Bringing My OS Back from the Abyss

Imagine an urgent task summoning you to your computer at an ungodly hour on a coffee-less morning; with your mind still half-way down the road from Neverland, you press a wrong key and, the next second, while you are trying to get a grasp of what is happening, the disaster is already underway. In a few minutes, everything is gone: your Windows firmly refuses to show up, presenting a non-informative BSOD in its stead, no matter how many times you press that power button.

In this series, the reader is invited to join me in a stimulating adventure of recovering an unbootable Windows system. Discarded as pointless are simple solutions such as restore points or DISM; instead, we are digging deep to the very bottom of the issue. But be warned: reaching such depths is a rather involved process; it will begin with a bugcheck analysis intended to elicit maximum information from the memory dump, a fair amount of reverse engineering (along with some static analysis) will ensue, a study of Windows registry organization and VSS operation principles will be necessary to make the best use of these technologies in the situation, and, finally, a recovery script will have to be written. There is quite a journey in store for the adventurous.

Also, the desire to share a curious investigation and the story of (albeit little) victory over one of those notoriously difficult to tackle boot-time issues is what prompted me to start the blog back in early 2019, so if one or other of my posts have proven an enjoyable read, it is to this unfortunate incident that you owe the pleasure.