Windows woes: STOP 0x0000007b after changing partition sizes

Last week, I found myself short of space on my Windows Vista partition on my main development PC. Originally, that machine dual-booted Windows XP x64 and Windows Vista x64, each from their own partition on one fast (10kRPM ‘Raptor’) SATA disk, with data living on two other disks. This meant a simple procedure: shrink the old XP partition to a few hundred Mb (I couldn’t delete it entirely, since the Vista bootloader lived there) and enlarge the other partition to fill the new space. Simple enough using any of the partitioning tools; I chose Paragon Partition Manager in this instance.

All fine – until I came to reboot, and was confronted with the dreaded STOP 7B error (‘inaccessible boot device’). Windows was able to load the kernel and associated device drivers, using the simple boot-time drivers, but failing when it came time to mount the file system properly and hook in the filter drivers. Contacting Paragon support and posting in their user forum got me a suggestion to boot from their recovery CD (which fails to boot on my system anyway), then delete both partitions and hope the partition undelete feature would recreate them in working form.

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