Broken Bootcamp Possible Partition Probems

#1
Hi,

I'm mostly a windows guy and never need to get this deep in Macs. I'm trying to fix a MacBook Air with a Win 7 Bootcamp. I'm having troubles with the bootmanager. When I boot to a Win 7 DART disk, I can look at Windows Disk Manager and there are 4 partitions, 1 is bootcamp, 3 are "unhealthy". One of the unhealthy I'm guessing is the MacOS partition. I know in Windows machines we need a small "system" partition for boot files but I don't see one. I suspect one of the unhealthy ones is it and someone did something in MacOS to screw that up.

Any suggestions?
 
#2
The Mac will often have 3 partitions on the drive.
1. The system partition (by far the largest, with the OS, apps and data.)
2. A recovery partition (Recovery HD), which is bootable to run a variety of system utilities, and reinstall OS X, should that be needed. (small, 650MB)
3. An EFI partition, and IIRC sets up the boot for both OS X and Windows (I might be wrong about the Windows, but I THINK that is mostly accurate) Usually not accessible, but part of the complement of normal partitions. (even smaller, just over 200MB)
I THINK the EFI partition is modified when a boot camp partition is added for Windows.

The three partitions are for OS X, and will normally be read-only from Windows, if you can access them at all.
The Boot Camp Assistant in OS X adds that 4th partition, which you already know is Windows.
And the Windows partition (if it is NTFS) is, by default, read-only when booted to OS X.
Either OS X or Windows have third-party apps that will allow easy file access to the other system partition.
I have never looked in Win Disk Manager at the OS X partitions, but if they are read-only, then the manager might say "unhealthy", I'm guessing.

What exactly is the problem on the MBAir?
Won't boot at all?
Won't boot to OS X?
Won't boot to Windows7?
Or, something else?
If there is a booting problem with the Windows partition, then a fix USUALLY involves backing up the Win partition, then using the Boot Camp Assistant to remove the Windows partition. That's a safe way to work with the Windows partition, due to the fact that the Windows and OS X partitions are foreign to each other, and if you use your own normal way to repairing a Windows partition, there's always some risk that you may get Windows to work, but the boot for OS X may be corrupted, so then that needs to be fixed. If you do that, ignoring the Windows partition, then there can be some risk to the Windows boot files.
Let me know exactly what you are dealing with, and I will try to lead you in the best direction.
 
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#3
Hi DeltaMac and thanks for your reply. When I hold "OPTION" at boot, I get MAC OS, Recovery HD and Windows. That means there is one more, could be the EFI partition. The MAC side seems to boot but I have to get a password for that. Windows goes into "Automatic Repair" and never repairs itself. I've now had my fingers in there with Win utilities like BOOTREC for repairing Windows boot files (BCD) so that complicates things.

I'm guessing my next step would be to get into MAC OS and work with Bootcamp software to see if it can straighten it up? I don't have a re-install disk for Windows so I'd like to fix if possible. I've fixed stuff like this before but not when complicated by bootcamp.
 
#4
Hi DeltaMac and thanks for your reply. When I hold "OPTION" at boot, I get MAC OS, Recovery HD and Windows. That means there is one more, could be the EFI partition. The MAC side seems to boot but I have to get a password for that. Windows goes into "Automatic Repair" and never repairs itself. I've now had my fingers in there with Win utilities like BOOTREC for repairing Windows boot files (BCD) so that complicates things.

I'm guessing my next step would be to get into MAC OS and work with Bootcamp software to see if it can straighten it up? I don't have a re-install disk for Windows so I'd like to fix if possible. I've fixed stuff like this before but not when complicated by bootcamp.
The Option bootpicker screen is displaying properly. It shows any bootable partitions. You will NEVER see the EFI partition there, as it is just a boot support partition, and not bootable itself.

You have two very different operating systems, each with their own partition requirements. You need software that will know that both operating systems are there.
Paragon software has some good stuff - https://www.paragon-software.com/home/bootcamp-backup/

Boot Camp does not have any kind of repair function. It's main purpose is to create a partition with a size that you determine, and to prepare it for a Windows install.
If the windows partition already exists, then Boot Camp Assistant will provide a choice to remove the partition completely, and restore the space to the OS X partition. That's assuming that no other modifications to the partitions takes place, such as additional partitions, or changing the partition map in Disk Utility. That will often mean that you have no other choice than trying to repair the Windows installation - which, in turn, means that you need a Windows7 installer. That MAY be something that you will need in any case, as you may need to backup the Windows partition, using your fav Windows backup software, AND backing up the OS X system, too. Something like Carbon Copy Cloner, or SuperDuper! are both good choices for that, if you need it.
And, then reformat, reinstall OS X, restore the OS X partition and software, create the boot camp partition again, and restore the Windows partition. You will probably still need the Windows installer before you are done with all that.... (Whew!)

But - you should also try searching for your issue (Windows 7 Boot Camp boots to automatic repair, or something similar)
This thread might even get you going - https://discussions.apple.com/thread/5379138?tstart=0
Note that one or more of the fixes says to boot to the Win7 installer, and run a repair on the Windows partition. Make sure that you choose the Windows partition, and not the OS X partition :D

Lots of info in this post, hope it doesn't just confuse you more....
 
#5
As an update, I reset the MAC password and was able to sign in that way. Your info about partitions is helpful, now I know I just have to get after it like any other Windows machine *OR* re-install windows. At least I know. I'll keep you posted and if you think of anything, let me know. Thanks
 
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