Windows XP problem- please help!

By LeonE ยท 7 replies
Dec 9, 2006
  1. Hi all

    I'm new to the forum and will post an intro as I intend on sticking around, but first I'm going to jump straight in with this post as I need to fix my PC as soon as possible and at the moment it's completely unusable.

    My problems started when I tried to upgrade from Windows 2000 to XP. Part-way through it rebooted as it should do, but then kept flashing a blue screen error briefly before restarting itself (the blue-screen error was something like "PAGE_FAULT_IN_UNPAGED_AREA"). Rather than mess around trying to resolve that problem, I opted for a clean install.
    This went without a hitch, and after a few hours I'd got all my stuff back on there (copied from a removable USB hard disk). I thought "I'll just run the disk tidy utility, then defrag and then I'm good to go". Big mistake!

    Disk tidy said there was about 30MB of temporary files that it was safe to delete, so I let it do its thing. Part-way through I got an error message saying that some of the system files had been replaced with "unregistered alternatives" (or words to that effect). It then asked me to insert the XP CD so that it could replace the files. I did so but it just kept saying that it couldn't find the files on the CD. I hit cancel and was returned to the desktop, only to see all of my shortcuts vanish, leaving only some folders that I'd created and some other stuff like the "My Computer" and "Recycle Bin" icons. I tried to open the start menu but it was all screwed up, and almost all of the usual stuff in there was missing (including the majority of icons on the control panel). I tried a reboot but now before Windows initialises it goes to a black screen with an error that says Windows root\system32\hal.dll is missing or corrupt, asking me to re-install it.

    I then tried booting from the XP CD again to run a repair installation but as soon as I entered XP setup it said "An internal setup error has occurred. No space for swap file". My understanding is that the swap file is no more than 1 Gb and I know for a fact that there's at least 20 Gb free on my C drive so I have no idea what's going on. I know that the last time it happened, I deleted my partition and reformatted C to solve it but I can't do that this time.

    I'm now completely stuck. I can't do another clean install because a lot of the stuff on C hasn't been saved onto my external HD (I only usually back it up when I intend on making changes) and I can't afford to lose it all.

    Can anybody help me find a way to get my PC up and running again?
  2. peepnklown

    peepnklown TS Rookie Posts: 126

    If you get desperate you might want to slave that HDD (hopefully a friend will have a desktop you can hook into) and save all of your files.
  3. Hatrick

    Hatrick TS Rookie Posts: 90

    Google this; it could be the answer to your prayers:-

    "Repairing Windows XP in Eight Commands: At a glance".

    I know it's, but not the exact url as I printed the article.
  4. LeonE

    LeonE TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 17

    Thanks for the help so far.

    I tried the "repair in 8 commands" procedure and here's what happened:

    I booted from CD ok and entered the recovery console, then accessed my Windows install after entering the administrator password.
    Everything was fine up until the 6th command on the list (bootcfg /rebuild).

    When I ran it, I got: "Error: Failed to sucessfully scan disks for Windows installations. This error may be caused by a corrupt file system which would prevent Bootcfg from successfully scanning. Use chkdsk to detect any disk errors."

    "chkdsk /r /f " doesn't work, I just get "The parameter is invalid" as the command "/f" isn't on the recognised commands list. "chkdsk /r" works, but seems to behave a bit strangely. It scans from 0-74% in about 2 minutes, then jumps back to 50%. It then scans from 50-74% again but this time takes about 15 mins. At 74% it then suddenly jumps to 100%, at which point I get:

    "Scan completed successfully. Chkdsk found and fixed one or more errors on the volume".

    If I then try running bootcfg /rebuild again, I just get the same error as before (that it couldn't scan, and asks me to use chkdsk). If I use chkdsk I get the same outcome- that it found and fixed one or more errors. I then try bootcfg /rebuild again but I still get the same error, and so it continues.

    Does anybody have any more ideas how I can fix this?
  5. Hatrick

    Hatrick TS Rookie Posts: 90

    Go to the disk manufacturer's website and download their diagnostic programme for your disk, then run it. I don't know whether it will have a 'fix' option, but it should be the tool to give the disk a thorough going over.
  6. LeonE

    LeonE TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 17

    I'd ordered a 2nd HD a few days ago and it arrived yesterday. I spent some time last night installing XP to it, along with everything else. I then slaved my old HD so I could retrieve the data from my docs and settings folder but it turns out that it was empty anyway. Good old XP disk cleanup utility obviously thought it best to do away with all those pesky files, along with those useless system files, so all my efforts using the recovery console were a complete waste of time.

    I've partitioned my drives so that OS and programs are kept seperate from data. I'm also going to get hold of some disk imaging software, so hopefully it can never happen again.
  7. Hatrick

    Hatrick TS Rookie Posts: 90

    As you probably know, files are never deleted: the space they occupied is just allocated for re-use, like overwriting a magnetic tapes - if you can remember them<G>.
    If you can get hold of a file recovery programme you may recover quite a lot, unless you've formatted.
  8. LeonE

    LeonE TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 17


    I formatted last night :(
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