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My girlfriend recently tried to install some printer drivers, and I guess her computer BSOD'ed. When the computer powers up it says the computer was turned off yada yada, with the options start the computer normally, boot into safe mode... etc. (The typical options)

So I told her to find her Vista CD (I'm in a different city right now, trying to help). She loaded it up and tried repairing. First she tried the automatic startup repair tool, which said it fixed various things including something with the word boot in it (this is from a phone conversation with her). After restarting, this did not solve the problem, so she booted into the recovery console againe. She tried system restore to restore to a time 2 days ago, when everything was working properly for sure. This did not improve the situation at all, and the computer still will not boot to the OS. The computer BSOD's for less than half a second and then restarts. It is an endless cycle of boot >> options for starting computer (safe mode, safe mode with networking, etc) >> no matter what the choice, BSOD and restart.

The inability to boot the OS leads me to believe that something is corrupted in her boot sector. I will tell her to try CHKDSK when she is available, and I appreciate this recommendation. Could there be anything else worth trying?

EDIT: To reiterate, nothing can be booted. The computer cannot boot into safe mode, or last known configuration, or normally... etc

EDIT + SOLUTION: The solution was retarded, and I still don't understand it. She took it to a computer guy, he set up her rig, and it worked. It just... worked, no explanation.

Upon examining the event viewer there were tons of errors, but I was in no way involved so I don't know what they are. Upon the first boot, the computer did perform extremely sluggish however, which it definitely shouldn't be.. its a sweet rig.

He didn't charge her, she brought it home, and I guess it's working okay now. Any tips for what to investigate when I get a hold of the comp?

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Run chkdsk on the drive - corrupted sectors are always a possibility! –  Breakthrough Sep 20 '09 at 5:53
    
Could you be more specific what it means "it did not work"? Things can go wrong in many ways, so you must be very specific if you wish for useful remarks. Repeat everything and write it down for us. Where there's too much text, screenshots will be helpful (even taken with a camera). –  harrymc Sep 20 '09 at 6:21
    
Can she boot into safe mode? –  CoffeeBean Sep 20 '09 at 13:18

4 Answers 4

If it gives a BSOD it should already be well past the boot sector, so the boot sector should be fine.

This sounds more like its simply the printer driver causing the BSOD, so the solution would be to boot into safe mode and get rid of the printer driver. Unplugging the printer while doing the recovery work might also be a good idea as it could prevent the printer driver from loading up in the first place.

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If Vista recovery was tried (with the Vista installation disk),
it should have fixed the Boot and the Windows installation.

If that does not work (particularly after the Vista disk declares things are done),
we need to run a short hardware diagnostics.

A Boot sequence that quickly leads to BSOD sounds like memory problems.
Except, trying to install printer drivers should not cause memory damage or seating problems
(unless she was very aggressive with the cable connector).

Are we sure that the printer and its drivers were completely eliminated at the 2-day rollback step?

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It certainly sounds like a hardware problem, especially if you can no longer get into safe mode. But that's strange since it started occuring while installing drivers.

Perhaps the installation of the drivers was in the middle of modifying key system files when it shouldn't have been, but then a system restore should theoretically fix that.

I have had problems with sound drivers causing BSOD's on boot, rolling back the version fixed it.

I have also had a problem in the past where I would get BSOD's on boot - it would say windows is starting and as soon as the desktop/mouse cursor should appear it would blue screen. It said the common message *IRQL_NOT_LESS_THAN_OR_EQUAL* which is usually a memory problem. However in that case I found that when I disconnected ALL USB devices (including keyboard and mouse), the machine would boot.

Knowing the exact BSOD error message would be a big help to us.

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NTFS can be only fixed using chkdsk.

If chkdsk can't fix it, I don't think anything other program can.

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