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PC will not boot


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#1 willy800

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Posted 28 January 2012 - 12:12 PM

A friend of mine was given an old Dell 4600 by another friend. He was told "the kids messed it up from all their games"
So I said I would take a look at it.
Well it won't boot into any mode I try.
Put in my boot disk from my Dell 521 and no luck. Next I tried my re-install disk, no luck their either.
I don't think the cd-rom is working either, at least I don't hear it spinning. I has both a cd slot and a dvd-rom slot. It also has a floppy drive, which the Windows setup (F12) says it's not there.
Here is the warning message-

"Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt: \WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM
You can attempt to repair this file by starting Windows Setup using the original Setup CD-Rom.
Select "r" at the first screen to start repair."

So, should I just throw it out the window?

Thanks,
Tim

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#2 Guest_Computer-man_*

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Posted 28 January 2012 - 12:27 PM

I don't think the cd-rom is working either, at least I don't hear it spinning.


Good thinking, but it is also possible that the Hard disk is broken.
You think that it is maybe the Cd\Dvd-player, my suggestion in this is: place the Cd\Dvd-player from the problem Computer in a working Computer and see what for result you get, if you get the same problem than do you absolute know that the Cd\Dvd-player is at the end, does the player in the other Computer very well, than is there a problem with the hard disk.

#3 Artrooks

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Posted 28 January 2012 - 04:30 PM

"Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt: \WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM

The windows registry is corrupt. For the repair you would need a functioning CD/DVDROM drive and the original Installation CD. Of course if you had those, you could perform a repair or a clean install.

SEE "How to recover from a corrupted registry that prevents Windows XP from starting": http://support.microsoft.com/kb/307545. It's not easy but it can be done.


Another option: the Dell 4600 may have a hidden, recovery partiton. It's worth a try. Click this link (start at Step 2): http://support.dell.com/support/topics/global.aspx/support/kcs/document?c=us&l=en&s=bsd&docid=DSN_58E26A65A4388E4FE040AE0AB7E107E3&isLegacy=true.

Good luck

Regards,
Brooks



 


#4 mark1956

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Posted 28 January 2012 - 08:45 PM

The microsoft guide posted above relates directly to the error message you are getting.

And if the floppy drive is working you can make a set of 6 floppy discs that will get you to the Recovery Console. http://support.microsoft.com/kb/310994

Unlesss you can borrow a copy of an XP CD and get the CD drive to work (or replace it) you don't have many other choices. Both the CD drive and the floppy drive can be replaced for only a small outlay but as the hard drive has become corrupted you might also find that it is dying. I would suggest you run diagnostics on that but you would need a working CD drive to do it. Borrowing a CD drive from another PC may be a good place to start and then follow this guide to test the hard drive. If the drive is dying then any other attempt at a repair will be in vain.

Identify the make of your hard drive and then use one of the links below to get the manufacturer's diagnostics for ISO (CD) not the one for Windows.

When the download is complete right click the file and select Extract Here and burn the image to a CD.

In Windows 7 right click the extracted file, select Open With, then select Windows Disc Image Burning Tool then follow the prompts. For all other versions of windows (if you do not have an ISO burner) download this free software. ImgBurn
Install the program and start the application. Select the top left hand option to burn image file to disk and then on the next window click on the small yellow folder icon and browse to the file you have downloaded from the links below. Then click on the two grey discs with the arrow in between (bottom left) and leave it to complete the operation.

Boot the PC into the Bios setup and set the CD/DVD drive to 1st in the boot sequence. Insert the disk in the drive then reboot and the disc will load into dos.

Excelstore Use EStest CD image
Hitachi/IBM Use the Drive Fitness Test - CD Image.
Seagate, Samsung, Maxtor & Quantum Follow links for SeaTools
Western Digital

Toshiba/Fujitsu
If you have a Toshiba/Fujitsu hard drive I would suggest the use of the diagnostics from the Seagate link as this will work on all makes of drive and on any OS.


Edited by mark1956, 28 January 2012 - 08:46 PM.


#5 hamluis

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Posted 29 January 2012 - 03:41 AM

Dell Support Says...

Louis

#6 mark1956

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Posted 29 January 2012 - 06:34 AM

Hamluis, that is worth knowing and I hope that Willy800 takes the time to read your link.

I've learned from that and added the link to my collection of XP fixes :thumbup2:

#7 hamluis

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Posted 29 January 2012 - 07:38 AM

No problem :thumbsup: .

Most of us seem to forget that there are basically two types of system that we deal with:

a. OEM (HP, Dell, etc.) where the manufacturer may prescribe how certain situations may be dealt with (probably because of nonstandard boot schemes and hidden partitions, IMO).

b. Systems where user has installed Windows on system or clearly has a system which does not have hidden partitions, nonstandard boot setups.

Some OEMs provide what I consider to be very poor support for systems sold. There is little or no detail on how to solve problems, other than a miniscule amount of data reference using the OEM recovery/restore-to-factory-defaults mechanism.

Others (HP and Dell come to mind) do provide a troubleshooting section which can be used by users with problems to see what the OEM says should be done.

Lacking any guidance by OEMs...of course, MS is the best possible initial source for any documentation on how problems might be overcome. In some instances, MS goes out of its way to point out that solutions proposed for "computers"...should not be used with OEM systems.

After that...it becomes a free-for-all :).

Louis

#8 mark1956

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Posted 29 January 2012 - 08:33 AM

Thanks for all the information, we live and learn. The OEM's sure don't make it easy for us :wacko: .

#9 hamluis

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Posted 29 January 2012 - 09:18 AM

LOL...I always remember...OEMs, with few exceptions...exist to sell computers (on the individual consumer level) and return customers are the best customers quite often.

Louis

Edited by hamluis, 29 January 2012 - 11:06 AM.


#10 willy800

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Posted 29 January 2012 - 10:51 AM

First, I want to thank you all for the replies and help.
Second, I am 99% sure the CD drive is capoot, so neither my boot disk or re-install disk won't work.
Third, the links to those Microsoft support articles you guys posted don't work for me. I always get this page-"res://ieframe.dll/http_400.htm". The page acts like it's going to load then I get that page. Strange???

Thanks,
Tim

#11 petewills

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Posted 29 January 2012 - 10:58 AM

The Dell Dimension 4600 has a diagnostics partition, which you access by pressing F12 on rebooting.
Should be able to test your CD drive if the diagnostics load. Not sure if it ever had a recovery partition - mine doesn't, it's a 2003 model.

#12 Artrooks

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Posted 29 January 2012 - 03:56 PM

If you can access Dell diagnostics per petewills instructions, I would run the complete system diagnostics and note any problems reported.

You also stated that the computer has a DVDROM drive. Does that drive spin?

Regards,
Brooks



 


#13 petewills

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Posted 30 January 2012 - 09:09 AM

I agree - further info on the Dell:

On rebooting, press F2 for Setup.
Ensure Boot order is appropriate, CD/DVD drives first.
Check floppy drive is enabled.

Using F12 on rebooting, select 'Boot to Utility Partition' (no. 8 on list); you can run all the tests you consider necessary.

Should also be a separate option for IDE drive diagnostics (no. 7), if you want to see if the HDD gets a Pass, without problems.

As to hardware issues, on the back of the tower, check the row of 4 lights - should all be green.

I've fixed the error mentioned, a couple of times, by running chkdsk /r from the Windows Recovery Console.
I may have just been lucky.




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