Question Missing winload.exe, access denied for /fixboot, no identified windows installations

Jun 9, 2019
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Hello!

I turned on my computer this morning to be greeted with a BSOD and error message that said I was missing winload.exe, with the error code 0xc00000e.

I tried checking the hardware by unplugging/replugging my hard drives to see if it would make a difference, but it didn't seem to result in any change. For context, my computer has two drives, a 64 GB SSD for the OS, and a 2 TB HDD for everything else. The mobo is an Asrock Z68 Extreme 4 Gen 3 with 8 GB of ram, and runs an i5 2550k and Nvidia 960.

Afterwards, I attempted to boot into a USB install of windows to run the startup repair troubleshooter, only for it to fail and say that it couldn't repair my PC. I then went into the command prompt and followed the instructions in this guide, but got an access denied error when I attempted to use bootrec /fixboot.

To solve that issue, I tried using this (sketchy) guide and this reddit thread, but both of these didn't solve the problem. That said, while following the latter and using bootrec /scanos, I found that the number of total identified windows installations is 0, and I'm not sure why this is. I suspect that this is the core problem that I'm facing, and I'm not really sure how to proceed from here.

I've been looking at this article, which seems promising, but I was hoping to get some insight from y'all before taking any action. Is this a hardware/software issue, and is there a way to solve it without replacing the SSD/reformatting my drive and reinstalling?

Thanks so much in advance.
 

onespeedbiker

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When you said plugging and unplugging your drives, does that include disconnecting your 2 tb hdd and booting with just the ssd? When you run bootrec /scanos, it is scanning for any partition that has a Windows OS installed; in this case it is your 0 partition, which is the norm. Sometimes the access denied error occurs because bootrec can not find the hidden boot partition. https://appuals.com/how-to-fix-bootrec-fixboot-access-denied-on-windows-78-and-10/
Here are some fixes for the access denied error https://www.partitionwizard.com/clone-disk/bootrec-fixboot-access-is-denied.html
 
Jun 9, 2019
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When you said plugging and unplugging your drives, does that include disconnecting your 2 tb hdd and booting with just the ssd? When you run bootrec /scanos, it is scanning for any partition that has a Windows OS installed; in this case it is your 0 partition, which is the norm. Sometimes the access denied error occurs because bootrec can not find the hidden boot partition. https://appuals.com/how-to-fix-bootrec-fixboot-access-denied-on-windows-78-and-10/
Here are some fixes for the access denied error https://www.partitionwizard.com/clone-disk/bootrec-fixboot-access-is-denied.html
No, I didn't try just unplugging the HDD; doing that yielded a black and white screen that says "reboot and select proper boot device or insert boot media in selected boot device and press a key."

Following the steps you've provided, if I use list disk, I'm can't find my OS install. Disk 0 is my 2 tb HDD I believe, as it has a size of 1863 GB, and 0 B free (which I'm also a bit confused about). And then there's Disk 5 which has a size of 58 GB and 26 GB free; I believe that this is the SSD.

That said, when I go into list volume, I can only see 3 volumes. My C drive is 100 MB, and is labelled "system rese" and is a partition, my E drive is a 1862 GB partition, and then my D drive is a ESD-USB that is 32 GB, which I presume to be my boot USB. The rest are all removable and 0B; here's a picture. One other notable thing is that my OS/SSD should be the C Drive, and I believe my HDD should be the A drive, but no volumes are labelled A and obviously the volume labelled C is too small to be the OS.

Which disk/volume should I be selecting for the first tutorial you mentioned? And is there a possibility that my SSD has just failed?

Thanks so much for your help!

Edit: One other possibility I just thought of is that the 58 GB disk 5 could also be the USB? While it's formatted to be 32 GB, I believe it was originally labelled to be 64 GB.
 
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onespeedbiker

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Volume 1 (System reserved) is a 100mb partition which is likely on your 2 tb drive. With Disk 5 you have 58gb drive volume (likely you 64 gb USB) data with 32bg of data and 26 gb free. . Normally the system drive would have two partitions. 0 would the System Reserved partition with windows boot information . 1 would be the Windows C: drive boot partition, which would contain the Windows system files (pretty much the opposite of what it sounds like).BTW, drive letters A and B are reserved for floppy disks from the days of DOS and 16 bit systems and it remains so today for compatibility reasons. 58 gb would be about the minimum size of a boot partition while the 32gb of data on the 5 disk is the average size of the system partition, so it looks like the system partition has broken down or has been deleted.. The usual cause of such an occurrence can be your ssd is failing and can not sustain a partition or it was deleted by an errant Windows update or a virus. To remedy the problem you have some choices. Your ssd does not appear on diskpart so it likely has failed 1) play it safe and you best to buy a new ssd (I advise a minimum of 500gb) and load Windows on it, or you could\take a chance you ssd is not failing and again do a clean install of Windows, which will re-partition your ssd and load the data/files where they belong, or you can also try and recover the boot partition using a 3rd party utility like Partition Master, or you can try and rebuild the partition as explained here. https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/all/accidentally-deleted-windows-10-boot-partition-how/181745f9-3303-4968-9851-5c213db9c89c

My bad with the previous information. As mentioned below, your ssd has failed so it is not showing up with diskpart. The remedy remains to replace the ssd.
 
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Jun 9, 2019
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It seems as though you're right, I just direly misremembered the size of my drive - looking back at my invoice, it should be a 120 GB drive. The SSD is about 7 years old, so I suppose hard drive degradation is the most likely culprit?

But regardless, just to try and understand the problem: hard drive degradation or another cause have deleted/reformatted my system partition with the windows files such as winload.exe which is why I can't boot and scanos says that I have no windows installs. Does this sound about right?

That said, if I'm understanding things correctly, why does the list of volumes not show the boot partition or system partition? Have both been degraded?

In regards to your solutions: do any of them end up rebuilding the partition in a way that my computer will operate as it did before - that is to say, all of the paths in programs are preserved and nothing goes horribly wrong? Additionally, does this delete all the data on the drive, such as files in documents/downloads/whatever? I'd like to migrate whatever hasn't been corrupted.

Regardless, I think I'll be going with the new SSD option, as I've been thinking of grabbing a new one for a while now. Thanks again for all your help!
 

onespeedbiker

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Diskpart is showing the volume of the C: partition of your ssd. the problem is the 0 or reserve partition is gone, so there is nothing to show but free space where the 0 partition and files had been before the partition failed.
 

Colif

Win 10 Master
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The actual C drive isn't showing anywhere. C & E are both on hdd, neither is labelled right.



should type Select 5 and press enter
and then type list partition and press enter

because though its showing in listing of disks, there is no partitions for windows showing and no contents of ssd itself.
 
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onespeedbiker

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I understand your explaination the diskpart data, but the volumes are still confusing me. The OP 2 TB volume is 1862, which is the average size of a formatted 2 TB hard drive, so where does 100 gb volume come from, considering a 120gb ssd (the correct size of the OP's ssd) would format out to 108 gb of usable space. Further, Disk 5 shows 58gb while the diskpart volume of the USB shows 32gb, so where does the extra 26 gb come from?

Hopefully the OP will advise the size of the USB he is using.

Regardless a new ssd will likely solve the OP's issues.. :)
 
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so where does 100 gb volume come from
It is only 100MB (not 100GB).
100MB partition is located on HDD (most likely), contains bootloader (most likely)
and got placed there, because HDD was not disconnected during installation of windows.
Further, while I see Disk 5 is actually 58 gb (26 + 32), the diskpart volume of the USB shows 32gb, so where does the extra 26 gb come from?
USB flash drive is 64GB - with 32GB partition and 26GB unallocated space (this doesn't add up to 64GB, bacause formatted capacity of 64GB drive is only 59.6GB).
 

onespeedbiker

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Got it.. 100mg not gb; also you add the 32 gb partition shown in the volume, with the 26 gb of unused space in the disk information, which equals 58 gb (the formatted size of a 64 gb USB). It all makes sense now.
 
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