Have what had been an old dependable emachines XP Pro SP3 tower. The other day when my son turned it on he got what he described as gibberish hieroglypgics on the sign on screen. He said that although he could go anywhere, everything was unreadable.
By the time I got home it was in worse shape. I did see the 'hieroglyphics' (I think it was Japanese), and I was able to see the desktop once before it rebooted on it's own. Safe mode with networking gave me an indeterminate BSOD. Last good configuration just rebooted, and then normal boot started giving me an error saying that Windows/System32/Config/System was either missing or corrupt.
When I tried a Repair Install with an XP Pro SP3 disk it found no operating system, although if I just used the disk to get to the Repair Console DOS screen I could navigate to Windows, go to my user files etc. From the Windows folder I ran a Fixboot, then a Fixmbr. Rebooting failed to get me beyond the Config/System error. I then rebooted again with the CD and hit enter to attempt another Repair Install. This time it said it couldn't detect a hard drive.
I took out the hard drive and hooked it up as an external drive to another XP tower, with it coming up as an E: drive. I opened a DOS command, went to the E: drive a performed a chkdsk /r /f. It ran for a few hours but detected nothing. Ditto for sfc /scannow. I then right clicked the E: drive and performed a full scan with Security Essentials. It took about 6 hours and found no errors.
What could possibly be going on here, and what can I do about it?