Acer One netbook doesn't open programs

Thermaltake / Xaser
August 4, 2011 at 00:01:01
Specs: WinXP, 1gb
Someone has asked me to fix his netbook because he thought someone had deliberately deleted some operating system files.

When i first looked at it, if you try to open IE or any .exe, it asks what program you want to open it with. I fixed that problem and have runa spyware scan and found loads of spyware, trojans etc which have been removed.

If i try to open a web browser or even try to do a system restore, nothing happens. I waited for about 10 mins checked to see if it was open and nothing. I can't even do CTRL ALT DEL to get up task manager.

I wanted to do a reinstall of XP but without a cdrom, it seems impossible. I've followed some tutorials and run programs that copy the winxp disc to a USB flash drive and boot from that to try and install windows but even that doesn't work.

I have had NLTDR is missing off one attempted installation and something about HAL missing off another.

I haven't got an external cdrom becuase i don't need one. Is there anything else I can try? Where does NLTDR belong when trying to install windows from a flash drive?

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August 4, 2011 at 01:08:51
Firstly, it's not "nltdr", it's "ntldr".

Secondly, it belongs at the root of your C: drive (or system drive, depending on your configuration). However, it may be hidden, as system files often are. To show hidden system files, open My Computer and click the Tools menu (at the top), then select Folder Options. Click on the View tab, and scroll down to Hidden files and folders, selecting Show hidden....

Just below that, remove the check from Hide protected ......

You should now be able to see NTLDR at the root of C: drive.

If you have had a particularly nasty virus/malware, it would probably pay to turn System Restore off, then back on to remove all restore points. Some malware/viruses have been known to hide in restore points, only to keep re-infecting the machine.

Have you tried downloading and running the XP Winsock repair?

There are a number of repair scripts available from Doug Knox's website (for repairing the different file associations and other Windows defaults). Look through the list of fixes and download/run any that sound like they'd be relevant.

When you try to re-install (via USB), make sure you delete the current C: partition and create a new one from scratch (follow the prompts during install). Often, I've found that remnants from a previous install will cause the sort of problems you mentioned (NTLDR missing, HAL.dll missing or corrupt, etc.). Even re-formatting an existing partition has given me this problem before (only with XP, no other version, so far), so be sure to use a newly created partition. This should allow you to install a new Windows, but unfortunately, doesn't help if you wanted to do a repair-install.

If a new install is an acceptable route for you, I'd try the new partition trick first. If you'd prefer to repair the existing installation, see if Doug Knox has a script that will help.

Please let us know if you found someone's advice to be helpful.

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August 4, 2011 at 04:20:59
I'll have a look for a repair script like you mentioned.

As to the NTLDR (mistype before), I am booting from USB which has the windows installation files on> I followed a couple of tutorials and some people have got it to work but i haven't. I can't get to anywhere to even create or remove the current just comes up with that error straight away.

If the Doug Know scripts don't work or I just want to do a clean install (preferable), would it be possible to take the HDD out of the netbook, plug into a docking station and install windows straight onto the docked HDD? Or is it worth taking the HDD out, removing the partation and create a new one (or even let Windows create one onm install...if it works)?

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August 4, 2011 at 12:22:22
At what point do you get the NTLDR message? If it's before even booting to USB, you may not have the BIOS properly set to boot from USB as the first boot option. Are you sure you created the USB drive to be bootable? You may also have to edit the boot.ini file.

If you can't get past the NTLDR error, I'd probably take the drive out, slave it to another computer and use Disk Management to delete and re-create the partition. Put the drive back in the computer and try again to install from the USB drive.

Please let us know if you found someone's advice to be helpful.

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