Apparent ReInstall of Windows without disc

By El Presidente
Jul 6, 2006
  1. A friend of my has an HP Pavilion ze4400 laptop with Windows XP on it. A couple of months ago his hard drive was replaced and has worked fine until yesterday. He boots up his computer to find all his personal files gone, all his programs not working, and all the default software back on it. I took a quick look and it appears like the computer reverted back to the original state. I used a hard drive recovery tool and found over 15,000 files "lost" on the drive. I'm not aware of any virus that could cause this and I don't think this laptop has an image backup (like some Dells do). One interesting thing is that there are Administrative logs before Windows reset. The only anamoly I see in them is that there over 20 errors for the hard drive. The error is as follows:

    The device, \Device\Harddisk0\D, has a bad block.

    The only other useful information in the log is the Event ID which is 7. If anyone has any ideas on this I'm all ears.
  2. pcaceit

    pcaceit TS Rookie Posts: 315

    Hi, I have seen similar many times and it is usually due to disk error.

    Your bad block error confirms this. One solution was just to wipe the Hdd and partition and format it and reinstall windows, This works ok for some drives in this state. But I have also seen this where the problem is that the HDD had bad sectors and I had to use a Regeneration tool to fix, sometimes the sectors are unrepairable but the hdd still useable if the sectors are marked bad so that windows does not try to use that part of the disk.

    I would be suprised if the disk surface is damaged and has bad sectors as it is so new. but i suspect the bad block error could also be caused by the electronics on the hdd.
    I have seen this error with CD Drives as well and found that the drive was faulty rather than the disk it was reading, but I have also seen it where the error was because of a bad block on the CD,

    So what i am saying is that even though you were able to retrieve the data and the system is still working you should not think that it is going to be ok. you should save your data and do a clean install. run a disk check first to see what errors are thrown up.

    If you still get this after a clean install you should ask the supplier of the new hdd for a replacement or refund.
  3. El Presidente

    El Presidente TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 40

    Thanks for the help. I'll try to recover what I can and then check the disk and reformat.

    Update: I retrieved the important files and then ran a boot time scan disk and it only found one error. It said that "/Documents~/User/Ntuser.dat" (or something similar, I can't quite remember) was corrupted and that it fixed it. After it finished and Windows started, everything was back to normal. All the programs were back; all of the personal files (documents, pictures, etc) were back. I've never seen anything like this before. If anyone has any thoughts, I'm listening.
  4. pcaceit

    pcaceit TS Rookie Posts: 315

    Checkdisk can often fix these kind of errors so its good that you did'nt have to reformat.

    Yeah your ntuser.dat file was corrupted as a result of the bad block because part of it was probably stored on the bad block. that file is an essential system file so you would have problems if its corrupted.

    but if you start getting the same errors regularly again then bear in mind what i said in my original post.

    good luck and thanks for the feedback
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