|John, I did read you link, thanks. But it sounds like the option to boot to safe mode is removed from the boot menu, also this machine hasn't had a virus. Even if it was the defrag that had screwed the registry, I had restored it. However, re-reading the page, I checked the mentioned registry entries to compare minimal and networking. I found 1 thing that minimal was loading that networking wasn't - MSIService. I enabled that for safe mode a while ago, but I thought I had disabled it as MSI wasn't working in safe mode. Anyway, it's the only extra thing in minimal safe boot.|
So, my current theory is that the defrag moved the msiexec.exe onto a bad sector of the HDD, which caused safe mode to crash when trying to reference it (even though it wasn't set to automatic, and so wasn't being loaded), but with the Windows CD in the drive, it found a working copy of msiexec.exe there.
Whether or not Windows actually "checks" services that it isn't loading in some way at startup, I don't know, and why normal boot worked, I don't know either.
Paul - So, because I scanned from the recovery console, there is no log? That's a shame, because this machine won't scan from within Windows (I don't know if this is normal for NTFS), it always requests to scan at reboot. Unfortunately, although it does add 20-30 seconds to the boot time, it never actually scans. If I managed to get it to do a thorough scan at bootup, would it find (confirm) the same bad sector(s), or are they now permanently bypassed?