Corrupt system volume

By Jskid
Jul 8, 2010
  1. I have a laptop with Windows Vista Premium on it. One day when I went to turn it on, I didn't load and instead took me to some sort of recovery console mode where I ran a repair utility. Then I was able to boot into Vista but when I logged into my account it wasn't the same, it said something about a "temporary account". I ran check disk and it said something about a corrupt system volume, and check disk keeps hanging at 13%. The laptop is running very slow and the hardware makes strange noises. Sometimes a very unpleasant scratching noise is made that lasts a few seconds. When I login to my account, I type in my password, but all of my short cuts and settings are different, but if I navigate through C: I can find files I have saved on the desktop of my "normal account". When I bought the laptop it came with a recovery partition. Also I backed everything up to an external hard disk using Norton Ghost. Also I've got the Windows Vista recovery disc. What is the best course of action?
  2. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +9

    How old is your hard drive. This can happen when there are failure sites on the hard drive.
    Usually, you can cold boot to the VISTA cd, then run a new install in Repair mode (not restore mode), and everything gets patched up... but the problem will happen again if the hard drive is going bad.

    Or you could save all data, and try to run the VISTA recovery partition...

    You can take out the drive to examine it for date... or you can run a download of Belarc Advisor that will give you an inventory of everything in the computer.
  3. Jskid

    Jskid TS Guru Topic Starter Posts: 343

    I bought the laptop a couple years ago. I do not have the Windows Vista installation CD, just the recovery. So how do I run the "Vista recovery partition"? Does Belarc Advisor take along time to run the tests, as in a normally working computer would take an hour?
  4. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +9

    What happens if your reboot to SAFE MODE. Does that worki?

    You would get your Restore instructions from the website of the maker, or the instructions that came with the computer.

    Save your data as best you can, and the registration numbers... for the Belarc Advisor will help if you could even access it or use it at all to print it out.

    If your data is valuable, the alternative would be to install a new hard drive, and call the manufacturer to get the install disk. Then copy the files over after you get the new drive working.
  5. Jskid

    Jskid TS Guru Topic Starter Posts: 343

    I can now login (to normal or safemode) but everything is screwed up. I tried running chckdsk and sfc /repairnow in safemode but both were unable to complete. I don't want to reinstall certain programs b/c the serial key has been used.

    If I get a Windows Vista installation cd (not the same as the one used to install OS on my laptop) would that increase the chance of me repairing my laptop?

    If I get a Windows 7 upgrade cd would that preserve my programs and fix the OS?
  6. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +9

    It is likely that booting to a Windows VISTA disk would eunable you to run the boot in Repair Mode and fix the problem.. unless your hard drive is bad. There is not way to know for sure until you try.
    Frequently, you can boot to a VISTA disk, use your old VISTA 25 digit number, and be back to normal... except that you have to figger out what caused the failure... hard ware issue, hard drive issue, virus or spyware. You have to use the same version of VISTA that was originally installed.
    If you can run it all... Download Belarc Advisor from, run it and it will tell you the install codes or product ID's of much of your software so you can use them to reinstall what does not work.
    If you use your restore disk, it will wipe out everything, but if the hard drive remains good, it will work.
    Most often, this repair install allows you to repair VISTA without damaging the rest of your install except for Microsoft Downloads and Service Packs... which you can then download later.
    You use the Generic Vista install from Microsoft if that was the original, or buy the restore disk from the manufacturer Dell, HP, Compaq, Sony, eMachines, etc. Usually under $33.
    Good luck. Please get back to us with whatever you decided to do and how it worked out.
  7. Jskid

    Jskid TS Guru Topic Starter Posts: 343

    I backed up my software as you instructed, and I reinstalled using Windows XP cd. Something strange happened. I was unable to do a NTFS format, but when I tried NTFS quick format it worked. Why is that?
  8. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +9

    The important question is, did it work properly aferward.

    Even Microsoft warns not to do the NTFS Quick format.
  9. Jskid

    Jskid TS Guru Topic Starter Posts: 343

    Not really. Right after I installed XP it gave me warnings saying files are corrupt and I ran checkdisk and it found and repaired things. Windows Update fails. The second time I ran check disk I restart my computer and at the beginging it says "cannot load operating system"

    Can I conclude this is a harddrive problem?
  10. Jskid

    Jskid TS Guru Topic Starter Posts: 343

    I fixed the problem. The hard disk was physically slanted inside the hard drive.The scratching noise was from the seaker scratching the disk.
  11. Kcircyrd

    Kcircyrd TS Rookie Posts: 216

    Huh? This one deserves a great deal more explanation.
  12. Jskid

    Jskid TS Guru Topic Starter Posts: 343

    I was using my laptop when it was very hot and I guess when I moved it the plate got out of line with the seeker (or whatever it's called).
  13. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 6,979   +362

    So you replaced the hard drive?
  14. Jskid

    Jskid TS Guru Topic Starter Posts: 343

    Yes, I'm borrowing someones old hard drive right now and I need to by my own. Any suggestions for a good laptop hard drive? I've got an external one so it doesn't need to be large.
  15. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 6,979   +362

    Vancouver, BC? Some examples can be found here: NCIX
  16. Jskid

    Jskid TS Guru Topic Starter Posts: 343

    Are solid state drives cost effective?

    So encase my previous posts weren't clear: you know the hard disk inside the hard drive right? It was slightly dislodged and the part that reads off the hard disk was scratching it.
  17. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 6,979   +362

    Cost effective as in bang for your buck? IMO, not really. However, for a laptop it might not be a bad idea. Because there are no moving parts it can take banging around much better than a mechanical drive.
  18. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 9,322   +621

    just background info:
    Formatting has TWO levels
    1) the quick form
    2) the so-called low-level​

    #2 performs two actions
    • actually writes a control block into every sector on the drive containing the sector number
    • and then creates the filesystem structures known as NTFS which, amougst other things, places almost everything on the free list and empties the allocated list.
    #1 only performs the former

    #2 is important as this process also maps out all the bad blocks discovered and adds them to the manufacter's bad-block-list so that neither set will every contain data again.

    Performing only #1 (the quick format) is a sure way to have problems in the future - - -
    your choice :wave:
  19. Jskid

    Jskid TS Guru Topic Starter Posts: 343

    Thanks for the help everyone!
  20. Jskid

    Jskid TS Guru Topic Starter Posts: 343

    When I said "I don't want to reinstall certain programs b/c the serial key has been used" I did not intend to imply that I use pirated software. I assume any given program can be installed only once or twice, otherwise why can't people pass around the dvd's and share all there software? For example since I already installed Windows 7 once if I tried to again wouldn't it think it was pirated (even though it's not)?
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