Windows Vista crcdisk.sys – System Won’t Boot

I recently had a friend call me in need of computer repair assistance. I’ll save you the many hours of troubleshooting and simply list the fix here.

The Dreaded crcdisk.sys

I found this symptom of the problem by booting into Safe Mode and watching the drivers load. I noticed that it always hung for a long time on the crcdisk.sys file. Well, if you perform a search on Google for “windows vista crcdisk.sys” you will find a plethora of woes from computer users desperately trying to regain the functionality of their PC. There are also a plethora of fixes, advice and this worked for me posts. I tried many of these to no avail.

The Road To Recovery

The laptop I was working on was a Toshiba laptop and it had a system restore disk. Great! Sort of. Restoring the system to factory condition from the disk (after the owner had backed up their data of course) resulted in a system that was broken and still had the problem listed above. Hmmm.

Another operating system perhaps? I installed Windows XP from scratch. Worked great. I installed Windows Vista SP2 from scratch (another disk). Worked great. Re-tried the system restore from Toshiba. No good.

At this point I figured I was just going to install Vista from scratch. So I reinstalled Vista and downloaded the Toshiba drivers from their website. One by one I started installing the drivers. Until I got to the driver for a flash media card reader (front of laptop). Bam! It froze up during the install. So I rolled that change back using Windows System Restore and then continued with all of the other drivers. No problems. I tried the flash media driver one more time just to be sure, and sure enough it failed again. That’s good! Predictability is key in diagnosing computer problems.

The Solution

So now I knew that the flash media card reader was probably bad, and so when the drivers were applied it froze the system. I unzipped the driver distribution and made a list of the files in it. Then I went back and restored the system from the Toshiba system restore disk. I did NOT however, reboot and continue the installation. I rebooted to a Windows system disk and brought up the recovery console (command prompt). I then went into the Windows directory (C:\Windows) and deleted ALL of the files that I had listed from the flash media card driver. One reboot later and the system was continuing the installation all the way to success.

Suggestions

SO… what does this say about our crcdisk.sys error? Absolutely nothing! Well, almost. It makes sense (to me at least) because the system was trying to access a disk and it was failing, thus the “disk” part of crcdisk.sys. So my suggestion for solving the above problem would be to put your troubleshooting hat on. You can try the steps above or one of the many that you’ll find on the internet, but keep this in mind. Just make one small change at a time until you find something that makes a difference. That should give you some good clues as to the root of the problem.