Windows 2008 Server R2 won’t boot after replacing hardware (BSOD 0x0000007B)


Synopsis: I moved, the PC (without the HD) got totalled, I ordered a new machine with the exact same hardware. Meanwhile, I tried to copy some files to another machine by plugging in the HD externally, but all files in the /User/Documents/ folder are protected/encrypted (I didn't encrypt them). I fiddled around with the rights and ownership of those files but to no avail, and I was later unable to revert the changes I made. So I guess I should probably not have done that. Anyway, the new machine eventually arrived, I plugged in the HD, and after loading AtiPcie.sys I was greeted by a BSOD that immediately forced a reboot so I don't know what the error message actually said, but I suspect an IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL because that one has followed me my entire life.

Here's a list of things I did in my vain attempts to solve the problem:

  • Safe mode
    No effect at all, except that the (probably same) BSOD occurs after loading CLASSPNP.sys instead.

  • Various hardware checks including chkdsk
    No problems found. To be certain, I plugged in another HD and installed Win2k on it. It boots just fine.

  • Recovery console: bootrec /rebuildbcd
    The operation "completed successfully" (after renaming the old BCD file) but had no effect.

  • Recovery console: bootrec /fixmbr, bootrec /fixboot, bootsect /nt60 all
    Same as above, except now the list of drivers loaded during startup is replaced by a Windows logo and a loading bar. I preferred the list.

  • StartRep.exe
    After a while, this gave me an error with the following problem signature (from memory, I didn't think I would be unable to replicate it later):

    Problem Event Name: StartupRepairOffline
    Problem Signature 01: 6.1.7600.16385
    Problem Signature 02: 6.1.7600.16385
    Problem Signature 03: unknown
    Problem Signature 04: (sth long, don't remember)
    Problem Signature 05: ExternalMedia
    Problem Signature 06: 13 (I think)
    Problem Signature 07: BadDriver
    OS Version: 6.1.7601. (or sth like this)
    Locale ID: 1033

    The only external devices at that point apart from the monitor were a USB keyboard and a USB mouse. Ever since then, StartRep.exe immediately completes with no problems found. Also, BSOD as usual.

  • Removed AtiPcie.sys and atikmdag.sys
    Didn't seem to do anything.

  • Changed the RAID mode of the HD (IDE/RAID/AHCI)
    Didn't seem to do anything.

I'm reluctant to do an "in-place upgrade" a.k.a. reinstallation since it seems this might permanently make the user documents inaccessible. According to my research, the encryption is linked to the OS installation and would get overwritten if I reinstalled Windows. (Side note: I did copy the certificate files to another PC but was unable to do anything with them; see here for more details.)

So, any suggestions how I might get that machine running again, preferably without losing my protected documents?

Edit: I finally figured out how to display the BSOD message:

STOP: 0x0000007B (0xFFFFF880009A97E8,0xFFFFFFFFC0000034,0x0000000000000000,0x0000000000000000)

A Google search returned some relevant results but no applicable solutions. Repairing isn't an option, I already rewrote the BCD, and changing the RAID mode had no effect.

Best Answer

Not sure why my question was downvoted or why I never seem to get useful answers on Superuser, but in any case I finally got it to work by using the recovery console to reinstall the mainboard drivers from the DVD with DISM. The particular command that did it for me is DISM /image:C:\ /add-driver /driver:G:\ /recurse with C being my OS partition and G the DVD drive. I had to reinstall the graphics chip drivers, but other than that everything is just the way I left it.

So yeah, easy solution and none of the things I tried were even necessary.