windows won't boot past welcome screen

Not done on the offending computer, however the Boot Manager and Boot Loader partitions were now not C:

Had this happen yesterday, it’s not exactly what we cover but it’s what happened to me and took up any free time I would have had to play with my toys from getting off work early yesterday.

My computer was being fairly sluggish – running 99% CPU with only about 18% CPU showing as actually used. I assumed kernel times were making up the rest of that and unplugged a USB hard drive and the CPU usage got slightly better but it was still garbage.

Time for a reboot. Rebooted, system came back up, I was prompted to enter my password, entered, and wait… and wait… and wait… I walked away for about ten minutes and came back and no dice. I’d had this happen a long time ago when I had a bad hard drive in the mix, so I removed my brand new drive (which has survived several reboots,) and my old storage drive, anything connected that could claim it was a storage drive, and still no go.

There always looked like there was a tiny amount of disk usage, but nothing happened, just a spinning Welcome. I even tried putting in the wrong password to see if it would tell me I got something wrong and no. I did notice it claimed there was no network connection although there was. That was odd.

Windows 10 doesn’t ship with a startup diagnostic option/safe mode enabled by default (f8 on everything prior) and I had not done the workarounds to make that an option, and I didn’t keep recovery media at the house as I’ve got it at work and try to not PC tech at home, so to get into diagnostic recovery mode I had to time yanking the power to the instant I saw the Windows logo pop up. This meant it would record a failed boot and allow me to get to automated startup repair. Auto repair did nothing of use.

It did however allow me to go into the advanced menu, troubleshooting tools, open a command prompt. I believe at some point here I was asked for my password, I’m not sure at this point. It was a mad rush yesterday to get the computer repaired and get a bathroom reassembled after I had a toilet water hose leaking (normally five minute fix, this involved removing a wall-attached over toilet shelf and a cabinet so I could reach behind the Costco toilet which hides the hoses, to access the twisty hose).

After several minutes of banging my head I ran Diskpart, listed volumes, and discovered my problem. System Reserved, a couple hundred megabyte partition that’s generally hidden, now had a drive letter and that drive letter was C:. This meant my Windows drive was suddenly D:

*quick word of warning about diskpart – while other commands if you don’t enter an operand will give you a help page, if you type something like “assign” after selecting a drive, and all you’re wanting to see is how it works, it may assign it to the next available letter after the one it’s currently assigned. Beware its power. I changed up drive letters trying to write the following.

Another quick warning – every single command below here can mess your computer up and I’m not going to fix it.

I verified with bcdedit that it was still attempting to boot using the C settings. I had my probable culprit.

After listing volumes I reassigned C: (system reserved) to Y in diskpart via something like the following

  • select volume 4 (system reserved partition for me)
  • assign letter=Y
  • select volume 5 (my actual windows partition that claims it’s D)
  • assign letter=C

I saved a copy of my BCD configuration with bcdedit /export d:\argharghoweekpocketables

bcdedit /set {current} device partition=c:

That was all that I believe was required for my setup to work, however I did a few other things that I’ve found listed elsewhere – I’ll list  just in case one of them helps.

bcdedit /set {current} osdevice partition=c:
bcdedit /set {memdiag} device partition=c:
bcdedit /set {bootmgr} device partition=c:

bootrec with the /FixMBR, fixboot, and rebuildbcd options

After that was done, I got my system back up and running at 5:20 as it was time to go and get the kiddos from school, and discovered my inflatable Jabba the Hutt Christmas yard ornament’s power converter had blown and let the happy juice out.

Ah well, that was the last attempt at taking any of my early days off and actually getting to play that game I’ve had for three weeks.

I then tried to explain to my wife what I had done and how I felt like a champ and this did not go particularly well.