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Moodie1

Need help fixing a badly damaged WinXP system.

43 posts in this topic

Hel-l-lp! My parts-built PC running Windows XP Home SP3 is just barely functional. For quite a while now, up until a couple of weeks ago it would take about 20 minutes or so to boot up and about one full minute to load a program. About a month ago I updated a lot of old programs and drivers and the performance improved somewhat but it was still far from normal. I have Microsoft's firewall and Avast's free antivirus running all the time and I also run the latest version of Advanced SystemCare Free often so I don't think it's a problem caused by a virus or malware. I also occasionally run Malwarebytes Anti-Malware and Spybot Search&Destroy to further check for malware. I also don't visit sites where my PC's likely to get infected. Recently (a week or two ago) MS released a buggy Windows update which I had to uninstall by doing a system restore, something I've never had to do until now. That's when the major problems started, just a couple of days ago. Now, most of my programs no longer work, giving me 'The application failed to initialize properly (0xc0000022)' errors. I also get 'Error loading' messages about IMF.exe, NvCpl.dll, NvMCTray.dll and ASCTray.exe. I ran a check for viruses today (using Avast) without finding anything. I can't use ASC or MBAM since they won't run now. I've got Fences version 1 installed which still works but every so often gives me (0xc0000135) error messages. I googled for info on my problem and found a couple of websites saying to uninstall and reinstall all .NET files (in order from newest to oldest) so I tried that. I got as far as .NET Compact Framework 2.0 SP1 which won't uninstall. I've tried using Dependency Walker but there don't seem to be any manuals on how to use it. I even went so far as to buy a new hard drive, intending to reinstall the OS from scratch only to find that my Win98SE CD will no longer boot! I can't boot from my WinXP CD since it's just an Upgrade CD, requiring my Win98SE CD to be installed first. On top of that, the new 2TB SATA HD I just got wasn't assigned a drive letter so even though the OS says it's working properly I can't use it! Plus, if memory serves, when I first built this PC I wanted to install the OS on a SATA drive only to find that the system (an AMD Phenom II X4 on a Gigabyte MA785GM-US2H MB) wouldn't let me! For some reason I never discovered the system reads from and writes to SATA HDs just fine but won't boot from one (at least, not then). So I had to stick with an EIDE HD. And please don't tell me to buy a newer version of Windows, that HD took all my extra cash and since I'm between jobs I won't see any extra disposable income for quite some time. I need to repair my existing install, and BTW, the repair didn't work (didn't complete, giving me another error message) when I tried it. Oh, and also (JIC this is important), some time ago (many months) my boot.ini file somehow got deleted and I'm not sure how to add it back. Hel-l-lp!

Edited by Moodie1
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Few thoughts;

-I can't remember if there were bootable and unbootable 98se CDs but I'm quite sure all XP CDs are bootable. You can install an XP "upgrade" from scratch, it will prompt you to insert a former Windows version (98 or ME or whatever) at the beginning but that version does not need to be on a bootable media.

-You say you want to repair but 99.9% of people will advise you to reinstall from scratch. There is no way you can repair that mess and go fro 20 minutes boot to anything acceptable. That system should boot a fully updated XP in less than one and half minutes.

-You do not need to buy any additional hardware nor software.

-for your SATA drive to be assigned a drive letter, you first needed to create partitions on it. Partitions get drive letters, drives don't (at least not in case of Harddrives).

-in order to install to your SATA drive, you needed your (failry dated) XP install CD to recognize the SATA contoler of your Gigabyte motherboard (from ~2009). In order to do that, you have several possibilities.

-The Microsoft way (intended by MS in the era people had floppy drives) is to use so called "F6 drivers", You can find them on Gigabytes site (note that there are several revisions of that board, I didn't check whether SATA drivers are the same, I'd guess yes but you better check the right page) but you need to put them on a a floppy drive and press F6 when prompted by the XP install.

-the DIY way is to modify your XP CD and remake it. A program like "nLite" makes it fairly simple and adds some extra possibilities like including the latest Service Pack and Microsoft updates (that you can get from this member's site). You don't need to play with all the options, it would take hours. nLite has its own forum on this board.

Of course you will need a working computer and a way to backup your existing install, and a CD (RW is best if you're not sure).

Make your decision. I'm sure other people could help you repair as well. I wouldn't.

Edited by Ponch
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Thanks, Ponch! I'll try creating a couple of partitions on my new HD and setting one as C: so I can try a fresh install. I use CDex for disc work so I'll have to reinstall it since it's one of the programs that no longer work. Since I don't have a floppy drive can I use a thumbdrive instead (if I need F6 drivers)? Mine still work. I've read a lot on slipstreaming a CD/DVD boot disk (that is what you're referring to, isn't it?) but it seemed too complicated to try. But if I can't boot from my old CDs that may be the only option left to me. Thanks again.

Edited by Moodie1
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As far as I know, CDex is a portable program so it doesn't need to be installed,just copied (or expanded).

It is possible to install F6 drivers from USB, I've never done it and I can't tell you if it is possible for all motherboards or with all USB drives. I found this (doesn't seem as easy as you would expect) and this (explanations in the readme file created by the exe).

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Sounds like you don't have the boot order configured correctly in the BIOS.

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Okay, sorry for taking so long to update this but I had just bought a new HD and was moving a lot of files off my C: drive in preparation for reinstalling (or installing a fresh copy of) Windows XP. Also, I spent considerable time trying to research and fix this problem myself - with no success. Here's the situation so far:

1. I can't install (or reinstall) Windows XP from either of my CDs. Windows says that it can't reinstall because the existing installation still exists. Short of buying another HD (which I can't afford right now) and removing all other HDs from the system I don't know any way around this. Also, this is my only system and I rely on it for quite a lot. BTW, my user account has always had administrator rights. I also always have 'View hidden and system files and folders' activated.

2. One site suggested resetting program permissions, so I tried their fix, unregistering and re-registering permissions and the registry by installing Subinacl.exe (actually, I think I've tried installing the entire 'Windows Server 2003 Resource Kit Tools' suite (rktools.exe)). This didn't work (or the install didn't complete, I don't remember which). Installing Subinacl.exe separately (today) didn't complete, giving me an 'Internal Error 2503'.

3. Another site said to right-click on Windows Installer and reset permissions that way. I checked and there's no Installer file either in the Windows folder, the system32 folder or in the hidden Installer folder. (Although there are more than 50 'HOTFIXINSTALLER.EXE' files in the Prefetch folder and more than 350 '$NtUninstallKB...' folders in the Windows folder, FWIW).

4. Running msconfig shows that Windows Installer is running (who knows from where!)

I'm currently at a loss as to how to proceed. Seems to me I need to fix the 'Internal Error 2503' problem first before I can work on resetting the permissions. Should I try downloading Windows Installer and install anew? If so, which version should it be?

Edited by Moodie1
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Oops! My mistake! Msconfig shows that Windows Installer is stopped. But double-clicking on it (left or right) doesn't do anything.

Edited by Moodie1
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Either you concentrate on reinstalling or you go on trying to fix your broken XP. If you ask for help on both, you are wasting your time.

I can't install (or reinstall) Windows XP from either of my CDs. Windows says that it can't reinstall because the existing installation still exists.

How exactly do you start the installation and what's the exact message?

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1. My 400GB PATA C-drive is partitioned into 2 NTFS "drives", a 200GB C: drive (with my WinXP install and all of my installed programs) and a 200GB F: drive for TEMP storage (both are primary partitions). Most miscl data files have already been moved to other drives, leaving the drives with 115GB and 120GB of free space, respectively. The F: drive has never had an OS installed onto it and is where I would prefer to install a fresh copy of WinXP so I can skip the hassle of getting the PC to boot from a SATA drive. After finishing the new install I would switch the drive letters so the PC would default-boot from the new C: (formerly F:). Then I planned on installing all of the WinXP updates, service packs, etc. Finally I would reinstall my most-often-used programs whose install files are stored on another HD.

2. I've just defragged the F: drive, getting it ready for installing XP onto it.

3. I have two CD/DVD/BD drives in my system, the older one is a DVD-RW multidrive, the new one is a BD-RW multidrive. Last week the BD drive stopped working. Device Manager's Properties' General tab says the drive is operating normally but I can't populate it using the Volumes tab, the driver seems to be either corrupted or missing. The same thing happened just now to the DVD drive. Trying to populate it gives me this error message: 'Volume information for this disk cannot be found. This may happen if the disk is a 1394 or a USB device on a Windows 2000 machine.' Also, Device Manager does not show any yellow Xs for these drives (or for that matter, anything else). FWIW, when I shut the PC down last night 26 Windows Updates got installed onto it. Maybe one or more of those screwed it up a little bit more?

4. I was going to try to install XP on the F: drive straight from Windows using one of these drives (without booting from the CD, but just by running setup from the CD through Windows), now I can't (not that it worked before, it didn't). Seems the only option left to me is a fresh install. But if I manage to boot from the XP CD and try installing to a different partition of a drive that already has XP on it will I have problems? If that won't work I might be able to find an old HD I can use as a new-but-temporary C: drive. I could use some info on this. I'm a knowledgeable PC user but not *that* knowledgeable.

Edited by Moodie1
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@Moodie1

Don't worry :), if you install this new instance on the "second" volume/partition, you will be making simply a "dual boot" system.

The only "issue" you may have is/will be drive lettering and the two installs will "share" a common NTLDR+NTDETECT.COM+BOOT.INI on your first volume, which is and will remain the "active" partition.

In your current status you have the current XP install on the first volume, which by default has got the drive letter C:, the second install will get - still by default - the drive letter D: (or a higher letter, it depends on the devices connected to the PC at install time).

There are two common "theories of operation", one (wrong BTW :w00t:) adopted by most people that want their operating system to reside on "C:" (to be more "standard") and one (right ;)) that makes setup so that no matter which OS is booted the same volume gets the same drive letter (which limits the risk of modifying the "wrong" volume).

So, you will need to make a choice, if you are OK with the second install having a non-C: drive letter you can go on, if you on the other hand need/want to have this second install be residing on a volume with drive letter C: you need further instructions.

jaclaz

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one (right ;)) that makes setup so that no matter which OS is booted the same volume gets the same drive letter (which limits the risk of modifying the "wrong" volume).

which is more difficult to remember;

-you are running "the other" OS, most probably with a different background/wallpaper, your C: drive you're using now is the "other" C: drive... Duh!

-you are running one of the OS, what was my system drive again...C: or D: or F or G: ?

I'm with the majority of people prefering the (in your eyes) "wrong"option. Almost by definition, people thinking "differently" from one will be "a majority".

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Ponch, there must be a misunderstanding (or you are making the wrong examples)? :unsure:

With "my" approach, as an example in a dual boot with two active partitions, first partition is always C: and second partition is always D:.

  1. if you boot in "first" OS and delete (say) the file C:\myfile.txt, you are deleting the file myfile.txt on the first partition.
  2. if you boot in "second" OS and delete (say) the file C:\myfile.txt, you are STILL deleting the file myfile.txt on the first partition.

When you use "C: as system drive",

  1. if you boot in "first" OS and delete (say) the file C:\myfile.txt, you are deleting the file myfile.txt on the first partition.
  2. if you boot in "second" OS and delete (say) the file C:\myfile.txt, you are INSTEAD deleting the file myfile.txt on the SECOND partition.

jaclaz

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When you use "C: as system drive",
  1. if you boot in "first" OS and delete (say) the file C:\myfile.txt, you are deleting the file myfile.txt on the first partition.
  2. if you boot in "second" OS and delete (say) the file C:\myfile.txt, you are INSTEAD deleting the file myfile.txt on the SECOND partition.

I'm still VERY fine with that. :P There would be a reason I create that file on both places at first. If not, I'd create one file on a 3rd partition that I'd access the same way from both systems.

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There would be a reason I create that file on both places at first.

Sure, there WAS A reason AT THE TIME you created the first file, ANOTHER reason AT THE TIME you created the second file (several months later) and NOW (some more months later) you have forgotten BOTH and you just deleted the "wrong" file (just saying ;)), that's more or less the essence of Murphy's Law.

Seriously, it is just a matter of personal "tastes" and "habits", everyone should be free to choose the setup he/she finds "better" :).

jaclaz

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@ Ponch & jaclaz:

Calm down guys, no need to fight here. I know exactly what jaclaz is talking about. He's referring to the option Windows has of "permanently" setting each drive (that is, volume) as one constant drive letter such that if you have, say, three external drives connected (denoted by, say, E:, F: & G:) and you disconnected the E: & F: drives, the third drive would stay at G: (IOW, it would not reset the drive letter down to E:). And I put 'permanently' in double-quotes because that is exactly how I had my system set up until sometime earlier last year (2013) when somehow it got changed (I have no idea how that happened, I sure didn't change it!). I have about 5 or 6 external HDs (together with 3 internal HDs) not all of which are connected at the same time (there were times when I had up to about 15 drive letters showing in FreeCommander at one time) and it was much easier keeping track of everything when the drive letters for everything never changed. Now they all get whatever letter Windows decides to give them depending on when I connect each one and I have to use their drive names to tell them apart.

So, jaclaz, what you're saying is that Windows can boot from a volume that is lettered as something other than C:, even when that volume is on the same physical HD as the original boot volume. Nice. But on bootup my system tells me that my boot.ini file is invalid. Wouldn't this be a problem? How risky would it be to fix this file? More to the point, what part of my system is this file "attached" to? The BIOS? Windows (regardless of which instance is running)? The volume that Windows is installed onto (perhaps implying that each instance of Windows would use its own copy of boot.ini)?

Edited by Moodie1
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