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Problem w/Windows XP Home Ed


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#1 addygard

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 08:49 PM

I don't know what's going on with my computer now and i wonder if it could possibly have anything to do with the registry hive replacement that was necessary when we had to rescue Windows (see earlier topic http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/topic460976.html ) 3 weeks ago. Everything has been working perfectly since then. Yet last night when I shut my computer down, I saw that Windows updates were going to be installed and didn't think anything of it. And of course, I only turned my computer this evening when I got home from work. But now when it starts up, there's the eMachines screen (which looks different), then the Windows loading screen, then it goes to a screen that I've never seen before, at least not on my computer...the screen has an all blue background with a small box in the center that says login into Windows with two smaller boxes for a user name and password, and there are three boxes below that that say OK, SHUT DOWN, and OPTIONS. This is the same kind of screen I see everyday on my computer at work and how I log into the Windows there, but I have never seen this on my home computer...it always goes to the screen with the user accounts to select. I tried to log in using my administrator name as the user name and my admin password, but when I clicked OK, I get a big box with the message it couldn't log me on and to make sure my user name and password were correct (or something to that effect). I clicked OK on that message. Then with my "name" still in the user name box and the password box empty, I clicked the OK button without putting in a password. And for a brief few seconds, I thought it was going to work because it took me to my normal display screen with my normal background picture. However, there was no taskbar at the bottom or any icons anywhere. Then a little box came up saying "logging out of Windows" and it went back to the screen with the user name/password boxes. It's completely baffling! I don't have a clue what could have happened, except I believe this is the first time I've noticed Windows updates to be installed since we did the hive replacement.

What I mean about the eMachines screen looking different, well, it's hard to describe. The best way is probably like this...and sorry if it's lacking. It's like the "e" has been slightly zoomed in on and is fuzzy and slightly out of focus. The screen where Windows is loading looks the same way, slightly enlarged and out of focus.

If there's anything further I can provide, please let me know.

When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.


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#2 AustrAlien

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 11:35 PM

Thankfully we made the Puppy CD for you to use and connect to the internet. Who would have guessed that you would have the need to use it so soon! We got your system back up and running on 27th July, and it's 17th August now (that's my time), so that was less than a month ago. Windows updates come out same time every month, so it is to be expected that this lot of updates was the first since the accident with the registry/recovery. However, there is no valid reason to suspect that anything we may have done at that earlier time has caused a problem now ... with Windows updates, or anything else.

There is always the risk that Windows updates (like anything else) will have an unexpected result on some systems. Your issue could be due to a Windows update, something related to doing the Windows updates, or it could be sheer coincidence.

What you have described may be the result of disk file-system corruption caused by a failing hard drive, and it is this I would like to investigate firstly. I noticed a problem (potential problem) earlier when looking at your Speccy report published 21 July 2012:

Hard Drives
HDS722516VLAT20
Manufacturer: Hitachi
Interface: PATA
Capacity: 153GB
Real size: 164,696,555,520 bytes
S.M.A.R.T
05 Reallocated Sectors Count:    100 (100) Data 0000000025
C4 Reallocation Event Count:     100 (100) Data 0000000037
C5 Current Pending Sector Count: 100 (100) Data 0000000000
C6 Uncorrectable Sector Count:   100 (100) Data 0000000000

The Reallocated Sectors Count indicates that 37 sectors on the hard drive have already been marked as "bad" and not-to-be-used by the system. This is an indicator of a hard drive that is failing. It is to be expected that unreadable sectors will keep appearing and the number of sectors reallocated will continue to grow. If the sectors that fail have critical Windows system file data stored on them, then the files will become corrupted and the Windows system will not work as it should. That is possibly what you are experiencing now.

Reallocated Sectors Count: 0000000025 >>> hex value converts to decimal 37
Reallocation Event Count: 0000000037 >>> hex value converts to decimal 55


Since we cannot boot the system into Windows and get a Speccy report, we will need to use a bootable CD similar to Slacko Puppy to get a look at the hard drive's S.M.A.R.T. data. I would like you to download an .ISO file and then burn it to CD in the same manner that you did to create the Puppy CD. I will assume for now that your daughter will do this for you on her working Windows machine, and I will provide the necessary instructions for doing that below.
  • If you need to create the bootable CD on your machine using Slacko Puppy, let me know and I will create some instructions for you to do that.
In the meantime, do not try to boot your machine to the hard drive (Windows):
  • Continue to use Slacko so that we minimise use of the hard drive in case it really is failing badly on you.
    We may need to rescue what is currently on that hard drive and don't want to unnecessarily risk doing further damage to an already failing hard drive that may be in a delicate state.
=============================================================================

FIRSTLY ... Create a bootable UBCD ... CD

Please do the following on a working computer:
  • You will need a new blank writable CD.
  • Download UBCD and burn to a CD:
    Note: If you have trouble finding a download link here:
    • UBCD download page: Download UBCD
    • Look under the heading: Mirror Sites
    • Try any of those listed websites which are hosting/providing the UBCD .ISO file for downloading.
    • Click on the Posted Image icon in the left-hand-side column beside the download location of your choice for direct download of the .ISO file.
  • An example direct download link to try would be:
[*]If you do not already have a suitable burning program for writing .ISO images to disc ...
  • Download and install ImgBurn.
  • Ensure that you UN-check the box agreeing to install the Ask toolbar during the installation.
  • Place a new (blank) CD disc in the drive tray.
  • Choose Write image file to disc.
    • Under Source, click on the Browse button: Navigate to and select the .ISO file that you wish to burn.
    • Place a check-mark in the box beside Verify.
  • Click Posted Image
[*]When the CD has been burned and verified as successful, it will be bootable.
[/list]============================================

SECONDLY ... Get the S.M.A.R.T data using UBCD > Parted Magic

Boot the ailing computer with the UBCD CD.
  • (You may have to configure the Boot Menu or BIOS Setup Menu to boot first from the optical/CD/DVD drive.)
  • At the first menu screen, select Parted Magic and press <ENTER>.
    Use Default settings ...
    Be patient until UBCD loads and you are presented with the Desktop.
  • Click Start (bottom-left-corner button) > System Tools > Disk Health (GSmartControl)
    (... or simply double-click the Disk Health icon on the Desktop.)
  • In the GSmartControl window that appears, click on the device that represents the failing hard drive (any other device may be a flashdrive if you have one connected) to select it.
  • On the top menu, click Device > View Details.
    A Device Information window for the failing hard drive will open.
  • Click on the Attributes tab at the top (to display the S.M.A.R.T data).
Save the S.M.A.R.T data as a text output by smartctl.
  • At the bottom of the Attributes page, click Save As.
  • Look at the default file name and location that the file will be saved.
    Default location will be "root".
  • Click Save.

Now to get the text file uploaded to BleepingComputer.com.

Establish internet connection

At the UBCD Desktop, click the 'start' button (bottom-left corner button) > Internet > Start network.
  • The Start Network Options window will open.
  • Ensure the appropriate option is selected, and click Continue ...
    The Network Utility window will open.
  • Ensure the appropriate option is selected, and click OK.
    You should now have a working internet connection.
Open Firefox and go to BleepingComputer site

At the UBCD Desktop, click the 'start' button (bottom-left corner button) > Internet > Firefox.

Attach file &/or paste text to a post
  • In your topic at the bottom of the page, click on Add Reply.
  • Under the text box, under the heading Attachments, click on "Browse" to browse for the file that you wish to attach.
    A file upload window will appear.
  • On the left-side, click on "root" to display the contents of the root directory.
  • You should see the text file there that you saved earlier. Click on it, to select it, and then click Open at the bottom-right of the window.
  • Back at the BleepingComputer.com forums window, click on Attach this file.
  • Now type a few words in the text box "text file attached" and then at the bottom click on Add Reply.
  • Note: If you are feeling confident enough to try it, you can open the text file with a text editor and paste the contents in a reply so it can be seen easily by anyone browsing the topic. If you do this, please enclose in CODE tags:
  • Enclose the pasted report in CODE tags so that the spacing/formatting is preserved (to make it easier for all to read).
  • Firstly, click on the "Insert code snippet" button Posted Image
  • You will then see the "start" and "end" code tags (highlighted in dark blue/selected in the image) in the text box.
  • Click between the two tags to insert the cursor between the tags and then press <Ctrl+V> to paste the report there.
[/list]All done!

Edited by AustrAlien, 18 August 2012 - 12:17 AM.

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#3 addygard

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 08:01 PM

Establish internet connection


We are here...have internet...trying to open firefox....veeeery slow going. Clicked on it several minutes ago and nothing's opened yet.

Sorry for the delay in doing all of this...someone is grumpy. And I was hoping also to be closer to the time when I thought you might be up and about.

When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.


#4 AustrAlien

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 09:38 PM

Clearly, you have a problem getting Firefox to work in PartedMagic. Firefox should open very quickly and without problem. I do not know what is going on in your case.

What I want to know are the raw values you see for the following lines in the SMART data:

S.M.A.R.T
05 Reallocated Sectors Count:
C4 Reallocation Event Count: 
C5 Current Pending Sector Count: 
C6 Uncorrectable Sector Count:

You may need to write the values down on paper and then post them using Puppy?
AustrAlien
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#5 addygard

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 09:56 PM

S.M.A.R.T
05 Reallocated Sectors Count: 37
C4 Reallocation Event Count: 55
C5 Current Pending Sector Count: 0
C6 Uncorrectable Sector Count: 0


If 05, C4, C5, and C6 are supposed to be from the ID column, that's not how mine looks. The numbers in the ID column that correspond to what you are asking for are: 5, 196, 197, and 198. Don't know if that makes a difference.

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#6 AustrAlien

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 10:05 PM

Thanks.

Looks good .... the SMART values have not changed so that is good news!!! But it means my first guess was not the right one.

Tell me: Is there any chance of a malware infection on the system?

Please try starting Windows in Safe Mode
  • Press the ON button and start tapping F8 and keep tapping, until you are presented with the Windows Advanced Options Menu screen.
  • Arrow-down to Safe Mode and press <ENTER>.
What happens? Can you log in successfully or are you logged out again automatically?

Edited to add: Try Safe Mode with networking too ... and Safe Mode with Command Prompt also.

Attached Files

  • Attached File  001.JPG   537.46KB   3 downloads

Edited by AustrAlien, 18 August 2012 - 10:12 PM.

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#7 addygard

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 10:10 PM

Nope!

Getting the box: Log On to Windows
Two boxes within the box: User name:
Password:
Buttons below that: OK, Cancel, Shut Down..., and Options<<

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#8 addygard

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 10:14 PM

Reminder:
I've never had to log on to Windows using a password.

It always opened to a screen with the three user account options: Mine as an Administrator (password protected), Mine as a limited use user, and my son's as a limited use user.

When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.


#9 AustrAlien

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 10:20 PM

Getting the box: Log On to Windows
Two boxes within the box: User name:
Password:
Buttons below that: OK, Cancel, Shut Down..., and Options<<

That is simply the "Classic" appearance option as opposed to the "Windows XP" style that you are used to on your home computer. That in itself is nothing much to worry about.

Did you try to log on ...
with just the username and no password if that is how you normally access the account, or with username and password if necessary for that account?

What happens when you try to log on?
AustrAlien
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#10 addygard

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 10:32 PM

I've never had to type in a user name...I only had to click on any one of the user account avatars or whatever they're called. If I clicked on the Administrator user account, a box opened up for me to type in a password.

But NOW it asks for a user name and password. I don't know what could possibly have caused it to start doing that. If I type in Mom (which is my account name...don't know if that's what's considered my "user name") and then my admin password, I get a message: The system could not log you on. Make sure your user name and domain are correct, then type your password again. Letters in passwords must be typed using the correct case. If I click the okay button with just Mom, it says: Loading personal settings...saving settings... Then it goes right back to the log on page.

Sorry to be so slow with my responses. I'm trying to make sure I have all my info correct.

When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.


#11 AustrAlien

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 10:42 PM

If I click the okay button with just Mom, it says: Loading personal settings...saving settings... Then it goes right back to the log on page.

That is what I was looking for and wanting to double-check. Well done! :thumbsup2:

The system is infected with malware and you are experiencing the very well known (but relatively uncommon in the last year or two) Windows XP LogOn/LogOff Loop. Google it for your own interest sometime!

I am going to hand you over to someone who specialises in dealing with this kind of thing, where your Windows system is not bootable/you are not able to log on to Windows.

Time for you to hit the sack: Nothing more we can do now. Maybe, with a bit of luck, you will have a response from a suitably experienced helper tomorrow, although the wait may be longer than that. I will make the request now.
AustrAlien
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#12 addygard

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 11:00 PM

Pm'd you. Thank you so much!

When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.


#13 addygard

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 11:01 PM

Pm'd you. Thank you so much!

When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.


#14 addygard

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 11:01 PM

Pm'd you. Thank you so much!

When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.


#15 addygard

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 11:04 PM

Looks like I got stuck in a post reply loop... :hysterical:

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