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Windows startup fails - isapnp.sys missing or corrupted

Last response: in Windows 7
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March 18, 2012 7:35:47 AM

Laptop configuration:

Windows 7 64 bit Professional
Linux 11.04 (dual boot)

i7, 2Gb RAM.

The computer has been running fine for the last year. I am giving the series of events below:
(Please note that linux is still running fine, so this cant be a hardware problem)

###Today, when I started my laptop, it failed to start. It showed no error, its just that after the windows logo comes, it froze in a black screen with mouse cursor visible.
###I forced restart, and then it gave me the option to repair, because windows was unable to start.
###I chose repair, and the repair program started "detecting problems". Then it gave me the option to either do a system restore or cancel. I chose system restore.
###I let it run for 3 hrs., but it seemed to make no progress, so I forced restart. (It didnt let me cancel also, said that current recovery process cannot be canceled)
###I tried to enter safe mode this time, and was successful. I went to system restore, where it showed me an option to restore to an older point where I hadnt uninstalled a game (Assassin's creed Revelations)
### For some reason, I didnt restore the system. I thought that maybe all this was a temporary problem. So I restarted normally, and tried starting windows the normal way. It failed. After the windows logo comes, there is a black screen with mouse pointer for a few seconds, then it automatically restarts. (this is what happened then, and also happens now)
### I tried entering safe mode, but failed. Same thing started happening in safe mode also. Even though I opened safe mode successfully just a while ago.
### I tried many times to start windows in safe mode and all its variants, but to no avail.
### I tried many times with the startup repair option, but also to no avail. It always seemed that it would go on forever.

I dont have the windows 7 installation Cd or even the recovery CD. (how bad is that?). So I borrowed a recovery CD from a friend, who also has windows 7 64 bit, and booted from it. It said that the driver windows/system32/driver/isapnp.sys was missing or corrupt. It says that I need the installation CD and select repair. But I dont have the installation CD from which my windows was installed. I have two questions:

1. If I somehow ask around and get someone else's windows 7 64 bit installation disk, will it work? (Someone else's disk, from which my windows was not installed). I dont need to put in the key or something, do I? I dont even know the key. The laptop came with windows installed and everything.

2. Can I simply replace the file isapnp.sys in windows/system32/drivers folder through linux? I asked my friend to give me his isapnp.sys file (which was of the same size as mine, he also ran win7 64 bit). Replaced it, but it doesnt work. Is there some other place I should replace it too, or this method is not supposed to work?


Thank you very much in advance !
a b \ Driver
a b $ Windows 7
March 18, 2012 11:01:22 AM

Install over the top of existing Windows 7, will keep everything and replace any corrupt or missing files.
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March 18, 2012 11:20:53 AM

You are talking about a repair install, right? But I cant do that as I don't have a win7 installation disk. The best I have is a recovery disk (that too a friend's). Any other ideas?
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a b $ Windows 7
March 18, 2012 12:03:12 PM

No no no
Both 1 and 2 are doable
1: You don't need the key. Boot the CD, select Repair my computer(its before it asks you to install) and it will give you some tools to use, one of which is automatic, and it will attempt an automatic repair. If auto repair fails, it will show you a menu of tools you can use. Select command prompt and do a SFC.EXE /SCANNOW and it should fix the problem.
2: yes, you can grab ISAPNP.SYS from the internet. Do a google search, and swap it in thru linux. Just make sure you got the same version as yours.

Also, #1 is best to do. Try to do that method if you can. As you may have issues elsewhere.


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a b $ Windows 7
March 18, 2012 12:08:29 PM

Also, theres a program named magic jelly bean that can pull your existing windows serial number once you get your windows back up and running. It would prolly be a good idea to get the serial in case you need to do a complete reinstall later on.
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March 18, 2012 1:16:26 PM

memadmax said:
Also, theres a program named magic jelly bean that can pull your existing windows serial number once you get your windows back up and running. It would prolly be a good idea to get the serial in case you need to do a complete reinstall later on.


Thank you for your reply.

It turns out I have the serial key. It was on a sticker pasted on the bottom of the laptop. Thank heavens.

I would have to get a win7 CD from someone then. Might take a few days as I think all my friends have recovery disks only. Come to think of it, I have never even seen a win7 installation disk before. Anyways, I'll come back to you after I get the CD from someone.

Thanks again !
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March 20, 2012 2:27:11 PM

Thanks egilbe, took some time to download, but saved me a lot of trouble.

So I attempted to repair using the win7 CD, but the auto startup repair cant seem to do anything by itself. Initially it tried to do a system restore, but seemed that it will never complete, so I had to do a forced restart. (How much time is system restore supposed to take, approx. ?)
And now, it says that it cant detect a problem.

So I attempted a manual repair by running the command memadex said - sfc.exe/scannow. But the output I get is:

Quote:
Beginning system scan. This process will take some time.

There is a system repair pending which requires reboot to complete. Restart windows and run sfc again.


I restarted and ran it again, but got the same message. (I even tried running auto system repair again, so that it could complete whatever was "pending", but it simply said that it couldnt detect any problems)

Any ideas? Any fixes for this?


Thanks !!
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March 20, 2012 2:57:01 PM

Oh I found a way to run sfc. I ran it with:

sfc /scannow /offbootdir=C:\ /offwindir=C:\Windows

It ran for some time, and then said:

Windows Resource Partition did not find any integrity violations.

What should I try next?
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a b $ Windows 7
March 20, 2012 4:34:38 PM

It sounds like whatever data was in system restore went "stale"(old/used) or got corrupted....

Boot the CD/DVD again.
Get back into the command prompt again.
Run chkdsk C: or scandisk C: (forgot which one, but they both do the same thing)
Let it run a scan on your hard drive for errors.

Also, see if you can run in safe mode after the chkdsk/scandisk is done.

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March 21, 2012 1:04:39 AM

memadmax said:
It sounds like whatever data was in system restore went "stale"(old/used) or got corrupted....

Boot the CD/DVD again.
Get back into the command prompt again.
Run chkdsk C: or scandisk C: (forgot which one, but they both do the same thing)
Let it run a scan on your hard drive for errors.

Also, see if you can run in safe mode after the chkdsk/scandisk is done.


Ran chkdsk C:. It produced a lot of output, but the important messages (I guess) were-

1. Windows has checked the file system and found no problems.
2. (In the end) Failed to transfer logged messages to the event log with status 50.

Also, I still cant log in to safe mode. Its the same as before. It restarts after the windows logo.
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March 21, 2012 4:04:40 AM

das_stig said:
Install over the top of existing Windows 7, will keep everything and replace any corrupt or missing files.


Also I just read about "inplace upgrade install" of windows 7, which is like repair install of XP, I guess. Install win7 over win7, keeping all documents, programs,etc. intact. I suppose das_stig meant this only. I didnt know about this at the time.

What complications will I have to face considering that I have dual boot with linux. I assume I will lose access to linux during bootup after this....is there any simple way to get it back? If its more of a hassle than repairing the existing windows, then probably its not worth it.
(Please note that Linux and windows are both installed in C:, if that makes any difference)

Thanks again !!
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a b $ Windows 7
March 21, 2012 5:21:50 AM

Hmm, looks like a reinstall of windows is in your horizon.
Doing a dual boot is not hard.
Although the task is not complicated I will refer you to a website. Google: "The definitive dual-booting guide: Windows 7, Linux, Vista and XP step-by-step"

So, it looks like what you will have to do is take your shiny new windows dvd and let it install into the original windows partition. After it is done, windows will be in charge, and linux will be cut off. So you will have to bring linux back into the boot process by either modify the windows boot program(which I do). Or letting linux put its own boot program back on. The linux program is smarter and will keep the windows option on its own.


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March 21, 2012 10:04:21 AM

Hmm...it seems that I cant do an inplace upgrade install from the CD itself. It requires me to boot from windows, then do the upgrade install. (and booting from windows is not possible)

So I guess a clean install is my only option. This is not good. Although I have taken backup of files,etc. I dont know how I will get McAfee up and running again, as I dont have McAfee's key, or even a username or password (McAfee account). McAfee just came with the system, and I think there are a few months left before the subscription expires. And softwares and drivers....so many of them....I would have to download and install them all.
Any idea why this happened, and what I can do so that this never happens again? Or is there a way to boot into windows just once, so that I can do an inplace upgrade and not have to worry about things like these...?
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Best solution

a b $ Windows 7
March 21, 2012 12:51:30 PM

You will be ok. I promise. It's not as bad as you think hehe.
First, in my opinion, McAfee is a so so anti-virus program.
Microsoft has a free anti-virus program that is on par with mcafee and is less intrusive, and works better. It's microsoft security essentials. It runs good, integrates well with windows, and the best part is its free. But that part is up to you of course =P. You should be able to give mcafee an email explaining the situation and they should be able to get you back up and running regarding that.

Next. Windows should come pre-equipped with all or at least most of the drivers that you will need. The only ones that it will prolly not have is camera and sound drivers, maybe video card. But you will still be able to use the video. Any missing drivers should be able to be retrieved from your manufacturers' website.

As far as what happened. I am not entirely sure. But I can narrow it down to something in windows itself, not your laptop, because you are still able to run Linux with no problems, that rules out a hardware issue. So that leaves bad software, bad drivers, improper shutdown, virus, windows hiccup, random temporary hardware error, and the list goes on.

Safe mode *is* the windows boot just once =P

The best that you can do is always backup important data, keep a anti-virus program up and up-to-date, stay away from third party "registry repair tools" these can sometimes create problems themselves. Also, I use FireFox with noscript and ad blocker, this makes for safer surfing.

Thats about it for now, if you got any more questions, here to help =D
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March 21, 2012 2:10:25 PM

Thank you so much.

I have done a clean install for Windows 7, and its running smoothly. Also, the guide you mentioned for dual booting is slightly outdated (in the sense that it probably cant be followed as it is) for newer linux distros, which use a new grub. As it turns out, things have gotten much easier. But the software the guide uses, EasyBCD is awesome. I didn't have to do anything. Just a few clicks and I again had access to linux. And there are pretty good tutorials available too.

Amazingly, I had all the drivers in a folder named "HCL" (the manufacturer) on a different drive (E: ). Thank heavens I took notice of it while taking backup today. So installing drivers was also a breeze.

As for other software, I'll notice that they are gone probably two days before exams. Oh.....its going to be messy then.

I have installed Microsoft Security Essentials as you said. Lets see how that works. (Its already half won because its free :p  )

I have had to improperly shut down the computer a few times (like 10-15 times) when it hanged and I was already annoyed because of something else. Maybe that was the problem. :p 

Once again, thank you very much for your help, memadmax and the others. This is the second time Tom's Hardware has helped me during a major computer crises in the past six months. (The other one was diagnosing a weird problem and helping me change the PSU of my desktop PC). I really am "manning up" when it comes to computer problems. I'll be sure to come here and help and inspire people to solve their problems when I know enough about computers myself. I guess I should take my bachelors in CS more seriously...hehe... :D 

Thank you once more ! :D 



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April 2, 2012 1:48:11 AM

Best answer selected by hypernova.
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