I am absolutely at my wits end, and I really don't know if there is any way to save this laptop. But I'd like to at least ask and make certain.
This is not my laptop. It is a friend of a friends' who for some reason seems bent on having me work on it, even though I'm mediocre at best, and bumbling at least.
This is a Dell Inspiron 1525 Laptop, with Windows XP Professional
The history behind this mess:
As I understand it, the owner of the laptop had Norton Antivirus installed upon purchase. For some reason, they also had a CD of Macafee. The laptop worked fine, as near as I was told, until randomly, the laptop owner's brother decided to install the Macafee for her.
The computer then bluescreened.
Thats when It came to me. I used the XP CD to repair, and that finally allowed the computer to boot back up. When this happened, I thought that I was finished (as the blue screen was the only problem I was told about) so I removed Macafee (even though Norton wasn't showing) shut down and sent the laptop back to the owner. She came back complaining that Firefox was not working.
After much gnashing of teeth and laboring over what in the world was wrong with this laptop, I finally came to the conclussion that the registry paths had become corrupt in some way. I threw my hands up, and told the owner to just take the thing back to Dell and get them to backup info and fresh install.
That was a few months ago. Now, for whatever reason, the thing has come back to me, without going to Dell.
I wanted to try and help, so I decided to have another look and see if I could do anything to fix the registry. I came across instructions for fixing a corupt registry using the Setup CD, and followed those instructions for the recovery console.
I was in the middle of the instructions, going down the list of commands:
copy c:\windows\system32\config\system c:\windows\tmp\system.bak
copy c:\windows\system32\config\software c:\windows\tmp\software.bak
copy c:\windows\system32\config\sam c:\windows\tmp\sam.bak
copy c:\windows\system32\config\security c:\windows\tmp\security.bak
copy c:\windows\system32\config\default c:\windows\tmp\default.bak
When I entered the bolded command, instead of working, as the others, this one stated that the file could not be found. This is, I think, where the further fubaring began. (Please, as you roll your eyes at me from this point on, remember that I was forced into this task, and never claimed to be able to do any of this, and I'm sorry ;_
When that failed, it exited out of the recovery console and began to reboot. I had high hopes that the computer was going to boot up correctly, and the registry would be free of invalid/incorrect paths.
Instead, I got a boot loop stating "When trying to update a password this return status undicated that the value provided as the current password is not correct". I researched this error and started to worry very much because many stated that this error was not fixable. Then, a beam of light, I came upon a thread which had a good many people offering solutions. One of which stated that they had used their fix 3 times successfully. I decided to use their fix.
This is the post that I began to follow.
This seemed to be working great, until I got the point where you reboot and log into the corrupted user and delete the new user made. Because the corrupted user doesn't show. Only this new user. There is a folder for the corrupted user in the Documents and Settings folder. This looks like the average user folder, but for some reason, the computer does not give me the option to log into this user. So now I am sitting on the laptop with a User and a blank OS and I have no clue what to do. The information is sitting there mocking me, and I just have this sinking feeling that there is no way to restore the old user.
Please help, if you can. And do not yell too hard at me. I know that I have caused extra grief on this, but I was only trying to help, and protested doing it the entire time. -_-