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#1
n3ko

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Hello!

First, I'd like to say thanks for all the help I've read here over the years - it's the reason I'm registering to ask advice now. =)

Pertinent Info:
HP dv9608nr
XP Pro SP3, rebuilt from Vista (or was...)

So, recently my OS has been acting more and more unstable. Repeated preoblems with the registry have caused it to crash or take a few times to reboot. I would make a repair attempt, things would seem fine for a while, then it's back and worse then ever. No scans with various virus, spyware or adware programs showed anything.

Today, computer seemed fine, went about usual maintenance, backed up files, and it had a few shaky moments, but seemed OK. Went to MS Update, and got the latest. Computer will not boot.

OK, Safe Mode, tried to restore to a very good restore point. BSOD in the middle of the process. On restart, now it won't boot at all, not into windows, safe mode, nada. BSOD, sometimes with errors beforehand such as "could not initialize" or "bad or missing registry entry".

Having used the XP repair listed on this site to great advantage in helping friends in the past to repair their systems, I gave it a try. No XP Installation found. Went to Recovery Console and rebuilt the boot sector, ntldr & ntdetect - XP Installation now found. Yay! Proceeded with repair.

Not only did it crash in the setup stage and have to restart several times though, when it finally did set up it crashed a few more times before stabilizing enough to run. All data and files but the drivers for my devices (hand installed when I rebuilt to XP) are gone. Good thing I back-up often.

Having started windows updates, the system is still very shaky and prone to crashing. I've only done 2 updates so far. Some of the errors are from LSASS.exe (checked, it's the valid one, not the virus) and some are from wuauclt.exe, some are just the screen display cutting off after reboot (though plugging in a monitor to the VGA outlet shows fine, so I don't think that's the problem). No recent hardware changes, and the errors I'm getting suggests it's the software that's corrupt.

So, professional opinion: Do I quit while I'm ahead and just nuke the partition, create a new one, reformat and start from scratch?

It's more work, but not that much more since everything was lost anyway. I wonder if the drivers that were saved are corrupt and causing the continued problems, in which case this may be the best and only real solution... aside from drop-kicking it across the street, and that would both hurt and still leave me without a laptop. :)
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#2
Broni

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Run hard drive diagnostics: http://www.tacktech....ay.cfm?ttid=287
Make sure, you select tool, which is appropriate for the brand of your hard drive.
Depending on the program, it'll create bootable floppy, or bootable CD.
If downloaded file is of .iso type, use ImgBurn: http://www.imgburn.com/ to burn .iso file to a CD (select "Write image file to disc" option), and make the CD bootable.

NOTE. If your hard drive is made by Toshiba, unfortunately, you're out of luck, because Toshiba doesn't provide any diagnostic tool.
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#3
n3ko

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Thanks Broni! Will do. :)

I forgot to add earlier that I ran chkdsk \p \r from Recovery before repairing, too. It did say it recovered some files, but not what.

It's past my bedtime now, so I've got to end for the night. Work tomorrow too, but I'll try and get this done tomorrow evening and will report back. Have a birthday and a wedding to go to this weekend, though, so if it takes me some time to respond, I apologize in advance. These things always happen to me when I don't have any real time. *sigh*

Just on the off-chance, should I run Memtest too? It's about the only thing I didn't try in my earlier investigations, but I didn't really think this looked like a memory failure issue... not that I have any real expertise. I could kill two proverbial birds...

[edit:] Not sure what my HD is, forgot. will have to look it up in BIOS, but I'm pretty sure it's Seagate or Samsung.

Edited by n3ko, 10 September 2009 - 09:59 PM.

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#4
Broni

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Memtest would be my next thought.
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#5
n3ko

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Ugh. Decided to bring my laptop into work and run the scans here - save some time.

The Hard Drive Diagnostic has been running for about 45 minutes, with no progress being shown in the progress bar... The user guide says the quick test should take about 3 minutes. The disk is running and talking to itself, but no progress shown. It's a 160 gb disk.

Is this normal? When I started the scan it flashed a dialog saying "disable mouse contoller" then started the scan...

Do I stick with it, or try to start over?

[Edit:] OK, so I was just talking with a friend and co-worker who is the manager of our IT/IS group.

He thinks I should just blow the partition, reformat and reinstall - don't install any drivers for a week or two and see if things stay stable. When I told him I'd tried a repair he shook his head and asked why I wasted my time. LOL

He feels it's not at all likely to be a memory issue, since then the computer would not boot at all. He says he's never seen bad RAM eat a registry like this, so it's most likely not the problem - that's kind of what I was thinking.

He thinks it could be a corrupt OS, conflicting drivers, bad Hard Drive, Bad HD Controller or failing Mobo.

If the first, a repartition, format and reinstall will fix the problem.

The second would be unlikely, since in the last two years there's been no problems, but an update could start some errors that maybe could compound - test by clean install, wait on installing drivers, then do them one at a time and see.

The third, if the clean install fails at any point, we know it's either that or the next two options. Buying a new HD would show if it were the HD or the Controller/Mobo.

If controller, see if there are any firmware updates. If Mobo, either replace or get a new laptop.

Sigh.

This is almost exactly along the lines I was thinking last night, but I was too tired to articulate them properly. I agree with all of this, but am willing to stick with the Disk Diagnostic if you think I should...

Opinions?

Edited by n3ko, 11 September 2009 - 09:17 AM.

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#6
n3ko

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Very sorry for the double-post, but my edits to the last one were getting very long.

I gave up and tried to cancel the last scan - no go. Thing had completely timed out. Had to cold re-start.

I tried running it again, and same problem - first it flashes the message "Disable Mouse Controllers" and then it flies through a bunch of checks. It stops on "Analyzing Mechanics", DVD Drive stops spinning, and just freezes with the HD talking to itself. First time I let it run for nearly 2 hours. Last time one hour. Manual says it should take 3 minutes.

I'm going to lose my mind. :) Anyone have a different drive diagnostic to try?

BTW, chkdsk never found any bad sectors on the drive, any time I ran it. Did fix some files, but never found bad sectors...
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#7
makai

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If you already got your data backed up, just nuke the drive. It's a waste of time to go through trying to figure out what's going on. You've probably already spent more time troubleshooting than it would take to nuke it and reinstall.
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#8
n3ko

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Hi Makai, and thanks. Too right! And while I love working things out, I hate it when things get to this frustration level. I'll probably learn more at this point with a fresh install anyway. Too bad I didn't think to bring my XP disk in along with my laptop. X]

Thanks again! And thanks to Broni for your great suggestions and trying to help. I do have my data well backed up, I just wasn't relishing the thought of re-installing all my drivers again. I guess I just wanted to be sure that I wan't missing something that could save what was left.

I think in future, I'm going to start making image back-ups of my system. I can't believe system restore crapped out on me like that... Ah well, live and learn.
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#9
makai

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I've worked on so many people's computers I lost count. If I have to spend more than 4 hours without success on something like you're experiencing, I just dump the computer and reinstall.

I personally use Acronis True Image to image every computer I build, own, or repair for clients. I always create the image directly after the computer is fully loaded and customized. If for any reason I need to reimage a drive, it takes less than 20 minutes to get the computer up and running again exactly in the same state it was in when I created the image. Yes, imaging is HIGHLY reccommended!
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#10
n3ko

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Thanks so much for the reccomendation! That's a program that's been mentioned to me before too. I don't have $50 to spend on software at the moment, though. Just had to buy new hinges and a new bezel for the laptop - just repaired it and then this. LOL, computers... :)

Also just moved and am sorting out a new budget. Acronis is off the table for now, though I'll definitely buy it once I can.

Until then, do you know of any good freeware or a manual method of imaging your drive? I'll be rebuilding when I get home, I'd really like to image it as soon as I'm done, as you suggest.
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#11
makai

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Acronis has a free 15 day trial. Once you reload the computer... download, install, and image away. You'll probably need to buy it later to reclaim the image though... but I wouldn't know because I bought it before I ever had a need to use it! By the way, make two images... not just one image, and then copy it... two separate images. This is insurance at least one will work if you need it to.
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#12
n3ko

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Fantastic! :)

I'll definitely do that then. If the rebuild goes well (knock on wood), I probably wouldn't need it until I can buy it, either. This OS lasted me 2 years, and my desktop has lasted since I rebuilt it a bit over 3 years ago. I try and take good care of them.

Still wish I knew what caused the meltdown... If only to make sure it doesn't happen ever again. Could MS Update have caused all that? Compounding a previously small registry error so badly and so suddenly that the system became unrecoverable?
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#13
makai

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unrecoverable

I guess it depends on who's doing the recovery. I'm sure if you paid someone, it would have been recoverable... expensive, but recoverable. There are a lot of tricks to mess with the registry... ie, any one of the PE builds.

Yes, MS update could have done something, but I wouldn't fret about it. Just move on to a clean system and you'll be much happier! :)
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#14
n3ko

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I read about the PE builds. Thought about it, but by then I was just too irritated.

I did try the Windows registry recovery from Recovery Console. Before that I couldn't boot at all. After that I could boot, but there was nothing there. I mean, absolutely black screen after the XP Load screen. Same in Safe Mode. No folders, no taskbar, no recycle bin... So, I couldn't progress from step 1. That's what I meant by unrecoverable, though perhaps PE could have done it.

I honestly think the failure of system restore to take me back to the restore point, on top of whatever the updates compunded, pretty much gutted my system - perhaps a data recovery service could have pulled files had I needed them, I have some good programs for that myself, but what I mean was to repair it to a workable and stable system again. Just wans't going to happen, I think.

I debated, reversed the file copies, ran chkdsk, repaired the whole boot sector... still wouldn't boot, but at least the install disk detected an XP install - which it didn't before I did all of that.

But, you're right again. No use puzzling. My OCD is going to make me wonder for a while, but once I have my system back to normal I'll feel much better. :)

Why do I feel like it's just not going to be so easy... every time computer work seems straightforward, something hits the fan for me. :)

Thanks again for all your help!

Edited by n3ko, 11 September 2009 - 01:31 PM.

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#15
makai

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No problem, you're welcome! You know where to find us if you need us! Take care, and good luck!

makai
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