There is a common error when booting your Windows computer. The Windows boot files became corrupted and the computer no longer boots. The problem with this error is not all the generic, boilerplate answers Microsoft will give you work. Even worse, all the tools Microsoft provides to fix will not work either. Windows 7 and earlier, this will be in a black screen; Windows 8 and later it will be a blue screen. The error will have the 0xc0000001 code, and sometimes will list the file “\Windows\system32\winload.efi“. Likely, this file itself is not corrupt, but other boot files are. This is because the boot files are usually in a hidden partition of the hard drive.

These are the steps to fix it:

  1. First, and most important, make a backup of the whole hard drive. Your backup should include an exact clone of Windows partition of the boot drive.
    • I made two backups, one with Clonezilla and one using Hiren’s boot DVD.
  2. Once you are sure you backup is good, using the corresponding Windows version DVD, install a fresh and temporary copy of Windows. If you are repairing Windows 7, using a Windows 7 disc; for Windows 10, use a Windows 10 disc; and so on.
    • This process removes and re-installs all the boot files.
  3. After Windows boots for the first time, use GParted to copy the cloned partition back to the original.
  4. Ideally, Windows should boot now. If it does not, there is probably some corrupt Windows files too. You should then try the sfc command.

The Microsoft commands bcdboot and bootrec likely will not work. Those commands are useful if the Boot Configuration Data (BCD) is corrupt. As usual, startup repair does not work. I can literally count on one hand the number of times startup repair actually worked. Since the corrupt files are not in Windows, the sfc command will not work either, unless there are corrupt files in Windows.