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Author Topic: TD's computer is very ill  (Read 9255 times)

tuftedduck

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TD's computer is very ill
« on: December 15, 2007, 11:33:30 AM »

Firstly, I aplogise if this is in the wrong section, I'm not sure if this is a Windows or a hardware problem.

Am running XP Sp2, and my machine is sick  :'(

About once in every four attempts to boot my machine, I am faced with a black screen with a notation along the top telling me that Windows cannot start as Window?system32/config/system is missing or cannot be found.

I don't know what is the right thing to do, but I find that if I tap F8 key, a box appears asking what drive I want to boot from. I scroll down using the arrow keys onto my c drive, hit the enter key and .................it starts as normal.
Thereafter, all works just as it should.

I have done system restores and checkdiscs, the problem goes away for a bit and the thing boots normally, then the problem re-occurs.

Have done virus/spyware checks, nothing found.

Is my hdd on it's way out, should I do a complete re-install of Windows, or attempt a repair install.

All advices gratefully received.
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Floydoid

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Re: TD's computer is very ill
« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2007, 11:41:46 AM »

I think you've almost answered your own question... my plan of action would be

1) Repair install of Windows, if that fails then

2) Clean install of Windows, if that also fails

3) Fit new hard drive (just as I had to do this week)
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tuftedduck

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Re: TD's computer is very ill
« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2007, 12:07:17 PM »

OK, Floydoid, thank you for rour reply.

Will try in the sequence you suggest.

Don't know what I am doing, so will have to fiddle and I have no idea when or if I can get back to say how things went.

Bye for now, see you about 2010.
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Floydoid

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Re: TD's computer is very ill
« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2007, 12:11:09 PM »

Well if you have any questions, just ask.
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tuftedduck

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Re: TD's computer is very ill
« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2007, 12:41:00 PM »

Floydy, looking to do this the simplest way, and on the assumption that the drive is going.

I have a slave drive fitted, much newer, less worked ( it only has docs/settings back ups on it), and an external hard drive.

If I were to move the whole of the slave drive onto the external, format the slave and then use my Acronis True Image to clone the C drive onto the slave, then install the slave as the master, would that be a reasonable procedure ?

OK, if the system32/config folder has gone from the current master, it would not be in the "clone", but there again, if the file is missing, why does everything work properly once the machine does start........further, if the file is used only at start up and is missing, why does it eventually start ?

The other alternative is to wipe the slave drive, and reinstall Windows and everything else onto that, after making it the master , and I do have a full XP installation disc, an Sp" disc, a motherboard disc with lots of drivers and then all my prog dics,printers etc discs.
Will try the clone thing first, and see what happens.
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kitz

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Re: TD's computer is very ill
« Reply #5 on: December 15, 2007, 12:49:02 PM »

Just a couple of simple things to check in view of the fact that it asks which drive you wish to boot from...  and then if you choose the drive it starts normally.

1) Your boot .ini file

From msconfig - open the BOOT.INI tab - check it says something like (this is mine)

[boot loader]
timeout=30
default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition" /fastdetect /NoExecute=OptIn

2) Do you have any USB/other devices attached that it could be trying to boot from?
Check the bios to ensure that it should be booting from the HDD before USB.




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Floydoid

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Re: TD's computer is very ill
« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2007, 12:59:13 PM »

Your strategy sounds good to me, but one other thing you could try, even before the repair install is to run system file check:

goto start/run, type "sfc /scannow" without the quotes, and have your XP/SP2 disks handy.
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tuftedduck

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Re: TD's computer is very ill
« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2007, 01:00:02 PM »

Thank you Kitz............this may be a problem in the boot.ini

Mine is the same as yours except at the end of the last line you have the words "OptIn" whereas mine has "OptOut"

Nothing else plugged which it may be trying to boot from, other than when faced with the "no file" thingy as described above, I put in my XP disc and change the boot sequence to the CD drive.
Just a thought, having made that change, would it revert back to the hdd by default on the next boot, or would it still be set to the CD drive........will check.

Hovever, the boot.ini entry appears to be wrong, how would I change that, if indeed I should change that.

Thank you again for your time and trouble.
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Floydoid

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Re: TD's computer is very ill
« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2007, 01:18:10 PM »

To find boot.ini, it's in the root of c:\, but you need to change the view options to show (a) hidden files and folders, and (b) protected operating system files - XP will moan at you for wanting to do this. 

Use notepad to edit it.
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mr_chris

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Re: TD's computer is very ill
« Reply #9 on: December 15, 2007, 02:19:26 PM »

The OptIn and OptOut variation is to do with Data Execution Prevention, I believe...

Sounds to me like your hard drive, to be honest. So I'd make sure you have everything valuable backed up just to be safe, in case it does go.

If it is on its way out (what make is it, by the way, there are probably diagnostics on the manufacturer's website), then get it cloned ASAP, that way you have less chance of the disk failing half way through cloning.

Also, a much simpler thought, have you tried changing the hard drive cable? Or at least making sure it's plugged in tightly.

I'd still investigate your hard drive as a matter of urgency, though.
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tuftedduck

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Re: TD's computer is very ill
« Reply #10 on: December 15, 2007, 03:29:16 PM »

Hallo all, and thank you all very much for your help, comments and guidance.

Drive C succesfully cloned onto what was Drive K and which is now purring away as drive C.

All docs and settings working fine, Windows re-activated, tried booting down and back up a couple of times and all seems well (time will tell )

Old c drive sitting on desk looking glum, will maybe try it as a storage slave.

Will see the morrow brings, shutting down now, at my age I have had enough of computers for one day.

Thanks again.
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tuftedduck

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Re: TD's computer is very ill
« Reply #11 on: December 15, 2007, 06:03:32 PM »

Well, I said above that had had enough for the day............but I could not resist another peek.

Booted up just fine, just like the old days. I think that you are all correct and that the drive was dying, and now that it is out of the tower, I appreciate just how odd and loud were the noises coming from it, noises which I had attributed to the fan.

Made one mistake, and this may help others in the same boat, although all you techie experts will no doubt not have done what old TD did. I knew that I would have to reactivate Windows, and that went off no problem at all ( and on-line too ), but..................I forgot about the need to re-authorise and re-activate my Photoshop CS2.
Talk about a hassle with Adobe, on-line and with no real person to speak to. That took THREE HOURS.

I realise now that the way to go is to uninstall CS2 before making the clone, and at some point in the uninstallation process there is an option to preserve you activation/authorisation detail "in order to move your program to another computer", then having done that, just reinstall it onto the new, cloned drive with the activation stuff intact.

Will remember that next time.

As my "new" c drive is tiny at only 80 GB, will treat myself to a nice new big drive as a Chrimbo pressie from me to me and then probably repeat the process and reinstall the new c drive back as a slave...........a slave is handy with CS2 as you need a decent size paging file for it, and it likes it better when that file is on a seperate drive to itself.

Thank you all for once again putting up with and old and computer illiterate fogey.
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Floydoid

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Re: TD's computer is very ill
« Reply #12 on: December 15, 2007, 06:53:43 PM »

I only have a 40 GB drive for my system drive, which for a typical windows installation is more than adequate.  My slave (user files) drive is much bigger.
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tuftedduck

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Re: TD's computer is very ill
« Reply #13 on: December 15, 2007, 07:16:38 PM »

Hullo again, Floydoid.

Yup, what was I thinking about.............new slave of a decent size and all my data files onto that, leave the C drive for Windows and the progs.

Talking of progs, Acronis True Image is a beautiful thing, so easy to use and so effective.

Off to bed this time.

Thanks again for your help and support, much appreciated.
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Floydoid

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Re: TD's computer is very ill
« Reply #14 on: December 15, 2007, 08:27:11 PM »

Something like this won't break the bank for a decent slave drive:

http://www.ebuyer.com/product/55242

Glad you're getting sorted btw. :)
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