[SOLVED] Pace anti-piracy has screwed my system - and can't get into Macrium Rescue

itm

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I just tried installing a Sonivox Harmonica VST on my Windows 10 machine, which required that I install something called "Pace Anti Piracy". When I rebooted I got a blue screen, and a series of failed attempts at auto-repairing Windows.
I've tried rebooting from a Macrium Rescue CD (created using Macrium v7), but while the OS and Macrium program boots the keyboard and mouse are completely unresponsive.
It's a B450 Aorus Elite motherboard.
Any ideas for how I can get back into a working recovery environment? I have a Macrium image backup, but can't get to it without a mouse/KB!
 
Nov 3, 2021
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Oh sorry my bad - I had left the Macrium Rescue media in the USB drive, and when the Windows install rebooted it rebooted into that.
Phew, thankfully it was something simple. I found a guide for diskpart online, which is better than anything I could concoct lol.

Before you use Diskpart, disconnect all external drives from your PC. Also, make sure you have a backup created for your files as this step will erase all the files on your drive. Follow these steps.
  • Start the Windows setup with a bootable DVD OR USB
  • If you still see the error message, close setup and tap the Repair icon
  • Pick Advanced tools and click Command Prompt.
  • When the prompt opens, input "Start Diskpart" and enter the list disk to see all the hard drives on your system
  • Locate the number assigned to your hard drive and replace that number with any other number of your choice
  • Input the following codes and press enter after each code
disk 0 assign (press enter)

disk 0 format is=ntfs quick (press enter)

disk 0 active (press enter)

disk 0 clean (press enter)

disk 0 create partition plan (press enter)

  • To close the prompt type enter
  • Commence installation again
  • This option will erase all the data in your hard drive so make sure you back them up before you do it.
Be sure that instead of it being MBR, that you change the partition type to GPT which is likely what Windows will be looking for. Hopefully this'll get you somewhere!
 

itm

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It's the "Your device ran into a problem and needs to restart" error, with the (non)smiley face. I can't get into Windows at all.

I've tried flashing the Macrium Rescue ISO to a USB stick, but the system just gives me a plain blue screen for a minute or so after booting, then shuts down
 
Nov 3, 2021
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How would I create a Windows recovery drive on another computer?
Often, whenever you input a flash drive into a computer with Windows on it, you're asked "what would you like to do with this drive". If memory serves, you need a flash drive w/ a minimum of 8gb to do that. Alternatively, you can download those files from Microsoft's site itself. I've attached a link to a guide detailing how to do this below.

  1. In the search box next to the Start button, search for Create a recovery drive and then select it. You might be asked to enter an admin password or confirm your choice.
  2. When the tool opens, make sure Back up system files to the recovery drive is selected and then select Next.
  3. Connect a USB drive to your PC, select it, and then select Next.
  4. Select Create. Many files need to be copied to the recovery drive, so this might take a while.
But, give that a shot; it essentially installs the important windows files onto the flash drive. Furthermore, it might be worth running an SFC command if you can get into Windows at some point (on your BSODing device). Open the cmd prompt in admin mode and type sfc/scannow into the command line.
 

itm

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The process of creating the recovery USB stick is taking a ve....ry long time. In the meantime I found a DVD of my Windows 10 installation ISO. I booted to it and selected the option to repair my system. It was unable to do so.
Does this mean that I'm wasting my time trying the recovery media as before?
 
Nov 3, 2021
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The process of creating the recovery USB stick is taking a ve....ry long time. In the meantime I found a DVD of my Windows 10 installation ISO. I booted to it and selected the option to repair my system. It was unable to do so.
Does this mean that I'm wasting my time trying the recovery media as before?
Not necessarily; often times the automatic repair isn't as good as some of the things you can do manually. Were you able to launch the CMD prompt from the troubleshooting menu?

Ah, and kicking myself for not mentioning it earlier, but have you tried restoring your installation with a previous restore point? One that dates prior to when you installed this software.
 

itm

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Yes I can get to the command prompt when booting from the Windows ISO. I tried restoring to a previous restore point but it couldn't find any restore points.
 
Nov 3, 2021
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...I tried sfc /scannow but it didn't fix anything...
Damn, that stinks. The only thing I can think of at this point (to get you back up and running at the least) would be to either reinstall windows via "reset this PC" with your recovery image, or just do a clean install outright and restore your data from the backup you mentioned you had. At the very least, once you've reinstalled windows, you could then restore your OS from that backup image.
 

itm

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Damn, that stinks. The only thing I can think of at this point (to get you back up and running at the least) would be to either reinstall windows via "reset this PC" with your recovery image, or just do a clean install outright and restore your data from the backup you mentioned you had. At the very least, once you've reinstalled windows, you could then restore your OS from that backup image.
Yeah that's looking like the likeliest option to me, too.
The problem was caused by installing a Sonivox Harmonica virtual instrument. It installed something called Pace Anti Piracy (for iLok software protection), which I'm pretty sure is what did the damage. I shall of course be asking them for a refund. I can't believe I was dumb enough to install a package which called itself "anti-piracy". These are sometimes worse than viruses :0(
 

itm

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OK this is getting worse...I decided to go for the nuclear option and do a clean install of Windows. I left it running (copying files) and when I returned 5 minutes later there was a blank blue screen - exactly the same as when I tried to boot to the Macrium rescue CD. When I pressed enter on the keyboard the machine shut itself down.
Now what????
 
Nov 3, 2021
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OK this is getting worse...I decided to go for the nuclear option and do a clean install of Windows. I left it running (copying files) and when I returned 5 minutes later there was a blank blue screen - exactly the same as when I tried to boot to the Macrium rescue CD. When I pressed enter on the keyboard the machine shut itself down.
Now what????
Holy hell really??? That's concerning. I honestly haven't heard of that happening before. Anti-piracy? Sounds more like it tried to take over your drive. Do you have an alternative or spare drive laying around that you could try to load windows onto then recover data from the Maricum backup?
 

itm

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Oh sorry my bad - I had left the Macrium Rescue media in the USB drive, and when the Windows install rebooted it rebooted into that. So now I have a new problem...Windows would not install to the original SSD, saying that it was because it had an MBR partition. So I deleted the partition. Now when I try to create a new partition it says "We couldn't create a new partition (Error 0x93501be0).
Any ideas???
 
Nov 3, 2021
50
8
45
4
Oh sorry my bad - I had left the Macrium Rescue media in the USB drive, and when the Windows install rebooted it rebooted into that.
Phew, thankfully it was something simple. I found a guide for diskpart online, which is better than anything I could concoct lol.

Before you use Diskpart, disconnect all external drives from your PC. Also, make sure you have a backup created for your files as this step will erase all the files on your drive. Follow these steps.
  • Start the Windows setup with a bootable DVD OR USB
  • If you still see the error message, close setup and tap the Repair icon
  • Pick Advanced tools and click Command Prompt.
  • When the prompt opens, input "Start Diskpart" and enter the list disk to see all the hard drives on your system
  • Locate the number assigned to your hard drive and replace that number with any other number of your choice
  • Input the following codes and press enter after each code
disk 0 assign (press enter)

disk 0 format is=ntfs quick (press enter)

disk 0 active (press enter)

disk 0 clean (press enter)

disk 0 create partition plan (press enter)

  • To close the prompt type enter
  • Commence installation again
  • This option will erase all the data in your hard drive so make sure you back them up before you do it.
Be sure that instead of it being MBR, that you change the partition type to GPT which is likely what Windows will be looking for. Hopefully this'll get you somewhere!
 

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