Saturday, July 21, 2012

SOLVED: Windows Won't Boot

Problem: Windows won't start!
SYMPTOMS (one or both might occur):
- Windows will not boot.
- Black screen, which might flash occasional glimpses of the "real" desktop (GUI).
- Boot process stops after the CRCDISK.SYS driver loads.

Our MSI motherboard running Vista sometimes has this problem, though we're certain other motherboards and operating system have seen these problems (for instance, Asus or Intel motherboards running Windows XP, Windows 7, Windows 8, or Linux systems like Ubuntu, RedHat, or Suse). Our machine is also a multi-boot machine, though only the Vista partition seems to ever have this issue.

Here are some solutions we found elsewhere that either did not work or did not apply to us. We're not saying they don't work. We're saying they don't work for our machine.

Failed Solution 1:
Run the Vista repair disk.

Failed Solution 2:
Restore to a previous state didn't work.

Failed Solution 3:
Boot in VGA only and change resolutions didn't work.

Failed Solution 4:
Locate and delete file(s). Actual filenames vary from post to post. We tried several.

Failed Solution 5:
From the Start Menu, run
    bootrec.exe /fixmbr

    bootrec.exe /fixboot

Failed Solution 6:
Format & reinstall.
While this will work in the short term, it only defers the issue to a later, more inconvenient time.

We were able to boot into safe mode. How this is done depends on the operating system.

* Short Answer *
Uninstall and reinstall your graphics drivers.

* Step-by-Step Answer *
Before you begin, locate and make handy all graphics drivers for your system.
1. Login as an Administrator.
2. Click the Start Menu icon (bottom left corner).
3. Select Control Panel (right panel).
4. Choose Device Manager.
5. Double-click on Display Adapters.
6. In our case, our Intel(R) G41 Express Chipset had two entries. This is okay. Our machine has one for VGA and one for HDMI.
7. Uninstall the display driver(s).
8. Reboot.
9. Let your operating system discover the driver(s) automatically. If the OS has trouble finding the correct driver(s), be ready to install them manually.

This solution has worked for us more than once. We hope it works for you, too.

- Beau

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