tony177

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About tony177

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  • OS
    XP Pro x86
  1. Wasn't aware it was warez as I wouldn't want warez on my system for reasons of both principle and practice. Came across it some while ago but don't recall how - would either have been recommended somewhere or other or more likely just from googling for recovery type packages. The rest of your chastising lecture following the opening question above was redundant.
  2. Today's experience: - normal boot > failed - boot into Knoppix Linux > failed (can't find Knoppix filesystem) - boot into HirrensBootCD --try booting into Windows from Hirrens menu options > failed - reboot into HirrensBootCD --try booting into mini XP from Hirrens menu options > failed Windows could not start due to an error while booting from a RAMDISK Windows failed to open the RAMDISK image File \ HBCD \ XP \ XP.WIM could not be loaded -try Console load from Hirrens menu options > failed Cannot mount selected partition -try Failsafe load from Hirrens menu options > failed Cannot mount selected partition - boot into NTFS4DOS - recognizes all disks and partitions - (eventually seems to) load something called Volkov Commander which enabled navigating to all disks and partitions as if there were no disk access problem at all - try normal boot (again) > failed - boot into Windows CR repair mode - normal boot > success Basically as before except this time I could access all the disks and partitions via dos program Volkov Commander but after which I was still unable to boot normally until first booting with the Windows CD. So if nothing else this seems to me to keep indicating the root cause is not defective hardware. Since the problem appeared for no apparent reason I am still hoping (obviously irrationally) that it will disappear for no apparent reason. However if my Windows CD boot workaround stops working then despite my skepticism that it is a hardware fault I might have a go at some of the suggested hardware solutions out of desperation as this is slowly driving me nuts. I can manage physically, I just have to be very careful and precise about movement which is not always compatible with my natural impatience. Reinstallation of Windows is really the nuclear option (you would find it hard to believe how many programs I have installed) and if I had to go down that route I might just as well buy a new computer and start from scratch with new hardware and Windows.
  3. It's a tower desktop and I clean it out about once a year or so. I remain doubtful it is defective hardware (but without making a death or glory stand on it) in light of the 2 other OS that can run apps that access the disk plus booting from the Windows CD subsequently and consistently (so far) enables a normal boot plus all the disk scans show it healthy. Would this not be a very strange hardware defect (as opposed to a problem with software managing the disk or access to it) that is consistently cured by running software?
  4. Indeed that would be an informative test but I don't have a spare box.
  5. No. There's a serious misunderstanding here. There's no group-think verdict at all. Some of us hazarded guesses about what might be happening. I didn't hazard any and continue not doing it. For me, there's still too little info to go on. I'll reserve any guessing on my part for a later time, when I think some guess might be warranted. That said, and since none of the others seem familiar with SpinRite, I must add SpinRite 6 rocks! It is able to do some types of repair no other tool I know of can do (in particular it can sometimes "revive" floppies no other software can save, for time enough for a good image to be acquired from them). But SpinRite 6 is only useful for a limited number of conditions, most of them hardware issues. And, of course, it may be used simply to detect and access disks. Are you using SpinRite 6, perchance? All earlier versions of SpinRite are too out-of-date to be useful for disks using Win 95 OSR2 - Win 7 (read this and this). BTW, in what regards disks and disk hardware, I consider Steve Gibson an authority, but for all other matters, especially security and the internet, his opinions are somewhat controversial and should be taken with the proverbial grain of salt. The impression I get/got (at least at the outset) was that 'everyone' who commented deemed the problem to be due some manner of defective hardware, which of course it might, but that's not my opinion for the reasons I've stated. I am using spinrite 6 which, in common with all the other disk utilities I've run, has given the disk a clean bill of health - no problems identified at all. I am quite familiar with Steve Gibson's stuff and some of the controversy he has provoked about security but I have never encountered any negative comments about spinrite which seems to be very highly regarded as a disk utility.
  6. and then I assume he makes a BIOS change again to boot back to the HDD. I also assume that no BIOS change was needed to boot to the two floppies he mentioned which could be why trying them didn't "do" anything. But again I'm WAY out of my element here and just grasping at straws. Anyway, would you please point tony177 to a method he could use to correct the issue you noticed to see if that fixes hie problem? Of course, as I'm sure he will say, this doesn't really explain why his system will boot "normally" for several days between hiccups, does it? Just to clarify, I don't make any changes to BIOS at any stage. When booting to the CD drive, I just open BIOS to select the CD Drive from the list and hit enter - no change to it. Both floppy boots accessed the disk to run diags on it (spinrite on one, chkdsk on the other) but the disks are not recognized if I try to navigate to them. Also, my system booted normally (at least once!) each day for about 4 years until this problem appeared a short while ago.
  7. - Ok, attached is mbr backup I took a couple of days ago. -I stated a few days ago that the pc came partitioned and hence I don't know what partitioning tool was used -GRC shields up has nothing to do with spinrite. I have run spinrite (L2 twice and L4 once), chkdsk, the manufacturers' tool (albeit in 'fast' check mode) and a number of disk utilities all of which have given the disk a clean bill of health - I agree the problem's manifestation and resolution is not normal which uncoincidentally is the very reason I came to a specialist board. Notwithstanding the group-think verdict it must be a hw fault, I am of the opinion (but open to offers) that the root problem is sw in nature with a hw symptom but a sw solution. My guess is some manner of sw corruption sporadically taking place for some unknown reason that somehow gets addressed by booting from Windows CD (pretty straightforward....) - I am confident the disk is healthy and not going bad - no idea about its geometry (although I have the paragon alignment tool but never used it) - I'll run a rootkit scan but would astounded (not to mention crushingly shocked and disappointed) if I were infected - I can't comment on BIOS but I haven't made any changes to it for years. When I boot to the Windows CD I go into bios to select the CD drive and all the drives are showing in their correct order - after a previous mention of hidden sector I ran a partitioning tool (not necessarily the one used to partition this computer) and it just showed the usual drives with no hidden partition mbrCopy.zip
  8. There is no strange noise or vibration at all when booting from the Windows CD. Next time the problem occurs and still paying homage to the scientific method, I will immediately boot from a linux cd followed by a normal boot to see if that works. I acknowledge the CD drive may be unleashing some exquisitely tuned unnoticeable vibration that without fail (so far) fixes the furtive hardware fault even though, as I pointed out, prior to booting with the Windows CD the disks were seen by spinrite booting from floppy and by NTFS4DOS from floppy (running chkdsk but not recognizing the disks when I tried to navigate to them - what can this mean?). If a Linux boot actually works I will then try 'booting' with some non-operating system cd to determine if any cd drive activity mends this elusive hardware fault. If that works as well, I shall return here to congratulate and thank you. But until such time and without insisting I still find the cause of this consistent pattern of behavior hard to credit to defective hardware. However in light of the 'once upon a time' fable, I mean story, even if my scientific method honoring alternative CD tests fail to induce boot I may try giving the pc a personal manly shaking when booting normally and see if that works. But then as the pc wasn't perceptibly shaken during the 2 floppy boots when the disks could be detected prior to cd boot, I'm not sure those vibrations would be good enough to coax boot success.
  9. I think the best option in your case probably is sending your computer to repair shop for checking, including hardware checking due to your medical condition. My previous motherboard is having booting problem intermitenly. Turn out some capacitor corrodes and leaked. Hard to see the corrosion even opening up the cover. In the end, I sent it to repair shop to check and replaced a new motherboard. That motherboard last me about 4 years before it start giving me problem. Here is an update for which any comments from this haven of helpers would be welcome. For last two days system booted normally but then today back to boot failure. It seems to me something within my system is changing during normal operation or shutdown so in the spirit of the scientific method I took the following action immediately upon boot failure to explore the nature of the problem: 1) booted with spinrite which could see both disks and the two partitions in primary disk 2) booted with ntfs4dos which could run chksk and displayed a list of disks and partitions but didn't recognize the disks when I tried to navigate to them ('invalid drive specification) 3) booted again with normal windows start up but boot failed 4) booted with Windows CD into repair mode and navigated to all disks but did nothing else 5) booted again with normal windows start up and boot successful That has been the scenario from the start - intermittent boot failure followed by booting with Windows CD enables subsequent successful normal boot. So, do any of you rodeo regulars interpret that general history supplemented with the specific sequence of actions and outcomes above as being indicative of or consistent with a hw problem? If so what hw problem specifically and if not, any idea what kind of other specific problem might be indicated.
  10. This is a most interesting board - some of the posts here make me think this is sort of like I imagine it might be if I visited another planet where the indigenes had the same language but used it in a different way. Your first sentence is quite correct - you do not know what I am looking for and your second sentence confirms that the best you can tell is wrong. While the fanciful idealized outcome you concoct would be most agreeable should it come to pass it is an outcome beyond my expectation horizon. I don't recall asserting that any of the suggested actions 'won't work' nor do I fail to appreciate them and the spirit in which they are offered. But as I have stated a few times and explained in a little detail once I don't think it is essentially a defective hw problem although of course I realize I could be wrong. So in that context I am presently focusing on non-hw solutions while giving the hw solutions a lower priority but neither disregarding nor dismissing them. I do indeed take a weekly image backup (C-Drive only) although I've never had to use one in anger yet so that would be new territory which I am willing but not especially eager to navigate. I am not sure I follow your remark about my ground hog day comment as restoring a troubled system puts you back where you started since neither hw nor sw would have changed. Apart from my lack of confidence in the effectiveness of things like swapping cables (and various other internal machinations) I am not motivated to do it at present before exploring sw related solutions since I have a medical problem with a (life-long) bad back and the logistics of getting at the computer to open it up frequently results in severe pain followed by a trip to the osteopath (once I am able to stand upright again) for treatment. Your comments about the various things that can deteriorate over time inside the computer are wholly valid but I still fall back on (or maybe am becoming fixated by) the unlikelihood of this being the problem bearing in mind the tight coupling of a normal boot failure faithfully followed by a CD boot success. Of course if that sequence breaks then it will be rethink time for me. The guess in your second last sentence is as wrong as the best you could tell in your second. I have already followed some of the suggestions offered here and am likely to so with other suggestions but just not necessarily in the order that you deem appropriate. If I manage to crack it without availing myself of the sort of pseudo-offer of asssistance made by a previous poster on behalf of some unidentified techno-samaritan then I will certainly come back and update the board, unless it turns out to be a hw problem in which case I would be too embarrassed to submit myself to being an object of gloat-fodder. I mean you have to draw the line somewhere. cheers and regards
  11. Reply, take 2 - my brain appears to have got out of synch with my fingers first time round.... The computer is not dual boot (seems more like duel boot now) and the second partition is just a logical drive. As I said in a previous post it is my (somewhat tenuous) understanding that MBR can be seen by fixmbr as non-standard if it has been altered by some intrusive software although I've seen in other boards a wide range of responses to that warning message from ignore and proceed without fear to cease and desist immediately - my heart leans towards the former but my head the latter. I've had my finger poised over the go button a few times after seeing that message but discretion always prevailed. Is your suggestion re swapping cables to the second internal disk (that I put in just after I got the computer about 4 years ago and has been problem-free) to check that the problem is not due to a defect in the physical connection? I haven't had the computer open or moved for many months so I revert to my familiar refrain about my belief that the problem is not due to defective hw although if all other avenues turn out to be dead ends then I will start exploring hw aspects.
  12. The system is not dual boot and the se
  13. That site looks useful so will have a peruse. I infer rather than insist as to what seems to me to be the apparent cause of the problem and explained why. The computer came partitioned so I don't know what tool was used. I've used different patitioning tools on various computers over the years but none on this computer (although I have a couple installed). Also, I shall keep in mind your generous offer (for who can fail to notice upper case shouting) on behalf of that kindly someone who might verify the contents of a backup when I get round to making it.
  14. Tks for that. I've dl'd mbrwizard and will have a look - I dl'd another mbr utility (called mbrtool) yesterday but haven't checked it out yet. The fixmbr message could indicate that the mbr is damaged or that it is non-standard either as a result of the partitioning tool used to create a second partition or from some sw hooking into it. It would be interesting if I could find some kind of reference dual partition mbr so I could compare with mine to try to determine if there were any obvious non-computer specific differences although I have no idea how feasible or useful that exercise would turn out to be. In a bad, if not exactly worse, case scenario I have weekly back ups of the system image so I could always reformat the disk and load the image although if the image contains whatever is causing the problem it would be ground hog day all over again.
  15. Yes it probably does, you might have a bad or corrupted XP driver as well, that could be the other 1%. Try de-installing the ATA drivers and restart directly XP. You might need to redo the repair again when booting up. Ok, tks for that. I am fairly confident that I am not virus infected as I run the usual AV stuff and immediately investigate anything even remotely unusual or suspicious. The computer started normally today (just as it had done a few times after the first occurence of the problem) but I am not at all confident about next time I boot. I have been using the computer daily for about 4 years without any boot problem and although that might suggest a hw fault has developed, I think a hw fault is unlikely (but not impossible) as previously when the system failed to boot (repeatedly as I tried about 4 or 5 times first time round in quasi-panic mode) it then booted immediately when I used the Windows CD and this pattern has constantly repeated each time the problem occurred so It seems unlikely to me to be either coincidence or that a hw fault would be so rigorously sensitive and consistently responsive to the boot source. So my guess (and that is all it it is) would be some form of sporadic sw corruption is taking place for some unidentified reason after the computer has booted which then causes the problem next boot. I note your suggestion about ata drivers but am reluctant at this stage to go down that route without further investigation both to get a better understanding of the implications and mechanics of de-installing/reinstalling those particular crucial drivers as well as the (ever increasingly unlikely) hope that someone might be able to identify from the symptoms what is actually happening. I checked out the various drivers and not suprisingly since the computer booted their devices are all showing as working properly. Although they are all showing as accessed today their last modified dates are years in the past. However even if those drivers were being sporadically corrupted and then replaced when booting from the Windows CD that would still not address the root cause of whatever was instigating the corruption in the first place which means the problem would just reoccur. Still, I will add your suggestion to the list of various solutions I might try if this situation persists long enough to become intolerable.