repair not reformat

Emachines / T3256
July 3, 2009 at 09:02:45
Specs: Windows XP
My friend has an emachine desktop T3256. He uninstalled Zone Alarm using the ZA uninstaller (not the add/remove windows uninstaller) and now he can't get on the internet, etc. It's asking for his original CD to repair system files.

I have seen how to use a regular windows CD to reformat the harddrive and to repair the files WITHOUT wiping out your personal files but the emachine CD is an image file - I''m not familiar with this. Can I use it without reformatting? Can I just repair the system files? Are there steps for this somewhere?

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July 3, 2009 at 11:39:07
Follow the screen prompts using the eMachine Restore CD set ( should be 3). System files should be on CD# 1 or 2, of 3. Drivers on #3.

There is nothing to learn from someone who already agrees with you.

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July 3, 2009 at 12:30:55
OK - I just didn't know if I could easily make a mistake and end up reformatting when I just want to I tell the pc to boot to the CD first and then follow the prompts? Am I telling it to "repair"??

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July 3, 2009 at 12:49:37
You have not supplied enough info.

If his only problem is he can't get on the internet, un-installing ZA would not likely have done that all on it's own, and there's all sorts of possible causes for that.
ZA's own un-installer for the same version of ZA is probably exactly the same thing as that accessed when you use Add / Remove programs to do that.

You can, but you usually don't need to, "kill a flea with a sledge hammer". If you don't need to run a Recovery or Repair procedure, you don't do that, especially if you have not backed up data you don't want to lose - you fix whatever problem you are having some other way - if you don't know how to do that, ask us - describe what you problem is and/or your symptoms. .

Some brand name Recovery procedures allow you to repair Windows or some other components, as well as re-loading the original software from scratch, some only will do the latter.
The brand name builder may have more info about that on their web site - e.g. HP, Compaq, and Dell do - I don't know if emachines does . Generally, if you do have a serious problem, if you can try just Repairing Windows, try that first instead of the manufacturer's Recovery procedure.

If the data on the hard drive is not seriously damaged, he or you can use anyone else's OEM XP CD of the same version, Home or Pro, or a bootable copy of one preferably on a CD-R for the best possible drive compatibility, along with the Product key on the official Microsoft label on the case, and run the second Repair option when you boot from the XP CD - Repair the existing Windows installation, or similar, what many call a Repair Install, and I prefer to call a Repair Setup, and not lose the user's data that's already on the Windows partition, which is usually C.
- you MUST use a proper Product Key - if it isn't on an official Microsoft label on the case, you need to find out the one Windows is presently using, which is often different from the one on a label on a brand name system but also works - e.g. search for and use Keyfinder, by Jelly Bean whatever.
- it MUST be an OEM version CD, not a Retail version CD.
- there must be NO errors reading from the ram or reading files from the CD
- if there ARE such errors, or if you don't have the Product Key, you won't be able to complete Setup properly, and if you can't complete Setup properly, you probably will NOT have the second Repair option available when you try again after having fixed the problem.
- a Repair Install / Repair Setup procedure can't fix problems caused by files being corrupted or missing that aren't on the XP CD you're using, or caused by you setting something incorrectly if it's a normally available possibility.

If he is having other problems you haven't mentioned, desktop emachines systems are well known to use el-cheapo power supplies that are a lot more likely to malfunction, which can cause all sorts of symptoms, and when they fail completely they are a lot more likely to damage something else, often the mboard, especially if the brand of PS is BESTEC.

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July 3, 2009 at 12:55:07
Thanks - I agree it seems odd that he's having problems simply after uninstalling ZA - but that's what he said happened, and he's pretty smart about pcs.

I don't have the pc by me (it's across town) but I will pass on your information. Thank you for your lengthy reply.

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July 3, 2009 at 13:44:45
As tubes said, just fix the problem. Internet connection wizard should do it, if the Network adapter is still working properly according to Device Manager.

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July 3, 2009 at 14:30:09
"that's what he said happened, and he's pretty smart about pcs"

If he's so smart about PCs, why are you posting questions on his behalf? And why are you the one that appears to be trying to fix it?

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July 3, 2009 at 14:37:17
because he can only use his pc at work (no internet connection at home - that's one of the problems after this uninstall) and it's a holiday weekend so he's not at work right now.

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July 3, 2009 at 16:02:53
Read this, may be of some help. ZA is not your "Easy Uninstall"

You may need to reinstall then Uninstall following the directions on this link.

There is nothing to learn from someone who already agrees with you.

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July 3, 2009 at 16:30:04
Wow - that's crazy but helpful...I'll keep that bookmarked.

I just talked to him and he told me that he couldn't get on the internet with ZA so he uninstalled it since he was going to put on another firewall anyway. Then he rebooted and got on the internet fine. Rebooted again and saw the error that there's a problem in the windows system files and now it WON'T BOOT UP AT ALL!

I'll have to get to his pc and take a look. He's also going to have a friend take his HD and see if it's OK.

thanks for everyone's help. I just haven't worked with an emachine recovery console before and someone said I couldn't treat it like a Dell when repairing windows so I thought I'd check around on here.

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July 3, 2009 at 21:18:12
I believe Most restore CD's have the same functionality but it seem that some OEM's have a problem with making things easy for US, Their Customers.

Dell seems to present things pretty straightforward an doesn't seem to box users into the Paid Tech support.

Maybe that's why they sell so many Computers. They do have their quirks but lack of info does not seem to be one of them.

I supppose I could risk a new install of XP on My eMachine to see just what the Restore CD's actually are capable of.

If I decide to do that I'll post it back here. I find it hard to believe that a non destructive repair is not possible. My eMAchines running win98SE allow for recovery without loss of files.

There is nothing to learn from someone who already agrees with you.

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July 3, 2009 at 21:44:22


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July 4, 2009 at 12:14:10
"...he's pretty smart about pcs..."

Lots of people know how to use the software they use well - I'm certainly no expert about that regarding some software - and how a computer or the operating system is supposed to work, but that doesn't necessarily mean they know what to do when there's a problem.

"....he couldn't get on the internet with ZA ...."

ZA could cause you not being able to connect to SOME sites on the internet but's it's very unlikely to cause you not being able to connect to all sites on the internet, unless he really buggered up it's settings - it's much more likely something else was wrong, especially if he hadn't been messing with settings in ZA since he could last successfuly connect.

"....Rebooted again and saw the error that there's a problem in the windows system files and now it WON'T BOOT UP AT ALL!"

Did he make note of what the error was? If so, we need to know what it said.


When people say that it's often NOT clear what they mean.
When we who answer say that, we almost always mean the mboard will not boot, but that's not necessarily what people who have posted here are trying to say.
Does he mean the mboard will not boot,
or -
the mboard does boot, he has video, but he can't get into Windows anymore
- the two are very different situations.


If the mboard does boot, he has video, but he can't get into Windows anymore -

The hard drive may be failing - if it is, trying anything else may be a huge waste of time.

Check your hard drive with the manufacturer's diagnostics.
See the latter part of response 1 in this:

(thanks to Dan Penny for this link:)
Hard Drive Diagnostics Tools and Utilities

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.

If the mboard does not boot....

As I said above emachines desktop systems are more likely to have a problem with their power supply, especially if it's a BESTEC model. You can get all sorts of strange symptoms before the PS has failed completely. If it HAS failed completely, it's more likely it has fried the mboard while failing. It it hasn't failed completely, I recommend he does NOT try to use the computer until it does fail completely!

Failing power supplies are common and can cause your symptoms.
Check your PS.
If they work, they often partially work, fans and hard drives may spin, leds may come on, yet you may get no video and the mboard will not boot all the way.
See response 4 in this:

If it is failing, you can usually replace it with any decent standard sized standard ATX PS with the same capacity or greater.

Standard (PS/2) power supply size - 86mm high, 150mm wide, 140mm deep, or 3 3/8" h x 5 7/8" w x 5 1/2" d , or very close to that, though the depth can be more or less for some PSs.

Don't buy an el-cheapo PS.
See response 3 in this:

Your power supply must have at least the minumum capacity required to support a system with the graphics card you are using installed, or the max graphics card you might install in the future.
(Onboard video - video built into the mboard - IS NOT A CARD!)
You can go to the video card maker's web site and look up the specs for the model - often under system requirements - the minimum PS wattage, and, more important, the minimum amperage the PS must supply at 12v is stated. If you don't find that, any card with the same video chipset including any letters after the model number has very similar minimum PS requirements.
If you want to cover any possible video card, a minimum 600 ot 650 watt power supply will handle any current high end video card, or even a X2 card (two video chipsets on one card) or two cards in two slots.

If he tries another PS and that doesn't help
- if the PS failed completely the mboard may be fried. Used mboards from emachines systems are often available on the web for cheap, if he wants to go that route, but make sure the mboard has been tested and is known to work. Usually everything else - cpu, fans, ram, drives, cards - is still okay.
He probably won't be able to use the Recovery disks for the emachines model unless the mboard has an emachines bios version, and/or is one of a small group of possible mboards the disks support you using.

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July 4, 2009 at 12:33:23
Thanks for the info - I already mentioned to him to have someone check his HD in another system...and I don't know the error message he got - just saw him in passing and he told me the little I know - and I do know that's not what everyone here needs when we need to get to the root of the problem...I guess I was just asking a question about using the emachine restore cd so I wasn't thinking about all the other possible issues and fixes.

I've passed on your info - I'll see what he wants to do.

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