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DennisD

Tricky problem.

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My wifes friends husbands son (follow that OK?), has been messing about with his dads laptop, and seems to have pretty well screwed it up.

 

It boots for about 3 seconds and then gets probably the worst error message going:

 

"Windows XP could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt: \WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM."

 

Trying to boot into any mode, "Safe", "Last known good configuration", etc only brings up the same error.

 

To compound matters, I can't load any of the half dozen or so Rescue Disks (non computer specific) I have as the drive won't read them.

 

If I could get in, I could at least get all his valued photographs off before trying anything else. I could probably then reinstall Windows for him.

 

The question is, has his drive ceased to read disks because of this System File problem, or could it just coincidentally be a faulty CD Rom drive? The drive spins, and tries to read disks, but fails each time.

 

Any input appreciated.

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That's really odd. Two options I can think of.

 

1) USB external CD/DVD drive. I have no idea if you are allowed to boot from one of these.

2) SATA/IDE to USB adapter. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16812232002 ://http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...82E16812232002 Good general tool to have. Might be able to get into it through another computer.

 

AJ

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If you have a linux operating system like slax or puppy on a cd, see if it will boot from the cd drive. If so it isn't the cd drive. Right?

 

Simple idea, but look and see if the cd drive is empty and clean. I had a relative who shoved one full of paper clips. >sigh<

 

also the exact problem is described here: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/307545 but the cure is based on the assumption that windows will boot.

 

I'm off to googleville to see if the linux OS can be used to inject new files into the C: drive or recover old ones. Never done that, always meant to try, will do now.

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If the laptop is a older model it may not be able to read the modern high speed CD disks. Check a disk that he has used in the past for the read speed. I would go for a 'Windows Repair' if not remove the hard disk and slave it to your PC to recover the files.

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Thanks for the ideas guys. Pretty much along the lines I was thinking, so it's good to have the second opinions.

 

I now know that the drive wasn't working properly before his son screwed the OS up. That info would have saved me a lot of time, but to be honest it probably didn't occur to him to mention it.

 

I've got Linux boot cd's as well as other stuff, so I was good as far as booting into the laptop goes, but I've bookmarked the other stuff mentioned here.

 

Mikes suggestion was the way I was thinking of going, although I wasn't too sure. I've only just today slaved the hard drive out of my sons old pc into mine to get a few gb's worth of photographs off it. His pc is oldish and only has a CD writer drive and a DVD read-only drive.

 

Couldn't stand the thought of all that burning to CD.

 

So thanks for the input chaps. I'll do the slave thing to get this lads photographs off, and then try reinstalling it while it's connected to my PC. I'm planning to restore my Image backup onto it, which will save a lot of updating.

 

If that goes OK, then it will be worth fitting a new ROM drive.

 

That System File error appears to be a real pain to fix, so a reinstall seems to be the way to go.

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I guess MikeW's solution would be the easiest, but I just finished putting the latest version of Slax onto a cd, and have signed in here using firefox from that cd.

 

From this Slax disk, I was able to access my hard drive C:, look at "System Volume Information" which is normally inaccessible, look at a usb drive, and it picked up the other usb drive when I plugged it in.

 

Sooo, maybe if nothing else you can use this method to get back files. Gonna check now to see how I can copy from one place to another.

 

Back in a minute.

 

Back. FYI: was able to copy a file from one usb drive to the other, and from C: to a usb drive. Pretty cool kewell. Further, was able to look at the acronis secure zone, which is not even visible in windows.

 

The Slax OS, with some few extras, takes about 230 mb on the cd. I deliberately skipped some of the available extra items, cause I was in a hurry, and didn't know how much space they would take. Got only things which looked like a file viewing, copying, sharing type of add on.

 

At startup, it gives the option to run in memory, it seems much faster that way. Must sign off now, going to try to reconstruct what I put into this CD.

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I've google eyed after today, and I should have hit the g button this time.

 

Humour me AJ, it's been one of those days. :(

 

Of course, thank you for the link. You're a gent.

:)

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checking right now to see which modules I downloaded...might not matter, more would have fit onto the cd, but back in a minute. Might save some time on the downloading, tho. I am going to have to go through the available apps 1 by 1, don't remember which for sure. I want to do that anyway, cause am going to build another slax cd as I go.

 

In general, you just go to CTskifreak's link, click on "Build Slax", then "Modules". If you pick one and change your mind, you can unselect it anytime before you download.

 

Ya gotta love the internet. This entire OS is on a cd. Not rewriteable. Somewhere I saw an option to run it from a command line. I will post back my list, but won't be offended if you don't wait for it. :D

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No worries login, I've got rescue packages to cover just about any eventuality, but at the cost of a blank CD, I'm always open to looking at something different, so your time and effort is appreciated.

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Here is the list of apps I downloaded in the second .iso. Not sure I needed all this, but it is still only about 315 mb. Just before I got ready to download the package, the web page suggested that I needed a few more.

 

jre 6u16 .... not the chinese one :-)

nmap 4.60

dosemu

kismet

Unison 2.27.57

Krusader 1.90.0

Slax KDE 6.1.2

boot XP from syslinux USB

Slax on USB (with GRUB)

* secure rm 1.2.9

* ms-sys

* wine 1.1.24

* Run Slax from harddrive (or USB)

* isomaster 1.3.3

* Ntfsprogs 2.0.0

* libgphoto2 2.4.3-3

 

Was suggested to add these:

* libtool 1.5.26-1

* python 2.5.2-4

* sqlite 3.6.6.2-1

* tcl 8.5.5-1

* tk 8.5.5-1

 

* Means I didn't get it the first time, but will this time.

 

I sure hope you get those files back. As much as you have helped everyone on this forum, you deserve a break if there is one to be had. :)

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So thanks for the input chaps. I'll do the slave thing to get this lads photographs off, and then try reinstalling it while it's connected to my PC. I'm planning to restore my Image backup onto it, which will save a lot of updating.

 

ummm if your planning on imaging your PC's windows install onto his Laptop Hard Drive,

Once its in the laptop it will likely Bluescreen on boot, as the hardware won't match what it was installed on.

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So thanks for the input chaps. I'll do the slave thing to get this lads photographs off, and then try reinstalling it while it's connected to my PC. I'm planning to restore my Image backup onto it, which will save a lot of updating.

 

Hope you have a plan 2 Dennis as your image wont work on another laptop, as fireyone has said. If you haveaccess to a USB rom drive you could use that to perform a windows repair.

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Mmmm, I was hoping to simply wipe his hard drive while it was in my PC, and as I say install my Image onto it.

 

I guess I'm assuming it would be the same as putting that Image onto a brand new hard drive, but obviously that isn't the case.

 

The only hardware knowhow I have is messing about with my own PC, so what would cause the mismatch and the failure of doing that Image restore onto his freshly wiped Laptop Hard Drive?

 

Bare with me here as this stuff is new to me, and will educate not only me but anyone else following this thread.

 

Plan 2 Mike, may be getting his photos off, and then giving it back to him with a "sorry mate, can't help". (Joking)

 

The problem now is we don't have a USB ROM drive, or a Windows CD. I have a Recovery Partition on my Hard Drive, but from what you guys say, it sounds like I couldn't use that either to give him a fresh Operating System.

 

What about reinstalling the OS from his Laptop i386 Folder by running WINNT32? I've been googling as you can probably guess, and this seems to be a possibility, although I dunno if that could be done while his hard drive is slaved to my computer.

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How about a 'system restore' while you have it slaved. I cant remember the command, but I believe it was posted here at one time. Just make sure all your commands are pointing to the correct drive.

 

I am not sure if you can do a repair using I386. You could try an ISO of SP3 if you can borrow a USB Rom. Other than that I am out of ideas

 

Here is link for low cost drive. But check to make sure the laptom will boot from a USB

 

http://www.ebest24.co.uk/slim-portable-ext...aptop-1764.html

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Not the most proficient in the above matter but have you tried getting into the BIOS to check if its allowing a system boot from the CD ? as also it could possibly be a motherboard problem.... if not a HDD failure..?

but having said that I'd really have to read up on this - its been a while since I attempted the above years ago on a mate's PC.

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There are loads of search hits for the original problem (i.e. that specific "could not start" message) so it may be that if you could mount it externally, as you suggested earlier, you could even get it back to a bootable state. Some of the articles around reg hive failures suggest that may be a possibility.

 

I guess I'm thinking it's worth bearing in mind it might not be that far off a usable system.

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Thanks for all your input guys.

 

The first step is to get the hard drive into my computer, copy off his pics, and then just have a look at it with a couple of non computer specific rescue packages I have.

 

I'll let you know how I get on.

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I had a similar message on my WinXP at work. That would give that message about 5 times before it would boot up. I reported it to the IT tech and they said I have a faulty hard drive. They came and replace the hard drive and did a rebuild and it was ok. ;)

 

It just shows how s***ty WinXP is. I had to do a rebuild on mine today as it crashed last night. It wouldn't start up in any mode Safe Mode, Safe Mode with Networking, Safe Mode with command prompt. Last good configuration or Normal mode. I even tried the R restore of the CD but that say I have an invalid folder. Well it unstalled it there.

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The first step is to get the hard drive into my computer, copy off his pics, and then just have a look at it with a couple of non computer specific rescue packages I have.

 

ohh ok, so you haven't got that yet. another problem is they laptop hdd may not use the same type of connector as the PC (because everything is smaller, so are the conections) : something like THIS may be needed.

 

And on you other question as to why it will bluescreen, is because Windows when installed takes down a list of the hardware in the system to make a unique ID, when moved to another PC in this case completely different system it usually blusecreens as hardware is differnet.

(a bit of googeling, not as easy to find as I thought, an explanation and possible workarround (using a lot of reg edits)

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I'm looking for plan 3 now.

 

I can't slave it to my computer because the data cable connections are different sizes. It's looking like having to replace the faulty ROM drive before being able to do anything.

 

One thing that did make me think, was how small and fragile the hard drive in a laptop appears to be.

 

EDIT: Sorry Firery, I posted this before I saw your post above. You're psychic, and spot on.

 

EDIT 2: Thanks for the cable link. Not too expensive at all. And thanks for the other link.

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Just note: I can't confirm how good the site is to purchase from.

(I was looking for an image and description, so a site selling one was a good spot)

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Just note: I can't confirm how good the site is to purchase from.

(I was looking for an image and description, so a site selling one was a good spot)

 

No worries about that, I appreciate knowing that such an adapter exists, and I'll try and source one locally.

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I've got Linux boot cd's as well as other stuff, so I was good as far as booting into the laptop goes, but I've bookmarked the other stuff mentioned here.

 

Mikes suggestion was the way I was thinking of going, although I wasn't too sure. I've only just today slaved the hard drive out of my sons old pc into mine to get a few gb's worth of photographs off it. His pc is oldish and only has a CD writer drive and a DVD read-only drive.

 

Couldn't stand the thought of all that burning to CD.

 

So thanks for the input chaps. I'll do the slave thing to get this lads photographs off, and then try reinstalling it while it's connected to my PC. I'm planning to restore my Image backup onto it, which will save a lot of updating.

 

 

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