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Windows XP Recovery Disk Problem


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#1
Chrash

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Hello everyone.

I just registered on this forum in the hopes of just getting an answer, good or bad!

My problem started with a virus. Don't know what it was called, just recognized and ran a successful virus scan.
After McAfee repaired or quarantined the malware, I did a reboot. This is where the real problem started. I could not log into my system again. I would get to the login screen, and after choosing the user to logon with (didn't matter which including admin), the system would boot and come up to my background screen. But then, instead of completing the load, the system would just log me off again. No matter how many times I tried to log on, it would just log me off againg.

After checking online with my wife's computer (the one I'm on now), I came across several solutions, most of which said that I had to delete and recopy userinit.exe and wsaupdater.exe by using the recovery disk that came with my computer. Pretty simple solution to a difficult problem or so I thought.

After loading the recovery disk and entering R enter recovery mode, the computer was supposed to ask which system I wanted to repair and since I only had one Windows operating system, I was supposed to just press 1 and hit enter. Here's where the problem lies. My recovery console doesn't offer me any options. It just comes up with the dos cursor for C:> and that's it. No C:\Windows or anything else. I can't switch directories, copy, delete or anything. Once again checking forums and help sites has led me to total confusion. Some help sites say that my windows os is corrupt and that I need to go through a ton of stuff to just be able to access windows to start repairs. Some say I need to create a disk such as BartPE or Linux to help repair my system. I'm at a loss at this point, because this is where my very very limited use of computers comes in.

What do I do? Do I attempt to use BartPE, format my harddisk and start over, or take my computer to an expert.

I'll settle for anything at this point and would appreciate any help offered on this forum.

For your info, I can follow step by step instructions on how to repair things so if there's any advice on how to repair it, I can do it.

I really would appreciate any info, even if it is bad!

In advance, I thank you for your time
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#2
The Skeptic

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can you write and execute any commands in C> when in recovery console? If yes, type checkdsk / r (please note the space in the command) and press Enter. Let the process run to the end. It can take quite a long time depending on disk size and condition.
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#3
Chrash

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I was able to type commands such as chkdsk, help which gave me a list of dos commands, so I typed chkdsk/ r and it replied "The volume appears to contain one or more unrecoverable problems."

This is more than I got before, but I'm coserned about what it means. Sounds bad lol!

Any reply would be appreciated
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#4
The Skeptic

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It looks like your hard disk is logically damaged and chkdsk cannot overcome the problem. What I do in such cases is to perform low-level format. This zeroes all the bits on the hard disk. After that you must initialize and then format the hard disk. This can be done by creating a bootable CD of GParted (a link in my list below).

Zeroing the drive is usually done with an option available (not always) on the disk manufacturer's hard disk test tool. If you want us to help you to find the correct tool we must know the brand. For this you have to take the disk out.

Could you give us some details about the computer (desktop or laptop, brand, operating system)

Edited by The Skeptic, 02 February 2009 - 02:27 PM.

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#5
Chrash

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Hello again, sorry for the delay in getting back to you on this. I was out of town.

Anyways, I did a full format on my C drive and wound up with the ability to run my recovery disc.
Now I have a problem with my bootcfg.ini file. It says that it failed and continually loops back and reboots. I did a rebuild using the recovery disc, and everything seems to be right. It even shows my operating sytem as Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition, and after doing a fast... (can't remember that last command), I exited and rebooted, but the same problem. My bootcfg.ini file fails. I guess my biggest question is, is the OS disc that came with my Dell computer the right disc for reloading windows from scratch or is it simply just a recovery disc? In other words, do I need to get a full copy of Windows XP and install it?

Once again, sorry for the delay in my response, but reformatting did seem the way to go.

Thank you for the time in helping me out.
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#6
The Skeptic

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I guess that all recovery disks can perform full recovery which equals clean format. I say that I guess, not sure, because where I live most computers are not brand names, so I am not an expert with Dell computers.

I am not sure I understood your last post. How did you perform the full format, was it independently of the recovery process? What do you mean by "I did a rebuild using the recovery disc ..."?
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#7
Chrash

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Hi Skeptic,

Well, I used format from the recovery disc, and not the fast format, the long one if that makes sense. I thought my recovery disc was not the right one, so I took it to the geek squad at bestbuy and they assured me that it was the xp operating disc. It is a Dell computer so the disc is the one they sent with my computer.

Ok, so after formatting 3 times, and running the recovery disc to setup windows, i'm still getting the same problem. Typed how it appears at the top of the screen. My eyes are getting old and it is a fast flash, but this is what it says:

boot.ini fail
directory C:windows/ (this is the one I really can't read, but this is close)
NTDETECT.COM fail

So after the 3rd time of checking and typing boot.ini and NTDETECT.COM all i can say is that boot.ini is perfect. looks exactly the way it's supposed to. When I type NTDETECT.COM it gives me basic language I think, and I can't understand that at all, so I'm just accepting that it's right as well.

Now, here's a new thing. I ran a chkdsk /p and it still says that it detects errors. what am I doing wrong, or not doing at all? this is starting to bother me and I'm really patient.

I even tried to click on your link for the low level format, but that window wouldn't display. I do have a flash drive, so if that's the way i'm supposed to go for the low level format, i'd appreciate a walk through of it.

Again, Thanks for your time and patience.

Will await a reply
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#8
The Skeptic

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Try to fix the problem by using the Recovery Console. For this you will need xp installation cd.

To get to the Recovery Console insert the disk into the cd drive and reboot the computer. Setup Windows screen will show up. If it doesn't, enter BIOS and set the cd drive to be first priority boot device.

Let Setup run until three options are shown. Choose Recovery Console by pressing R. When asked for XP installation type 1 (assuming you have only one operating system installed). When asked for password type your password or press Enter if you don't have a passwoed. A black DOS-like screen will show up. Please run the following commands, rebooting after each command by typing EXIT at the prompt and pressing Enter.


Step1: run chkdsk /r and not chkdsk /p. The command will check all the drive's sectors and will try to repair corrupted ones. This, in my opinion, the most powerful, useful of all recovery console commands. If this doesn't solve the NTDETECT problem go to step 2.

Step 2: Fix corrupt NTLDR or NTDETECT files. At the prompt type:

COPY X:\i386\NTLDR C: and press Enter (please note the space before C:)
COPY X:\i386\NTDETECT.COM C: and press Enter.

Note: X should be replaced by the drive letter of the CD drive in which the disk is. If still no good go step 3.

Step 3: Corrupt boot sector.

At the prompt type fixboot and press Enter
At the prompt type fixmbr and press Enter

If all this don't work then we will return to the sector zeroing option. It could help a lot if we knew the manufacturer of the hard disk. If possible please take the hard disk out and find who the manufacturer is. Dell do not make disks so it should be something like Seagae, Samsung, WD, Maxtor etc.

Edited by The Skeptic, 07 February 2009 - 03:03 AM.

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#9
Chrash

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Ok, did the chkdsk /r and these were the results:

134217724 KB total disk space
133736568 KB available

4096 bytes in each allocation unit
33554431 Total allocation units on disk
33434142 allocation units available on disk

Then copied both i386 files that you requested. Copied fine.

Typed fixboot and nothing happened
Typed fixmbr and uh oh! Says it doesn't recognize the drive format and that if I wished to continue, I would not be able to access it when done.

I could tell you exactly what it says if you want, but atm my comp is off because I took out my HDD. The info on that is:

Seagate
Barracuda 7200.7
160 Gig

Anyways, looks like I'm losing alot of memory there.

Let me know if you want me to continue with the fixboot and fixmbr.

Look forward to hearing from you.... or maybe, only if there's good news lol
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#10
Chrash

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Well, just cleaned the inside of the case, reinstalled the HDD and rebooted to recovery.

Typed fixboot C: and it asks:
Are you sure you want to write a new bootsector to the partition C:?

What do I do next?
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#11
The Skeptic

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Allow it to create a new boot sector.
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#12
Chrash

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Allright, says:
The new bootsector was successfully written.
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#13
The Skeptic

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Type "exit" to boot the computer.
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#14
Chrash

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Ok, done!

No Luck. What's next?

By the way, what kind of hard drive would you recommend if I decide to buy a new one? And, could I get a decent one at Best Buy? Not worried about the cost. A few bucks is no big deal if I can just get this running today maybe.

All this, of course, if I can't recover this one.
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#15
The Skeptic

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Seagate have a hard disk utility which, unfortunately, does not include the zeroing option. Other manufacturers do have but they will not work on a disk of another manufacturer. There are free tools available like this one. Please read the instructions "How to Boot from CD". You have to download "Bootable ISO Image for KillDisk for DOS Free version" and burn the ISO file to a CD to a create abootable CD.

I never used this particular tool but there shouldn't be any problems, I guess.

Regarding another hard disk: my personal choice is Western Digital but I really don't think that there are any noticeable differences between this and the other. I never so a comperative study that could give a definite answer as whose disks are better.
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