When Windows Cleanup Goes Bad

I fished this out of an old blog of mine. It still generates hits (believe it or not) after it’s original posting on September 10, 2006. I lost the images associated with the post, but was able to recover the body.

Last night I noticed that my C: drive (Windows 2000) was getting a little cluttered. So instead of going through and deleting temporary internet files and the Temp folders myself, I decided to run Windows Cleanup. While I was at it, I decided compressing some old files couldn’t hurt anything either. Bad choice.

BOOTMGR is compressed.
Press ctrl+alt+del to restart.

At least this error occurs without data loss. Bootloader problems are pretty easy to fix, especially the Windows 2000+ bootloader.

Step 1: Finding my installation disk

Finding my installation disk was probably the hardest part of this recovery mission. It was somewhere in a pile of Windows installation disks, but I managed to find it and begin (lucky for me I had an iPod on hand to entertain me during the tedious loading process).

Press any key to boot from CD...

K. That was fun. Post Windows 98 installation, Microsoft has been rather driver inclusive. That’s a great policy for installing new systems, but its a pain in the arse when trying to recover an already working system. Driver loading takes a while. So I sat and waited for every driver known to the Windows Installer loaded until I was presented with an option to start a Windows Recovery.

Be sure to note that I didn’t want to recover anything, I just wanted the recovery console. I hit R to enter the Windows 2000 Repair Options screen. Hit c to enter the console, select the appropriate Windows installation (in my case 1 was the appropriate option), type in the administrator password and I’m presented with an old-style DOS prompt.

Step 2: Decompressing the Compressed

First steps first: I made sure I was at the root of my C: (boot) drive by typing cd \. The ntldr binary was in the correct place, so I simply removed compression:

attrib -c bootmgr

And for good measure:

attrib -c ntldr

Simple as that. I rebooted and everything worked fine.

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