09-24-2012 08:16 AM
Recently my computer has suffered some apparently catastrophic failure. A few weeks ago I used Norton Ghost to copy the image of my Velociraptor HDD boot drive to a Samsung 830 SSD. I wanted to rename my SSD into my C drive, but still keep the Velociraptor hooked up, but couldn't find a viable way to do that, so I just set the SSD as the primary boot drive in the BIOS in the meantime.
Today I was troubleshooting a Windows installer issue. I have been trying to move off of AVG antivirus into Security Essentials, but couldn't uninstall AVG. Later I couldn't update iTunes either (with a Windows Installer error message), so I figured Windows Installer was the problem in both issues. After a registry edit which was suggested as a Windows Installer fix (registry backed up beforehand), I still couldn't get the installs to go through. Then, while playing Skyrim, it froze. Could not get to the Task Manager, and it was completely unresponsive. I then tried to force restart, and check the Windows install with the Windows 7 disc. It found a problem it couldn't fix, and then when I restarted to try again the video output became extremely distorted. The motherboard splashscreen appears fine, but most everything else is unreadable.
I cannot boot to Windows, and when I tried the Ultimate Boot CD, the menu appears like this. I thought I could just boot from the old C drive and simply reimage my SSD, with only a few weeks of files lost. I then switched the boot drive from my SSD back to my HDD, which as far as I know has not even been used since the ghosting, and found something interesting. I can boot into safe mode on the HDD. Although I did not set up any backups through Ghost, and have not touched the HDD since the ghost, I see that changes I have made on the SSD Windows installation are there when I booted into the HDD. As in, files I placed on the desktop are still there, Chrome still had the previous tabs from the last session, etc.
In the last week or so, I was looking into a possible malware infection. Someone's Facebook account was hacked, and a spambot posted a link on a group that the account and I are members of, and I stupidly clicked it without reading. Since then, I have done AVG virus scans and Spybot scans, but AVG found nothing (Spybot always finds something, and I never read those reports in detail). The only other recent hardware change was a RAM upgrade a couple months ago, but I ran those through Memtest at installation with no issue.
I'm at wits end. I'm not really sure how to troubleshoot any further. I'm not sure that this is Ghost, but the fact that the C drive was apparently still written to is just too much to overlook. Any help would be greatly appreciated!
Windows 7 Ultimate
ASUS P6T Deluxe LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard
Intel Core i7-920 Bloomfield 2.66GHz LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor BX80601920
ASUS ENGTX285/HTDP/1GD3 GeForce GTX 285 1GB 512-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support...
G.SKILL Sniper Gaming Series 12GB (3 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory ...
PC Power and Cooling PPCT860 860W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active...
SAMSUNG 830 Series MZ-7PC256D/AM 2.5" 256GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) Desktop Up...
Western Digital VelociRaptor WD1500HLFS 150GB 10000 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard D...
Solved! Go to Solution.
09-24-2012 01:39 PM
What happened was your system ended up running as what we call a "hybrid".
Since you did not boot the new SSD by it'self the first time, (you left them both attached), the new and old drives could not both become the C drive so the new one took on an incorrect drive letter.
Thats why your old drive has all the changes written to it, even though you were booting to the SSD, windows was using the C drive (the old drive) for everything.
I need to read your post a couple more times, I'm confused about what happens when you try to boot them each by themselves now.
09-24-2012 01:49 PM
It's still not clear to me.
When you boot the old drive by it'self without the SSD attached, you say you can boot into safe mode.
What happens when you try to boot normally, is that when you get the display problem?
What happens when you try to boot the SSD by it'self without the old drive attached?
That screenshot of Ultimate Boot CD showing the garbled screen, have you ever used that specific disc before and it worked fine or are you just trying to get into the system?
09-24-2012 05:52 PM
Thanks for your response!
Booting to either drive is the same whether both drives are attached or just one. I even tried switching the SATA ports they were using. It seems the only thing that matters is which drive I set as the primary in the BIOS.
I get the display problem nearly the entire time. I took the screenshot of the UBCD screen because it's static. The same distortion is present during all of the pre-boot check screens. There is distortion on the BIOS setup screen, but I can still read the menu options. The UBCD works fine on my laptop.
What's annoying is that even when booting with the Windows 7 disk, the Win 7 install menu never shows up, otherwise I would simply reinstall it. Unless there is a screen which requires a hotkey be pressed in order to access that menu, in which case I can't see it, it doesn't seem to be working. I tried both of my optical drives.
I'm downloading Ubuntu right now, and going to try to boot it from a disk.
09-24-2012 06:09 PM - edited 09-24-2012 06:18 PM
You haven't fully answered Dave's question. Can you boot into a functional Windows if the old HD is disconnected from the motherboard?
09-24-2012 06:31 PM
Let me elaborate:
When booting into the SSD, it
When booting to the HDD C drive, it boots to the Windows Boot Manager, where it gives me the following OS's to boot to:
Windows Vista / Windows Server 2008 / Windows 7
Selecting Advanced Boot Options (F8) on the second option brings up the menu of (paraphrased):
Safe Mode with Networking
Safe Mode with Command Prompt
Enable Boot Logging
Last Known Good
Directory Services Restore Mode
Disable auto restart on failure
Disable Driver sig enforcement
Selecting it on the Windows 7 option brings up the same menu, but with an added "Repair mode" option, which can't fix any problem.
Interestingly, I can boot into both of these "installations" in safe mode, and files in both show themselves to be on the C: drive, but when I changed the password of one, it did not change the password on the other.
Also, I remember when I ghosted onto the SSD, I did not copy the Master Boot Record onto it, which as I have read I realize I probably should have done.
09-24-2012 06:37 PM
Sorry, I posted before I made sure I had answered everything.
I have not been able to boot into the SSD at all, only the old HDD. I can launch the a repair utility which does not help anything.
Also, the distortion doesn't appear to occur when booted into Safe Mode, only during startup.
09-24-2012 07:20 PM
Sorry, so many things happening, I can't tell when I leave out the obvious. I was mistaken about the Windows disk. Too many parameters to keep track of. Booting up the SSD will try to start Windows, which boots to a black screen. Booting the SSD with the Windows disk will bring up a menu called Windows Error Recovery with two options:
Launch Startup Repair
Start Windows Normally
The repair utility will run and try to restart, and then it will boot to a black screen.
09-24-2012 07:25 PM
Booting up the SSD will try to start Windows, which boots to a black screen.
When you try to boot the SSD with the HD disconnected do you see a login screen? Do you see "Preparing your Desktop"?