|See response 8|
"I note that there's a "drivers cache" folder in Windows. Does this provide any help?"
NO. pci.sys is not in it.
The ONLY place pci.sys is, is in C:\Windows\System32\drivers. or possibly
There is no pci.sy_ on my entire C drive either.
There are backup copies of some drivers in
(the dllcache folder is normally hidden in Windows)
- *.dll files, some *.sys files, *.exe files, etc. - but not pci.sys .
If there is no (Drive letter):\Windows\System32\\drivers folder (or if there was no \drivers folder until you made it) your Windows installation is severely damaged.
(My \drivers folder has 338 files total inc. in sub-folders and 4 sub-folers that have a small number of files in some folders, three whch it appears were made by Windows when I installed it, the other made by AVG later. )
Your hard drive may be in the process of failing.
.Test your hard drive with hard drive manufacturer's diagnostics.
Seagate's SeaTools will test (almost) any brand of hard drive.
Do the long test.
The Dos bootable versions of SeaTools can test the hard drive when Windows will not load properly, or even when the drive has no data on it.
If the drive itself passes the test, any data problems on the drive can be fixed one way or another.
If the drive itself DOES NOT pass the test, you MAY still be able to get your personal data off of it - see the last paragraph in this post.
It the drive itself passes the test,
"The recovery disk is a "Reinstallation CD" that came with the system (Dell Inspiron 6000 laptop")."
In that case it can be used the same way as a regular XP CD with the same model to run a Repair installation of Windows procedure.
NOTE that you need the Product Key that's on the official Microsoft label on the outside of the case.
If you can still read that, that''s good.
Use magnification to read it if you have difficulty reading tiny characters, otherwise some characters can be mis-read e.g. 8 and B .
( If you can't read all of it because it's worn or someone was too vigorous cleaning the outside of the case, the Product Key the Windows installation was using can be found even if Windows isn't working if you remove the drive and connect it to another computer that has XP on it (don't boot from your drive on the other computer), if there's nothing wrong with certain data in Windows on the drive.
E.g. Search for: Keyfinder and see the "hit" on the Jellybean....... web site, at the bottom of the page where you can download Keyfinder, click on the Keyfinder FAQS link.
If the hard drive is SATA, the sockets for SATA data and SATA power are identical to those on a desktop (3.5") drive - you can connect to any desktop computer that has SATA drive controllers and a spare SATA data header.
- or- an external drive enclosure for a laptop (2.5") SATA drive - it can be connected to any computer with a USB port, but the USB port MUST be able to supply the full 500ma USB spec current
- or - an inexpensive USB to laptop SATA drive adapter (it has circuitry between the connectors) - it can be connected to any computer with a USB port, but the USB port MUST be able to supply the full 500ma USB spec current
If it's IDE, you need
- an inexpensive laptop drive (2.5") IDE to desktop IDE data / power adapter, you connect to an IDE cable on a desktop computer (the laptop drive is set to master by default)
- an inexpensive USB to laptop IDE drive adapter (it has circuitry between the connectors) - it can be connected to any computer with a USB port, but the USB port MUST be able to supply the full 500ma USB spec current
- or - an external drive enclosure for a laptop (2.5") IDE (a.k,a PATA) drive - it can be connected to any computer with a USB port, but the USB port MUST be able to supply the full 500ma USB spec current )
See response 10:
Scroll down to:
"- If that doesn't help, you can try running a Repair installation of Windows"
If it has a SATA hard drive....
Installing XP and SATA drive controllers, SATA drives; the SATA drive controller bios settings.
See response 2:
I stated in that....
"The detailed info about how you set the SATA controller mode or similar - it varies
depending on the bios version - is probably in the manual for your mboard model, in the descriptions of settings in the bios.
If you need help with that, you must provide us with the make and model of your mboard."
That's assuming you have a generic desktop system with a retail mboard model in it.
If you have a brand name system, similar applies, but we usually cannot find what you see in a brand name system bios version regarding that to refer you to on the web.
Whatever the setting is, when the files intially loaded from the XP CD cannot find SATA drives, it's presently set to SATA or AHCI in the bios, it's changeable, and at least one other choice is an IDE compatible mode of some sort.
If the Repair installation of Windows procedure doesn't solve your problems, then you must install XP from scratch.
If you have any personal data on the partition Windows itself was installed on that you DO NOT want to lose, BEFORE you install XP from scratch, boot the computer from something that can read all the files on the drive, such as a Linux CD or the Ultimate Boot CD, and copy the data you don't want to lose to elsewhere. ALL of your personal data is at C:\Documents and Settings\(your user)\( files and sub-folders of your user), unless you saved your data in a location elsewhere deliberately.