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Booting Problems


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#1 JCCK

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Posted 26 June 2007 - 01:31 PM

I have an Acer Aspire 1800 that should be running XP Home SP2. When I went to go turn it on today, I got a message to the effect that Windows could not boot because a file is missing or corrupt, and the file that it says is windows\system32\config\system. I know the hard drive is not broken because I can put it into an external hard drive housing and access the files on another computer. It does say something to the effect of to fix the problem insert the original install disk, which I have with the SP2 on it, and press r at the first page. I did that and a black screen came up with some writing and a list of the windows partitions, I only have one. So I selected the C drive and I am stuck from there, it is a comand prompt like thing. Somebody please help, I don't feel like reformatting if I do not have to, unless if I would be better off doing it anyways.

P.S. I do have all my documents and everything else important already backed up and the install files ready to go if I do have to reformat.

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#2 rjmx

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Posted 26 June 2007 - 01:56 PM

I've seen problems like this on some older machines that have had an upgraded (i.e. larger) hard drive installed. How old is the laptop? And what's the size of the hard drive?

I suspect that you're at the Recovery Console when you get the command prompt. Be careful what you type here -- you could easily wreck the entire filesystem (but I think you knew that anyway).

Anyway, let's see how far down the tree you can get. Try these commands and see what happens:

dir \windows
dir \windows\system32
dir \windows\system32\config
dir \windows\system32\config\system

See how far you get, and post back.

.....Ron

#3 JCCK

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Posted 26 June 2007 - 03:02 PM

The battery is dead right now, it is charging, but I can answer that it is about 3 years old. It started with a 100GB Segate Parallel ATA Hard Drive, but that broke so now it has a 120GB Western Digital Parallel ATA Hard Drive. I had it working for about 3 months running fine. Oh and before the battery died I did get to do the first thing, the dir\windows, that got me to a big long list of I believe files that are in that directory, but I didn't understand a thing it was saying, I also attempted to do the dir \windows\system32 right after the long list of files, but it said command not found or something like that. But we shouldn't go with that because I could have typed it in incorectly, I'll try once more after the battery is charged.

#4 rjmx

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Posted 27 June 2007 - 08:58 PM

OK, so how did it go? How far down the tree did you get before it gave an error?

If your hard drive size is truly 120G, and your system is only three years old, then the problem may or may not be what I think it is (it's borderline). I'll expand on it anyway (and if anyone else has a comment to make, please feel free to do so).

I think the basic cause of problems like this one is that the hard drive is bigger than the BIOS can accommodate fully. (What does the BIOS have to say about the hard drive size?). Up till about 5 or 6 years ago (maybe less), the limit was 128G. The interesting thing is that Windows XP (and other operating systems, like Linux) can handle much larger hard drives because they have their own disk drivers, but they need to use the BIOS to boot up and that's where problems can arise. (Actually, it's more correct to say that the partition you boot off needs to be fully accessible using BIOS, but you know what I mean).

When the OS is first installed, all the system files are probably near the beginning of the partition, and everything's hunky-dory. As time goes by, and you install more programs, write more documents, save more movies etc etc, you (naturally) use more of the partition. If all of the partition can't be accessed by BIOS, however, and some system files or directories get moved to the back of the partition (as can happen with a defrag, or just plain orneryness on the part of the OS), then they can't be reached on bootup and you have an unbootable system. If you plug the drive into another computer, of course, the files are still there because there's nothing basically wrong with the drive or the filesystem: it just happens to have some important files in places on the drive that can't be reached by the original machine at a critical stage of bootup.

I'm not sure if this is your problem, however, but it's still worth checking to see how much of the path to the systems files you can see with Recovery Console. If this looks like the problem, see if your laptop's manufacturer has a BIOS upgrade available for it. If not, we'll see what else we can do.

.....Ron

#5 mme

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Posted 27 June 2007 - 09:15 PM

dont press R
just press setup
like your going to reformat
but on the next window of choices choose repair not format
this way your gonna do a full repair
press F8 to accept and go on product key
just follow each window of instructions
the only thing your going to have to do is
update windows all over

#6 WOLVERINE1

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Posted 28 June 2007 - 06:19 AM

I have an Acer Aspire 1800 that should be running XP Home SP2. When I went to go turn it on today, I got a message to the effect that Windows could not boot because a file is missing or corrupt, and the file that it says is windows\system32\config\system. I know the hard drive is not broken because I can put it into an external hard drive housing and access the files on another computer. It does say something to the effect of to fix the problem insert the original install disk, which I have with the SP2 on it, and press r at the first page. I did that and a black screen came up with some writing and a list of the windows partitions, I only have one. So I selected the C drive and I am stuck from there, it is a comand prompt like thing. Somebody please help, I don't feel like reformatting if I do not have to, unless if I would be better off doing it anyways.

P.S. I do have all my documents and everything else important already backed up and the install files ready to go if I do have to reformat.


Ok, the command prompt you have entered is actually the Recovery Console for Windows..try running this command once you reach this prompt :

chkdsk /r

this checks for inconsistancies in the OS and re-writes them back to where they belong, which should fix your problem.

#7 Budapest

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Posted 29 June 2007 - 12:37 AM

Ok, the command prompt you have entered is actually the Recovery Console for Windows..try running this command once you reach this prompt :

chkdsk /r

this checks for inconsistancies in the OS and re-writes them back to where they belong, which should fix your problem.

Actually chkdsk does not check for inconsistancies in the OS, it only checks for disk errors. The System File Checker checks the OS, but I don't believe you can run it from the Recovery Console.
The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who haven't got it.

—George Bernard Shaw




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