My XP Pro pc has been fine for several years but in the last week or so has experienced boot problems, namely the pc won't boot but displays an error 'disk read error occurred'. Note - the disk is healthy so there is not a problem with the physical disk per se.
I get around this by booting from the Windows CD into repair mode and then, but without having done anything in repair mode, reboot without the CD (ie normally) and Windows then loads normally. This is an intermittent error as sometimes I can boot Windows normally for a few days but then the next time (for no obvious reason) Windows won't boot and the error appears as above.
I was going to run - fixmbr - from repair mode but the warning message about an invalid or non-standard partition table put me off the idea (I have 2 partitions).
Anyone have any ideas as to what would intermittently cause the computer to behave like this and why the problem would be fixed after booting from the Windows CD in repair mode (does that replace some file(s) on the hard drive?).
I have also had the non-standard MBR message but ran FIXMBR anyway using the Recovery Console from the XP CD as I have no ENCRYPTED files on any of the four partions. No problem. I then ran FIXBOOT for good measure.
If you do have any encrypted files you will likely lose them. (Normally a Corporate problem not for the private user.)
BUT ... I do use a drive imaging program and have two drive images which I can restore from even if the drive totally fails. One is on the F:\ partition and another is on a USB stick.
I use Image for Windows which has never let me down and is very easy to use.
So I would run chkdsk on both partitions and also run Sysinternals Config defrag program as well as their PageDefrag as both are recommended by sources close to MS especially as Sysinternals is now part of MS.
It seems that the Config program modifies the behaviour of the standard Diskeeper based MS defrag to produce a better file structure.
If all is well and the partitions are 'clean' make a drive image of the OS partition and back up anything on the other partition.
Then if anything goes wrong you can restore easily.
Simply taking the RAM out and putting it back helps to re-seat the connectors and the same can be true for all cable connections.
Do NOT forget to unplug and disconnect ALL cables before opening the case then simply hold the metal casing with your left hand and hold the start button down for a few seconds. You should hear a slight crack as any residual electricity is discharged.
If you add /sos to your BOOT.INI file ... I.E. --- /fastdetect /sos ... you will be able to see the boot process on the screen.
The drivers will load and then a screen will appear showing Processor(s) and RAM.
Then you should see.
Volume C:\ is clean.
Volume D:\ is clean.
Windows has finished checking the drive.
It will then proceed to the Welcome/Password screen.
(I never use a boot screen preferring to have a clear view of the boot process and a confirmation that the RAM is being reported and that the partitions - are - clean before using the computer.)
Intermittent errors smack of connection problems.
When you have checked all the connections and re-seated the RAM modules you might want to run a check on your drive and do a burn in test. One pass is enough.
You can also find freeware programs which will do a burn in test on the entire system to see if the connections are up to the job.
If you are getting serious fragmentation it may be that you need to increase the size of the MBR (happens if a lot of new programs/data has been added.)
My registry setting allows the MBR to use 25% of the drive space.
NB I recently made the mistake of removing the NTFS file time stamp and the 8dot DOS naming after which Image for DOS, the CD/floppy based program used for restoring drive images made by Image for Windows, could not see the TBI00.IMG files to restore from.
So be careful not to do this when using a Drive Imaging program. (FAR better than System Restore and Backup and 100% reliable so far.)
(Trying too hard to maximize NTFS performance.) (Should have known better!)
Otherwise ... virus?
Edited by NATO, 11 May 2012 - 06:59 AM.