Cannot start up, fix or reinstall XP: getting Page fault BSOD with rec console

By Basara549 · 4 replies
Dec 3, 2010
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  1. The computer is a Dell Vostro 1400 Laptop. Luckily, after the first time I had errors, I backed up all the important data directories over my home network to my desktop.

    OS: XP SP3
    Memory: 3 GB DDR2 - memory has already been tested repeatedly, so it's not the issue. Have also started it with just the 1 GB or 2 GB stick to see if anything changed (it didn't).
    Processor Intel core2 duo 1.4 GHz
    Video: Nvidia (8400GS, IIRC - would have to go to Dell and look up with the service tag, to be sure)
    BIOS is fully upgraded from Dell page, last upgraded about a year ago (and I check back every couple months just to be safe - BIOS version A09). No updates installed in the last couple months, except the usual automatic stuff from microsoft (no hardware updates)
    The only hardware not OSM is the 2 GB memory stick (machine shipped with two 1s)

    Base Problems:
    1. It says that \WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM is missing when I try to boot normally, or using safe mode, or last known good configuration.
    2. Attempting to use Recovery Console from the OSM disk provided by Dell, I was able to fix this once, two weeks ago (at which point I made my data backups).

    3. The problem recurred, and now, attempting to recover, or even to reinstall the OS completely, results in a Page Fault BSOD.

    4. Running from the CD drive (choosing E drive) doesn't cause any issues, be it a memory check self-booting CD, accessing E: from the recovery console, or even a linux-based AV Rescue CD. Edit: But all this does is get me to a command prompt where I can SEE the contents of the HD, but not copy or change it.

    5. for the past 18 months or so, the machine has had an odd issue of the video not working (screen lights up, but is black), unless started while warm. Typically, this has meant letting the machine boot up, then either hard-shudown by holding down the power button, then restarting, or, blindly hitting the window key, arrow up, hit enter, then right arrow over a couple times to get the (non-visible) selection onto restart, and hitting enter to begin restart (I got fairly good at that, actually; it's only 6 keystrokes). Of course, this started a couple months after the warranty & service agreement ran out.
    This doesn't appear to be directly related to the issue, but may be what knocked out the SYSTEM file iin the first place, from a hard shutdown/restart .

    Any suggestions?
  2. Basara549

    Basara549 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I have several backups of the system file present in the directory. I can see them by choosing 2: (the windows cd in the drive), then doing a DIR command on the C:\Windows\system32\config\ folder.

    However, going in that way, I can't make the darn thing et me change into the C:\windows\ folder or any sub-folder, or rename any files inside (though it does let me get to the C:\ directory). Any work-arounds?
  3. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 11,984   +72

    Can you supply the following?

    How to find and post your Minidump Files:

    My Computer > C Drive > Windows Folder > Minidump Folder > Minidump Files.

    It is these files that we need (not the folder). Attach to your next post the five most recent dumps. Notice the Manage Attachments button at the bottom when you go to post the next time. You can Zip up to five files per Zip; if you only have one or two you don’t need to zip them, just attach as is. Please do us a favor and don’t Zip each one individually.
  4. Basara549

    Basara549 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    So, how am I supposed to get these off a laptop that won't actually start up, again?

    The best I can get is a command prompt, by choosing to go with "r" to the recovery console from the CD (after booting from CD), choosing the number for the CD/DVD drive (instead of the HD) in the console, then changing the directory to C:\ . Once I get in the C:\ drive, I can do DIR commands, but can't write files on the HD, or even CHANGE to subdirectories. Attempting to use a COPY command to copy the files from the minidump folder onto a USB flash drive (or even to elsewhere on the HD) results in "Access is denied." (and, yes, the flash drive is accessible).

    FixMBR was attempted, was "successful" but changed nothing. I still can't reinstall the OS, getting the BSOD on the attempt, nor does attempting to repair the systems files work afterward, either.
  5. Basara549

    Basara549 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Additional note:

    The laptop has Dell MediaDirect software installed as an option that boots from a separate button to the left of the normal power button.

    The Dell MediaDirect program will boot normally and access the hard drive, which gives the impression that it's a Windows startup issue, such as a corrupted file.

    This is, in effect, allowing my laptop to function as an MP3/DVD player, but not as a computer.

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