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Cannot run, restore or reinstall Windows Vista


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#1 ehbowen

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Posted 06 December 2009 - 04:26 PM

For more information on what I have done so far, see this thread on the AVG user forums. But for the Reader's Digest condensed version:
  • My system was virtually trouble-free for the first two years
  • The only major software/hardware change prior to the trouble was an antivirus upgrade to AVG 9.0 Internet Security
  • An attempted restore from a Ghost backup to my primary hard drive failed, leaving the system drive corrupt
  • I cannot reinstall Windows, either to my original IDE hard drive or to a brand new SATA drive, without the system crashing within 5 minutes
  • I cannot restore from my Ghost backup on an external drive to either of the above drives without the system crashing or locking up within 5 minutes
  • Two full system scans with an updated version of AVG 9.0 in safe mode prior to the initial restore attempt found no malware on the system
  • All system tools and diagnostics I have used which do NOT run under Windows (SeaTools, Memtest86+, dban) run flawlessly for 24 hours or more and report no errors whatsoever
I did unsuspectingly visit a potentially malicious web site shortly before all of the trouble started but if this is a malware problem it has to be the sneakiest exploit ever devised; it survived two dban wipes of my primary hard drive and the only chance it had to infect my new SATA drive is when I tried to restore from my external backup in the Symantec recovery environment (booting Windows from CD). I'm starting to think that there may be a hardware problem and I would welcome any recommendations for a comprehensive diagnostic utility, but so far every diagnostic I have run shows the system to be operating flawlessly. The only common thread between my problems is...Windows. If a utility runs on DOS or Linux from a floppy or hard drive [ETC: CD-ROM, not hard drive] it runs with no trouble. However, whenever I try to run or reinstall Windows the system will crash or lock up within minutes at most.

My main concern now is data recovery from the backup. If I do have some kind of hardware problem and need to replace the CPU and/or motherboard I may as well go ahead and rebuild the computer. But I still have a lot of data which (now) can only be retrieved from that backup.

Computer specs:
Mach Speed P4MST-890 motherboard
Intel Pentium D 3.0 GHz CPU
2x1GB DDR2 RAM
EVGA-Nvidia 8600 256MB video card (PCI Express-16)
AVerMedia TV tuner card (PCI Express-1)
Maxtor 200GB EIDE drive (original)
Seagate Barracuda 500GB SATA internal (new)
WD MyBook 500GB external USB drive (backups)
DVD burner (IDE) - USRobotics 56K modem (PCI) - Floppy
Windows Vista Home Premium (32 bit)

Any helpful suggestions are welcome.

Edited by ehbowen, 06 December 2009 - 10:31 PM.


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#2 garmanma

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 01:24 PM

I may as well go ahead and rebuild the computer. But I still have a lot of data which (now) can only be retrieved from that backup.


If you're going to rebuild it [and adding a new drive], Why not just slave the old one and get the data off of it?

Edited by garmanma, 07 December 2009 - 01:25 PM.

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#3 ehbowen

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 07:11 PM

I may as well go ahead and rebuild the computer. But I still have a lot of data which (now) can only be retrieved from that backup.


If you're going to rebuild it [and adding a new drive], Why not just slave the old one and get the data off of it?


I don't want to rebuild it unless I must...IOW, if I have to replace major components (CPU, motherboard, OS) to make it work. And if there is some kind of nasty infection on the external drive which holds my backup, I don't want to transfer it to another computer.

#4 ehbowen

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 10:55 PM

Any suggestions? Anyone?

[BUMP]

#5 figgis41

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 07:27 AM

hi,,, have you run scans on the external drive,,,, try malwarebytes,,,, i was also in a thread a couple of months back where the op had run for scans but was sure reinfection was occurring when either reinstalling a backup after a clean install,, or on a clean install,,, she also ran dban several times,,, in this thread (which i cant find) it was suggested it could be a boot virus and it could in theory be in the RAM,,, so on clean install reinfection was occurring,,,, it just reminds me of this because her pc became unstable and shut down after a short period too,,,, could be wrong,,, but if you got any old ram shove it in and try another clean install.
good luck.
Figgis,,,, LUFC

#6 cpt6791

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 08:27 PM

superspyware scans the memeory and it is free!!!!! :huh:




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