Windows 7 won't boot anymore: Status: 0xc000000e

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The first couple of times, a size change of the Windows partition causes no problems. But when you do these size changes more often, you might eventually encounter the following boot error when booting Windows 7:

Windows failed to start. A recent hardware or software change might be the cause. To fix the problem:

    1. Insert your Windows installation disc and restart your computer.
    2. Choose your language settings, and then click "Next."
    3. Click "Repair your computer."

If you do not have this disc, contact your system administrator or computer manufacturer for assistance.

      Status: 0xc000000e

      Info: The boot selection failed because a required device is inaccessible.

Below I'll explain how to fix this, even when you have no Windows 7 installation disc.

What needs to be done is to regenerate the file C:\boot\BCD. That can only be done by means of the application bootrec.exe, which (among others) is available in the Recovery Environment of the install DVD of Windows 7.

Step 1: get your Windows 7 install DVD

1. For this, you need a Windows 7 install DVD. Don't you have an install DVD of Windows 7 anymore? Then get a copy of Windows 7, from Microsoft.
Note: you need a valid license key for that. If you don't have one: consider using Windows 7 from within Linux, by means of Virtualbox. It's free....

The Windows 7 DVD also contains the Recovery Environment of Windows 7. Unfortunately you can't use other well-known tools like the free Ultimate Boot CD (UBCD) or the Super Grub Disk for this particular job, because they lack that feature.

Burning the .iso file needs to be done in a special way: click here for the how-to.

When you have a dual boot system with Linux alongside Windows 7: in this particular case it's not enough to simply replace Grub by NTLoader in the MBR (removal of Grub). That won't solve this particular problem, and furthermore it'll make your Linux unbootable: the remedy is worse than the illness....

Below I'll describe two common situations:

- A dual boot system which has Linux alongside Windows 7 on the hard disk (continue with step 2);
- A single boot system with Windows 7 only (skip step 2 and go straight to step 3).

Step 2: set the boot flag (only computers with Windows alongside Linux)

2. This is how to fix Windows 7 on a dual boot system with Linux alongside Windows 7:

a. Boot your computer from the DVD of Ubuntu, Xubuntu or Linux Mint, because that contains the excellent partition editor GParted. If you have no such DVD, you can get the iso file from Linux Mint 17.1 Xfce here (32-bit).

Burning the iso needs to be done in a special way: click for the how-to

b. Launch GParted and set the boot flag on the first Windows 7 partition. That's the small partition of usually approximately 200 MB and not the actual Windows 7 partition, which is much bigger. Normally this small partition is called sda1 or sda2 in GParted, and it might have the label SYSTEM.

You can set the boot flag by clicking on the small partition and then
click Partition - Manage Flags. This should be the only partition with a boot flag.

See the screenshot below (click on it to enlarge it):

c. Now proceed with the "Repair Windows" approach described below.

Step 3: repair Windows

3. Boot your computer from the install DVD of Windows 7.

The intention is, that you'll eventually get a terminal window (DOS window or command prompt), in which you execute a couple of commands. Do NOT choose "Automatically fix problems"! Automated recovery doesn't work in this case and might even cause additional problems.

Proceed as follows:

a. Choose your language and keyboard. See the screenshot below (click on it to enlarge it):

b. Click on Repair your computer. See the screenshot below (click on it to enlarge it):

(continued in the column on the right)

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c. Click Use recovery tools (...etc.) and then Next. See the screenshot below (click on it to enlarge it):

d. Now click Command Prompt. See the screenshot below (click on it to enlarge it):

e. Now the real job: the magical terminal incantations. You have to be 100 % exact in typing them: pay special attention to spaces and capitals!

First you revert the MBR and the boot sector to their original Windows status. If you have a dual boot with Linux, this will destroy your Grub, but you can restore Grub later on.

bootrec.exe /fixmbr

Press Enter.

bootsect.exe /nt60 all /force

Press Enter.

Now you remove the existing BCD file and make Windows regenerate it anew:

attrib -h -s C:\boot\BCD

Press Enter.

del C:\boot\BCD

Press Enter.

bootrec.exe /rebuildbcd

Press Enter.

When prompted, type Y to confirm.

When the terminal has finished its job, you can close the Recovery Environment and reboot normally from the hard disk. You should boot straight into Windows now.

But your Linux isn't accessible yet; for that, read on.

Step 4: restore Grub (only for computers with Windows alongside Linux)

4. Only for dual boot with Linux: finally restore Grub, because otherwise you won't be able to boot Linux.

Want more tips?

Do you want more tips and tweaks? There's a lot more of them on this website!

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