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XP won't Start up due to "missing or corrupted file" error and I don't Have a CD, either!


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#1 r.hamil

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 04:11 AM

My old XP "Home Edition" computer can't boot up.

I get this error
"c:\windows\system32\config\system missing or corrupt."

And it never came with a bootable XP CD.

But I discovered later on that I can use something called
"Puppy Linux CD" to access my old files.

The good news is that I can access my hardrive using
"Puppy Linux CD" without any problems.

I think it was a virus/trojan of somesort that caused my windows from starting.

But I created this topic so that someone could actually help
me to MANUALLY recover certain files, like certain stored files in some directory, in order to restore windows.
Because, like I said, I don't have a cd. And I really miss my XP!


I also have plenty of blank CDs to burn and a 900GB USB hardrive that I could use.


Appreciate it!!!

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#2 Pajajn

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 05:38 AM

If the corrupted files were from a rootkit i highly recommend that you just copy your desired files over to another pen / burning a CD from the live distribution and re-install Windows from scratch.

A Windows XP cd you could borrow from a friend-friend or something similiar just hear around since you can't even start and we dont know what's in the system right now.

Every sys file you replace will be corrupted again if there is more files that are infected so most likely this is the end of your current partition

#3 AustrAlien

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 06:08 AM

I get this error
"c:\windows\system32\config\system missing or corrupt."

This is a relatively common issue, caused by disk file-system corruption, which itself is sometimes caused by a failing hard drive (developing bad sectors).

Let's see if we can get your XP system up and running again by replacing the registry hives with copies that Windows System Restore has backed up (this depends on Windows System Restore having been running and creating backups).

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

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?

================
A successful outcome ...
Windows XP freezes at Mup.s...
----------------------------------
Another successful outcome ...
C:\windows\system32\config\system file is missing or corrupt
http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/topic440009.html .... in XP forum

Edited by AustrAlien, 05 September 2012 - 06:10 AM.

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#4 r.hamil

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 02:12 PM

Everytime I go into c:\windows\system32 using "Puppy Linux", it starts loading the files and the screen turns black and the only thing I have is the Linux toolbar with the start icon.

This is weird! It probably is a hardrive problem.

But I don't want to just quit, yet.

I saw in another forum that I can use something called "Avast Rescue CD" to clean any potential infections and can run it without booting into windows.

Does anyone recommend this and is it gonna be OK?

Or does anyone know an alternative way to get into the config folder?
I know system 32 folder acts up, but maybe if I enter directly
into the config folder by some shortcut I could probably do this.

#5 AustrAlien

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 04:07 PM

This is very likely a hardware (hard drive) problem, and not due to malware at all. I suggest that you do not attempt to use any utility such as the Avast Rescue CD at the risk of making the situation worse than it already is. Instead, the first logical step to take at this time is to check the condition of the hard drive.

Let's firstly have a look at the hard drive's S.M.A.R.T. data (if S.M.A.R.T. is supported) and depending on the results of that, perhaps then test the hard drive.

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 ... UBCD > Parted Magic > GSmartControl > Short Self-test > Save results
  • Note: The following will save the test result, along with the SMART data to a text file.
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 hard drive to select it.
  • On the top menu, click Device > View Details.
    A Device Information window for the hard drive will open.
  • Click on the Perform Tests tab along the top of the Device Information window.
  • Beside Test type, ensure that Short Self-test is displayed in the box.
  • Click on Execute (on the far right side of the window).
    The test will take around 60 seconds.
  • At the bottom of the Perform Tests 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.
============================================

THIRDLY ... Post the results 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 wish. If you do this, don't forget to enclose in CODE tags to preserve the format/spacing.
  • Please 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!
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#6 r.hamil

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 02:41 AM

Got the log for my hardrive here.
Attached File  WDC_WD2500JS-22NCB1_WD-WMANK3753414_2012-09-06.txt   9.33KB   11 downloads

#7 AustrAlien

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 02:55 AM

Excellent work: Thank you!

smartctl 5.41 2011-06-09 r3365 [i686-linux-3.0.0-pmagic] (local build)
Copyright (C) 2002-11 by Bruce Allen, http://smartmontools.sourceforge.net

=== START OF INFORMATION SECTION ===
Model Family:     Western Digital Caviar SE Serial ATA
Device Model:     WDC WD2500JS-22NCB1
Serial Number:    WD-WMANK3753414
Firmware Version: 10.02E02
User Capacity:    250,059,350,016 bytes [250 GB]
Sector Size:      512 bytes logical/physical
Device is:        In smartctl database [for details use: -P show]
ATA Version is:   7
ATA Standard is:  Exact ATA specification draft version not indicated
Local Time is:    Thu Sep  6 02:43:19 2012 UTC
SMART support is: Available - device has SMART capability.
SMART support is: Enabled

=== START OF READ SMART DATA SECTION ===
SMART overall-health self-assessment test result: PASSED
See vendor-specific Attribute list for marginal Attributes.

General SMART Values:
Offline data collection status:  (0x82)	Offline data collection activity
					was completed without error.
					Auto Offline Data Collection: Enabled.
Self-test execution status:      (   0)	The previous self-test routine completed
					without error or no self-test has ever 
					been run.
Total time to complete Offline 
data collection: 		( 7680) seconds.
Offline data collection
capabilities: 			 (0x7b) SMART execute Offline immediate.
					Auto Offline data collection on/off support.
					Suspend Offline collection upon new
					command.
					Offline surface scan supported.
					Self-test supported.
					Conveyance Self-test supported.
					Selective Self-test supported.
SMART capabilities:            (0x0003)	Saves SMART data before entering
					power-saving mode.
					Supports SMART auto save timer.
Error logging capability:        (0x01)	Error logging supported.
					General Purpose Logging supported.
Short self-test routine 
recommended polling time: 	 (   2) minutes.
Extended self-test routine
recommended polling time: 	 (  90) minutes.
Conveyance self-test routine
recommended polling time: 	 (   6) minutes.
SCT capabilities: 	       (0x103f)	SCT Status supported.
					SCT Error Recovery Control supported.
					SCT Feature Control supported.
					SCT Data Table supported.

SMART Attributes Data Structure revision number: 16
Vendor Specific SMART Attributes with Thresholds:
ID# ATTRIBUTE_NAME          FLAG     VALUE WORST THRESH TYPE      UPDATED  WHEN_FAILED RAW_VALUE
  1 Raw_Read_Error_Rate     0x000f   200   200   051    Pre-fail  Always       -       0
  3 Spin_Up_Time            0x0003   252   181   021    Pre-fail  Always       -       2400
  4 Start_Stop_Count        0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       589
  5 Reallocated_Sector_Ct   0x0033   199   199   140    Pre-fail  Always       -       6
  7 Seek_Error_Rate         0x000f   200   200   051    Pre-fail  Always       -       0
  9 Power_On_Hours          0x0032   059   059   000    Old_age   Always       -       30185
 10 Spin_Retry_Count        0x0013   100   100   051    Pre-fail  Always       -       0
 11 Calibration_Retry_Count 0x0012   100   100   051    Old_age   Always       -       0
 12 Power_Cycle_Count       0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       281
190 Airflow_Temperature_Cel 0x0022   060   044   045    Old_age   Always   In_the_past 40
194 Temperature_Celsius     0x0022   110   094   000    Old_age   Always       -       40
196 Reallocated_Event_Count 0x0032   196   196   000    Old_age   Always       -       4
197 Current_Pending_Sector  0x0012   200   200   000    Old_age   Always       -       3
198 Offline_Uncorrectable   0x0010   200   200   000    Old_age   Offline      -       3
199 UDMA_CRC_Error_Count    0x003e   200   200   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
200 Multi_Zone_Error_Rate   0x0009   200   200   051    Pre-fail  Offline      -       2

SMART Error Log Version: 1
ATA Error Count: 133 (device log contains only the most recent five errors)
	CR = Command Register [HEX]
	FR = Features Register [HEX]
	SC = Sector Count Register [HEX]
	SN = Sector Number Register [HEX]
	CL = Cylinder Low Register [HEX]
	CH = Cylinder High Register [HEX]
	DH = Device/Head Register [HEX]
	DC = Device Command Register [HEX]
	ER = Error register [HEX]
	ST = Status register [HEX]
Powered_Up_Time is measured from power on, and printed as
DDd+hh:mm:SS.sss where DD=days, hh=hours, mm=minutes,
SS=sec, and sss=millisec. It "wraps" after 49.710 days.

Error 133 occurred at disk power-on lifetime: 30176 hours (1257 days + 8 hours)
  When the command that caused the error occurred, the device was active or idle.

  After command completion occurred, registers were:
  ER ST SC SN CL CH DH
  -- -- -- -- -- -- --
  40 51 00 0c 23 0a 40  Error: UNC at LBA = 0x000a230c = 664332

  Commands leading to the command that caused the error were:
  CR FR SC SN CL CH DH DC   Powered_Up_Time  Command/Feature_Name
  -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --  ----------------  --------------------
  60 08 00 05 23 0a 01 08      00:56:56.643  READ FPDMA QUEUED
  27 00 00 00 00 00 00 00      00:56:56.643  READ NATIVE MAX ADDRESS EXT
  ec 00 00 00 00 00 00 00      00:56:56.642  IDENTIFY DEVICE
  ef 03 46 00 00 00 00 00      00:56:56.642  SET FEATURES [Set transfer mode]
  27 00 00 00 00 00 00 00      00:56:56.642  READ NATIVE MAX ADDRESS EXT

Error 132 occurred at disk power-on lifetime: 30176 hours (1257 days + 8 hours)
  When the command that caused the error occurred, the device was active or idle.

  After command completion occurred, registers were:
  ER ST SC SN CL CH DH
  -- -- -- -- -- -- --
  40 51 00 0c 23 0a 40  Error: UNC at LBA = 0x000a230c = 664332

  Commands leading to the command that caused the error were:
  CR FR SC SN CL CH DH DC   Powered_Up_Time  Command/Feature_Name
  -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --  ----------------  --------------------
  60 08 00 05 23 0a 01 08      00:56:54.687  READ FPDMA QUEUED
  27 00 00 00 00 00 00 00      00:56:54.687  READ NATIVE MAX ADDRESS EXT
  ec 00 00 00 00 00 00 00      00:56:54.687  IDENTIFY DEVICE
  ef 03 46 00 00 00 00 00      00:56:54.687  SET FEATURES [Set transfer mode]
  27 00 00 00 00 00 00 00      00:56:54.687  READ NATIVE MAX ADDRESS EXT

Error 131 occurred at disk power-on lifetime: 30176 hours (1257 days + 8 hours)
  When the command that caused the error occurred, the device was active or idle.

  After command completion occurred, registers were:
  ER ST SC SN CL CH DH
  -- -- -- -- -- -- --
  40 51 00 0c 23 0a 40  Error: UNC at LBA = 0x000a230c = 664332

  Commands leading to the command that caused the error were:
  CR FR SC SN CL CH DH DC   Powered_Up_Time  Command/Feature_Name
  -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --  ----------------  --------------------
  60 08 00 05 23 0a 01 08      00:56:52.732  READ FPDMA QUEUED
  27 00 00 00 00 00 00 00      00:56:52.732  READ NATIVE MAX ADDRESS EXT
  ec 00 00 00 00 00 00 00      00:56:52.732  IDENTIFY DEVICE
  ef 03 46 00 00 00 00 00      00:56:52.731  SET FEATURES [Set transfer mode]
  27 00 00 00 00 00 00 00      00:56:52.731  READ NATIVE MAX ADDRESS EXT

Error 130 occurred at disk power-on lifetime: 30176 hours (1257 days + 8 hours)
  When the command that caused the error occurred, the device was active or idle.

  After command completion occurred, registers were:
  ER ST SC SN CL CH DH
  -- -- -- -- -- -- --
  40 51 00 0c 23 0a 40  Error: UNC at LBA = 0x000a230c = 664332

  Commands leading to the command that caused the error were:
  CR FR SC SN CL CH DH DC   Powered_Up_Time  Command/Feature_Name
  -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --  ----------------  --------------------
  60 08 00 05 23 0a 01 08      00:56:50.777  READ FPDMA QUEUED
  27 00 00 00 00 00 00 00      00:56:50.777  READ NATIVE MAX ADDRESS EXT
  ec 00 00 00 00 00 00 00      00:56:50.776  IDENTIFY DEVICE
  ef 03 46 00 00 00 00 00      00:56:50.776  SET FEATURES [Set transfer mode]
  27 00 00 00 00 00 00 00      00:56:50.776  READ NATIVE MAX ADDRESS EXT

Error 129 occurred at disk power-on lifetime: 30176 hours (1257 days + 8 hours)
  When the command that caused the error occurred, the device was active or idle.

  After command completion occurred, registers were:
  ER ST SC SN CL CH DH
  -- -- -- -- -- -- --
  40 51 00 0c 23 0a 40  Error: UNC at LBA = 0x000a230c = 664332

  Commands leading to the command that caused the error were:
  CR FR SC SN CL CH DH DC   Powered_Up_Time  Command/Feature_Name
  -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --  ----------------  --------------------
  60 08 00 05 23 0a 01 08      00:56:48.738  READ FPDMA QUEUED
  27 00 00 00 00 00 00 00      00:56:48.738  READ NATIVE MAX ADDRESS EXT
  ec 00 00 00 00 00 00 00      00:56:48.738  IDENTIFY DEVICE
  ef 03 46 00 00 00 00 00      00:56:48.738  SET FEATURES [Set transfer mode]
  27 00 00 00 00 00 00 00      00:56:48.738  READ NATIVE MAX ADDRESS EXT

SMART Self-test log structure revision number 1
Num  Test_Description    Status                  Remaining  LifeTime(hours)  LBA_of_first_error
# 1  Short offline       Completed without error       00%     30185         -
# 2  Short offline       Completed without error       00%     30185         -

SMART Selective self-test log data structure revision number 1
 SPAN  MIN_LBA  MAX_LBA  CURRENT_TEST_STATUS
    1        0        0  Not_testing
    2        0        0  Not_testing
    3        0        0  Not_testing
    4        0        0  Not_testing
    5        0        0  Not_testing
Selective self-test flags (0x0):
  After scanning selected spans, do NOT read-scan remainder of disk.
If Selective self-test is pending on power-up, resume after 0 minute delay.

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#8 r.hamil

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 02:59 AM

What now!

#9 AustrAlien

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 05:14 AM

S.M.A.R.T. attributes related to bad sectors:
ID# ATTRIBUTE_NAME          FLAG     VALUE WORST THRESH TYPE      UPDATED  WHEN_FAILED RAW_VALUE
  5 Reallocated_Sector_Ct   0x0033   199   199   140    Pre-fail  Always       -       6
196 Reallocated_Event_Count 0x0032   196   196   000    Old_age   Always       -       4
197 Current_Pending_Sector  0x0012   200   200   000    Old_age   Always       -       3
198 Offline_Uncorrectable   0x0010   200   200   000    Old_age   Offline      -       3
Reference: S.M.A.R.T.

The hard drive is failing: There is no doubt about that. The Reallocated_Sector_Ct of 6 indicates that 6 sectors have already been marked as bad, and the Current_Pending_Sector count of 3 indicates another 3 unreadable sectors have been reported. I suspect that those 3 sectors (or possibly others not yet reported) are responsible for corrupting the SYSTEM registry hive on your machine, thus rendering Windows unbootable, as well as preventing access to the \system32\config directories using Linux/Puppy.

There is some risk associated with trying to fix the current unbootable state of the system, so I suggest firstly backing up to another device any important personal files that you simply cannot risk losing. This may be possible using either Puppy or PartedMagic, by simply copying those selected files to a flashdrive or external hard drive. Then you can attempt to fix the disk file-system (SYSTEM registry hive) corruption by running either chkdsk /r from a bootable Windows XP Recovery Console CD (which can be created using ARCDC) or using the Western Digital utility (on the UBCD CD which you already have).

In order for me to provide advice based on your particular circumstances, I need to know your priorities with regard to the importance of data recovery from the problematic hard drive versus the risk you are willing to take to get the Windows sytem back up and running with the least amount of time and effort involved:
  • NO RISK, MAXIMUM EFFORT: Complete data (& Windows system) recovery is most important >>> clone/image the hard drive to another
  • SOME RISK: Attempt to recover my files by copying, and then attempt to get Windows XP back up and running
  • NO WORRIES: Just attempt to get Windows XP back up and running
Let me know your priorities and how you wish to approach this. If you have any concerns or questions, now would be a good time to air them.
AustrAlien
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#10 r.hamil

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 03:15 PM

I also have a D: drive with about 4GB. Could I somehow transfer most of my C: drive space to D:?


I'll think about backing up some of my files which is about 30 to 40 gigs worth.

Nothing of real importance.

#11 AustrAlien

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 03:24 PM

I also have a D: drive with about 4GB. Could I somehow transfer most of my C: drive space to D:?

I'm sorry, but I can't figure out what you might mean by this.
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#12 r.hamil

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 03:41 PM


I also have a D: drive with about 4GB. Could I somehow transfer most of my C: drive space to D:?

I'm sorry, but I can't figure out what you might mean by this.



What I mean is is that I have another hardrive that is D: and it has about 4 gigabytes
whereas my C: drive, which is where my windows is located, has about a 100 gigabytes or so.

I heard before that you can transfer gigabytes from one hardrive to another. Is that possible?


Sorry for the confusion!

Edited by r.hamil, 06 September 2012 - 03:46 PM.


#13 AustrAlien

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 03:48 PM

If I understand correctly what you are asking, then the answer is ... No, that is not possible.

I gather that you are going to attempt to retrieve copies of your important personal files to another device at this stage, using either Puppy or PartedMagic.
  • Let me know how you get on with that.
  • Let me know when the above is complete to your satisfaction, and you are ready to move on and attempt to repair the existing problem with the hard drive/disk file-system and get Windows back up and running.

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#14 r.hamil

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 03:58 PM

That will probably be I while that might take even days, but I'm not sure for sure.

Whether today or next week, it'll take some time to transfer my stuff.

Thanks for the help so far!

Edited by r.hamil, 06 September 2012 - 05:04 PM.


#15 AustrAlien

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 04:08 PM

No worries: Let me know when you are ready to continue.

I figure it's better to err on the side of caution, rather than perhaps regret having been hasty after the event.
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