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Windows XP Boot Time Problem


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#1
Rileys Dad

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I have a dell Lattitude D600 that had windows XP SP2. I installed a new virus software, and my machine crashed. At re-start, it said that that it couldn't be started because a SYSTEM file was missing or corrupt. I tried to repair it using one of my Dell CD's, and it wouldn't run, so I had to completely reinstall windows. This required a hard drive reformat as the drive was full or damaged. It's now installed, I've updated all of my drivers, and have re-installed XP SP2. However, every time I restart the computer, I get the Dell screen, then it goes black for about 5 minutes, then black with a white dashed progress bar across the bottom. Then after another 5 - 10 minutes, the windows screen comes up and it starts normally. What can I do to identify and correct that hang time during booting?
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#2
The Skeptic

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1: Download Everest from my list of links. Install it and click Storage and then click Physical Drives. At the top you will see the details of the hard disk. Please write them down and post back. I will post you link for the manufacturer's HD diagnostic tool.

2: In Device manager click IDE AtA/ATAPI controllers. Click on the (+) sign and right-click IDE Primary Channel. Choose to uninstall. Repeat with IDE Secondary Channel. Reboot the computer and let it reload the drivers.

Let us know what happens.
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#3
Rileys Dad

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1: Drive #1: ST93012A (27 GB)

2: I'll try that now and reboot. I'll post when I'm back up, which hopefully won't be too long!
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#4
The Skeptic

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If drivers uninstallation don't help use this link to download Seatools for DOS. Burn the file to create a bootable CD. Boot with the CD and run a complete test of the HD>
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#5
Rileys Dad

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Okay, the driver update didn't help. I did the HD Test, short test failed, long test passed after repairs. I think it found something like 82 errors to repair on the HD. And....still no better. Any suggestions on where to go next?
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#6
The Skeptic

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After bootup is completed, does the computer run normally, or is it slow?

Boot the computer in Safe Mode and let us know if it's loading faster.

Download HDTune from the links below and run Benchmarking test. Let the test run fully and report average transfer rate.

You mentioned that you updated all you drivers. Did you do this before or after the installation of SP-2. Where did you load the updated drivers from.

I assume that you backed up and reinstalled your data. Did you scan it for malware? What Antivirus and what firewall are you using.
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#7
Rileys Dad

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I believe the drivers were updated prior to SP2, at least some of them. However, I can't seem to find updates for a few, such as the Intel motherboard drivers. I tried booting in to safe mode, no faster. and I tried running HD Tune approximately 20 times in both normal and safe modes, and I keep getting a read error. And no, I did not have any data backed up, so nothing has been re-installed except for programs direct from their original disks.
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#8
The Skeptic

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My impression is that your hard disk is failing and needs replacement. I would like you to run Seatools again but before that I would like to run a memory test. Memory failure can cause false error messages from the hard disk and we want to make sure where the problem is.

Download Memtest86 (or Microsoft memory diagnostic tool) from the list of links below. Follow the instructions and create a bootable CD. Boot with the new disk and run a test at least for an hour. If no error found run Seatools again and report the results.
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#9
Rileys Dad

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Alright, I've spent 6 hours trying to download the memory diagnostic, and cannot get a clean download from microsoft or from the softpedia mirror site. So, I gave up, and went ahead and re-ran the HD Test.... Short test, failed. Long test, passed after repairing 97 or 98 errors (more than last time.) Once it passed the long test, I re-ran the short test, and it failed again. So, I suspect you are on the right track and this HD is failing.
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#10
The Skeptic

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I wonder why you had problems downloading the memory test programs. Maybe you could try downloading with another computer, save the files to a thumb disk and then install on the affected computer.

Regarding hard disks: It's hard to believe the number of hard disks that are replaced unnecessarily. I strongly recommend that you run the memory tests (these are useful programs. You can keep them for future use). If however, you decide that the disk is no good you can either replace or try to save it.

In Seatool check if there is an option to zero all the bits on the disk. This will low-level format the disk, wiping all sectors, good and bad. Now move the disk to a computer with a working XP go to Control Panel > Computer Management > Disk Management and initialize disk. Run format to NTFS. Take the disk back to the other computer and fresh install windows.
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#11
Rileys Dad

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My mistake, I couldn't (an still can't ) get the windows diagnostic tool to download, I hadn't tried memtest86. I ran that this morning, left it running for over 3 hours, no errors. Now as far as re-formatting the HD, how do I go about hooking it to another computer? I have another laptop w/ XP, and I have a desktop w/ Vista, but I'm not sure how to go about physically hooking the HD up.
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#12
The Skeptic

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If you zero the hard disk you must initialize it on a XP or Vista machine. Since yours is a 2.5" laptop disk there can be a problem. One way is to buy a special adapter like this one. It will enable to connect the HD to a USB port of another computer. It costs about 25$ BUT I am not sure that it will work with a zeroed disk. There is a possibility that the disk will not show up in Disk Management. If that happens then you will not be able to revive the disk.

Another option is to boot into DOS, if you have a DOS CD. Run FDISK and FRORMAT C: commands.

The third option is to replace the hard disk. Considering all the options this might be the simplest, if somewhat expensive solution. Had the computer been in a professional lab I would surely zero it. Considering your options, this may be too involved.
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#13
Rileys Dad

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I found a 160G hard drive for about $80, so I think I will cut my losses and just replace it. Thanks for all of your help!
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