The current problems are:
1. Setup from a Windows Home Edition CD cannot see the HD: "Setup did not find any hard disk drives installed on your computer". (I had hoped to set up a partition and reinstall the OS and then bring the user data over to the new install and then nuke the old one. I have done that before on a Dell that got caught in the isass.exe snafu when XP SP2 came out. I had also hoped to run Windows repair from setup to see if that would fix the problems on the current OS install.)
1.5 The Windows XP Home Edition CD is one I have that is a stand alone. It is not an OEM disk. I don't know if that matters. There are no recovery disks for this computer and since it will not see a blank CD in the drive I cannot make one.
2. The computer cannot connect to the Internet (wired or wireless).
3. I can now boot from the HD after doing repairs via the repair console but some of the icons in Control Panel still will not open; specifically Network Connections and Add Hardware - which I tried to use to see if I could get it to recognize one of the drives listed above. (This was a problem before the Fixboot and fixmbr was done too. I tried the MS kb953791 fix to no avail.)
4. I can open Device Manager both from Control Panel/System/Hardware/Device Manager and from a command prompt but they come up empty.
5. Another odd thing is that if I look at the Control Panel in detail list view the only "details" available are Name and Comments - nothing else.
Brief History of what I have done so far. (And some of it may have been wrong!)
1. The beginning of the problems was the dreaded black screen of death which probably started after the SP3 security patch in November. I followed the instructions in Microsoft kb/314503 to use the Recovery Console to FIXBOOT and FIXMBR. That was successful eventually. It now boots all the way up with no black screen.
2. By the way, I did full system scans using Malwarebytes and Norton 360 (which the client had installed and was set for daily updates - until the internet connection died). This computer actually got scanned frequently so both scans came up relatively clean. I also did a full Disk Diagnostic - came back with no errors and a CHKDSK too.
2. At first the Recovery Console would not work due to not seeing the drives. I booted from the HD and tried to run MS kb/953791 off of a flash drive to fix the blank Device Manager & Network Connections Screen. It did not work.
3. In discussing all these problems with a tech friend he suggested I remove SP3. He said it would take the computer back to an earlier point and hopefully it would work. I did that but I think it may have been a mistake. It did not seem to help anything at all and I noticed I could no longer open Norton 360.
4. I finally got the Setup to see the drives long enough for the Recovery Console to fix the Boot and MBR by cleaning up the registry by running a CCleaner scan when booted from the HD . However I have tried that again to no avail. I cannot get Setup to see the HD now.
5. I do have a Hijack This log but I know this is not the correct forum to post it on. If you want to see it, please let me know and I will post it there. I have also run Belarc Adviser. I am wondering if I need to delete some of the other MS fixes to fully take the OS back to just SP2 and if that would then solve the problems. (Obviously, I would reinstall most of the security fixes AFTER I made recovery disks if I got the machine working well on SP2.)
Though I have been a Techie-Have-To-Be for years I am fairly new to working on other peoples' computers. My business idea was to teach better computer skills to seniors in their home on their own computers. However I have ended up needing to do tech work first just to clear out the messes on their home machines! I am enjoying the work . . . until I hit this one!
Edited by IslandOwl, 01 February 2010 - 11:16 AM.