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UPDATE: I was able to create a Windows 8 Recovery disk from another computer. I have attempted to re-create the boot files by following this method in Command Prompt:

bootrec /scanos
bootrec /rebuildbcd
bootrec /fixmbr
bootrec /fixboot

When I try the first 2 commands I see this message:

Successfully scanned Windows installations. 
Total identified Windows installations: 0
The operation completed successfully

Is this telling me Windows is not installed?

I have also attempted to boot into Linux using a USB Drive. My thought was to recover my files then re-install Windows. However, I get errors when attempting to copy from one drive to another and I do not see any Windows or System files.

I am left with a few questions:

Did my hard drive just fail?

How do I solve my issue now that I have a recovery disk?

Note: This computer is less than 6 months old and the HD was working fine, without issue, until yesterday. (This includes running silently without any "weird" noises.)

Original Question

I installed Windows 8 not to long ago and has been working great. Today when I went to boot I came to the login screen and it told me an error has occurred and needed to reboot. It did this automatically and I did not have time to see an error code or what the problem was. It restarted and then gave me this message:

Your PC Needs to Be Repaired

The application or operating system couldn't be loaded because a required file is missing or contains errors.

File:\WINDOWS\system32\winload.exe Error code: 0xc0000102

You' ll need to use the recovery tools on your installation media. If you don't have any installation media (like a disc or USB device), contact your system administrator.

I have a Windows 7 installation disc but I do not have a Windows 8 disc. Since Windows 8 was an upgrade I do not have recovery media (and I haven't created one yet).

I spoke with my PC Manufacturer and they told me there should be a partition on the HD which will contain my necessary files to repair. That I should access that partition and downloaded to a USB drive then repair. However, I do not know how to access the partition.

Below this message I see Press Enter to try again or Press F8 for Startup Stettingd

Neither option do anything but cause the screen to flash.

What can I do to solve this issue?

Note: I have seen similar questions on this issue for Windows 7 here and Windows 8 on a VHD here. However those do not seem to answer my question as they require recovery media.

I am using an iBUYPOWER Power Computer

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4 Answers 4

up vote 2 down vote accepted

I have thankfully solved my problem. Basically it required re-installing Windows 8. To others who may see this here are the steps I followed:

STEP 1 - Recovery Media

Insert your recovery or installation disk. If you do not have the installation disk you may be able to download and create a disk from Microsoft. (This is for Windows 8 Pro only, you may be able to do this with other version, I do not know). This method does require a product key. My product key was in a confirmation email sent when I upgraded. Here are the steps to create recovery media.

  • Go to this webpage (for US versions) and click install Windows 8. This will download a 5mb installer for Windows 8.
  • Run the installer once downloaded.
  • Enter product key from Microsoft when prompted.
  • Click Next once entered. This will start the download of Windows 8. Note: It will look like you are going to install on the computer you are working on, however, you will be able to save to USB or disk after the download completes. This download can take a while depending on your connection speed. I suggest hanging Christmas lights while you wait. It worked for me.
  • Once the download is finished, Windows will check the download.
  • You will be presented with 3 options:

    Install Now
    Install by Creating Media
    Install Later from Your Desktop
    
  • Choose Install by Creating Media Click Next.

  • Follow instructions.
  • Once the process finishes click Finish. You now have recovery media.

For more detailed instructions and screenshots see this website.

STEP 2 - Repair Boot Files

The first step in attempting to fix this issue is to attempt to repair the boot files. This did not work for me but may work for you.

  • Start by booting the computer with the recovery media inserted. The computer should load the CD or USB. (You may have to change the BIOS boot order to boot the USB drive first.)
  • Choose your language. Click Next
  • You will now see Install in the center of your screen. On the lower left side you will see Repair your computer.
  • Choose the repair option.
  • You will have several options including:

    Refresh Your Computer
    Restore Your Computer
    Advanced Options
    
  • Choose Advanced Options.
  • Launch the command prompt
  • Enter the following commands one at a time hitting Enter after each command.

    bootrec /scanos
    bootrec /rebuildbcd
    bootrec /fixmbr
    bootrec /fixboot
    
  • Reboot computer after the final command finishes.

If you still see the error continue to step 3 & 4.

Other Options: There are other options within Windows Repair including going back to a Restore Point and Automatic Repair. You can try these options, however, they did not work for me.

STEP 3 - Attempt to Recover Files

At this point the above commands did not work for me. This left the option of re-installing Windows. However reinstalling Windows will erase certain files.

Recovering files BEFORE re-installing Windows

It may be possible recover the files to an external hard drive. To do this I created an USB drive that had a copy of Linux (Ubuntu to be exact). I used UNetbootin to create the Linux USB drive. For instructions on how this is done see the UNetbootin installation instructions. For some reason this method did not allow me to copy files (I kept receiving error messages). Hopefully this will allow you to save some files before re-installing Windows.

STEP 4 - Re-install Windows

!!!WARNING!!!! this step WILL ERASE your installed programs and will erase files that are saved in certain locations, IE: desktop, my documents, libraries, my music, etc. There may be a way to save these files before re-installing Windows. (See Above Step).

  • Again boot the computer with the recovery media inserted.
  • Choose Install
  • You now have two options: Upgrade or Custom Install
  • You can attempt Upgrade, however, it would not allow me to proceed. I chose Custom Install
  • Follow instructions

Once your computer is up and running I would recommend checking your HD to see if it is failing. I have a Seagate HD and I am able to check my HD using SeaTools.

Please learn from me and keep a recent backup of your hard drive if at all possible. I do recommend cloning your hard drive (I use Clonezilla) as often as needed for your needs.

Please Note: I am not a computer expert and use the above advice at your own risk. The above process was figured out by a mix of reading advice via multiple forums across the Internet and finally speaking with Microsoft Tech Support. That call took two+ hours but would have been longer if I had not performed steps on my own quest for answers. Also note that MS tech support may cost money. I was informed at the beginning of my call that normally the call cost $99 (USD) but since my copy was less than 90 days old I had free support.)

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Why the down vote? –  Lynda Mar 1 '13 at 21:03

Try pressing F8 as Windows just loads, before you get to the error screen (usually I will mash on F8 as the POST completes). If your timing is right, it should dump you straight to the startup options menu, before it actually starts to try loading Windows.

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There is usually a key stroke or key stroke combo to access recovery partitions. HP usually is F11 as it boots as is Dell. I would try F11 as a start but your vendor should have this info available for you.

It will likley restore to the OS that was shipped with the system

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F11 brings up the option to boot from Hard Drive or CD-ROM drive. On the error screen it says Press F8 for Startup Options but that only causes the screen to flash, nothing more. I cannot find anything on partitions from iBUYPOWER. –  Lynda Dec 22 '12 at 21:26

Lol, just booting to ur bios and selecting load defaults or last known config would have solved. Experienced 3 days back when I attempted further ocing

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Reverting to last known good configuration will only fix registry problems that might be due to memory corruption (as is likely the case if you were overclocking) and will not fix any more serious problems. It is not a cure-all magic bullet and works only in very specific cases, it would not have fixed the corruption that OP had so disdain and smug superiority is not appropriate. Also the BIOS is different from the Windows Boot Menu where the "last known config" option is found. –  Mokubai Aug 20 '13 at 19:13

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