Windows doesn't start. Instead, the system generates an error that resembles the following:
Info: Windows failed to load because a critical system driver is missing or corrupt.
Note In this message, <BINARY> represents the actual binary file that's found.
This issue occurs because of a file version mismatch between the binary file that's indicated in the error message and the file that the system expects to find.
How to fix this issue
To fix the issue, follow these steps.
Step 1: Attach the OS disk of the VM to another VM as a data disk
- Delete the virtual machine (VM). Make sure that you select the Keep the disks option when you do this.
- Attach the OS disk as a data disk to another VM (a troubleshooting VM). For more information, see How to attach a data disk to a Windows VM in the Azure portal.
- Connect to the troubleshooting VM. Open Computer management > Disk management. Make sure that the OS disk is online and that its partitions have drive letters assigned.
Step 2: Replace the corrupted file
- On the attached disk, browse to the location of the binary file that's displayed in the error message.
- Rename the file to <BINARY.SYS>.OLD.
- On the attached disk, browse to the \Windows\winsxs folder. Then, search for the binary file that's displayed in the error message. To do this, run the following command at a command prompt:
dir <binaryname> /sThe command lists all the different versions of the binary file together with the created date. Copy the latest version of the binary file to the windows\system32 folder by running the following command:
copy <drive>:\Windows\WinSxS\<directory_where_file_is>\<binary_with_extension> <drive>:\Windows\System32\Drivers\
For example, see the following screen shot.
- The screen shot shows volume E. However, the actual letter will appropriately reflect the one of the faulty drives (the OS disk attached as a data disk on the troubleshooting VM).
- If the latest binary doesn't work, you can try the previous file version to obtain an earlier system update level on that component.
- If the only binary that's returned in this step matches the file that you're trying to replace on the affected VM, and if both files have the same size and time stamp, you can replace the corrupted file by copying it from another working VM that has the same OS and, if possible, the same system update level.
- Detach the repaired disk from the troubleshooting VM. Then, create a VM from the OS disk.