Recovery Hangs, no repair option

Dell / DIMENSION E520
September 24, 2009 at 23:00:12
Specs: Windows XP Pro SP2
Hi, really appreciate any help - and please keep it simple as I am not very tech minded!

My PC won't start - it loads windows to the Logo then the screen goes grey and it stops.

In trying various things at one point I got the message: Registry File Failure, registry cannot load give (file) \systemroot\system32\config\software

I've found various posts on forums advising how to resolve this but they all involve Recovery or Repair.

Booting from CD to Recovery Console, it brings up the screen with 1: c:\Windows
When I press [1] nothing happens for several minutes. Once after about 5 minutes it asked for my password, I pressed enter and again waited. After five minutes nothing had happened. Every time since then, after pressing one, nothing happens.

I then tried to do a Repair Install. However the CD that I have is the Dell reinstallation CD that came with the PC. So after going into set up, pressing PF8 to accept the agreement, I don't have the option to repair, only to reinstall.
I do have an original Windows XP CD but Home edition, and booting from that does not seem to offer the Repair option either.

So I cannot recover, cannot get the command prompt to edit the files and cannot seem to repair.
I have seen lots of posts and articles saying 'if you don't see the repair option, don't continue' but none (that I have seen) offer a solution.

As I see it the options appear to be:
1. Reinstall over the current installation and lose all my data!
2. Reinstall into a new partition (I have C and D, so E); once it is running, copy all my data from C to D; reformat C and install again onto C. Thus I woud in theory have a working C, data on D and I can then wipe E.
3. Buy a new Windows XP Pro SP2 CD and boot from that, and try to repair.

Any other options or advice?

Many thanks in advance
WW


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#1
September 24, 2009 at 23:38:33
"Booting from CD to Recovery Console, it brings up the screen with 1: c:\Windows
When I press [1] nothing happens for several minutes"

You have to press Enter after pressing 1, but there should not be a long delay like you're getting.
Try cleaning / re-seating your ram connection, and checking the hard drive with diagnostics.
.......

See response 2 in this - try cleaning the contacts on the ram modules, and making sure the modules are properly seated:
http://www.computing.net/hardware/w...

For a laptop, you must remove both its main battery and AC adapter before you do that.

See your Owner's or User's manual for your brand name model, or the mboard manual for your model if you have a generic desktop system, if you need more info about how to properly remove and install the ram modules.
.........

Check your hard drive with the manufacturer's diagnostics.
See the latter part of response 1 in this:
http://www.computing.net/windows95/...

(thanks to Dan Penny for this link:)
Hard Drive Diagnostics Tools and Utilities
http://www.tacktech.com/display.cfm...

If you don't have a floppy drive, you can get a CD image diagnostic utility from most hard drive manufacturer's web sites, but obviously you would need to make a burned CD, preferably a CD-R for best compatibilty, on another computer if you need to.

If the hard drive itself tests okay, any data problems found can be fixed, one way or another.
.........

"I then tried to do a Repair Install. However the CD that I have is the Dell reinstallation CD that came with the PC. So after going into set up, pressing PF8 to accept the agreement, I don't have the option to repair, only to reinstall."

There are TWO places you can choose Repair, when you boot with a Windows CD, or the Dell equivalent, if your data on your Windows partition is not severly damaged. If you choose the first one, that takes you to the Recovery Console. To get to the second place you can choose Repair, you continue on to Setup, and you will see the second place you can choose to Repair Windows.

See this:
http://www.windowsreinstall.com/win...

You must supply the Product Key that's on the official Microsoft label on the outside of the computer case.
........

"....at one point I got the message: Registry File Failure, registry cannot load give (file) \systemroot\system32\config\software"

Is this the message you saw? :

Error Message: Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/320252


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#2
September 24, 2009 at 23:49:56
Hi, thanks for such a quick reply.

"There are TWO places you can choose Repair........To get to the second place you can choose Repair, you continue on to Setup, and you will see the second place you can choose to Repair Windows."

Yes I did that and was offered choices only to install or quit. After the Licence Agreement again the Repair option was not offered, just to install in existing partition, new partition, or quit.


I tried running hard a hard drive diagnostic which returned an error code 7, whatever that is. Using the manufacturers CD and it seems there is a problem - it is having trouble reading from the hard drive. Could this be resolved by reinstalling or does that mean the HD itself is shot?

Thanks


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#3
September 25, 2009 at 00:10:33
Hm.. you might really need a another Os cd installer but have you tried to see if going to safe mode could do anything?

Want A Weekly Update on Latest System Security Problem http://www.systemsecurityinstitute.org


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Related Solutions

#4
September 25, 2009 at 00:35:20
Yes - tried safe mode, it wouldn't start. Got a screen full of error messages -
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS\system32\drivers\pci.sys
then the same with isapnp.sys at the end
then MountMgr.sys
then ftdisk.sys
etc.

Do you see any alternative to either get a new XP CD and try to repair from that, or reinstall windows on new partition? Is this recoverable?

Another option might be new hard drive but i would want to recover the data from this one anyway.


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#5
September 25, 2009 at 01:37:50
mmm... before you go any further... you appear (righlyt so?) to be concerned about data security/recovery...?

Get yourself a Linux on a CD/DVD (Knoppix or Ubuntu are the usual two choices). Boot with that and then copy off all data etc. to optical-media and verify those copies are accessible etc. on at least ono other sytem. Having thus secured your data then start working out to fix the current problems?

RAM failure may cause sort of problems you are having. To eliminate that area, reduce RAM to a single stick (if two or more present) - min 128Meg; If possible borrow/test with a known good stick too?

If you can get into Recovery Console do so and run chkdisk routine; possibly you have a failing drive (bad sectors etc.)

Also while booting from a Linux CD/DVD do a FULL on-line (freebie) anti-virus scan. Trend Housecall is a good one to use.


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#6
September 25, 2009 at 10:27:35
""There are TWO places you can choose Repair........To get to the second place you can choose Repair, you continue on to Setup, and you will see the second place you can choose to Repair Windows.""

"Yes I did that and was offered choices only to install or quit. After the Licence Agreement again the Repair option was not offered, just to install in existing partition, new partition, or quit."

Did you look at this??:

http://www.windowsreinstall.com/win...

You have to go through several steps before you see the second Repair choice. If you did do that correctly, if the second Repair choice does not appear on the screen, then essential data on the Windows installation is corrupted or missing.

By the way, I have found the XP CD you use to boot the computer with MUST have at least SP1 updates included on it in order for the second Repair choice to be able to appear.

XP CDs with SP2 or SP3 updates included on them have SP2 or SP3 printed on the original CD.
The original XP CDs, and all OEM CDs with SP1 updates included on them I've seen, none of which were ones for a brand name system, have NO SP anything printed on them.
The volume label - the label - name - of the CD displayed in Windows - of the original XP CDs are different from those for CDs that include SP1 updates. You can search using the volume label on the web to determine whether the CD includes SP1updates or not.
....

Also, when you run the Repair installation of Windows, the second Repair choice, you have only ONE time you can enter a Product Key Setup will accept . If you quit Setup at that point, or possibly if you quit Setup at any point after you have entered a Product Key it does accept, before it has finished, the second Repair choice will NOT appear, when you boot with the Windows CD after that.
......

"I tried running hard a hard drive diagnostic which returned an error code 7, whatever that is. Using the manufacturers CD and it seems there is a problem - it is having trouble reading from the hard drive."

If the manufacturer's diagnostics will not even complete either or the shorter or longer test, or both, the drive is malfunctioning, and there's nothing you can do about that. If the diagnostics do complete both tests successfully we would need to know which one you were using. Many diagnostics will quit the long test if more than a certain number of errors are found - e.g. SeaTools quits when there are more than 99 - because they "know" it's pointless to test any futher - your drive isf definately failing. In any case, the error code is probably something you can do nothing about and NOT a good thing.

You MAY be able to connect the drive as slave or as a secondary drive on a working computer that has an operating system installed on it, and be able to access the drive from that operating system and copy data you want to save off of it, but the mboard's bios and the operating system must recognize the drive properly and be able to access it.
.....

" ...tried safe mode, it wouldn't start. Got a screen full of error messages -
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS\system32\drivers\pci.sys
then the same with isapnp.sys at the end
then MountMgr.sys
then ftdisk.sys
etc."

Did you try cleaning the ram module contacts and re-seating the modules BEFORE you did that, and BEFORE you ran the hard drive diagnostics?

Even when there is nothing wrong with the hard drive itself or the data on the Windows installation, the operating system can have problems finding essential files when you're experiencing errors reading the ram, and/or if there is a problem with the CD or DVD drive reading an operating system CD or DVD.

trvlr said:

"RAM failure may cause sort of problems you are having. To eliminate that area, reduce RAM to a single stick (if two or more present) - min 128Meg; If possible borrow/test with a known good stick too?"

Contrary to popular belief, it is extremely rare for ram that was working fine previously to go BAD, unless you have damaged it by something you did when installing or removing it, or unless it was damaged by some event such as a power failure or a power supply failing. Almost always, when you have a ram problem, it's either because the ram has a poor connection, or you have installed ram that is not compatible with your mboard's main chipset, or it's CPU's memory controller if that applies.

If there's nothing wrong with the hard drive itself, when you get errors regarding files on the operating system's disk when you boot from it, you have a problem regarding ram errors, or regarding the optical drive reading the disk properly, or both of those.
If you get errors reading from an operating system's disk when you boot from it, if you have ruled out ram errors or incompatible ram being the problem, try using a laser lens cleaning CD in the optical drive, or if you have more than one optical drive on the computer try another optrical drive.
However many computer bioses only allow you to boot from a bootable disk in one optical drive - in that case, you need to go into the bios and find the list of optical drives - it's often on the same page where you set the boot order - and make the model of the optical drive you have the operating system disk in the first one. in the list, save bios settings

"Do you see any alternative to either get a new XP CD and try to repair from that, or reinstall windows on new partition? Is this recoverable?"

There's probably nothing wrong with your XP CD. If it doesn't have at least SP1 updates included on it, you can make yourself a bootable "slipstreamed" CD, preferably a CD-R, that has the data contents of your XP CD with the SP3 updates integrated into it, and use that to install XP, along with the Product Key you're already using. You can use the Product Key that should be on an official Microsoft label on the outside of the computer case somewhere , if it's for the same version, Home or Pro, that your CD is.

"Another option might be new hard drive but i would want to recover the data from this one anyway."

There's no point in trying to repair a Windows installation, or installing Windows from scratch, when the hard drive is malfunctioning. As I said above, you MAY be able to retrieve data from it.

If you have the disks that came with the computer, you can at least install Windows on a new hard drive, or if it is an actual Recovery disk or Recovery disk set rather than a Dell slightly modified version of an OEM XP Pro CD, you can re-install everything on the new hard drive that the original harddrive had on it orginally.
See the Dell web site regarding the Recovery procedure for your specific model.




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#7
September 25, 2009 at 11:54:43
re' RAM going bad....

There are enuff instances (even here at CN - with W2K/NT and XP) of RAM failing while in use... Whether or not it was not properly seated etc... - who knows? And to add weight to RAM issue... at work last weekend we had 3-4weeks old system (a current HP/Compaq workstation - XP-Pro - SP4) fail in use... RAM was the problem...

It went down on standard boot up... and wouldn't even load/run a Linux CD, a BART CD, or Winternals CD... or an XP-Pro Full CD. System was swapped out of course for a working box; and later RAM found to be the problem...

Also very few seem to realise that (as "Tubes" correctly points out) the XP disk used to "repair" an installation must be of same level SP as the damaged installation. Which often means the installation may have been moved up an SP or two from its installation disks... So (as Tubes advises) one has to get one that matches SP in the damaged system or make one...


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#8
September 25, 2009 at 14:19:51
"There are enuff instances (even here at CN - with W2K/NT and XP) of RAM failing while in use..."

People often THINK their ram has failed - that's usually NOT what is actually wrong.

"It went down on standard boot up... and wouldn't even load/run a Linux CD, a BART CD, or Winternals CD... or an XP-Pro Full CD. System was swapped out of course for a working box; and later RAM found to be the problem..."

It's many times more likely the ram failed for some other reason, or someone installed incompatible ram, than it was defective. If was defective in the first place, that would have caused problems from the very beginning.
If the ram is incompatible with the chipset, or on more recent computers, incompatible with the memory controller built into the cpu, it will likely FAIL a ram test - that is NOT a true indication of the ram being faulty - there is probably nothing wrong with it, and it will pass the test if installed in a mboard it is compatible with.
Booting the computer when the ram is not all the way down in it's slot, or installing or removing the ram while the PS is still receiving live AC, is a lot more likely cause of a ram problem than the ram would spontaneously become defective.

"Also very few seem to realise that (as "Tubes" correctly points out) the XP disk used to "repair" an installation must be of same level SP as the damaged installation."

The Windows CD has to have SP1 updates or higher in order for the second Repair choice to appear, according to my experiences, but otherwise the Windows CD you use doesn't necessarily need to have the same SP updates as the Windows installation, although that's preferable.
The Windows CD DOES have to have SP1 updates or higher in order to support recognizing hard drives or hard drive partitions larger than 128gb in the bios and Windows = 137gb manufacturer's size, and USB 2.0 controllers, during Setup, though the USB 1.1 support of the USB 2.0 controllers is recognized in any case.
If the Windows CD doesn't have the same higher SP updates as the Windows installation, the Repair installation will still succeed, but whatever higher SP updates have been installed may need to be installed again after Setup has finished to get the SP updates working 100%, although Automatic Update may install what pieces that need to be re-installed on it's own eventually anyway.
However, if the Windows installation was originally installed with a CD with SP2b updates or higher, or if the Windows installation originally on the brand system had SP2b or higher updates, those use different rules regarding acceptable Product Keys, and the Product Key on the official Microsoft label for SP2b or higher MAY not be accepted by Setup unless the CD you use has SP2b updates or higher.
If one has a CD that doesn't have SP3 updates, you can go to the trouble of making yourself a bootable "slipstreamed " CD that has the SP3 updates intergrated into XP, but that's usually not necessary.


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#9
September 25, 2009 at 22:55:51
re' RAM - again...

The system to which I referred was brand new HP/Compaq system - with suitable RAM; and system "was" OK for about a month (including time "on station" as it were). Replacing RAM entirely... resolved its problems; the 1Gig RAM removed did/would not work in other compatible systems... Possibly it was damaged due to not being properly inserted into its slot; perhaps not - who knows (only The Shadaow...)?

Re' SP and XP disk used to repair a system...

My own experience is that (and this with an Acer and another odd-ball make) is that "unless" one uses an XP disk that has the requisite SP level within it (that effectively matches that of the damaged installation) one does "not get the repair option".

Not being familiar with this oddity at the time - I dun a trawl over the www; discovered that it has been experienced and pointed out by others various... (which is how I managed to confirm what I had experienced with an Acer as not uncommon/unusual etc...)

Using a Winternals disk and booting to a desktop did allow one to see the damaged (Acer) installation (via MyComputer etc...); and also to have a look-see as to what was missing - "serious" registry issues as it turned out; 3 registry keys had been erased, and the default original registry back up had gone entirely...

Also when (using Winternals) one booted and used the system recovery/repair tools, Winternals could see and did offer to repair the damaged OS - but it was not possible due to serious damage as a above.

And booting with a later XP CD with SP-2 included... the original (damaged) SP-1 installation, which had been updated to SP-2, was found - but I doubt it could have been repaired for reasons as above... We opted to use the Acer recovery routines to this end.

With the "odd ball" make... we just re-installed from scratch - as there was nothing to be gained by actually repairing a known to be less than clean system... But again an XP CD - SP1 couldn't find the updated to SP2 or later installation...

I guess our personal experiences re' XP CDs and associated SP differ somewhat? But then seldom is there a one fix/approach that fits all situations?


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#10
September 26, 2009 at 10:01:51
I am not a technician and I have not worked on zillions of computers, but I have worked on a lot of computers, mostly that had Dos, Win 3.1, 98, 98SE, or XP on them, and I have run the Repair installation procedure - what I prefer to call the Repair Setup procedure - at least a dozen times, mostly on other people's systems that I had volunteered to help to try fix their problems on.

All but two of those systems had XP installed on them from a regular OEM XP CD or an OEM MCE 2005 2 CD set - other than those two, which still had the original brand name software installations on them, some were brand name systems but their original brand name software installation was not present.

I have not tried running the Repair installation procedure on any system that had XP installed on it from a regular OEM XP CD with SP2b or SP3 updates included, or on the one brand name system that had still had it's original software and originally had an XP installation with SP2b updates.

I have not tried running the Repair installation procedure using a brand name XP re-installation CD, which apparently is a slightly modified regular OEM XP CD, such as I've seen is the case for some Dell and HP and Compaq computers.
.....

With those things in mind, this I found to be the case...

The Windows CD has to have SP1 updates or higher in order for the second Repair choice to appear, according to my experiences, but otherwise the Windows CD you use doesn't necessarily need to have the same SP updates as the Windows installation, although that's preferable.

The existing Windows installations that originally had no SP updates or SP1 updates had all been updated with SP2 updates, and later on, SP3 updates, once they became available, when I tried booting with an XP CD. I have used several regular OEM XP CDs that have no SP updates on several computers - the second Repair choice does not appear when you boot from the XP CD.
I have used several OEM XP CDs with SP1 updates, and several OEM XP CDs with SP2 updates (but not with SP2b or SP3 updates) - the second Repair choice DID appear in all but one case, and I was able to complete the Repair installation procedure. All of them were XP Home CDs, or the two CD set for OEM (XP) MCE 2005 which includes SP2 updates - MCE has much in common with XP Pro.
The one exception was a computer that still had the brand name (HP or Compaq) software installation on it, probably XP Home with SP1 updates originally, but someone had installed XP Pro, probably with SP1 updates included, on the second partition on it - it was thuroughly messed up - it dual booted but neither Windows installation worked properly. It's original Windows installation had been updated with SP2 updates. I concluded in that case that the second Repair choice did not appear when I booted using an OEM XP Home CD with SP2 updates because something essential to that appearing had been damaged or was missing. I fixed that one by re-installing the original software installation using the proper Recovery CD set for the model.
I don't recall whether I tried using an OEM XP Home CD with SP2 updates after that to see if the second Repair choice was then there.

I successfuly used one of my OEM XP Home with SP2 updates CDs to run the Repair installation on a Sony system that still had it's original software installation on it, probably originally XP Home with SP1 updates, which had been updated with SP3 updates.

If the Windows CD doesn't have the same higher SP updates as the Windows installation, the Repair installation will still succeed, but whatever higher SP updates have been installed may need to be installed again after Setup has finished to get the higher SP updates working 100%, although Automatic Update may install what pieces that need to be re-installed on it's own eventually anyway.
.......

I have had no problems installing XP from scratch from a bootable "slipstreamed" XP Home CD that I made from a XP CD with no SP updates, or that had SP1 updates, having had SP2 or SP3 updates integrated into it, but I don't recall having tried the Repair installation procedure with those.


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#11
September 26, 2009 at 10:29:42
I see my question has generated a bit of debate!

For what it's worth, I trawled through several forums and found several that suggested that manufacturer reinstallation CDs may not have the repair option - why, I have no idea.

Anyway happy to say I managed to fix the problem.
I downloaded Active@ Boot Disk demo - basically creates a CD which will boot up the PC and has some basic options - an explorer, to go through the files (a bit unstable, I found), partition repair (not needed) chkdsk and Run - so I could enter CMD and get into DOS.

Copied all the data I needed from C to D so I can now reinstall Windows onto the C drive and my data is all safe.

However - from DOS I ran ChkDsk which found and repaired a number of errors, and when I restarted the PC it fired up normally and is working fine! I'm going to go ahead and reinstall onto C anyway as it had got a bit slow anyway.

But I can really recommend that Active@ recovery disk, as it got the system going enough to run chkdsk which repaired the errors that were stopping the thing from starting up.

Thanks and all the best


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#12
September 26, 2009 at 10:43:08
mmm... As I say... we all have our own personal and work related experiences...; each of which is valid. Nonetheless I find the exchange here useful. I (and others) get to know other's experiences, solutions etc.; and it enables "others" to see and learn a little from whomever - not the least if those others happen upon this post via a trawl at some future date?

Incidentally I'm using an Acer laptop (with Acer installed XP-Home/SP-1 now more or less SP-3 level after the usual serial/regular updates). If I boot it with an XP SP-1 disk... and go thru' the initial Repair steps (the non Recovery Console approach) it doesn't find the installation. But more than likely an SP-3 disk will.

I will borrow an SP-3 CD from work shortly and see what happens... I know an SP-2 CD did find it - before that SP-1/SP-2 installation was"effectively upgraded in bits to SP-3...

As I say different experiences - and all equally valid...

Also my compliments on your explanations etc. of what you have found works and the why...

Cheers...

trvlr


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#13
September 26, 2009 at 12:47:25
In response #2 the comment that the drive returned a code 7 was made. This means the hard drive has an increasing number of failed sectors. This is not a drive that should be left in service. You are risking total data loss if the drive fails worse than it already has. Since drives have become cheaper the best repair in mind to maintain this system is to replace and reinstall windows. Possibly the old one could be cloned but that frequently brings over damaged or corrupted files. Since this is a desktop install a new drive as primary, install windows and then slave the old drive to copy data from it to the new one. Do not slave the old drive in until XP is up and running on the new drive (failure to leave the old drive disconnected can result in the new install being set as drive D, not as C).

Richard


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#14
September 26, 2009 at 13:41:40
"rich1949..."

Not being at all savvy with the assorted codes - not the least that seem to talk about drives... - can/will you point me to a suitable site/location where I can get more info on this (please)...

Takk...

trvlr


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#15
September 26, 2009 at 14:14:11
I fully agree with what rich1949 has said.
You should NOT be using the drive if it isn't passing both the short and long hard drive manufacturer's diagnostics tests, if the error is about the drive itself - you will be in a similar situation as your initial problem again in a short time in that case. .

"If I boot it with an XP SP-1 disk... and go thru' the initial Repair steps (the non Recovery Console approach) it doesn't find the installation."

It may not have been offering the second Repair choice because some data required to be intact to make that appear that has been damaged or is missing - your hard drive is probably failing and in that case any data anywhere on the drive could be damaged or missing - it that case a CD that has SP3 updates on it will not offer the second Repair choice either.
You can make yourself a"slipstreamed" CD that does have the SP3 updates intrgrated into it if you orginal CD doesn't have that in any case.

"I trawled through several forums and found several that suggested that manufacturer reinstallation CDs may not have the repair option - why, I have no idea."

The info about the specific disks orginally supplied with your computer model, and the specific Recovery procedure for your model, can usually be found on the web site of the brand name builder. However, I'm not impressed with Acer's and Emachine's support E.g. - Dell's, Gateways', HP's, Sony's and Toshiba's is much better.

1. Some brand name system builders supply/have supplied no disks with their model when it's new, or it may have come with only a single Recovery CD (not a DVD) . In most cases, the second partition on the original drive on those models has all the necessary data on it to restore the contents of what was on C originally. The C partition in that case usually has a brand name supplied program already on it in Windows, with which you can make a Recovery CD set that will be capable of restoring the data contents of both partitions on the drive, and it may also be able to make a single Recovery CD you use to restore the original data contents of C along with the intact and undamaged data contents of the second partition. If the data contents of the second partition on the original drive are not undamaged or are missing, you can't re-load the C partition with the original software with a single Recovery CD - you must use a Recovery disk set to do that. If you haven't made the Recovery disk set (or if you have misplaced the disks that came with the computer, or if you didn't get the disks that were supposed to come with it when you bough the computer used), which is VERY common, if the model is not more than about 5 years old, you can probably order the set from the brand name builder's web site, for under $50 or so, including shipping. If they don't have that, there are a small number of sites on the web that have them available for a similar price, if they have that for your model.

2. Some brand name system builders (e.g. some Gateway models) only supply a true Recovery disk or a set of Recovery disks with the new computer model - your only choice when you run the Recovery procedure is usually ONLY to install everything that came with the computer that was originally on C from scratch - there is no Repair choice. If it's a DVD or a set of CDs, you can install all the data that was on both partitions that was on the original drive originally, such as if you need to install that on a blank drive.

3. Some brand name system builders supply an XP re-installation CD that is a slightly modified regular OEM XP CD for a model, and may also supply other disks you can use to install the needed drivers and applications that came with the system, with the new computer . E.g. some Dell, HP, and Compaq models. That XP re-installation CD can be used with that brand name model the same way as a regular OEM XP CD can be used. However, you may not be able to use that with another brand's computer, or with other models made by the same brand, or with a generically installed Windows installation, or if you can, if you use the first Repair choice the Recovery Console may find no existing XP installtion, and/or the second Repair choice may not appear.
You can choose the first Repair choice when you boot using that CD, to load the Recovery Console and attempt to repair Windows using the commands available in Recovery Console, but that may not be enough to fix your problem.
You can choose the second Repair choice when you boot using that CD, if the data on thwe Windows installtion is not severly damaged and Setup allows the second Repair choice to appear, to run the Repair installation procedure, which will attempt to replace any essential file found to be corrupted or missing, and will not delete any data or settings you have added after you initially got the computer or after the last time you installed Windowsor all the original software from scratch, but it can only replace files that are on the XP CD you boot with, so if it doesn't fix your problem you MAY have to install Windows from scratch.
You can use either the Product Key found on the official Microsoft label on the outside of the computer case, or the Product Key the Windows installation was using, with that XP re-installation CD, or with a regular OEM XP CD.
If Windows is working well enough, you can use a program to find the Product Key Windows is presently using if you don't know what that is - e.g. the freeware Keyfinder, made by Jellybean whatever - it also finds Product Keys for other Microsoft Products - it can only find the WindowsProduct Key of the Windows installation you booted from.


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#16
September 26, 2009 at 15:33:25
"Tubes..." With respect I feel you are missing my point at this stage of discussion...; or possibly I haven't presented clearly and thus konphusions various enter...

A working installation - which was SP-1 upgraded to SP-2, then booted into system via an SP-1 CD... That SP-1 CD (used in/for in Repair mode...) couldn't find the "now" SP-2 installation; and similarly with a jo-blo system. I emphasise that both these were working systems... This was test process - to confirm what I had learned a little earlier with a damaged Acer system; and had verified on sites various "out there"...

The damaged system that did alert me initially to the SP issue was another Acer Aspire... That was the one that when using a full version XP (used both Home and Pro disk - retail and OEM versions...) it couldn't "find" the (original OEM) installation. I think Winternals may have found it but couldn't fix it; but the XP disks simply failed - and only profffered a "new" installation... (Been more than a while since this event so memory is little cloudy re' Winternals results...) That Acer installation had been SP-1; upgraded to SP-2 - after-which it go hit at some stage... SP-1 full version CDs couldn't find the installation; whereas an SP-2 likely would have by all accounts (even if not able to fix it on this occasion - see next section...).

I can concur with the reasoning re' the damaged (Acer) installation - which had been hit by "a nasty" off one of the file sharing sites.... Had the default back up of registry been there... possibly both Winternals and the repair routine might have repaired it.. But as those files (and also 3 registry keys of the actual installation) were now missing, it does seem reasonable to presume that's why "that" one couldn't be repaired...

I am reasonably well clued up on assorted repair routines - for all M$ products upto/including XP; and where appropriate with/without using RC and other useful utilities... (No real experience with Vista (fortunately...?) apart from the brief exercise I am involved in now (details as at end of this missive).

There are more than a few references ("out there") to this issue of which SP one "may" need in a given XP CD in order to address/find/locate and repair a damaged installation...

I agree with you to some degree re' Acer E-Recovery system; but have used it a couple of times for XP - rebuilding a crashed XP-Home system... Simply ran the restore to factory gate status (via Acer provided disks..). (It "duz wot sez on the label..." and is often enuff for many less well versed in IT... with a few precautions.) There are better options with some makes in that regard - partial restore etc.; but Acer seems to be all or nothing...

Personally I make an Acronis style backup set asap; keep it safe etc... - just in-case... And at work our IT hardware chappies simply reformat and restore an image to any system that either crashes or starts to play up seriously. More cost effect/efficient approach... - especially as we have about a dozen base-images onto which different apps/utils may be installed (customised systems).

Right now I am rebuilding Vista Acer... - PCWorld (a UK version of Compu$a after a fashion) restored the base package to it; it had a BSOD for whatever reasons... Colleague (it's for his young son) wants other apps etc. installed; and a few utils added - and MacAfee disabled/removed (he uses Avast as do I). Have made the Acer recommended recovery set for it (factory-gate status/options only on this one...); and am now making a more conventional back-up set... Covers most/all bases?

As I say - we all have varying and different experiences in this area; and all equally valid. And the more I read through the replies here the more I see useful info for anyone who comes across it in the future...

It's late and I'm "orf to bed..."; been a long day...

Cheers

trvlr


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#17
September 28, 2009 at 10:00:30
Regarding hard drive test failure codes, I generally do not bother doing further research once I see any drive test failures. Some of the brand specific will give a code such as an Hitachi drive when using the Hitachi drive fitness test. If I test a WD or Seagate that test usually gives only a failure status.

My point is that any drive failures are not repairable and the drive should not be considered usable once that evaluation has been reached.

Hard drives are the sole location of all data on the system, as a result it is considered to be a single point of failure. All other components can be replaced to bring a system back to life, or in the worst case the drive can be removed and installed in an external enclosure and used on any system.

I advise all my customers to perform data backup to additional areas (external drive, CD/DVD or another system/server). Never trust that since the system is working right now that you will see it boot tomorrow and your data will be intact.

The most frustrating part of doing data recovery is telling a user that all of the data is unrecoverable unless the drive is sent to a lab and then recovery costs are well above my fees (typically $2000 USD and up).

A rule to follow is that if the system is a desktop and there is enough room consider installing a second drive (not a second partition in the same drive) (prices are inexpensive considering the cost of your data). If there is not enough room or the unit is a laptop then get an external drive and back the data to it. I get paranoid regarding data loss since I have seen both the system drive and the external fail within days of each other.

My points are NEVER trust a hard drive that is showing test errors and NEVER count on the drive working every time you access it.

BACKUP/BACKUP/BACKUP

Richard


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#18
September 29, 2009 at 00:43:06
"Richard..."

Well said, very well said... Sentiments that I (and many others here) echo very soundly; and much the policy I have with those who seek my help/advice...

Sadly there are more "out there" who will not take those steps re' data back up etc. than those who will/do; and we see more than a few of the former here...

trvlr


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