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Major issues restarting computer


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tbkent

tbkent

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hi everyone. this is my first post here and, predictably, i'm having a major OS problem (i think). i will do the following:

- describe the problem
- tell you what i've already done (and importantly, what i CANNOT do)
- give as many pertinent system details as i can.

i know there are related posts; i've read many. i just don't see any where people get all the way through an issue like i have. perhaps i won't either.


THE PROBLEM

my laptop has not been in peak form for months. i know i don't do as good a job avoiding malware as i should, and i very rarely give it the chance to restart appropriately. that said, it's been a very dependable machine for browsing (even 30+ tabs!), Office, and medium level gaming for a few years now. i need to get a new one, but i'd really prefer to not have this one complete crap out.

yesterday i took the laptop to a friend's to use it there for a few hours. it worked fine, connected to his network without any issues, etc. i then closed it and put it back in my bag, later opening it at my place. it hung on the logon screen, apparently fatally (the cursor would not move, ctrl+alt+del did nothing), so i hard rebooted it by holding the power button and then turning it back on. ever since, it has not worked properly at all.

when i restart it, Windows allows me to log on, but when it's loaded it hangs when i do ANYTHING. for example, hitting the quickstart button near the left end of the bottom bar, near the Windows/Start button, freezes the laptop fatally. ctrl+alt+del then yields only a message that the security something has failed to load.


WHAT I'VE DONE

i restarted it in safe mode and removed a lot of junk programs i don't need/want. however, those that were installed with the Windows Installer cannot be uninstalled, as that feature seems to not load properly (i get an error message when i try to uninstall these programs). some of these are things that might be really important to remove, like Genieo (i did not put this on my computer on purpose, i think it was bloatware attached to some other software i thought i wanted) and the few most recently installed programs. i also removed some things from my Startup that i thought might be causing the problem.

none of this has helped. a helpful friend gave me a Windows 7 recovery disk (i am running Vista but it seems to run correctly anyway), so i changed the BIOS settings to boot from the DVD drive and booted from this disk. i have attempted to run chkdsk c: /r from the recovery disk boot, so as not to run it on startup while booting from c: (this actually failed to happen after i told it to do it upon restart), but it hung fatally at 14% completion (similar to this thread: http://www.geekstogo...s-in-safe-mode/). i am certain it stopped - it was on the same file for 16 hours. i have now restarted chkdsk and will see what happens. it seems clear from the chkdsk screen, though, that my hard disk may be about done.


WHAT I [probably] CAN'T DO

i've read a lot of threads here between yesterday and today, and i see a lot of "please download this application, run it, and paste a screenshot/copy and paste a log file." i don't think i can do any of this, unless there's a way to do so while booting from the recovery disk. in normal mode, as i mentioned, trying to run any application freezes the computer entirely; in safe mode, it will not connect to a wireless network (which is my only option for connectivity). so, i think i need options that depend upon booting from other drives and running diagnostic or repair utilities from there. i'm sorry, but i don't see how i can interact in the way i see in other threads.


MY COMPUTER

i have a Toshiba Sattelite laptop;
running Windows Vista (Home Premium);
i bought it in about 2009;
the OS is the original installed version, i have never reinstalled or upgraded;
i don't know the processor exactly but it's an Intel Core 2 Duo;
i don't know what else you'll need to know.


i'd really appreciate any advice. my desired result, in order of preference, is:
1) get the laptop running again, to the point where i can leisurely backup my stuff onto a new computer (which i've already ordered), then continue to use it for gaming and maybe watching Netflix, OR
2) reformat the hard disk, reinstall Windows, and hopefully salvage some usability as a backup laptop, OR
3) at least capture as much of the data on the hard disk as possible. i have no external drives but i would be happy to buy some USB sticks.

thanks so much for reading this.
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