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PC does not start up - please help


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#1
BerDov

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After shutting down normally, the PC does not start.
Brand: Compaq, OS: Win XP SP2;

The computer starts, goes thru some diagnostics, then shuts down, then starts up again and repeats the cycle, less than a minute in duration.

I pressed F8 and tried "Last known good configuration" - same thing happened.
When selecting Safe Mode, I saw lines with (system?) files scrolling through the screen, and then the computer shut down. No “beeps” heard.

Several days ago AVG placed explorer.exe, lasass.exe and 3-4 other system files in the VAULT. I suspected a virus/malware, but then the computer worked normally for a few days until the shutdown.

Perhaps I did get a virus that corrupted some systems files, or perhaps a RAM chip stopped working. If possible, I would like to avoid reinstalling the OS.

Any suggestion (specific steps?) is greatly appreciated.

BerDov
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#2
Doug

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Since important saved files, documents, tunes and images can possibly be compromised during your repair, please let us know what steps you have taken to back-up.

If you have your "stuff" saved to external media, then we can dig in a little deeper.

Best Regards
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#3
BerDov

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Thank you!

My data files are on two external hard drives; the C drive contains only Outlook calendar, bookmarks, Eudora files and folders, custom setting to a number of applications, and perhaps something else that I do not remember at the moment.

Edited by BerDov, 11 October 2008 - 03:56 PM.

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#4
Doug

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Hi BerDov,

Complete Stop at boot can be related to Heat and hardware failure which should be investigated.
Have you opened up the case to assure that it is not clogged with dust bunnies and that the fans run freely?

However, since you refer to the instance of a few major system files being identified and locked away by AVG, I will also proceed with a recommendation that follows the path of operating system repair.

Let us know what you find with your visual inspection.

Is your version of XP home or pro?

This can be a relatively long and labor intensive fix.
AND since "AVG placed explorer.exe, lasass.exe and 3-4 other system files in the VAULT" you can pretty confidently believe that you have encountered a serious infection that may still exist and repeat the problem again and again.

The most hopeful and easiest route to take will be if you can gain access to System Restore from a Command Prompt as follows:
I am hoping that you can use the F8 key at boot to Boot into: SAFE Mode with Command Prompt
If you can, then follow the instructions, here: http://support.micro....com/kb/304449/

There are additional steps that "might" succeed by extracting and replacing the important files that AVG locked away in the Vault by Extracting and copy/pasting the originals from your installation media.
But if you get to that point (if System Restore from Command Prompt doesn't work) you may want to re-examine your choice about doing a complete re-installation of XP, particularly if you cannot get the machine running long enough to visit our Malware Removal Forum.

No tech ever wants to make these kinds of "last resort" recommendations.
I wish there was an easier answer.

Best Regards
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#5
Doug

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Good Morning BerDov,

Overnight I did a bit of reading and asked for expert consultation which may have yielded some promising result.

G2G has formulated a set of instructions that can be used in situations similar to your own present problem with the machine failing to successfully boot and then going into endless boot-failing loops.

In the event that you are unable to correct the situation by using the suggestion posted above:
SAFE Mode with Command Prompt plus the Microsoft instructions for accessing System Restore, please consider the following:

Boot from the Windows XP installation CD...after the first several screens load, you will be given a choice to choose R for Recovery Console. You will then be asked to log in. Choose the installation to be repaired by number (usually 1) and press "Enter". When you are asked for the Administrator password, leave it blank and press "Enter".

System Restore using Recovery Console

This procedure can be used when windows will not start and Safe Mode options are not effective. It allows access to the system restore folders in order to recover from a corrupt registry.
Boot from the Windows XP installation CD...after the first several screens load, you will be given a choice to choose R for Recovery Console. You will then be asked to log in. Choose the installation to be repaired by number (usually 1) and press "Enter". When you are asked for the Administrator password, leave it blank and press "Enter".

When you get to the recovery console prompt:

  • Type cd \ and press "Enter".
  • Type cd system~1\_resto~1 and press "Enter".
  • Type dir and press "Enter".
After you press enter you will see a list of folders (like rp1, rp2) If the list of restore points has more than one page then press the "Enter" key until you reach the end of the list
  • Type cd rp {number of the second to last folder in the list} and press "Enter". (Example: Type cd rp9 if rp10 is the last restore point.)
  • Type cd snapshot and press "Enter".
  • Type copy _registry_machine_system c:\windows\system32\config\system and press "Enter".
  • Type copy _registry_machine_software c:\windows\system32\config\software and press "Enter".
  • Type exit and press "Enter".
Your PC will reboot.

If you get an access denied error when doing the above, then do the following at the recovery console:
  • Type cd \ and press "Enter".
  • Type cd windows\system32\config and press "Enter".
  • Type ren system system.bak and press "Enter".
  • Type exit and press "Enter".
Your PC will reboot, go back into the Recovery Console and start from the beginning.


If you do need to repeat the procedure, then select the "next earliest Restore Point" and repeat.

Keep us posted with your progress.

Best Regards,
Doug
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#6
BerDov

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Doug,

Thank you very much for your help! I appreciate it more than I can express it. Unfortunately, life, i.e. work, took over. I an on a deadline all this week and then have to leave town for a week so the PC -- most likely-- will have to wait.

I just remembered capturing a screen shot of the AVG report, when the problems first started. You are welcome to see it on http://www.bfcollect...lt_20081005.jpg
I trust it will tell you more than it told me.

Warm regards,
Boris
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#7
Doug

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Hi Boris,

No Problem. :)
Real life takes precedent over Forum and Internet acitivities......... or at least it does at my house.

The great thing about G2G forum is that it will be there when you return.
Take it easy and enjoy your deadline work.
I'll make sure to subscribe to notification for when you post back.
But there are also dozens of excellent Techs here that can and will help as they see the opportunity.
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#8
BerDov

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.

Edited by BerDov, 03 November 2008 - 02:14 PM.

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#9
BerDov

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Doug,
I have finally opened the computer today and vacuumed it;
Then I inserted the Installation CD
the PC went through

“Windows Setup”
“setup is loading files... Ram, Kernell,etc “ on the bottom

Then I Pressed R for Recovery

got this screen:

c:\windows
Which windows installation would you like to log onto
To cancel, press Enter>?

<entered 1> ; <pressed Enter>

Type the admin password: <left blank; pressed Enter>
got c:\windows
<typed cd \>; pressed Enter
got C:\>
Typeed cd system~1\_resto~1 and pressed "Enter"

got: Access is denied

followed these steps:

Type cd \ and press "Enter". = DONE
Type cd windows\system32\config and press "Enter". = DONE
Type ren system system.bak and press "Enter". = DONE
Type exit and press "Enter". = DONE

rebooted; went to setup screen; selected R;

Which windows installation would you like to log onto
To cancel, press Enter>?

<entered 1> ; <pressed Enter>

no password required; switched to c:\windows;

switched to c:\>

Typeed cd system~1\_resto~1 and pressed "Enter".
Typeed dir and pressed "Enter".
Found only one folder: RP0 and one file: _driver.cfg

typed cd rp0 and pressed enter

found 5 files there: change.log dated 11/02/08 and change.log.1 through log.4 ; all are 502 bytes;

I did not see anywhere an option to cd to \snapshot\ and could proceed with the step

Type cd snapshot and press "Enter".

Any advice please?

THanks,
Boris
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#10
Doug

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Hi Boris,

From your reported results, it appears that your machine did not have System Restore turned on, and no Restore Points had been saved.

You may need to reconsider the "last resort" solution of re-installing XP.

If you are given an option for Repair Installation, you may wish to try that, since it could allow you to retain the software applications that you have already installed and will not (in most cases) damage your saved files.

Otherwise, you may be faced with Format and Reinstall.

In all cases (repair or format and reinstall) you will need to visit MS Updates immediately to download and install the few hundred critical updates necessary to keep your system running smoothly and safely.

Best Regards
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#11
BerDov

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Doug,

Thank you for reviewing the notes.

I am not knowledgeable enough to realize that the System Restore can be turned on/off. Where is it done? I’d like to make sure this is done on my laptop. Also, is there such an option on the Vista OS?

I have not seen “Repair Installation” option anywhere on my disks. Is there a CD that contains the option?

Finally, it just occurred to me to call HP tech support. They told me that whatever RECOVERY option exists, will involve formatting C drive and reinstalling the OS anew. However, HP techies can supposedly access my PC remotely and perform SYSTEM RESTORE, for a $60 fee since the PC is out of warranty. I did not think to ask how this can be done since the PC is not operational, i.e. there is no s/w that will allow it to communicate (or may be they know better?). In any case, I’d rather tried doing it myself first.

So, do you know if there is a CD with the ‘system restore’ option?

Any other comment?

Thank you much!

Boris
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#12
Doug

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If what you have for installing Windows XP is an HP branded CD, then you are limited to the options that HP has provided.
Unhappily, "branded installation CD's" often only provide for Full Reformat and Fresh installation of the XP Operating System.

In such a case, you would lose all of your installed Drivers, applications, and data.
It is possible that you have a (2nd) second HP installation CD that has Drivers and applications to re-install after a fresh installation of the Windows XP.

If not, you can download the necessary MotherBoard and Chipset Drivers from the HP website by searching on your machine Model Number and serial number.

You will always have to visit MS Updates to download and install critical updates after a re-install.

In my experience, I have had "some" but limited success with using HP online chat correspondence to attempt to resolve problems with HP machines.
I have had no experience with their remote access Fee-Based services.
_______________________

System Restore on/off switch and settings can be accessed as follows:
Right-Click on My Computer
Select - Properties
Select - System Restore(Tab)
Remove- the checkmark/tick from in front of: "Turn off System Restore on all drives"

Then check the "Settings" (button) to decide how much space to reserve for System Restore (about 1024mb is sufficient)
It is important to have System Restore "active" for your primarily Drive where your operating system is located. (usually C:\ )
It is not necessary to have System Restore active on any other drives that might be used for backup or saving documents and media, or extra drives that might be dedicated to containing various application software programs.
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#13
BerDov

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Doug,

thank you again.

I decided to call HP and the conversation is transcribed for the benefit (hopefully) of others.

The first guy who answered was apparently customer service, not tech. Support. He said that the tech support will do everything, including remotely accessing my PC. They cannot help me only if there is h/w problem. Then he charged me $59.95.

I Was switched then to a tech to whom I described all I have done to the machine. He said that unless I had a recovery partition on C:\, he will not be able to help me. I said I did not have one and his reply was that the only option is to format C & reinstall the OS. I said I could do it on my own and asked to reverse the charges. They agreed. Now I have to watch the bill to make sure it happened.

I do remember seeing a system.sav folder on C:\ but do not know what it contains and whether I can use its data.

Before reinstalling the OS, I went into the Setup Utility (by tapping F10). There is an “IDE DPS Self-Test” menu item, which I decided to execute. The “estimated time” given was 89 min, of which about 15 have passed. If anything comes up worth reporting, I will. Otherwise, I will reinstall the OS.

Boris
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#14
Doug

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Bummer, but OK.

Do you have the motherboard chipset drivers on CD?
Do you have another machine that you can gain access to HP Website?
If you do, find your machine model/serial # and download the available drives that correspond to your machine.
Save/Burn them to CD for installation after you reinstall XP
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#15
BerDov

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Doug,

Thank you again, but your latest advise is above my pay grade.

My PC is a custom built Compaq Presario (built by Compaq), model 8000T. There is no specific model number. On the packing list, the PC is called Presario Raptor/SG CTO (i.e. configured to order); the motherboard is probable described as “P4 NW 533 2.8 RapSG”
If I am mistaken, I could scan the entire packing list for you to see.
The HP web site shows seven models:
» Compaq Presario 8000T-P8654M Desktop PC
» Compaq Presario 8000T-P8655B Desktop PC
» Compaq Presario 8000T-P8655C Desktop PC
» Compaq Presario 8000T-P8655K Desktop PC
» Compaq Presario 8000T-P8656D Desktop PC
» Compaq Presario 8000T-P8656T Desktop PC
» Compaq Presario 8000T-P8657A Desktop PC

I do not know which one has “my” mother board. May be one of them is close...

Question: will I encounter a problem once the C drive is wiped out and the OS is installed becauwe I do not know what motherboard it is?

Yes, I have a laptop and can download and burn whatever, but I need to know what.

Any suggestion now?

Thanks,

Boris
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