Frankly, I've been up for 5 hours trying to fix this so I don't have my specs off-hand. Let me know if any are needed. I'm pretty good with computer software, but I've lost most of my knowledge with hardware or boot systems.
I have a pretty nice gaming PC, almost 1TB drive with ~150GB free space, Vista x64 Home Premium. I am 95% certain I caught a virus this evening/morning since my taskbar popped up a message warning me of a "potential threat" and my PC promptly rebooted itself in the next 4 seconds. Now it won't load past the POST, windows isn't even attempting to load... just a black screen with a blinking 'underscore' character.
I've never been in this murky of a situation, so for a bit I just fumbled around, stewing in my own panic. I busted out the recovery CD and attempted to follow the prompts. I tried a Recovery, but the system told me it encountered an error during said recovery and that no changes were made to any of my files. I tried a boot repair, but the log informed my that my OS was loading properly. I tried a reinstall, and it went through the checklist...
Copying Windows Files
Expanding Windows Files
When it finished the checklist, the PC rebooted and... I sat facing the opening screen to the system recovery again. Same options: repair my system or install windows. I tried all the repair options again but I faced the same results (except the System Recovery, which no longer had the 4 recovery dates that I was shown last time). I tried rebooting without the CD, but I again had just a black screen after POST. So I tried reinstalling again. Zilch.
F8 while the computer is loading the CD's OS files will give me the Safe Mode screen, but any option I choose seems to lead me back to the same place as before! I pulled up over a dozen pages and videos on another PC, showing how to reinstall Windows Vista without formatting the HD and it looks like I did exactly what I needed to. But no success, just another welcome screen for the system recovery.
Am I doing something wrong, or are my troubles more serious than I'd like them to be? I want to avoid reformatting my hard drive, but I don't know what else to do at this point. Now when I open the "repair" portion of the system recovery menu, the computer is acknowledging 3 separate instances of Windows Vista on my hard drive.
After reading so many how-to guides and posts on various forums regarding issues with Vista installs and whatnot, I felt this site had the most knowledgeable users; I'm hoping you guys can offer some wisdom
Apologies for any typos or lack of coherent formatting, I've seriously been working at this for 5 hours and I'm running on fumes