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Re formatting failing or being very very slow

By rev_olie ยท 14 replies
Feb 19, 2008
  1. Hi
    Ive had a few problmes of the past week with my dell inspiron 1501 (you may have seen numerouse threads). I decided to go to dell support with the problems and they helped me through. However the other day the guy told me to repair windows off the operating disk/DVD to get rid of a message about some drivers gone missing or something. However i turn on te Laptop the next day and a message pops up saying WINDOWS\System32\Config\System was missing or corrupt and press r to repair. I told the guy and he said to re format the hard drive and put a fresh instillation of Windows OS. So i went through the steps on the mcrosoft website he said about and i get these partitions to work from:
    -: Partition1 [FAT] 110MB
    C: Partition2 [NTFS] 109600 MB <108430 MB Free.
    Unpartitioned space 8BM
    E: Partition 3 [FAT 32] 4754 MB <1383 MB Free>

    I went on to select the C: drive and it came up with a message saying
    You chose to install Windows XP on a partition that contains another operating system. Installing Windows XP might cause the other operating system to function improperly.
    It gave the options to press ESC to go back and C to cotinue. I pressed C and it came up with these formating choices:

    Format the partition using the NTFS file system quick
    Format the partition using the NTFS file system
    Leave the current file system intact

    I have tried doing the quick way and it goes through but the message still apears i have done the repair option on the CD but it does nothing and i have tried the full re format and it took 8 hours to get through 2%. I thought that this was not right so im relying on you guys to help me as i really need the laptop before next monday and it seems Dell have deserted me.

    Thanks :(
  2. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 5,308   +100

    Well, you might of gotten away without even having to reformat to begin with if Dell's Tech Support gave you information on how to rebuild your Registry using the Recovery Console. This isn't a route I'd recommend try now considering the multiple attempts to format the drive (who knows what data was successfully deleted).

    Try using Active@ Kill Disk or Darik's Boot and Nuke. Both of those links are direct downloads to the .iso files which you will have to burn as an image to a CD or DVD. After burning one of them, put the disk in your drive just as you would the XP disk, and allow your system to boot off it.
  3. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    Re-do, and do the fulll format, not the quick version, and all will be fine... You are probably too far along to save your data... but you can save it by putting the drive into another system as a Slave, then dragging and dropping, or using recovery software.
    Cold boot to your Windows disk, and wait for the
    Format the partition using the NTFS file system

    You likely will not be able to Leave the current file system intact due to what has been done so far.
  4. rev_olie

    rev_olie TS Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 560

    Thanks for the response,i wil try the two dowloads later tomoro and see what hapens, will i re format the hard drive using those programs and then when it comes to formatting with the windows disk should i select the leave system intact option ecuase obviousley the re forat has al readys been done. I lukily did a backup a couple of days ago befor i started messing about so ive got al my data safe on an exteral hard drive. Also do you know why it took so long to re format with the winds disk because 8 hours for 2% is surely taking to long?!?
  5. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 5,308   +100

    Really depends on how large the disk is as well as how corrupt it is. CERTAINLY would not expect 8 hours...

    Those programs won't format your HDD per-say, they'll just totally clear the drive of date. Formatting by definition involves the laying out of a file structure on the drive, which you will still have to do when you go to install Windows.
  6. rev_olie

    rev_olie TS Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 560

    oo right i see now so by that im guessing.. that the formatting will take a shorter amount of time one hopes :p right i will get back to you tomoro once ive had a go at fixing it
    Thanks again
  7. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 5,308   +100

    Might take a little less time. Laying out the new file structure doesn't take much time at all (a few seconds to a few minutes tops). The bulk of the time is spent running CHKDSK (which isn't run when you choose the Quick Format option, hence raybay telling you not to choose it).
  8. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    Way, way too long... serious, serious failure somewhere...
    Either the hard drive, the optical drive, memory, or some other component...
    Depending on the computer...
    I have only see that set of problems with an eMachines or an ASRocks or an Alienware...
    I would definitely start over, with a basic install... first checking the boot order in the BIOS, and then cleaning the Windows disc, then using a new or borrowed optical drive... after a memtest86 run of four hours or 7 passes.

    This is more than a mystery... this is a major failure, and you must determine what is happening.
  9. rev_olie

    rev_olie TS Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 560

    right ive had a look at that boot and nuke pogram you said about but it doesnt seem to work. ive dowloaded it straight to the CD and the burn it on but when i put it in the laptop after chaging the boot ordeer it just brings up a little flashing cursor in the top left hand corner and then carries on to say about the missing files :(
  10. rev_olie

    rev_olie TS Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 560

    ok ignore that last comment looking i didnt see the .zip bit at the end oops so thats now sorted. Ive run it and now have the Windows disk back in and it seems all the partitions are gone so im guessing its worked and not buggered everything up :p it got to one percent in the first minute so im kinda hoping it will work now :D...i hope
  11. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 5,308   +100

    :D Great, post back with your results, I hope everything works out for you.
  12. rev_olie

    rev_olie TS Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 560

    nah it still takig a realy long time. Its got to 1% quicker tha it has but not further. Its really annying now. Also to metion it doenst comup with the system 32 thing aymore just
    SMART:Faliure predicted on Hard Disk 4
    Immmediately back up your data and replace your hard disk drive. A faliure may be iminat
    Press F1 to continue

    GRRRRR so does anyoe know how to help anymore. it just seems everything I try fails :confused: :mad: :(

    also the guy at dell said about putting it back to factory setting befor i contine does anyone know how to do that he sent this link


    it says about pressing CTRL and F11 but that doesnt do aything :(
  13. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 5,308   +100

    Sounds like your HDD is shot. Try replacing it with a new one, or a known working one.

    Dell's Tech Support is suggesting you re-install Windows, which is what you are attempting to do...
  14. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 10,330   +788

    check the BIOS option for DMA vs PIO transfers. You need DMA to get real IDE speed.

    btw: ALWAYS get a second opinion whenever you're told to reformat your HD!
    Many support people do not know how to really FIX some problems OR they don't
    want to take the time to walk you through a difficult solution.

    Your original symptom WINDOWS\System32\Config\System was fixable, but it's too late now.
    (see https://www.techspot.com/vb/topic98544.html)
  15. rev_olie

    rev_olie TS Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 560

    aaaaaw man asif the hard drives gone and i have no money for a new one..poo. Ive had a look in the BIOS but i cant see anything resembeling DMA or PIO?
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