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laptop will not boot up in normal mode


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#1 david41

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Posted 23 August 2014 - 09:10 AM

My Dell Inspiron 9300 (Windows XP Home Edition + SP3) started playing up about 2 months ago. It takes about 3 minutes to get to the log-on screen then a further minute or so to a blue screen - no icons or task bar. The first few times it happened I got back to normal working using a restore point, but when I tried it again after not using it for a couple of weeks, the restore no longer solved the problem, even after trying a number of points well before the problem started. From the blue screen I can get Task Manager via ctrl-alt-del, and I can boot up in safe mode, with or without networking. I do not have (don't think I ever did have) a Windows XP boot/repair CD. Actions taken so far:

1. Set up new user profile

2. Removed all non windows related programs from start menu

3. Downloaded and ran malwarebytes. It found Adware Zango and two Trojans - Banker and Agent. It claims to have cleared these.

4. Ran Chkdsk /f /r. To my untutored eye nothing untoward, 0 KB in bad sectors.

5. Tried unsuccessfully to run sfc /scannow. In normal mode from Task Manager, Run, nothing happens. If I type cmd first then c:\windows\system32\sfc scannow at the prompt a Windows File Protection box opens, stating "please wait while Windows verifies that all protected Windows files are intact and in their original versions". Nothing happens and there is no evidence of any verifying going on. In Safe Mode I get message "the RPC Server is unavailable". In services.msc Remote Procedure Call is listed as started, but when I try to start RPC Locator I get "error 1084 - cannot be started in Safe Mode".

6. Re-ran malawarebytes, followed by Kaspersky full scan and TDSSKiller. All report clear.

7. Deleted all restore points. Don't know if this was sensible but was worried about possibility of reinfection.

 

I suppose there are corrupted files in the system caused by the Trojans but I don't feel competent to try any more sophisticated diagnostics/repair, except under expert supervision. Hope you can help!



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#2 JohnC_21

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Posted 23 August 2014 - 09:32 AM

Hello and Welcome,

 

If the computer still has the Dell Factory Restore Partition you can set it back to a factory state after backing up all of your important data including emails and bookmarks.

 

Is this an option for you?



#3 david41

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Posted 23 August 2014 - 11:23 AM

John, Thanks for this rapid response. This is where I declare my strictly
limited (practically nonexistent) knowledge of all things computer. Under
Computer Management (Local) - Disk Management, it shows Drive 0 with three
partitions;
78MB FAT Status Healthy (EISA Configuration) 71 MB Free
2.75GB FAT32 Status Healthy (Unknown Partition) 500 MB Free
(C:) 71.70GB NFTS Status Healthy (System) 17.24GB Free

There is nothing in C: which looks like a Dell Factory Restore Partition,
but if such a thing existed and this is the only viable option so be it.  I
suppose all Windows XP updates are still available in spite of support
having ended? I tried pressing Ctrl+F11 on boot up which appears to be the
way of accessing it, but it was ignored so I suspect the option doesn't
exist on this old machine.

David



#4 JohnC_21

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Posted 23 August 2014 - 11:30 AM

That FAT partition may be the startup for the 2.75GB FAT32 partititon.

 

One way to tell if you have it is to Hold the Ctrl key down and tapping the F11 key at boot. This would bring up the Dell Recovery Manager. Exit out of it as you do not want to reset it and lose your data.



#5 david41

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Posted 23 August 2014 - 11:47 AM

John,

As I said in the last post, I did try Ctrl+F11 at boot, and I have just tried it again. The result is the same - it is ignored and the boot process sails on regardless through the log-on, eventually to the empty blue screen.

David



#6 JohnC_21

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Posted 23 August 2014 - 12:04 PM

Okay, sorry about that. Not paying enough attention. I am wondering about that 2.75GB FAT32.

 

Can you do the following? Download Puppy linux 5.2.8 (middle of the page). Burn the iso file to make it bootable. Boot the disk and in the lower left of the desktop you will see three hard drives for each partition. Probably sda1,2,3. One of those is the 2GB partition. Click on it once. It will mount the partition and a File Manager will open. What is shown in the 2GB partition?



#7 david41

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 10:31 AM

John,

Downloaded puppylinux 5.2.8 and burned to cd. Changed the boot order in BIOS to cd drive first. At switch on I can hear the cd drive reading the disk, but the sequence is the same, terminating in a blank blue screen desktop. The only difference is that after the black windows xp screen with the flashing blue bar there is now a black screen for about 2 minutes before the "windows is starting up" screen. Previously this lasted only a few seconds. I checked the contents of the cd on my PC; it seems to be ok with 10 files totalling 133MB.



#8 JohnC_21

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 10:49 AM

Boot the computer and at the same time tap the F12 key. A boot menu should appear. Select your optical drive. Does it boot now?

#9 david41

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 01:23 PM

Tapped the F12 key and sure enough the boot menu appeared. Selected cd drive, but it then went through the same slow progression to the blue screen



#10 JohnC_21

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 01:31 PM

Okay, First make sure the CD drive is the first bootable device in BIOS. Then USB.

 

If you still cannot boot the disk do the following. Download Rufus. This utility creates a bootable USB flash drive. Opt out of checking for updates. In the dropdown box select iso image and click on the folder icon. Browse to the Puppy iso file and click start. This will wipe any data currently on the drive. Attach the bootable USB to the XP computer. Boot the computer and tap F12. Select the USB flash drive. Does it boot?

 

rufus_en.png



#11 david41

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 02:33 PM

This worked! sda3 (2.8GB) contains 13 files:

BAT

BIN

IMG

SRC1

SRC2

SRC3

SRC4

SRC5

AUTOEXEC.BAT

COMMAND.COM

CONFIG.SYS

IO.SYS

MSDOS.SYS



#12 JohnC_21

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 02:58 PM

I will have to research this a little bit. Will post back later. I am not sure if I can get this partition to boot. Possibly using the Rufus and using FreeDos. Using Puppy, can you click on the Autoexec.bat file and post it's contents. You may have to open it using the text editor of Puppy.

 

Edit: In safe mode access disk management and assign a drive letter to the 2GB partition.

 

  1. Open Computer Management (Local).  Right Click My Computer > Manage
     
  2. In the console tree, click Computer Management (Local), click Storage, and then click Disk Management.
     
  3. Right-click a partition, logical drive, or volume, and then click Change Drive Letter and Paths.
     
  4. Do one of the following:
    • To assign a drive letter, click Add, click the drive letter you want to use, and then click OK.  Give it something over the last letter shown in My Computer.
       

Edited by JohnC_21, 24 August 2014 - 03:14 PM.


#13 david41

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Posted 25 August 2014 - 07:30 AM

Sorry about the delay in responding, but I am having trouble finding my way around Lucid/Puppy. Even the simplest thing of creating a text file copy of the autoexec.bat file and saving it to somewhere I can retrieve it, either in safe mode on the laptop, or from the flash drive, seems inordinately difficult, at least for this first-time user. I can use the edit function to copy and paste the text to a new file and, apparently save this to the flash drive and/or in the laptop's hdd, but after I close down lucid, neither is visible. Also, I have been unable to establish an internet connection in Lucid, such that I could paste the text into this email directly.

 

A second problem is that I cannot change the drive letter of the 2.8GB partition in Disk Management. I can do so for the main 71GB partition, but the box which opens on right clicking the 2.8GB partition only offers deletion - changing the drive letter option is greyed out. The 78MB partition offers no options at all.



#14 JohnC_21

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Posted 25 August 2014 - 09:35 AM

First click on sda1 which should be your Windows partition. If not close out the File Manager Window and click on sda2. Click on sda3 which is the 2GB partition. You should now have two File Manager Windows open, one for sda3 and one for the Windows partition. In the Windows File Manager, click Documents and Settings, then your user name, then desktop. You should now be in the Desktop folder of your user name. Click on the sda3 2GB File Manager Window. Hold the Ctrl key and left click the autoexec.bat file. Now drag the file to the Windows File Manager Window. A small dialog box will appear. Select Copy and not Move. Now boot into safe mode and you should be able to open the autoexec.bat file with notepad.

 

Edit: Have you backed up all of your important info on the hard drive?


Edited by JohnC_21, 25 August 2014 - 09:38 AM.


#15 david41

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Posted 25 August 2014 - 10:31 AM

I confirm I have backed up all I need.

 

Here is the autoexec.bat file content:

 

@echo off
:: AUTOEXEC.BAT for Dell System Restore
::  A00 20 May 2004
 
 
::
:: Reset the customer OS partition back active, and the DSR back to type DB in
:: case the customer pulls the plug from under the restore process (we want to
:: boot back to the customer's OS in this case).
:: DSRCheck returns non-zero if the partition layout in the current MBR is
:: different from the original factory settings.
::
\bin\dsrcheck run
if errorlevel 1 goto PartChanged
 
 
::
:: Load the mouse driver for GUI control in the restore tool
::
\bin\mouse.exe
 
 
::
:: SRC2 contains the first step (starting place) in the restore process
::
cd \src2
srclient
if errorlevel 1 goto End
 
:: dsrreset will set the UP active and mount it as D:.  This allows us to set
:: the UP back up for EBTS boot, which is desired after a restore.
\bin\dsrreset run
if errorlevel 1 goto End
 
:: Reinstate the EBTS version of config.sys, and we don't use autoexec for
:: EBTS (if diags are installed, breaking the seal will set that up again).
copy d:\config.bts d:\config.sys /y
if exist d:\autoexec.bat del d:\autoexec.bat
 
:: Ready to reboot
\bin\restart /x /w
goto BootMiss
 
 
::
:: If DSRCheck indicated the customer partition layout is different from
:: factory, SRC1 contains the interface that tells the customer to "Call Dell".
:: Load the mouse for GUI control in the "Call Dell" screen.
::
:PartChanged
\bin\mouse.exe
cd \src1
srclient
goto End
 
 
:End
\bin\restart /x /w
 
:BootMiss
cls
echo ************************************************************
echo ***                                                      ***
echo *** Please power your system off then back on to restart ***
echo ***                                                      ***
echo ************************************************************





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