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Serious laptop problem!

Brian_B

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Hi guys,

Just so you know: Compaq 2100us. AMD 2500+ mobile. Windows XP. I gig of RAM.

I deleted a bunch of old software off the laptop that I no longer use (add and remove programs). That all went fine. I then did a disk cleanup. Again, just fine as always. I then ran the disk compression routine. That seemed to be working fine as well.

I left the room for a few minutes. When I came back the laptop was just showing the "compaq" page that it shows before windows starts.

I finally got it to go through something else by shutting it down and restarting. Now it says that windows will not start because of the following file is missing. \windows\system32\config\system

It then says that I can attempt to repair this file by starting windows setup using the original CD-ROM Select "r" at the first screen to start repair.

I put the setup CD in and I just ran the repair console. It acted like it worked fine and told me to restart. It still won't start up.

Anyone have any other suggestions? I think I am screwed royally. Even If I re-install windows (and get it to work) I will lose all my programs and files.

I also have the original recovery CDs (4 of them). Will that also re-format my hard drive if I run them?

Thanks in advance for any help or suggestions,
Brian
 


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Howard

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Ok this is how to solve it. Boot from CD and get to the recovery console. Login to the partition so that you end up at the 'C:\WINDOWS' prompt. Type the following:

1: from C:\windows\> copy c:\windows\repair\system c:\windows\system32\config\system

2: exit to restart the system. This time let it boot from hard drive. Hopefully it will now boot normally and will go through a series of found new device. If not you may have to repeat the above process substituting.

SAM
SECURITY
SOFTWARE
DEFAULT

For SYSTEM

These files make up the registry and all that has happened is that the one for the system config is corrupt.
 




Brian_B

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Howard said:
Ok this is how to solve it. Boot from CD and get to the recovery console. Login to the partition so that you end up at the 'C:\WINDOWS' prompt. Type the following:

1: from C:\windows\> copy c:\windows\repair\system c:\windows\system32\config\system

2: exit to restart the system. This time let it boot from hard drive. Hopefully it will now boot normally and will go through a series of found new device. If not you may have to repeat the above process substituting.

SAM
SECURITY
SOFTWARE
DEFAULT

For SYSTEM

These files make up the registry and all that has happened is that the one for the system config is corrupt.

A few more questions. The only prompt I can get to is C:\> after it tries to repair XP. I cannot get to a C:\windows anywhere.

I have not used DOS in many years, but windows was not a DOS command back then, so I am lost.

You said to login to the partition. When I go to the partition area there is no prompt. How would I login when it only gives me the option of moving between the two areas and starting it?

Thanks for the help Howard,
Brian
 




Howard

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You can try the procedure from the C:\> prompt. Also you can try typing cd windows at the prompt and see if that gets you there.

Normally you are asked to choose which partition to login to when you go to the recovery console.

There is another way but you may loose some data. Boot from the windows cd. This time ignore the first offer to repair windows and choose to install windows. Choose to use the existing partition and to leave the disk intact. After the warning that C:\windows already exists you have a chance of repairing this installation. Choose that and it will remove all the existing windows files and put on the files from the cd. This means that you loose all the patches but should get you back up and running without loosing any user data or programs.
 




Brian_B

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Howard said:
You can try the procedure from the C:\> prompt. Also you can try typing cd windows at the prompt and see if that gets you there.

Normally you are asked to choose which partition to login to when you go to the recovery console.

There is another way but you may loose some data. Boot from the windows cd. This time ignore the first offer to repair windows and choose to install windows. Choose to use the existing partition and to leave the disk intact. After the warning that C:\windows already exists you have a chance of repairing this installation. Choose that and it will remove all the existing windows files and put on the files from the cd. This means that you loose all the patches but should get you back up and running without loosing any user data or programs.

I already tried it from the C:\> and didn't get anywhere.

This time with the install it found windows. Last time it didn't. It offered to try to repair it so I am trying that, like you suggested. It deleted a lot of stuff and is re-installing now. I will post what happens when It finishes. Thats ok to lose the updates. I wouldn't care if I lost all the programs even. I just don't want to lose all my work for school (I teach) and my files I use all the time.

Thanks again for the suggestions,
Brian

EDIT: Its going through the setup now just like it was a new computer. I am keeping my fingers crossed that I don't lose everything.

EDIT 2:Hmm..now its a blank screen with the blinking cursor like it does at startup. This would be interesting if I was not so nervous. :D
 




Brian_B

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Nope! It flashed a message that windows was being shut down to prevent damage........


Thats as far as I could read. There was a half a page of stuff, but it was gone in 3 seconds. :(

EDIT: Now I tried the repair thing again. This time it asked for the administrator password. I typed in the password I use 3 times and it rejected it each time. Has it changed it or deleted it somehow?

I will keep trying. :confused:
 




Brian_B

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Howard said:
Ok this is how to solve it. Boot from CD and get to the recovery console. Login to the partition so that you end up at the 'C:\WINDOWS' prompt. Type the following:

1: from C:\windows\> copy c:\windows\repair\system c:\windows\system32\config\system

2: exit to restart the system. This time let it boot from hard drive. Hopefully it will now boot normally and will go through a series of found new device. If not you may have to repeat the above process substituting.

SAM
SECURITY
SOFTWARE
DEFAULT

For SYSTEM

These files make up the registry and all that has happened is that the one for the system config is corrupt.

Now we are back to the beginning. It got rid of my password. It now nothing. Just hit enter. I am typing: copy c:\windows\repair\system at the command prompt and it cannot find the file. Any suggestions?
 




Howard

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Well now is the real tricky bit. You can either hook up the hard disk to another computer (you will need an adaptor cable to link a laptop hard drive to an IDE channel) copy off all the things you want to keep. Then do a format and reinstall of windows. Or you could try not doing a repair install of windows and just re-install windows to get it running then backup your data. Then do a format and full reinstall. The new install of windows will not over write your data in my documents although you will have to go looking under c:\documents and settings\user name\documents.
 




Brian_B

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I guess I am going to have to try to find a cable to order. I don't even know what an IDE channel is. LOL

Now it won't even boot up beyond the "compaq" page. I am letting it sit for a while like that and see what happens, but......

I do appreciate all your efforts tonight. I am just not a happy camper right at the moment.

EDIT: I kept killing it and starting it. It finnaly booted from the CD again. I will try the repair one more time before I give up and re-install. I will lose software, but hopefully I won't lose all my school files. :rolleyes:
 




Howard

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It sounds horribly like the hard drive is failing. Maybe get your self a new one while you are looking for a cable (called laptop hard disk to IDE adaptor). You can then hook the laptop disk to your main computer to copy off all the data you can.
 




Brian_B

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thanks. :)

I will start looking for the cable and a replacement hard drive. At least I know whats going on now. :thumbsup:
 




Brian_B

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Howard: I just wanted to thank you again for all of your assistance in determining the problem. I actually learned a lot from you.

The I.T. guy where I work (part time) was able to pull most, if not all, of my files off the old hard drive. I will purchase a new drive to get the computer going again, since my brother needs it.

I will soon be ordering a new more powerful laptop for the software at work. It was just bad timing for it to quit now.

Type to you later,
Brian
 




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