So I have probably looked at every resource I can on Google - I have spent the last 15 hours looking and testing.

I am experiencing a BSOD loop. After investigating further it would seem it is a Bad Driver issue - I just can't figure out what it is.

Things I have tried, and notes:

  • I can not boot to Safe Mode
  • The Recovery Console works
  • I have a number of WinPE CDs and have been going between them
  • I have run Chkdsk, sfc scannow etc.. (All the usual, this in not my first rodeo)
  • I have toggled the IDE/AHCI modes in the BIOS - no change
  • I cannot get it to log the boot sequence to ntbtlog.txt - it just doesn't write
  • I cannot get it to do minidumps, even though I modified the registry to allow for this

Many, many resources point to a Hard Drive issue, either faulty drive or bad controller drivers. The drive is not faulty, if anything it is the controller drivers.

I just am unable to confirm, I have even force re-installed the standard drivers using DISM (Offline).

My main issue here is that I simply cannot see what driver the system is hanging on, this is all I need to resolve this issue.

If at all possible I do not want to have to re-install; it will take days.

So what do I need?

To enable boot logging, through the registry (Offline within PE)


A PE compatible tool to tell me the load sequence of the drivers at boot.


A command line sequence to do the same.


I have searched high and low and cannot find what I am looking for so hopefully SU can point me in the right direction.

I refuse to believe that my only solution is to give up and re-install as this is simply a driver issue - I just don't know which driver; If I could load Safe Mode it would be fixed within minutes.

Thanks for your help in advance.

Edit: I need to do this / this through the registry only, or do I use BCDedit?

  • @trismark below is correct, in that you need to attempt to identify exactly what BSOD you are getting. More importantly, you believe it is a bad driver... however, when Windows loads into safe mode, it doesn't load hardware specific drivers. It loads generic Microsoft issued and approved drivers. For example, it doesn't use your specific video card drivers, it uses generic VGA drivers. Same for the drive controller. You may load a chipset specific one that you installed in normal mode, but in safe mode, a generic one from Microsoft loads. – Bon Gart Mar 5 '13 at 3:02
  • Yep, the actual error should contain some useful information. Try posting a photo of it, if you can't make sense of it. – Ярослав Рахматуллин Mar 5 '13 at 4:29
  • You should also rule out a hardware problem. – David Schwartz Mar 5 '13 at 5:03
  • Unless you post the BSOD information we can't really help you determine what drive it is. Of course the fact you CANNOT boot into safe mode actually suggests its NOT a driver problem. – Ramhound Mar 5 '13 at 11:14

I don't know if this is what you're asking for. If you're experiencing a BSOD, then the BSOD should contain the information what driver module caused the BSOD. If you can't capture the BSOD message, press F8 at boot time and select:

enter image description here

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Well I ended up re-install, at much dismay.

I just couldn't find out which driver was the issue. I'd like to point out that had the BSOD given me useful information to follow I wouldn't of asked my question in the first place.

It gave a 7B error, with the subsequent codes useless: Can not find boot device or something similar. Most resources about the issue say that it is either a hard disk failure or driver for the controller. As I mentioned the hard disk is perfectly fine, clearly since the rebuild was fine, so the issue was simply driver related.

Even though I restored all initial Microsoft drivers, and even went as far as removing all hard drive controller drivers and re-injecting them into the offline image using DISM, it still wouldn't boot.

Granted there is the ntbtlog.txt file that will show the drivers loaded/failed but when that doesn't get created what do you do as there appears to be no way of knowing which driver is failing.

Mini Rant: Why couldn't Microsoft simply display the last attempted driver on screen, like where safe mode shows what has been 'loaded'. Something so simple would go a long way.

Anyway, if you get this error, there is only so many things you can try to fix the issue. Most suggest setting the BIOS controller to IDE mode or AHCI, depending on how it is set. Others reckon three separate repair attempts will fix the issue. Another suggestion is to reset the BCD. After that, apart from Chkdsk and SFC scannow you will pretty much be wasting your time, I know I did.

Who knows you may get lucky and fix it easy enough.

Note: I scoured the internet and tried many, many solutions - including some of my own thinking and nothing changed. I spent nearly two whole days trying to rescue my machine.

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  • i believe 7B relates to the boot loader not being able to find files on your disk. Likely you had your BIOS set to AHCI but didn't have the AHCI driver installed. I've seen issues where the MS-provided driver causes issues, you need to use the official vendor driver. – Bigbio2002 Aug 27 '13 at 1:26

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