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Old 10-09-2008, 04:22 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Severe computer issue

Okay, I do a lot of minor repairs / hardware installation / general easy stuff for friends, but this one is a little beyond me.

First, this is a computer about 2 yrs old with windows xpsp2.

My friend said a few weeks ago his IE had quit working. As I had mentioned to them before, switch to firefox. So I burnt them a copy of the firefox install program. Wouldn't run.

So they started using the "MSN browser" (?). This morning, my friend got a bubble message saying that an update was available for IE7. So he downloaded it. Almost immediately, explorer crashed and has not come back up.

When the computer boots, it seems normal enough in terms of speed of start, etc... After the welcome screen, though, all we see is the background image. ctrl+alt+del will not bring up the task manager. The only thing useful I can get it to do is boot to safe mode with the command prompt. I ran the chkdsk command from there, and it said there is free space marked as allocated space and that there are system errors. I ran the /f command with the chkdsk, and it told me it could not lock the disk and asked me if i wanted to run the fix on re-start. I said yes. It never ran.

Windows Defender at last check had no known problems discovered.

When booting to normal safe mode, it will show multi(0)disk(0)partition(0) and list drivers from c:\windows\system32\drivers folders. It will lock up there for 10-15 minutes, and the reboot by itself into normal windows.

I checked the BIOS, and this is what I got:

Serial_Ch0 Master No Drive
Serial_Ch1 Master No Drive

All other options are grayed out, it's locked into the Create Array screen and the only usable function is ESC.

Ideas? Only thing I can think of is to format the C: drive but im not sure I can do it from the cmd prmpt and if i did, would i have to have the windows xp install cd, or would xp re-install itself?

(btw, i know from workin on this computer in the past that it does not, in fact, have a partitioned hard drive.)

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Old 10-09-2008, 04:43 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Severe computer issue

What are your anti-virus programs? I know certain ones, Avast! is one I can think of atm, allow for a scan prior to loading windows. Try loading some boot scan program and isolate from there.

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Old 10-09-2008, 04:47 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Severe computer issue

I know they have windows defender (put it on myself) and I think they have AVG, but beyond that I'm not sure, and they're the type of people that you could ask them what OS they have and they'd stare at you like you're dumb. >>
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Old 10-09-2008, 10:49 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Severe computer issue

Windows Defender is a anti-spyware application. Not anti-virus. So having defender on there wont help much.

Are they using SATA Hard drives or IDE? Have they got all the current updates? Seeing as how they have SP2 i dont think so since SP3 is out.

A fresh install or a repair install of XP might be your best option.
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Old 10-12-2008, 09:01 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Severe computer issue

At this point, it may be difficult to install a good anti-virus program once the system has reached this point.. From past experiences with my own computer (My kids are click-happy little goobers!!) as well as the computers of a few friends, on all but one occasion I had to reinstall XP.. Repairs can sometimes work, but don't always cure what caused the problem in the first place..

This is exactly why I keep a spare hard drive on hand at ALL times.. If you have access to a spare hard drive, remove your current hard drive and install the spare.. Install Windows on the spare, and get at least the minimum items set up in Windows.. Then, shut down, install the original hard drive in as a slave drive and pull anything you need from that.. Once that is complete, take out the spare drive (It's now your backup drive!) and put the original in as the master drive.. Format and start over from square one.. :/
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Old 10-16-2008, 01:21 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Severe computer issue

(btw, i know from workin on this computer in the past that it does not, in fact, have a partitioned hard drive.)
it must have a partitioned hard drive, but perhaps not a multi-partitioned hard drive. what is the last thing listed when booting safe mode halts?

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