New subscriber David Hazel wrote with an unusual problem — with Tech support from his ISP, his Windows 7 computer will no longer boot!
I am really at a loss on this one and it is probably an easy boot file edit if I knew how to do that.
I recently called my [fiber optic Internet Service Provider name removed] tech support for the first time in the 15 months I have had their, so far, flawless internet service.
I had upgraded the previous evening to a higher speed online (50/20) and wasn’t getting the new speed. We were able to quickly resolve the issue and I am now getting about 57Mbps down and 35Mbps up through a wireless connection. However, the tech suggested a few settings he could change to make my 3 year old Dell Inspiron laptop run a little faster.
We went into msconfig and changed the boot.ini settings from using 1 processor to using 2 (max) and ram changed to max (4 gigs). After that we did a reboot and it hangs on the ‘starting windows’ logo. It will eventually say it cannot start Windows and suggests using the repair utility.
We started the Windows repair utility and the tech said he would call me back in 45 minutes to check in on me. He never called back and the utility could not fix the problem. I have never had a problem with this Dell until now and am not really sure on what I need to do to get it to start Windows.
Fortunately, I have a little Acer Chromebook and everything on the Dell was backed up with Carbonite. I was able to download most of my essential documents and upload them to Google Drive.
I appreciate any thoughts you might have on this and I look forward to your newsletter I just subscribed to.
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I wrote back to David to tell him that David, if he can boot to a command line (which he must have been able to do to run the Windows repair utility), he should be able to run msconfig from there.
His problem seems to me to be the change from 1 processor to 2. I would be extremely doubtful that his Dell Inspiron has two actual processors. It does not mean “cores” – my 4-core Intel Core i7 also shows as “1” processor in msconfig. (I’m not sure whether his Inspiron is a notebook or desktop. Inspirons started out as notebooks, but Dell recently has marketed both under that name.)
Unfortunately, Win7 and Vista removed the Boot.ini file and converted to some Boot Configuration Data (BCD) system. See
I don’t know how, or if, you can access that data with a simple text editor as you could the old boot.ini file.
His best bet is going to be to boot into the Windows repair mode and then drop to the command line, and hope that msconfig.exe is available. It would be in the directory C:\Windows\System32 assuming the Windows drive is C:.
If he can’t get to the command line or the msconfig.exe file, he could try downloading and building a Win7PE repair disk, although he would probably have to use a friend’s Windows PC to do it, as a Chromebook wouldn’t be running Windows.
In order to build a Win7PE DVD, he will also have to have his original Windows 7 installation media — hopefully he has the Win7 OS DVD and not just a Dell Recovery DVD. I know that Dell stopped supplying OS DVD’s several years ago, so that could be a problem.