XP Professional SP3 - BSOD after logon

December 16, 2010 at 08:52:02
Specs: WinXP SP3, Intel Core Duo/1GB
Hi Folks,

I'm working on a Thinkpad running XP SP3 for a friend of mine. He was trying to sync his iPad with the laptop and the whole system froze up on him. When he rebooted, chkdsk automatically ran and he allowed it to finish....it reported that it had made corrections to his file system.

Ever since, when he boots the machine, he gets to a logon prompt. If he attempts a log in, using any user account (in normal mode), he gets a blue screen error 0x00000051 "registry error". Also, if he leaves the logon prompt there for two minutes or so without logging in, the same blue screen error occurs.

I booted into safe mode, and am able to log in to the Administrator account without a problem. Can stay logged in indefinitely as Administrator with no blue screen. My next step was to create a fresh account for myself, and try logging into that in Normal mode. Same result, blue screen as it is "loading my personal settings" just after successful logon. If I try to log on as Administrator in normal mode instead, same blue screen.

To further complicate the problem, somebody at his last place of work decided to turn off system restore, so I have no restore hives to repair the registry with. My plan was to use the registry hives in the \Windows\repair directory, reboot, then restore the System Restore hives from the last checkpoint, as Microsoft suggests.

I'm wondering what I can do at this point. I can certainly get all his data from the Administrator account in safe mode and back it up (happening now), but I'd like to avoid a complete reinstall if possible.

Does the blue screen error I've described above have to do with a particular registry hive? It affects all users in normal mode, even a fresh account as I mentioned, so can I just use one of the \Windows\repair hives and leave it that way?

Thanks so much.


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December 16, 2010 at 10:27:20
Bug Check 0x51: REGISTRY_ERROR. Windows probably received an I/O error when reading / writing to one of its hives.

Either some hive is corrupted, the file system is corrupted, or the hardware is dying.

Run a CHKDSK C: /R and reboot.

If that doesn't work, use a live CD / put the drive into an enclosure, and copy the (mostly hidden) files from C:\windows\system32\config\regBack to C:\windows\system32\config

If that doesn't work, the corrupted registry was backed up, some driver died, or some piece of hardware is dying. Get a WinXP CD, do a repair install, and hope for the best.

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December 16, 2010 at 11:27:38
Thanks Razor! I'm still waiting for the backup to finish (tons of data), and will try your suggestions as soon as it's done. That's cool....I didn't know there was a regBack backup in there by default....hopefully it's in decent shape.

I don't think I'll be able to do a repair install because it's a Lenovo OEM XP image.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Thanks again!

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December 17, 2010 at 07:17:40
It looks like I don't have a regBack directory in windows\system32\config....searched the entire Windows directory for it. I have viewing of hidden files enabled, and removed the check from hide protected operating system files.

Is there any other way to attempt to fix whatever hive is corrupted?....maybe some tool that I can run on the registry hive files? I don't think it's a hardware issue.


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December 17, 2010 at 08:06:19
How'd the CHCKDSK work? If you added the /V to the command, it should tell you what files are affected by the problem.

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December 17, 2010 at 09:19:08
Well, I kinda jumped the gun and tried to find the regback directory first. CHKDSK /r has been running for about two hours now....about 62% complete. Bunch of fixes applied, mostly "Windows replaced bad clusters in file ......."

Hoping for the best.


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December 17, 2010 at 09:43:29
Bunch of fixes applied, mostly "Windows replaced bad clusters in file ......."
Yeah, the laptop is hosed. Even if you get it up and running, the HDD is dying. It might be only a couple of months before some other critical file corrupts.

The good news is 2.5" drives are pretty cheap these days, so he could get a new drive for, like, $80.

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December 17, 2010 at 10:46:44
Thanks. Yeah, I knew from the jump that the drive would soon have to be replaced once I saw bad clusters reported, but I was trying to apply a band-aid fix so that he would have access to his profile temporarily, even if only for a few days until getting a new system.

I was wondering about cloning the disk if I replace the hard drive. The bad sectors will then be copied on to the new drive right? I was never quite clear on that.....whether bad sectors could be replicated via cloning. Always thought of it as physical damage (which theoretically can't be duplicated that way), but I've seen a fair amount of reports that bad sectors can be transferred through cloning. Any thoughts?

Thanks again for your continuing help.

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December 17, 2010 at 12:29:57
Many (all?) file systems keep a list of bad clusters, and NTFS is no exception. This data is stored on the drive, and it will copy over with the clone.

If you have access to WIn7 (and probably Vista), you can use its CHKDSK to retest and recover "bad" clusters.

Google tells me there are some utilities on Linux live CD's that can reset the clusters, but data loss is always a possibility.

You could also just ignore the "bad" clusters; he'll probably never notice a few MB missing.

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