After a shutdown, my (Samsung)Windows 7 Home Premium laptop would not reboot completely, only getting to the blue screen with Windows 7 Home Premium at the bottom. The login icons would not appear so I could not get into windows (ie no msconfig, control panel, nada, really nada!).

I have lots of cr@p on it (apache, mysql, php, drupal, git, bash, putty, blah blah), so much that I really really didn't want to rebuild it. Everything's backed up but it was the reinstalling everything I squirmed at.

I tried EVERYTHING 'normal' to recover: - boot in safe mode (it wouldn't, it hung before getting there) - go back to previous restore points (it wouldn't and eventually there weren't any - I probably deleted them in my various attempots) - use auto repair (didn't work, it didn't see anything wrong!) - tried to use a backup copy of the registry (no change) - Hiren, etc etc.

Googling told me this is quite common and I couldn't find a reliable solution, certainly nothing that worked for me. So I was left with a laptop that seemed to get almost to starting, but didn't quite make it. It was utterly useless.

closed as off-topic by Simon Sheehan, Darth Android, ChrisF, Tog, Moses Jan 11 '14 at 3:05

  • This question does not appear to be about computer software or computer hardware within the scope defined in the help center.
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • Can you take a screenshot of what the computer looks like when it's stuck? – Caleb Xu Jan 9 '14 at 22:31
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    This question appears to be off-topic because it is not a question. – Simon Sheehan Jan 9 '14 at 22:35
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    We do allow self-answered questions, but the answer must be posted as an answer, and not part of the question. The question should be in a form answerable by anyone else (i.e. don't introduce new information about the problem in the answer, do so in the question instead). You should also make the answer more substantial than just the link - links do break over time. As it is, your question does not satisfy those requirements, and will likely be closed. If you can make those changes (separate the answer from the question), you can request a re-open on Meta Super User. – Bob Jan 9 '14 at 22:41
  • Thanks Bob. I didn't know what the proper "form" was. I've amended it hopefully as it's meant to be. – PedroKTFC Jan 10 '14 at 0:27
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    Had a look at the help centre and I think this fits in perfectly. It's about getting the windows operating system working on a laptop from a failed state. What could be more on topic than that? – PedroKTFC Jan 12 '14 at 15:27
up vote 3 down vote accepted

So I was left with a PC that was all but useless. Fearing that I would have to rebuild the laptop, I tried something a bit more radical.

(Remember that if you hit F8 when rebooting you get several options including a repair option. That eventually fires up a very very basic windows environment that includes a command prompt option. I used that to copy files.)

I have another laptop (with Windows 7 Enterprise) so I copied all the files from windows\system32 (NOT the sub-folders) to my dead laptop and... it worked. I don't know if I was lucky but I didn't complain! ***** THIS IS THE KEY STEP ******

The laptop then rebooted properly and I was able to login normally! From here I could use it normally.

I then used the tip from here: http://windowssecrets.com/top-story/win7s-no-reformat-nondestructive-reinstall/ to reinstall windows "properly". It took several hours but I now seem to have my laptop back with everything still there! Happy days!

(I'll be taking even more care now with backups!)

  • As others noted, links go dead. For me, this link describes the problem, and says one must answers a question to unlock the solution. I answered, and it said that I needed to become a member of the site, but offered no way to do thst. So without explaining the solution here, the answer would be useless. – Steve Apr 14 '16 at 9:09
  • Apologies. Looking at the link it looks like windowssecrets has changed since I used it and now that content is premium. I hope if you google around you'll find an alternative link that will help you. I'm afraid it was so long ago that I can't remember what that link contained. Good luck. – PedroKTFC Apr 15 '16 at 7:30
  • Unfortunately, this solution didn't work for me. Even a full Windows 7 reinstall and about two days of running Windows Update only got me back to limping functionality. I was only able to get the machine working again by updating to Windows 10. – Steve Apr 23 '16 at 23:14

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