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  1.    #1

    INACCESSIBLE BOOT DEVICE error in BSOD at startup

    Hi everyone. My partner's Win10 Pro PC presented with INACCESSIBLE BOOT DEVICE error last week. No idea what brought it on, although I note that recent January updates have affected other TenForums users. I have read up those and other IBD threads, but, while they have been helpful, none appear to relate directly or provide an obvious remedy.

    DELL Dimension E520
    DELL DM061, Intel Dual Core 4300 @1.8GHz, 2Gb DDR2 SDRAM
    Booting in BIOS mode

    Windows 10 Pro 64-bit (fresh install, not update from 8.1)
    Cable Networked

    I get the usual merry-go-round of BSOD options; and, without available Reset points, I want to avoid a complete re-install, and try for a resolution that also avoids the task of re-installing all the apps and settings. I'd appreciate advice.

    Here's what I have done thus far:-

    1. I temporarily attached the HDD to my Win10 PC, and used EaseUS Partition Manager to scan the file structures, and also did a complete disk surface scan. No problems reported. C:\ is Boot (and installed apps); Logical Partitions D:\, E:\, G:\ & H:\ hold all data.

    2. Back in the DELL where it belongs, I can get to a command prompt through Advanced options (and have an early Win10 Pro Install USB which gets me there too). DISKPART's 'List Volume' indicates the reassigned boot partition letter. All the volumes show up as NTFS (including 'Sytem Rese' - is this correct?), and Healthy.

    3. I tried 'X:\Windows\system32\bootrec /fixmbr', and got 'The operation completed successfully'. But on re-boot, the same BSOD loop of unsuccessful repair. I then tried 'fixboot' and got 'Access is denied'. Went no further, as some of the existing advice seemed as if it was addressing UEFI boot and other issues.

    4. I note that the OP of 'INACCESSIBLE BOOT DEVICE on startup' commented that he had "made a mistake by not having my path set to X:\Sources> ". This is a reference to point 12) in the the comprehensive advice from zbook (thank you zbook); but i must confess that I don't understand the reference to X:\Sources in that line, or why it matters:-
    "12) Click command prompt > Administrator: X:\Windows\system32\cmd.exe > X:\Sources> ".
    (I think there is an extra 'Type cd \Sources' instruction missing?) But, in any case, Zablablukas reports that after reworking the commands from X:\Sources>, it "still hasn't fixed the problem". My mileage didn't differ.

    5. I have successfully attached an external USB backup drive, with enough space to backup the entire system from the command prompt before a re-install, should that be necessary. Its volumes show up in DISKPART's list. (Though I could, alternatively, re-attach the HDD to my PC to do a backup). I also have plenty of space on H:\ (HDD 'Housekeeping' Volume) to backup the complete contents of the boot partition prior to a Reset, if that would be useful.

    So now, with your helpful advice, I may follow this plan:-

    6 Execute whatever additional commands you may advise me to try, before proceeding to the more drastic and time-consuming options.

    7 Next, if I execute an 'attrib -s -h -r *.* /S /D /L' command in the root directory of the boot volume, will that enable me to then do a backup copy of ALL the files in the volume, so that I can later overwrite all the apps and settings (and the registry) that will be messed up by a Reset? Can I avoid having to reinstall everything in this way? And if so, what pitfalls/shortcuts may there be?

    8 I note that in at least one existing IBD thread there is advice about reverting to an earlier version of the registry, but I am unsure if this should be necessary, or if it is, at what stage it should best be done?

    9 If all else fails, I will have to backup the HDD and re-install Win10 Pro. But my USB install version is from way back when we first installed the free distribution. Some tips on where to find the very latest update and how to overwrite it onto the USB stick would be appreciated.

    Looking forward to your contributions. Thanks!
      My ComputersSystem Spec

  2. axe0's Avatar
    Posts : 14,117
    Windows 10 Pro

    Hi okkid,

    Welcome to 10forums :)

    I believe the boot menu, which shows up when pressing F12 before Windows loads, has an option for Diagnostics tests which test all hardware connected.
    If you didn't yet run these tests, could you please run them, as extensive as possible.
    NOTE: this can take up several hours (4 - 6h on my 4 year old laptop).

    For my own reminder, and possibly yours, Dell only provides support for your system with Windows XP and Vista.
    If this is not a hardware related issue, it may very well be a boot driver causing the issues, with some luck this is a driver from 1 of the installed programs.
      My ComputersSystem Spec

  3.    #3

    Thank you axe0.

    The F12 menu on this old system is fairly basic. In addition to booting options, I get:-
    System Setup
    Hard Disk Diagnostics
    Boot to Utility Partition

    There are no sub-options in the HDD diagnostics for extensive testing. Whatever it did took about 5 minutes, and the HDD passed. Same result as I got from EaseUS PM.

    There may have been a DELL Utility Partition on the PC's original HDD, long since replaced. Selecting this option just in case it offered more tests drew a blank.

    Now things get really interesting, I suspect?
      My ComputersSystem Spec

  4. axe0's Avatar
    Posts : 14,117
    Windows 10 Pro

    Just to rule common hardware issues out, please run the following tests.
    For the HDTune part, use Windows 10 Recovery Tools - Bootable Rescue Disk - Windows 10 Help Forums

    INACCESSIBLE BOOT DEVICE error in BSOD at startup Diagnostic Test INACCESSIBLE BOOT DEVICE error in BSOD at startup

    Run MemTest86+ to analyse your RAM. MemTest86+ - Test RAM - Windows 10 Forums

    Note   Note

    MemTest86+ needs to be run for at least 8 complete passes for conclusive results. Set it running before you go to bed and leave it overnight. We're looking for zero errors here. Even a single error will indicate RAM failure.

    Make a photo of the result and post it.

    If errors show up you can stop the test, remove all sticks but 1 and test this single stick in each slot for 8 passes or until errors show, switch sticks and repeat.
    If errors show up and you see them a lot later, no problem, the errors don't affect the test.

    INACCESSIBLE BOOT DEVICE error in BSOD at startup Diagnostics Test INACCESSIBLE BOOT DEVICE error in BSOD at startup

    Note   Note
    Run the tests on all hard drives/partitions!

    Please run HDTune first, in the order posted!

    Run HDTune to
    • check the health,
    • scan for errors, no quick scan but full scan
    • run a benchmark.

    It may take some time, but please take the time you need to perform it properly.
    When above is done please make screenshots of the following
    • the health,
    • the error scan,
    • the benchmark incl. following
      • transfer rate,
      • access time,
      • burst rate,
      • cpu usage.

    Run SeaTools DOS to check the integrity of your HDD. SeaTools for DOS and Windows - How to Use - Windows 7 Help Forums
    Run the long test.
    Note   Note
    Do not run SeaTools on an SSD as the results will be invalid.

    Make a photo of the result and post it.

    Run chkdsk
    Disk Check - Windows 7 Help Forums
    Use option TWO with parameter /r
    Upload the chkdsk log Check Disk (chkdsk) - Read Event Viewer Log - Windows 7 Help Forums
      My ComputersSystem Spec

  5.    #5

    Been a busy few days... but, as I suspected, the tests reveal no hardware issues.
    Memory Test
    Attachment 177681

    HDTune tests
    Attachment 177677
    Attachment 177678
    Attachment 177679

    Seatools Test
    Attachment 177682

    Chkdsk Test of the C: boot partition was ok, but I messed up getting the log, and blurred the screen photos. Sorry. After successfully completing all 5 stages, with no file system or other problems reported, the message was:-
    "Windows has scanned the file system and found no problem.
    No further action is required"

    I took a complete backup of all the partitions on the drive, so the data is safe. I'd like to know if there is a way to save/restore the apps and settings (as referenced in my original post) if I have to do a reset or re-install?

    I appreciate your help axe0. Looking forward to how best to proceed....
      My ComputersSystem Spec

  6. axe0's Avatar
    Posts : 14,117
    Windows 10 Pro

    I currently see 2 issues, mixed memory and possibly not enough memory to boot if you remove either of the modules and if Windows is a 64 bits version.
    Mixed memory can cause all kinds of issues, and like every piece of hardware, it can do so at any given time. I recommend to remove the 1GB RAM module if the OS is a 32bits version, if the OS is a 64bits version 2GB is the minimum requirement of installed RAM.

    Many programs/apps use the registry to store settings, there's a great risk to save and restore them.
    Unless the settings are in a file I advice against saving settings, the risk something goes wrong is very high.
    If you're a power user and know your way around the registry, or you know someone who does, you could backup the registry hives and manually restore the settings. Once again, there is a great risk to doing this and a very small mistake could have catastrophic results for the stability of the OS (e.g., editing a value in a key that has a 1 character difference with the key you actually need to have).

    I do not recommend saving programs/apps, it's easier to reinstall them.
      My ComputersSystem Spec

  7. axe0's Avatar
    Posts : 14,117
    Windows 10 Pro

    In the Windows Bootable Rescue Disk you used for HDTune, please follow this tutorial Use Macrium Reflect Rescue Media to Fix Windows Boot Issues Windows 10 Tutorials
      My ComputersSystem Spec

  8.    #8

    So I was surprised to find the mixed memory, and I understand your concerns axe0. At one stage I transferred a matching pair of 2Gb sticks from my computer just to see if it made any difference, but it didn’t. And, after pummelling the mis-matched 2Gb with 16 test cycles, I’m satisfied that it is not going to hinder a resolution of the boot problem. And none of the tests thus far have produced any evidence of hardware problems.

    I followed the Macrium Reflect tutorial you suggested, but I still cannot get off the BSOD merry-go-round. I think I’ve reached the point now where I need to try something drastic – and hopefully creative.

    I’m no power user, but neither am I a complete novice (my forum name belies my age!). I was once quite familiar with use of the command prompt (back in the days before Win95 began its thunking on top of DOS7). But the ‘use it or lose it’ adage applies; so now I need some help. I don’t share your worries about the “risk something goes wrong” when tinkering with the registry, or saving apps and settings etc. I have not made the effort to completely understand the structure and all the mysterious workings of the registry, but I’m not scared of it, having successfully edited settings by following detailed instructions.

    So let’s think about it logically. If there is little option now but to try a reset, I would like to avoid, if at all possible, having to reinstall all his apps etc. We have to lose them anyway when doing a reset or OS re-install, so the worst that can happen, if trying to restore the saved apps and settings doesn’t work, is that “something goes wrong” and we lose them again – but not trying it loses them anyway! Even if there is only a remote chance that I can ‘beat the system’ and retain the existing ones, I’d like to give it a go. But I need some guidance to give it the best shot.

    I have assumed that the IBD issue indicates something amiss in the hidden sectors that kick into life before control is passed to the OS on C:\, and that a reset may correct that. But what I don’t know is whether or not the IBD message in the BSOD may result from registry corruptions? If it does, then the first thing I would like to try is to back-up the present registry hive, and restore from the last saved version. I can attach the non-booting HDD to my PC to do that.

    But if corruption of the registry, or other contents of the C:\ partition, is not a likely cause, then I go back to the question I asked in my original post:-
    7. Next, if I execute an 'attrib -s -h -r *.* /S /D /L' command in the root directory of the boot volume, will that enable me to then do a backup copy of ALL the files in the volume, so that I can later overwrite all the apps and settings (and the registry) that will be messed up by a Reset? Can I avoid having to reinstall everything in this way? And if so, what pitfalls/shortcuts may there be?”
    My thinking is that if I can make ALL the C:\ partition files available to be backed up, I should be able to restore them after a reset has obliterated them, and thus replicate what we have there now?

    One benefit of taking a careful step-by-step approach may be to pin down where the problem originated from and learn from it. If we manage to avoid having to reinstall the apps and settings, that will be very satisfying; but if we end up having to reinstall the OS, and all the apps and settings, at least we will gain some satisfaction from having tried.

    Can you please help me give it a go?
      My ComputersSystem Spec

  9.    #9

    dont know how to delete this duplicate post........?
    Last edited by okkid; 27 Feb 2018 at 08:13. Reason: duplicated in error
      My ComputersSystem Spec

  10. axe0's Avatar
    Posts : 14,117
    Windows 10 Pro

    To delete a post, click 'Edit' in the right corner below, then check Delete this post in the following manner' and enter a reason if you want to.
      My ComputersSystem Spec

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