Jump to content


 


Register a free account to unlock additional features at BleepingComputer.com
Welcome to BleepingComputer, a free community where people like yourself come together to discuss and learn how to use their computers. Using the site is easy and fun. As a guest, you can browse and view the various discussions in the forums, but can not create a new topic or reply to an existing one unless you are logged in. Other benefits of registering an account are subscribing to topics and forums, creating a blog, and having no ads shown anywhere on the site.


Click here to Register a free account now! or read our Welcome Guide to learn how to use this site.

Photo

Cannot re-install windows


  • Please log in to reply
15 replies to this topic

#1 Jayfree

Jayfree

  • Members
  • 6 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Local time:02:59 AM

Posted 24 May 2011 - 09:47 PM

To get to this point, this is what happened. Everything was working fine for about a year, then I installed an Adobe update I believe it was, reader or something. Ever since that happened my computer started crashing randomly and rebooting and it dramatically slowed my processing. Eventually I could barely carry out simple functions without it crashing or taking unreasonable amounts of time. In frustration, I resolved to wipe the drive by re-installing windows by CD. I backed up what I needed to back up and tried booting from CD.

When I got to XP setup, I hit enter to go to install windows, then hit f8 to agree to the terms. I got to the selecting partitioned drive space part, and tried deleting the existing partition with D, then L at the next confirmation screen. The message I got was that I could not delete that partitioned space, and was only left with the option to quit out.

Ever since then, I have been unable to boot back up into windows. I tried the CD again and pressed R for the Recovery Console this time, after reading around. The first option it gives me is to select which OS to log into, which is the only one I have, which is to press 1. I pressed 1, and it does nothing and hangs up. After trying these steps a couple more times and reaching the same results, I looked up "deleting a non-dos partition" but it assumes that you get past the first prompt in the Recovery Console.

I tried logging back in without the CD just to see what would happen, and it goes blank for a while, and then reaches the screen:
"Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt:
\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM"
saying that I can attempt to repair that file by using the CD and selecting "r" to enter the Recovery Console, which has already proven to hang up.

So basically where I'm at now, is I can't boot up and log in, and I can't use the CD to re-install windows, and I can't use the Recovery Console to repair or remove the existing partition. Am I completely effed? Should I just ragequit and chunk the hard drive out of the window and start over? I'm sorry I cannot be more detailed with my descriptions, as I had no way of documenting the screens as they appeared. I'm running Windows XP Home Edition with Service Pack 2. Basically if anyone has any suggestions at this point I'd appreciate it, otherwise I'm just going to set fire to this hard drive or something.

Edited by Jayfree, 24 May 2011 - 09:53 PM.


BC AdBot (Login to Remove)

 


#2 AustrAlien

AustrAlien

    Inquisitor


  • Members
  • 6,772 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Cowra NSW Australia
  • Local time:06:59 PM

Posted 24 May 2011 - 10:31 PM

Try using a LIVE CD to perform an off-line system restore of the registry hives.

Using a working computer:
There are many options to use for a LIVE CD: Try Puppy Linux (download file size 128 MB)
When you have downloaded the ISO image, burn it to a CD using ImgBurn (choose "Write image file to disc"). The CD will be bootable.

Now to work on your problematic computer:
Boot from the Puppy Linux CD. You will be able to navigate to all the files on your HDD.

Off-line system restore using a LIVE CD

:step1: Navigate to C:\System Volume Information\
Inside that folder you will see a folder with a name beginning with "restore" followed by a long alpa-numeric code in brackets. Inside the "restore<bracketed long alpa-numeric code>" folder you will see a number of folders named "RP<3 digit number>". Choose the highest number: That is your most recent System Restore point.
Open the "RP<highest number>" folder and inside that you will see another folder called "snapshot". Finally, open the "snapshot" folder and you will be at this address ...
C:\System Volume Information\restore<bracketed long alpha-numeric code>\RP<highest number>\snapshot

Locate the 5 files that you need to copy from within the snapshot folder:

_REGISTRY_MACHINE_SYSTEM
_REGISTRY_MACHINE_SOFTWARE
_REGISTRY_MACHINE_SECURITY
_REGISTRY_MACHINE_SAM
_REGISTRY_USER_.DEFAULT


Copy these 5 files from here, and paste into the "config" folder at following location ...
C:\Windows\System32\config <<< folder


:step2: In the "config" folder at C:\Windows\System32\config, locate the current registry hive files ...

system
software
security
sam
default

.... and re-name them by appending .old to the filename, so that they now look like this ....

system.old
software.old
security.old
sam.old
default.old


:step3: Still in the "config" folder at C:\Windows\System32\config
Re-name the files that you copied from the restore point:

_REGISTRY_MACHINE_SYSTEM ... rename to SYSTEM
_REGISTRY_MACHINE_SOFTWARE ... rename to SOFTWARE
_REGISTRY_MACHINE_SECURITY ... rename to SECURITY
_REGISTRY_MACHINE_SAM ...rename to SAM
_REGISTRY_USER_.DEFAULT .... rename to DEFAULT (You MUST remove the dot in front of DEFAULT)

You have now completed the System Restore. Shut down the computer, removing the LIVE CD.


Does your Windows XP system start normally now?

FYI: A successful outcome ...
Windows XP freezes at Mup.s...
AustrAlien
Google is my friend. Make Google your friend too.

Posted Image

#3 Jayfree

Jayfree
  • Topic Starter

  • Members
  • 6 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Local time:02:59 AM

Posted 25 May 2011 - 12:03 AM

Thank you for your detailed and understandable response! I'm out of blank CDs at the moment but I'll pick some up tomorrow and give that a try and post the update here.

#4 Jayfree

Jayfree
  • Topic Starter

  • Members
  • 6 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Local time:02:59 AM

Posted 25 May 2011 - 10:17 PM

Try using a LIVE CD to perform an off-line system restore of the registry hives.

Using a working computer:
There are many options to use for a LIVE CD: Try Puppy Linux (download file size 128 MB)
When you have downloaded the ISO image, burn it to a CD using ImgBurn (choose "Write image file to disc"). The CD will be bootable.

Now to work on your problematic computer:
Boot from the Puppy Linux CD. You will be able to navigate to all the files on your HDD.

Off-line system restore using a LIVE CD

:step1: Navigate to C:\System Volume Information\
Inside that folder you will see a folder with a name beginning with "restore" followed by a long alpa-numeric code in brackets. Inside the "restore<bracketed long alpa-numeric code>" folder you will see a number of folders named "RP<3 digit number>". Choose the highest number: That is your most recent System Restore point.
Open the "RP<highest number>" folder and inside that you will see another folder called "snapshot". Finally, open the "snapshot" folder and you will be at this address ...
C:\System Volume Information\restore<bracketed long alpha-numeric code>\RP<highest number>\snapshot

Locate the 5 files that you need to copy from within the snapshot folder:

_REGISTRY_MACHINE_SYSTEM
_REGISTRY_MACHINE_SOFTWARE
_REGISTRY_MACHINE_SECURITY
_REGISTRY_MACHINE_SAM
_REGISTRY_USER_.DEFAULT


Copy these 5 files from here, and paste into the "config" folder at following location ...
C:\Windows\System32\config <<< folder


:step2: In the "config" folder at C:\Windows\System32\config, locate the current registry hive files ...

So I got to here, and when I tried copying the files, it would say that "there was one error." And when I tried going to C:\Windows, it took forever to load, and then there was nothing there. What now?

#5 Jayfree

Jayfree
  • Topic Starter

  • Members
  • 6 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Local time:02:59 AM

Posted 25 May 2011 - 10:21 PM

What would happen if I took all the files on /mt/sda1 and just deleted them all? Would I have a totally fresh slate and be able to just re-install windows from scratch? I have absolutely no concern for wiping the entire thing clean.

#6 AustrAlien

AustrAlien

    Inquisitor


  • Members
  • 6,772 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Cowra NSW Australia
  • Local time:06:59 PM

Posted 26 May 2011 - 12:42 AM

I have absolutely no concern for wiping the entire thing clean.

We can wipe the drive clean using Puppy. I can give you instructions for doing that.

Are you sure that you are prepared to do this, and there is nothing on the HDD that you wish to save? Are you sure you want to go ahead with a clean installation of Windows XP?

A clean fresh installation of XP would be the "best" course of action if you are sure about it, and give you a "new" computer again.

Let me know if you wish to wipe the HDD clean, in preparation for doing a clean install.

Edit: The instructions I will provide will wipe the whole HDD.
I need to check that you have only the one partition on that HDD, and that you don't have a second partition with data on it that you had intended to keep intact.

What sort of installation CD do you have? A genuine retail Microsoft XP CD? Or, an OEM CD?
What Service Pack level is on the CD?

Before you proceed with a clean installation of XP, it would be a very good idea to check the HDD for problems, by running the manufacturer's diagnostic software (from a bootable CD, or floppy). Please let me know the brand (manufacturer) of the HDD, and the model number, and whether we are dealing with a SATA or IDE (ATA) type of drive.

Edited by AustrAlien, 26 May 2011 - 12:53 AM.

AustrAlien
Google is my friend. Make Google your friend too.

Posted Image

#7 AustrAlien

AustrAlien

    Inquisitor


  • Members
  • 6,772 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Cowra NSW Australia
  • Local time:06:59 PM

Posted 26 May 2011 - 07:37 AM

If and when you are sure that you wish to go ahead and wipe your HDD (the WHOLE HDD!), the instructions for doing this using Puppy Linux follow.

At the Puppy Desktop, click on the console icon.

Type in the following command exactly as shown (paying attention to the spaces) and then press the <ENTER> key:

dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sda bs=4k conv=notrunc

This command will overwrite the drive with zeroes, and return your hard drive to "as new" condition.

Apart from your hard drive light showing "busy", there will be no indication of anything happening until finished, when you will see output on the console screen as follows ...
dd: writing '/dev/sda': No space left on device
followed by some other information.

I have tested on a 2.1GB hard drive and found it to take 17.4 minutes to complete. So, be patient: The time it takes to complete will depend very much on the size of your hard drive. You may wish to leave it run over-night.

Simply close the console window when finished.
Then shut down the computer, removing the Puppy CD.

Boot to your Windows installation CD, create a partition, format it, and install XP. Success?


To answer your question:

What would happen if I took all the files on /mt/sda1 and just deleted them all? Would I have a totally fresh slate and be able to just re-install windows from scratch?

Deleting all the files in the partition will not result in a "fresh slate", and I do not think it would make any difference to the problem you face when attempting to boot with the XP installation CD. Hopefully, wiping the HDD (filling with zeros) will overcome the problem you are experiencing (if there is no problem with the HDD itself).

Edit to add: If you have a SATA HDD, there is a good chance that you will have a problem booting with the XP CD, because the XP installation CD does not include SATA drivers, and they may need to be loaded first. Let me know if you have a problem and exactly what happens, along with details of your system (make/model)/motherboard.

Edited by AustrAlien, 26 May 2011 - 08:00 AM.

AustrAlien
Google is my friend. Make Google your friend too.

Posted Image

#8 Jayfree

Jayfree
  • Topic Starter

  • Members
  • 6 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Local time:02:59 AM

Posted 26 May 2011 - 03:16 PM


I have absolutely no concern for wiping the entire thing clean.

I need to check that you have only the one partition on that HDD, and that you don't have a second partition with data on it that you had intended to keep intact.

What sort of installation CD do you have? A genuine retail Microsoft XP CD? Or, an OEM CD?
What Service Pack level is on the CD?

Before you proceed with a clean installation of XP, it would be a very good idea to check the HDD for problems, by running the manufacturer's diagnostic software (from a bootable CD, or floppy). Please let me know the brand (manufacturer) of the HDD, and the model number, and whether we are dealing with a SATA or IDE (ATA) type of drive.

I definitely want to start with a clean slate, because I'm building a new PC and intended to give this one to my parents who could use an upgrade from their ancient Dell machine that's a lost cause. I'm sure I want to wipe it clean and use XP, because that's all they've ever been used to using. And I'm sure that was the only partition. I have a genuine retail XP CD, service pack 2. Is there a way for me to check my hardware information with puppy? I haven't been able to access the internet on it but didn't worry about it because I didn't think I would need to.

This PC is a zombie of hand-me-down parts from my friend so I don't think I have any manufacturer software for the hardware. All I have is that XP CD which is currently unable to do anything without locking up. I just opened console and entered the command and am waiting, fingers crossed! Thank you for your responses and explanations. I'll post the results of what happens when it finishes.

Edited by Jayfree, 26 May 2011 - 03:31 PM.


#9 AustrAlien

AustrAlien

    Inquisitor


  • Members
  • 6,772 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Cowra NSW Australia
  • Local time:06:59 PM

Posted 26 May 2011 - 03:39 PM

All good!

To find HDD info:
At the Puppy Desktop, click on the start button (bottom-left, orange-coloured icon) > System > System Status and Config > Hardinfo hardware information. In the left pane of the window that opens, click on Storage. You should see an entry in the right pane reflecting your HDD. Post the info that you see.

Edited by AustrAlien, 26 May 2011 - 03:39 PM.

AustrAlien
Google is my friend. Make Google your friend too.

Posted Image

#10 AustrAlien

AustrAlien

    Inquisitor


  • Members
  • 6,772 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Cowra NSW Australia
  • Local time:06:59 PM

Posted 26 May 2011 - 04:10 PM

While waiting for Puppy to wipe your HDD, I suggest that you slipstream Service Pack 3 with your XP SP2 CD to create a new XP SP3 installation CD.

Slipstreaming Windows XP To Create a Bootable Windows XP CD or DVD ... BC

Here are a couple of other links also:

Slipstreaming Windows XP with Service Pack 3 (SP3) ... Paul Thurrott

How To Slipstream SATA Drivers Into XP CD ... digitgeek
AustrAlien
Google is my friend. Make Google your friend too.

Posted Image

#11 Jayfree

Jayfree
  • Topic Starter

  • Members
  • 6 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Local time:02:59 AM

Posted 26 May 2011 - 05:48 PM

It worked!!!!!!!
Awesome. Awesome awesome awesome. It took about 3 hours to wipe the 320GB HDD but it worked. I just successfully installed XP and am now setting it up with drivers etc. Thank you so much for all your help! If you lived in the states I would seriously buy you a beer. I'm going to try using Puppy from now on with afflicted systems and make notes from this page for reference. I literally danced around the room for a bit following this result. Linux is a godsend.

You're awesome man. Thank you so much for all your help and making it easy enough to follow for someone who's never used Linux before.

#12 AustrAlien

AustrAlien

    Inquisitor


  • Members
  • 6,772 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Cowra NSW Australia
  • Local time:06:59 PM

Posted 26 May 2011 - 06:14 PM

Pleased to be able to help out ... and to introduce you to linux.

It is very handy to be aware of linux and some of the things you can do with it (and I am speaking specifically to WINDOWS users here). There is an enormous amount of information available on the web ... and all you need to do is google for it.

Edit1: You are right about that ... "linux is a godsend" ... for WINDOWS users!

Take care and good luck.

Edit2: BTW ...
I believe the problem you were having in post #4 is perhaps due to you not waiting long enough for the copying process to complete. It sometimes takes a considerable amount of time (in the order of a minute or more) for the copying of one file to complete, before you should continue with copying the next file. I think that would catch a lot of users by surprise, and it may be responsible for your problem.

Edited by AustrAlien, 26 May 2011 - 06:29 PM.

AustrAlien
Google is my friend. Make Google your friend too.

Posted Image

#13 judyjht

judyjht

  • Members
  • 799 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Western Maine
  • Local time:04:59 AM

Posted 27 May 2011 - 07:37 AM

I can vouch for that!! AustrAlien is THE MAN!!! He has helped me numerous times - welcome back!!

#14 AustrAlien

AustrAlien

    Inquisitor


  • Members
  • 6,772 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Cowra NSW Australia
  • Local time:06:59 PM

Posted 27 May 2011 - 07:44 AM

G'day Judy

How's things in your world lately? If you are poking about on BC, does that mean you have a problem ... I wonder?

Yes, I am picking up the odd topic here and there, and sometimes getting lucky!

Regards
AustrAlien
Google is my friend. Make Google your friend too.

Posted Image

#15 judyjht

judyjht

  • Members
  • 799 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Western Maine
  • Local time:04:59 AM

Posted 27 May 2011 - 07:52 AM

Hey!! Good Morning to you. No, no problems here - both the laptop and desktop and working great!! I try to poke around every few days to see if there are any tips I can pick up. Boy, you helped this guy in record time - not my 300+ messages back and forth!! We finally have nice weather in Boston - thank heavens so I will be out in the yard today doing some work. Enjoy you day (or night)!! Thanks for the reply.




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users