Back story, it is lengthy, sorry, but I have tried so many things that it just adds up. For the short version, scroll down to "-----"
Nearly a week ago, my computer had probs booting, had to try a couple of times until it worked - partially, that is. Everything was running fine except a) Firefox (Opera was o.k., portable Firefox was o.k., so was Thunderbird) and b) Avast. (Tried things like Explorer, Nero - everything else was o.k.).
Firefox caused the system to freeze. I was able to identify one folder (cookies.sqlite) in the profile that caused this - even when I tried to just copy the folder to an external hard drive.
When I tried to run an Avast virus scan, the system crashed with a blue-screen and the problem code "Stop 0x00000077 KERNEL_STACK_INPAGE_ERROR".
Both happened multiple times, the system ran chkdsk multiple times, so I saved all my data and did a system restore with Acronis from a 2 week-old backup, that worked just fine. Did updates, ran Avast again (including a boot-scan), both came back clear. Same with anti-malware-scans (Malawarebytes, Superantispyware, Spybot).
So, so far everything was hunky-dory. The system worked, but being concerned about a failing hard-drive, I ran chkdisk again manually, which returned some faults that were fixed. I then ran Seatools which came back with errors. Ran the Hitachi tool (it's a 3 y/o Hitachi hard-drive) that also showed a "bad disk" result. I used their fixing feature that only fixes (moves?) faulty clusters. Ran their scan again - still faulty. Rang Hitachi. They suggested to do a full disk erase and the re-scan the disk and if still faulty I would have to replace it. I initiated this, but judging from the progress it would have taken months to run (after 12 hours it was still at 0%). So I aborted it and got myself a SSD as a replacement as I really very much do need a functioning computer now.
I restored the old (functioning) Acronis- backup from 2 weeks ago to the SSD and that's when things went really bad. First of all, the restore took some 18 or 19 hours (when that same restore to the HD the day before had only taken about 4-5ish). Acronis said the restore was successful, but when I tried to boot the computer the screen just remained dark with only the cursor blinking in the left upper corner. I was able to enter BIOS and the SSD was recognized correctly (It's the Samsung 840 EVO SSD, so it is definitely compatible with XP).
Getting desperate, I decided to give up on it and just re-install that HD that was presumably not entirely o.k., but at least working for now. And again, the restore through Acronis suddenly took 18-19 hours on the HD as well. Again it was successful as per Acronis, but when trying to start the computer, the same thing happened: screen remained black with only the blinking cursor.
Since then, I tried so many things, that I might not remember them all, but here are some:
- Tried to run XP from a CD, wanting to access the recovery console. For some strange reason, I don't get that option, just the option to re-install the operating system. (It is not an original XP-CD but a copy from a friend who made this for me for this explicit reason "in case something goes wrong"). The installation seems to work fine (both HD and SSD are recognized and the Windows-files get copied). Then, when the computer restarts, it only goes to the dark screen with the cursor again. Or, if I leave the CD in, it says to press any key to start from CD (again on a black screen).
- Tried to run XP from bootable diskettes. I get as far as as the last one. When XP is about to start I get a blue-screen with error code 0X0000007B, which is "inaccessible boot device". I tried this multiple times.
- Did a Lenovo Rescue & Recovery (on the SSD) from an old backup from 2010 (with little software and no data). It was successful and I was also able to see that the Acronis restore that I had done before had been successful as the data was displayed when I set the R&R up. Except it did not solve the boot-problem (no change).
- Made sure the hard-drive settings in BIOS are in "compatibility mode"
- tried running mbrfix but failed as I didn't know how to. It's an exe-file that I cannot boot from and that opens a DOS-window only on a computer with a functioning windows os.
- tried to run an MS-DOS-diskette - unsuccessfully. I can boot from it, but don't know what command to enter and what that would do.
- tried to run the Lenovo Master Boot Record Repair Kit on it, which didn't work (wrong indication so to speak as this is supposed to fix non-booting computers that have both SafeGuard Easy and Rescue and Recovery installed, which isn't my problem.
- tried to get the last functioning version of XP to run, which didn't work as there didn't seem to be one (pressed F8 on startup and nothing happened - just that cursor again)
- tried to press F6 which is supposed to fix problems with driver support, it then prompted me to insert the CD or diskette with the driver that I do not have (and wouldn't know which one anyhow. Plus Lenovo drivers should be on the system ???). Also I think there was some option about BIOS that I am weary about for the obvious reasons.
I might have tried a few other things, but honestly do not recall. I am obviously getting pretty desperate here. I just don't have the computer-knowledge to analyze this logically. I also do not have any professional repair shop to turn to (unless I send the computer somewhere for a repair, which I can't do for time-reasons). Your help is therefore much appreciated.