boot and restore issues

June 26, 2010 at 09:35:10
Specs: Windows XP home
im looking at a computer for a disabled friend of mine and need some help. it is a emachine el1200 running xp home. it gets to the loading screen then will ask about booting in safe mode but when i do it starts to load then the blue screen flashes quick then restarts. doesn't show me any error message. i tried to run the restore disks but get invalid system disk error. when i put my regular windows xp disk in it will boot off that but i want to do it with her restore disk that came with the computer. is this a hardware or software issue? or is it a virus? any help is greatly appreciated i'd like to get this back to her as quickly and cheaply as possible.

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June 26, 2010 at 16:29:59
An "Invalid System Disk" Error Message When You Start the Computer
Microsoft Windows XP Professional Edition
Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition

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June 26, 2010 at 17:18:32
i'm trying to boot off cd of course my first boot device is set on cdrom

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June 26, 2010 at 17:51:41
You can spend a huge amount of time on this one, safest way now, is to slave her HD to another HD/Comp & recover her important stuff.

You may find whilst doing that, it is infected.

If it is not infected, run chkdsk on it.

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June 26, 2010 at 23:10:39
You say you set to boot from CD first and put in a valid XP CD... and it does actually manage to boot from that CD; but not from the recovery disk?

There are a couple of possibilites that come to mind - and they are a long shot to some extent...

But at this stage I'd take Johnw's advice and safeguard date -first!!

Eirther slave the drive to another working system; or attach it via a usb adapter. Then copy all data to optical media - and verify the disks are truly accessible from at least one other working system...

You could also boot with a Ubuntu or Knoppix disk (Linux vairiants) and copy data to opticals that way. and both have downloads for their respective iso which burn to a dvd and then boot the system with that.

Using either of the above approaches also scan the drive for nasties - ideally using the local util on the second machine If gong that route) - and also a freebie on-line via - Housecall. "Anything" that is quarantined... delete it.

The problem overall with booting system (presuming not due a nasty...) may "possibly" be:

Slightly dodgy drive - check that with utils from manufacturer's website for the drive. Chkdsk is often a good start but a full utils check is often better...?

RAM... Reduce to a single stick if two or more installed; ensure minimum of 128Meg... installed. Try with each stick in turn... if one works and other(s) don't then replace those "other" sticks...

Was there anything happening imediately prior to problems arrival; any OS updates applied etc.

Again first safeguard data; then proceed to resolve the problems as exist?

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June 27, 2010 at 08:03:30
ok here is my update...right before all this happened my friend said she nstalled an update or a program and it installed some toolbar which she doesn't remember what it was. She deleted it and then when it rebooted she had this problem. I hooked her hard drive up to my system and it reads fine in bios and is recognized in windows. however i can not access the drive and it locks up when i try to view properties or open ,explore...any of the options. i also tried runnig chkdsk but i can not change to the drive in the cmd prompt...i get data error (cyclic redundacy error). does this mean the drive is toast?

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June 27, 2010 at 08:05:09
oh also i failed to mention that i tried running anti virus and a hard drive utility program on that drive and both would error out....files could not be scanned

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June 27, 2010 at 08:10:27
sorry...another update...the properties tab finally opened on the drive i'm having issues with....comes up as o bytes raw format says not formatted. should i format it then try to use the restore disks? i also tried to run check disk from the error tab and it just disappears

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June 27, 2010 at 14:32:44
"should i format it then try to use the restore disks?"

Refer Response Number 3.

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June 27, 2010 at 15:22:40
"should i format it then try to use the restore disks?"

Refer Response Number 3.

see response 5

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June 27, 2010 at 21:40:31
"see response 5"

Opp's sorry, common problem when sentences & spaces between are not used.

See if this gets a result.

TestDisk & PhotoRec
TestDisk was primarily designed to help recover lost partitions and/or make non-booting disks bootable again when these symptoms are caused by faulty software, certain types of viruses or human error (such as accidentally erasing your Partition Table).

Documentation is available here

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June 28, 2010 at 04:55:56
If there is information (files, data etc...) on the drive that your friend would like to preserve then do NOT go anywhere near reformat or re-installation routines - yet.

Essentially follow the links and advice from Johnw (and others) re' testing the drive fully, recovering that data - first.

If you're successful in that regard, and verified the data recovered onto optical media is truly accessible on another working system, then you can consider a couple or more options.

1) Use the recovery disk routine - or the recovery partition (if it exists and is usable).

2) Try a true repair installation - effectively an over-write of the current installation; but you will need either a full (or Upgrade) version of the OS.

If an overwrite fails then a parallel installation (again a full/upgrade disk is required); after-which you can later delete the original version, having verified you can still access data etc - and ideally again copied safely elsewhere.

3) wipe the drive (reformat etc. the c: partition (do NOT wipe the hidden one at start of drive - if it exists) and then use the recovery disks etc....

If the drive is effectively burnt toast (duff, dying, or actually dead as in the parrot on its back with feet in the air) then obviously you will need to replace it. And then you have to resolve the issue of any missing (and usually required) hidden partition that was on the original drive - but isn't on the new one...? Recovery disk routines usually refer to that hidden partition if I recall correctly.. If it isn't there then you need to resolve that issue. If this becomes the case... post here for more input there...

A long shot - and it is very...; a recovery console approach "may" enable you get it going again - as in getting back to a resotre point prior to problems arrival. But I'm not sure you can even get as far as invoking recovery console?

There is also a winternals recovery/repair disk around that may actually do what's required...; more on that subsequently... Whereabouts are you located?

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June 30, 2010 at 16:07:29
ok so i ran the software johnw recomended me to try with no success. i have found out there is no data that can't be replaced on this drive. so basically all i need to know how to do is how to get the recovery disks working . do i format the drive and then try them?

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June 30, 2010 at 16:17:59
The above is full instruction on a reformat & a fresh install
Hope that helps

Some HELP in posting on plus free progs and instructions Cheers

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