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  • #3937817

    I can’t get into my computer

    by doniel ·

    I say “computer” because not only can’t I boot, but I can’t even boot from DVD.
    We had a power outage and my boot disk (Win8.1) is now messed up worse than I’ve ever experienced before. I can’t get to my Windows boot menu (I also have Windows 10 and 11 installed on different drives) and I can’t boot from DVD. When my motherboard logo displays, there’s a “Please wait” message and then a list of keyboard layouts shows. After I select US, a number of options are displayed. Startup Repair didn’t work. When I tried System Restore, I got a message that I have to choose which Windows I want to do a restore on and that I should reboot. When I rebooted, I was NOT shown a list of my Windows installations to choose from to do a restore to. I’m stuck in an infinite loop. None of the other options appears to be relevant.
    Any ideas?
    Update: I disconnected my boot drive to see if by some remote chance the other Windows installations would be detected and I’d be given a chance to boot into one of them. No such luck. |I got an error message saying that a required device isn’t connected or can’t be accessed. The Recovery options were of no help.
    Update # 2: I’m embarrassed. I was so sure that the last time I changed my boot order I’d placed DVD drive at the top that I didn’t even bother checking when this problem began. I CAN boot from a DVD. Lazesoft’s Windows Recovery has not been able to fix things. I do daily system backups and restores using programs such as Macrium Reflect. Will restoring yesterday’s backup fix things? I ask because it’s almost certainly not just a problem of a file gone bad. The problem probably runs much deeper (e.g., I found that my 3 Windows installations were identified in the BCD as Chinese locale China) and I wonder whether a backup is all-encompassing that even data like those are backed up.

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    • #3940454
      Avatar photo

      No one can predict the future.

      by rproffitt ·

      In reply to I can’t get into my computer

      But I will write the folk that dual, triple and more boot a lot of OSes seem to suffer such wipe outs.

      The most common fix is to restore from a full disk image. I can’t tell from what you wrote if you had such backups.

      What seems to be a recurring theme is that the boot manager gets mangled, the multiple OSes fail to report in and they can’t restore or fix any of the OSes. They usually have to wipe and start over LEARNING a valuable lesson why we have to image the entire drive versus backup of a single OS or partition.

      • #3940453

        In other words, you’re pessimistic

        by doniel ·

        In reply to No one can predict the future.

        and don’t believe that restoring the system backup (of one OS) is going to work.
        What about if I try to reinstall Win8.1 and THEN do the restore?

        • #3940452
          Avatar photo

          Hope for the best, plan for the …

          by rproffitt ·

          In reply to In other words, you’re pessimistic

          I’m writing from the vantage point of seeing thousands of such systems.

          What I know works is restoring the drive’s image. Restoring partitions may restore that partition but the boot manager and more isn’t restored which is where you see the damage.

          You have a better view of this failure than me. I view it as another multi-boot failure.

          The reinstall of 8.1 might get it booting to that OS and then why not try the restore. See what happens.

          I can’t guess why the need for multiboot but about half of the folk I’ve seen doing this eventually learns to do the full disk backup or simplify the system so it’s less likely to blow up.

        • #3940451


          by doniel ·

          In reply to Hope for the best, plan for the …

          I don’t use Windows 10 or 11. I only installed them so that when support eventually runs out for 8.1, I’ll have the newer OSes. One never knows if at some point Microsoft will withdraw its offer to upgrade for free, which is why I first took the opportunity to install 10 and then, 11.
          I’m going to try reinstalling 8.1 in the hope that that will fix my boot problem, and if that works, do a restore.
          It’ll be a while, but I’ll post the results.

        • #3940450

          I don’t get this

          by doniel ·

          In reply to Multi-boot

          I tried a number of things (like Refresh Windows) before doing a full reinstall, but kept on running into obstacles. I finally deleted my Win8.1 partition and reinstalled. When it rebooted, I got a message that I was getting earlier, to wit, a required file is missing: winload.efi (in system32 subfolder). This is a clean install. How can I still be getting that message?!

        • #3940449
          Avatar photo

          Sounds like the usual.

          by rproffitt ·

          In reply to I don’t get this

          “when the disk is repartitioned using third-party tools” you will occasionally run into this. At the office we only offer clean installs such as wipe the drive and never go with delete a partition etc. because that’s the rabbit hole. If a client wants to try that we hand them over to Microsoft support which rarely helps as it’s a multi-boot which I’ve yet to see them fix without a truly clean install.

          My bet is that the W8 install was done long ago, then partitions were edited and fast forward to today, what a mess all this is.

          Some want us to support these multiboot systems (referring to office and shop) but we never have. We know these are awful things when they blow up.

        • #3940448

          I hear you

          by doniel ·

          In reply to Sounds like the usual.

          But do you have any ideas what I can do at this point that will allow me to ultimately do my restore and be back where I was yesterday?

        • #3940447
          Avatar photo

          The past is my guide.

          by rproffitt ·

          In reply to I hear you

          You can do more research, try the Reddit such as but from what I’ve read the recovery is one or two procedures.
          1. Restore from a full image backup. (not partitions…)
          2. Pull this drive out for safe keeping. Slip in a blank drive, install the OS of choice, then add the old drive on another channel and try to add the other OSes and see what happens (to be clear, I mean adding these to your choice of boot manager.)

        • #3940446

          Thank you

          by doniel ·

          In reply to The past is my guide.

          I suspect it’s going to be a while before I can get all that (solution # 2) done. I’ll post back here, but it won’t be today or tom’w.
          In the meantime, you once again have my gratitude, Bob.

        • #3940345

          free boot manager

          by imstephanieys ·

          In reply to Multi-boot

          I would like to know if there is a free boot manager or some other software out there that would allow me to boot to 3 or more different operating systems.

        • #3940340

          You’re off topic

          by doniel ·

          In reply to free boot manager

          Please start your own thread. More people who can help you will see it.

    • #3940440
      Avatar photo

      Re: multiboot

      by kees_b ·

      In reply to I can’t get into my computer

      Although it might be a good idea to install Windows 10 and Windows 11 as a precaution against future non-availability, it would have been best to install each of those on a new totally separate hard disk, that – when it works – you store off-line. Then put the Windows 8.1 disk in again and continue using that. That’s my advice for you when you get Windows 8.1 up and running again.

      It would be an even better idea to forget about Windows 8.1 and switch to Windows 10 as your main system. But that’s up to you.

      • #3940438

        I did

        by doniel ·

        In reply to Re: multiboot

        install each of the OSes on a different hard drive. While your advice to remove the drives with 10 and 11 may be correct, I confess that it’s too much of a hassle for me.
        Thank you, Kees_B.

        • #3940432

          All’s well

          by doniel ·

          In reply to I did

          Bob, I didn’t have a spare blank drive (or a spare drive of any kind, for that matter) to implement solution # 2, so I did the next best thing. I wiped my boot drive and then installed Win8.1 onto it. I figured wiping it would remove whatever was blocking me from getting into Win8.1 earlier. It worked, and I then restored my backup, and I am now typing this in the OS I’m comfortable with.
          I’ve lost count of the number of times you’ve helped me out, and I’m grateful for your generous sharing of your time and expertise. Be well!

        • #3940406

          Something strange resulted from all this

          by doniel ·

          In reply to All’s well

          My boot drive before all this had 2 partitions, C:, 200GB, and D 1.62TB. When I wiped it, the partitions were deleted, and I reinstalled Win8.1 into the full 1.82TB drive. My various partition managers show it like that, as one 1.82TB drive C:. But File Explorer shows C: as 200GB. Actually, Windows is confused about the size of C:. In Disk Management, the list of drives at the top shows 200GB. In the chart of drives below, it shows 1.82TB. I got a screen capture of it, only to find that there’s no way to upload it.
          How do I get Windows unconfused?

        • #3940405
          Avatar photo

          Certainly sounds like some partition manager was used before.

          by rproffitt ·

          In reply to Something strange resulted from all this

          I usually have to use GPARTED to clean that up (not repair, but erase/remove all partitions to start clean.) In a few rare cases I had to use DBAN.

          Windows has a poor track record in partition management or adjusting sizes but your last post tracks with the errors you reported above.

        • #3940401

          Back to square 1?

          by doniel ·

          In reply to Certainly sounds like some partition manager was used before.

          If I use gparted as you suggest, then I’ll have to do another restore.
          And now I’m the one who’s confused. If partition managers throw Windows off, how does using yet another partition manager (gparted) fix things?

        • #3940397
          Avatar photo

          Why not try GPARTED?

          by rproffitt ·

          In reply to Back to square 1?

          I have never offered tutorials on GPARTED or DBAN because these are all over the web.

          I have GPARTED as a bootable CD (should really make the USB stick version next time) and it’s very easy to use. On multi-boot systems I know partition changes can break the boot systems once in a while so all the warnings about backup are repeated then we dive in with GPARTED to resize partitions as we wish.

          HOWEVER, once in a while a person will forget how Windows doesn’t use a single partition for the OS and deletes one of Windows other partitions, Again, no tutorial from me as there are youtubes and more about this.

          As to “another restore” I can’t guess what that restore does.

        • #3940382

          You misunderstood

          by doniel ·

          In reply to Why not try GPARTED?

          I also have gparted on a bootable DVD and have used it in the past.
          What I meant was: You wrote “not repair, but erase/remove all partitions to start clean.” That means that to get into Win8.1, which will be gone after I “remove all partitions to start clean,” I’ll have to restore it from a backup.
          And I repeat my first question: If partition managers are the cause of the problems, how does using gparted, a partition manager, solve them?

        • #3940378
          Avatar photo

          Different times, different uses, etc.

          by rproffitt ·

          In reply to You misunderstood

          To the original problem I use GPARTED to remove all partitions on the drive we install Windows to ensure a clean install. The problem with partition managers here is not present as we are making the drive blank without the other problems DBAN can create. DBAN is the nuke. I’ve seen folk forget to unplug drives they wanted to leave untouched. Boom. All drives are clean.

          Later you ended up with a small C drive and appeared to want to avoid a full clean install. So WHY NOT fire up GPARTED to see if we can fix it. Yes that may create more issues later but here the client wants something else so we might be able to fix it today.

        • #3940375

          But I DID a clean install

          by doniel ·

          In reply to Different times, different uses, etc.

          If you reread my description of the steps I took, I wrote that I wiped my boot drive. It was one 1.82TB unallocated drive. I then installed Win8.1, and finally, restored my Win8.1 from a backup.

        • #3940374
          Avatar photo

          At what step did the small C drive occur?

          by rproffitt ·

          In reply to But I DID a clean install

          I can’t tell from above.

        • #3940373

          Don’t know

          by doniel ·

          In reply to At what step did the small C drive occur?

          I first noticed it some time after the restore.

        • #3940372
          Avatar photo

          Next step?

          by rproffitt ·

          In reply to Don’t know

          Try GPARTED to shrink what you can, move to where you can grow C or start over.

        • #3940369


          by doniel ·

          In reply to Next step?

          I decided to try the easy way first before going the gparted way: I used a partition manager to shrink C: from 1.82TB to 300GB and it worked. Windows now sees it as 300GB.
          Bob, thank you for always being there.

        • #3940365

          Bob, to esxplain

          by doniel ·

          In reply to Solved

          Most of the time, my issues get resolved by following your advice precisely. Sometimes, as here, I go off on my own a little. BUT YOU STILL GET THE CREDIT! The give and take between us sometimes leads me to think of options that had previously eluded me. If you weren’t there freely and graciously giving of your knowledge, those alternative solutions would continue to evade me. So a big thank you is due you ALWAYS.

        • #3940364
          Avatar photo

          The path that gets you there.

          by rproffitt ·

          In reply to Bob, to esxplain

          Is still a fine path. Thanks for the kind words.

        • #3940307

          Bob, regarding your assertion that I should be doing a disk image

          by doniel ·

          In reply to The path that gets you there.

          I took your advice. One of the programs I use appeared to be doing a partition backup, despite the fact that I’d clicked on disk image. I contacted support, and after some back and forth, they wrote: Please backup your system and boot information with “System backup”, it will select the boot partition and system partition automatically to backup it.
          Note the words “and boot information.”
          So . . . am I safe that way – meaning that a restore will get me back into a system whose boot information is completely messed up?

        • #3940303
          Avatar photo


          by rproffitt ·

          In reply to Bob, regarding your assertion that I should be doing a disk image

          I don’t know the name of the backup program used so I have no answer to that one.

        • #3940296

          No secret

          by doniel ·

          In reply to Sorry.

          Qiling Disk Master

        • #3940295
          Avatar photo

          Odd omission at the web site.

          by rproffitt ·

          In reply to No secret

          Doesn’t really tell if it can restore a system. I see partition and file backup and restore but unsure if this can restore enough to make the OS work again.

          -> Let me be clear. It’s been decades of watching folk “backup a partition” and then hear/read complaints they can’t get the OS running again. [b]This is why I advise to clone the drives in question so there is no doubt we can restore.[/b]

        • #3940294

          What about what they wrote me?

          by doniel ·

          In reply to Odd omission at the web site.

          I take it you don’t feel it’s definite enough.

        • #3940293
          Avatar photo

          If they claim it works.

          by rproffitt ·

          In reply to What about what they wrote me?

          Follow their instructions but this title (the software you noted) is new to me. I encounter Acronis, Easeus, and other titles far more often. Your title is the first time so I can’t advise on it’s efficacy but will comment that partition backup is just that. I.E. restoring partitions does not always result in a booting, operational OS.

        • #3940292

          Got it

          by doniel ·

          In reply to If they claim it works.


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