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Laptop Won't Boot, No Safemode, No Recovery Console


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#1 Andrew

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Posted 29 June 2007 - 06:54 PM

One of our users has really messed up their laptop (Dell Inspiron 700m). According to them, they were using Firefox when the computer froze and they had to do a hard reboot. Upon booting they got an error message about how Windows hadn't been shut down properly and gave them the standard options (safemode, last known, etc.)

None of those work. On last known or normal, the Windows XP load screen comes up fine (the one with the logo and the moving progress bar). Then, the screen goes black and the computer does nothing. No disk activity, nothing.

In safemode, the standard whizz of white text flies by until it gets to mup.sys (the infamous mup.sys). No matter how long I wait, it proceeds no farther.

So, I booted from my XP CD and tried to enter Recovery Console. It got as far as asking me which installation of Windows I would like to enter. After inputing my selection, nothing happens. No disk activity. Nothing.

So, I figureg a repair install is in order. I reboot with the CD and press enter to install windows. It shows the lisence agreement and I agree. It then locks up at the "Searching For Previous Versions of Microsoft Windows" screen. No disk activity, nothing.

So I reboot again, this time with the Ultimate Boot CD 4 Windows. It boots successfully (natch, it's a liveCD). I perform a chkdsk. No damage found. I try copying a new copy of mup.sys and NDIS.sys into the system32/Drivers folder. All to no avail!

So, while I'm using the UBCD4Win to backup all the data (the hard drive is readable and everything) to an external disk, but before I do a boot 'n' Nuke of the drive I was hoping against hope that someone out their has another, less drastic solution.

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#2 Andrew

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Posted 29 June 2007 - 07:43 PM

Update: I was able to mark the disk as dirty and got a boot time chkdsk to run. But after it completed and autorebooted, I was back to square 1.

#3 usasma

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Posted 30 June 2007 - 06:28 AM

I'd try a diagnostic from the hard drive manufacturer - and maybe also MemTest (just in case). I'd also suggest SpinRite to repair the disk - but it costs about $70 US

I suspect it's an issue with the hard drive - and can't be sure (but suspect) that it's corrupted sectors. If it is, then the manufacturer's disk tools may be able to fix it without total data loss.
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#4 Andrew

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Posted 30 June 2007 - 10:17 AM

Thanks for the suggestions usasma, but it's too late. Boot and Nuke has been performed.

No data loss, however.

I couldn't get my external drive to work with the UBCD4Win, so I used digital dolly to resize the partition. That had the effect of making Windows not see the partition at all, so I booted back into UBCD4Win and repaired the partition table. This gave me two logical disks: the first was the resized original disk, with all the data intact; the second was an unformatted 8GB chunk at the end of the disk.

Then, still in UBCD4Win, I renamed the C:\Windows folder to C:\Windows~old and renamed C:\boot.ini to C:\boot~old.ini. This way the Windows installation disk wouldn't see the old version when I installed on the 8GB partition (cause, like I said, the install disk would freeze when searching for old installations).

I rebooted with the Windows install CD, formatted the 8GB partition, and installed Windows alongside the malfunctioning partition.

After installing Windows, I was able to access both the original partition and the external drive like normal. So, I backed up all the data to the external disk and then deleted both partitions and reinstalled Windows again.

While Windows was installing, I hooked the external drive up to my PC and did a virus/malware scan of the backed-up data. Avast! found several copies of the same suspicious file (unclassified, but suspicious). They were all in the C:\Windows~old folder, so I used Eraser to overwrite the entire folder.

Now that Windows had finished installing, I downloaded the neccessary drivers from Dell and installed them. Then, I used the latest copy of Autopatcher XP to update Windows offline. Then I installed antivirus and antispyware software. Only then did I connect to the internet and downloaded new virus definitions, etc.

Now I'm in the proces of reloading the user's software.

Whew! I need a raise!




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