stored in an on-line storage or he had emailed it to himself so he could access it from Google mail.

    I had actually set up the Dell on-line back up on both their computers when they got them, so he just needs to make the effort to find his logon and password and monitor that more closely. His music files are also on his iphone so the only real need for back up is his school stuff.

    I also got a hold of Dell and they are sending the installation disk for free. So he will have a back up repair disk and back up installation disk.

    Thanks again everyone for your help.
     
  16. harsh

    harsh Beware the Attack Basset

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    As I said (and as you found), the secret lies in maintaining an emergency boot disk; something Dell doesn't offer (and something that their restore disks won't work without).

    Everybody, using any platform, needs to familiarize themselves with the recovery process for their computer because they typically have some pretty horrible side effects. Knowing what is salvaged and what is lost may well provide motivation for maintaining backups.
     

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