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System Restore Vs Clean Install Vs Last Known Good Configuration


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#1 NorCal_Mike

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Posted 12 October 2007 - 02:17 PM

Unfortunately, I believe I'll need to do one of the above to get everything back to normal. A partial list of some of the recent changes made to my laptop include installing numerous MS updates, WMP11, all updated drivers...and uninstalling many unused applications. Some of these were later reinstalled and updated, too many to list.

The main problem relates to no audio from the CD/DVD now, or from WMP 10 or 11, though SonicStage plays audio fine. I also get error msgs on boot up, related to Realtek HD Audio, that state:
RTHDCPL.EXE ...Application failed to initialize (0xc00000033)
ALCWZRD.EXE...Application failed to initialize (0xc00000033)
ALCMTR.EXE...Application failed to initialize (0xc00000033)

I've tried rolling back the driver, uninstalling the driver, etc. Device indicates "it's working properly," yet clearly something is amiss. I've never been alerted that I was missing key system drivers, or that some service needed to be enabled, etc., yet wonder if Registry Mechanic (which I've used a few times in many months) may've screwed something up. I've tried a long list of fixes over about a week, including contacting Sony Support, which was of little help: they simply said to use Last Known Good Config (LKGC) or pick a Restore Point. Swell.

(1) As I understand it, LKGC doesn't fix missing or corrupted files, drivers, etc., and don't think one gets to choose that "LKGC" either. It's probably whatever the system picks, so it's essentially a guessing game as to what one actually ends up with. It may also think "Everything is fine," and overlook the audio problem, since that's what the system seems to be doing now in saying all the drivers and Realtek are working properly. Right or wrong?

(2) Viewing Restore Point choices, I find it doesn't go back beyond Oct. 10, 2007-- three days ago. Restoring to the 10th would NOT correct the problem, and why there are points further back in time is a mystery to me. I turned it off briefly last week, to permanently delete a file I didn't want showing up in a future restore, but it'd been on all the time before that. It won't even let me go back into September, let alone months ago. So, this option appears as useless as tits on a rooster. Right or wrong?

(3) That, apparently, leaves doing a full reinstall as the only option, which means many days of work. I'll have to reinstall my cable internet, my router and LAN settings, all my software + updates, create Outlook profiles, import all my data -- and 100 other things. Right or wrong?

Isn't there a way to determine what the actual cause of this problem is and fix it via editing the Registry? I know one can add .dll's thru the run command, if a missing file is the issue. It could be as simple as that, or for lack of a better term, something in the Reg not pointing to the correct file, or pointing to one that's missing or outdated. Perhaps a program or service that's required isn't loading at startup, or possibly set to manual or disabled when it should be automatic?

If there's something I'm missing or overlooked, I'd really appreciate advice from someone very experienced. I'm running XP Home Edition, SP2. All MS updates are installed, updated drivers, etc. I really don't have time to do a full reinstall, and dread the thought, yet don't see how LKGC or Restore will solve the issue given the above. Suggestions welcomed.

Thanks in advance,
Michael

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#2 NorCal_Mike

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Posted 12 October 2007 - 02:24 PM

(2) Viewing Restore Point choices, I find it doesn't go back beyond Oct. 10, 2007-- three days ago. Restoring to the 10th would NOT correct the problem, and why there are points further back in time is a mystery to me. I turned it off briefly last week, to permanently delete a file I didn't want showing up in a future restore, but it'd been on all the time before that. It won't even let me go back into September, let alone months ago. So, this option appears as useless as tits on a rooster. Right or wrong?


Correction:
"Restoring to the 10th would NOT correct the problem, and why there are no points further back in time is a mystery to me.

#3 hamluis

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Posted 12 October 2007 - 02:31 PM

<<It could be as simple as that...>>

I'm glad that you're so optimistic in perceiving that there is only one problematical situation :thumbsup:.

As for all the hard work a clean install will provide...a self-inflicted wound, backup options readily available. Maybe this is what it takes to make you concerned enough to backup your system.

WAG alternatives to clean install:

a. Check Event Viewer and give us some idea of what error appear within.

b. Run chkdsk /r or chkdsk with max options from My Explorer.

How To Run CHKDSK In XP - http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?...b;en-us;Q315265

c. Run sfc /scannow to check for corrupt system files.

d. If I had any questions about drivers causing issues, I would uninstall/reinstall (making sure that compatibility was achieved with each before moving on).

Louis

#4 NorCal_Mike

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Posted 12 October 2007 - 03:31 PM

Hi Louis,

I certainly didn't mean to imply "there's only one problematic situation," but rather to suggest "possible causes," the same which might be remedied far more easily than with other more drastic means -- such as formatting the drive.

As to suggesting I've somehow been negligent in not backing up my system:
* System Restore has always been enabled. Only very briefly last week, was it disabled after removing something Ad Aware or AV turned up, so that it was not added back into a saved Restore. That took all of 10 minutes and it was turned back on. Why Restore offers no versions going back further than 10/10/07 is, again, a mystery...unless once you disable it -- even for 10 minutes -- you lose all previous version that were saved.

* I periodically back up the registry too, but: "If your symptoms are being caused by entries in the registry made by a newly installed program, or an improperly removed one, restoring an earlier .reg file backup will not necessarily cure them, since this type of file will not overwrite newer registry entries."

I think I've been quite prudent in backing up the Registry, yet that apparently won't help here. And if disabling Restore for 10 minutes caused me to lose all previously saved restore points, then it's a pretty ill-conceived system, IMO. I certainly never imagined that being even a possible result.

Event Viewershows a string of warnings from 10-12 re the CD/DVD:
Details
Product: Windows Operating System
ID: 51
Source: Cdrom
Version: 5.2
Symbolic Name: IO_WARNING_PAGING_FAILURE
Message: An error was detected on device %1 during a paging operation.

Explanation
An input/output (I/O) request to a memory-mapped file failed and the operation was retried.

(There's also problems with a Click to DVD app, which I knew about.)

Ran Chkdsk several days ago with /f/r, which took almost 5 hrs to finish. It found and fixed 1 sound file, 1 help file, and didn't fix the Audio problem.

Was just going to run SFC before reading your message. Appears I need to decide on which Parameter is best?

BTW, I've rolled back drivers and that didn't work. Uninstalled and reinstalled them, and that didn't work. In both cases, devices and drivers all indicated they were "working properly," and still do, despite the fact that they are not.

I'm no expert, but no dummy either. Thanks for your input.

#5 Bonneville

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Posted 12 October 2007 - 03:51 PM

:thumbsup:

Hiya,

Just to clarify on one point, the moment that you switch system restore off, all previous restore points are deleted.
Regards,

Tony.
Is all that we see or seem, but a dream within a dream ?

#6 NorCal_Mike

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Posted 12 October 2007 - 05:17 PM

:flowers:

Hiya,

Just to clarify on one point, the moment that you switch system restore off, all previous restore points are deleted.
Regards,

Tony.


Thanks for clarifying that for me, Tony, and good to know! Why it would be configured to do that defies logic, IMO, but so be it. One of many lessons well learned through all this. :thumbsup:

HERE'S THE GOOD NEWS! I just finished running SFC and I'll be damned if it didn't fix the problem(s) I've been wrestling with - and posting about - for days! CD's and DVD's now both have audio in WMP11. Have yet to reboot to see if those 3 error warnings still pop up, but was so happy I had to share.

I've used ChkDsk for years, but hadn't even thought about SFC till I linked to it on the net earlier this morning. Frankly, it was one of those things I'd pretty much forgotten about, since I had no call to use it till now, and can't remember the last time I used it. Definitely won't forget about it from now on! I could've saved myself days of aggravation, but all's well that ends well.

Michael

#7 hamluis

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Posted 12 October 2007 - 05:39 PM

Well done, sir :thumbsup:.

Just to clarify: System Restore does NOT back up your system. It's a useful mechanism for many who do not backup, but it has weaknesses (what doesn't?).

System Restore Info - http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?...%5BLN%5D;267951

When I refer to backing up, I really mean making a mirror image of everything that is on your system at a given moment, such to be done on a routine, periodic basis.

Various programs allow this. I use a Drive Image 2002 version (before Symantec acquired it) which still works fine with XP in 2007. Other reliable programs (that I know of) include Ghost by Symantec and Acronis True Image. You can Google and read up on these and other programs if you are interested.

Example: If I backup my system tonight...and everything goes wrong tomorrow...I still have everything, exactly as it was, thru tonight. I would not have to reinstall every program. I would not have to lament missing data files, video files, graphics files, music files, WAB, emails, etc.

Louis

#8 NorCal_Mike

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Posted 12 October 2007 - 05:41 PM

A final note:

I just rebooted and those three errors messages no longer appear, meaning all problems were corrected via SFC. So, it appears I was correct when suggesting above, that it was either missing or had a corrupt system file -- something along those lines. I just knew there had to be a much simpler way of going about fixing the problem than formatting the drive. Thank God I didn't listen to Sony or some others who suggested doing that, as I just saved myself many long days of work & grief.

Now that it's running like a Champ, I'm going to create a Restore point and back up the Registry with Erunt.

Thanks to everyone who responded. This is a great board!
Michael

#9 NorCal_Mike

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Posted 12 October 2007 - 06:00 PM

Well done, sir :flowers:.

Just to clarify: System Restore does NOT back up your system. It's a useful mechanism for many who do not backup, but it has weaknesses (what doesn't?).

System Restore Info - http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?...%5BLN%5D;267951

When I refer to backing up, I really mean making a mirror image of everything that is on your system at a given moment, such to be done on a routine, periodic basis.

Various programs allow this. I use a Drive Image 2002 version (before Symantec acquired it) which still works fine with XP in 2007. Other reliable programs (that I know of) include Ghost by Symantec and Acronis True Image. You can Google and read up on these and other programs if you are interested.

Example: If I backup my system tonight...and everything goes wrong tomorrow...I still have everything, exactly as it was, thru tonight. I would not have to reinstall every program. I would not have to lament missing data files, video files, graphics files, music files, WAB, emails, etc.

Louis


Hey Louis,

I hear ya re full backups. I used to use Ghost regularly -- think I have v2003 lying around --but it was a major resource hog and kinda quirky, as I recall. No doubt, having a mirror image of everything is the way to go. This is my 1st laptop, and not too high powered. All my many other systems were "race horses" -- custom built to handle graphic design, 3-D animation, spophisticated stock trading programs, etc., all at the same time. They usually had two large, high-speed drives with RAID, yet I'd still run Ghost for insurance. These days I mainly just back up all my data and the registry, but suppose I should rethink that plan now, huh? :thumbsup:

It's been a trying 7-8 days, but I've learned a lot of new things and remembered things forgotten. Can't tell you how happy I am to NOT have to do something drastic w/ the drive, and that SFC took care of everything. Thanks for your suggestions and I'll look into making full backups once again.

Cheers~
Michael

#10 hamluis

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Posted 12 October 2007 - 08:17 PM

You are welcome.

Re Ghost 2003: It had some problems and came out months before Symantec bought out Powerquest. Maybe they needed the Powerquest personnel to get where they wanted to be.

http://www.alanluber.com/pcfearfactor/prod...g2003review.htm

Happy computing!

Louis




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