View Full Version : Windows wont start

17th Mar 2004, 19:58
Alright people. Once again Im flipping out over this damn computer. I have a Dell 8200 2.8 GHz, 512MB RAM, desktop running windows XP. I was trying to install a demo, and I shut down this spyware stuff I had called Spy Sweeper, or something like that. I did not uninstall or delete anything, but when I restarted my computer, I now get this oh so exciting message that windows/system32/config/system is missing or corrupt. I get the same message when I try to go back to the last known safe configuration and when I try to go into safe mode. I also get a message saying that I can repair windows by inserting the CD and pressing R, but every CD I put in (there are a bunch of blue Dell CDs) nothing happens. Any suggestions?

17th Mar 2004, 21:59
AArrggh, nasty. And I have zero experience with Dells... Does one of the CDs say something like System Restore on it? It's just a weird error to have happened, but maybe some sort of corruption... Failing that, I think you're thrown back on calling Dell tech support, who I've heard are generally pretty good.

All the best with it,


17th Mar 2004, 22:08
I called Dell, and they had me try to repair windows using a CD, however, that failed, the message is the same. Looks like Im going to lose everything (which includes a lot of important stuff for university, yes I know, in the future, make backups) Is there any way of recovering information off a hard drive without accessing windows?

17th Mar 2004, 22:17
If you have something like Partition Magic, you could probably make a new partition at the end of the drive (assuming it was reasonably defragged), and install Linux in it, then 'mount' the rest of the drive (the other partition) as a drive under Linux and get your files off it. I'm not 100% sure, but this may also work for Windows - although I think you'd need an original Windows install disk rather than the Dell one, which will probably just install over the top of what's there... It's also possible that just reinstalling Windows will leave most or all of your data intact, if you don't format first...

So try those solutions, I guess... there's a good chance you can keep your data. Depending on whether you have the money, and how important the data are, it might be worth *buying* a partitioning product...

Old Man
17th Mar 2004, 22:21
Install a second drive as primary and install windows onto that to boot it. Your original drive should still be accessible once you've booted up off the new drive. But do this with Dell's guidance. I've never actually done it but logically it should work. This is quite a bit more involved but still cheaper than hiring someone to copy the drive for you.

17th Mar 2004, 22:34
Alright, I'll look into those options. Thanks for the help guys. I'll let you know what I learn.

17th Mar 2004, 23:50
You should be able to reinstall windows without formatting. It will keep all the old stuff in there.

Windows decided to ^&*(#$ up for no reason on me about a month ago, but my HD was somehow magically corrupted which required a reformat. :mad:

18th Mar 2004, 00:24
Ok, we have a break-through!
I installed windows, assuming I would lose everything, I didnt. Everything that was on my C drive is still there, near as I can tell. Anything relating to windows, is gone. I can deal with that, I can re download and re install hardware. The important stuff is ok. Now, when I reinstalled, windows gave me a bunch of warnings saying that it is not wise to install windows on a drive where windows is already installed. (Or something like that, I didnt care since things couldnt get much worse) Anyways, since it seems to work now, should I worry about the old windows install? If so, how should I remove it?

18th Mar 2004, 01:37
If you reinstalled, did not the INSTALL go into the same partition and FOLDER, IE. C: drive Windows?

Usually unless you Uninstall a program (windows OPSYS in particular) the new install automatically overwrites the old one in the same folder and partition unless you tell it otherwise.

The problem with DELL is that the OPSYS is configured to run your DELL MOBO and goodies with proprietory drivers and IRQ and BIOS settings.

If you want to BACKUP all your stuff, you can just do a FORMAT of the C:drive then reinstall windows. then reinstall all your programs and then the data backkups. And get all the drivers from your restore discs.

But I don't know how to dig them out of the DELL discs, and they need to be the proprietory drivers from DELL.

If you have one I would run a good REGCLEANER program. Then with the backups, you can:
1: Reinstall the windows of your choice right over the old one.
2: Format and reinstall every thing.
3: Use the RESTORE discs and try to get back to that system.

18th Mar 2004, 13:10
tBM, I think s/he only had the Dell restore disks, rather than original Windows disks, and reinstalled Windows from those, in which case it should all be set up OK for the Dell, I think. If I'm wrong about that, Specter, then what he said!

18th Mar 2004, 17:07
Ok, for some stupid reason, my computer at home (the one with the issues) wont allow me to make a post here. I would click reply, and it would ask me to sign in. I would do so, make my post, and when I click to send it, it asks me to sign in again. The circle would continue.
The latest issue with my computer, is ive gotten some spyware or something. I dont know how, I only had the thing running for a couple hours, but something is keeping me from accessing my internet explorer options (6.0, or whatever comes with XP) when I click on properties, it pops up momentarily then self-closes. Also, my homepage has been set to some advertisement, and a pop up will not leave me alone, its the same one everytime, and it can only be closed through CTRL ALT DEL, and even then, it comes back after a few seconds. Im trying to get back all my drivers, updates and all kinds of stuff I lost when I reinstalled windows, but its a pain with this virus/spyware. I downloaded Ad Aware and Spy Bot, but neither have had an effect on this. Has any one know of a good removal program? Right now, if I cant salvage the situations, Im going to make copies of whatever I still have and format. This computer is getting pretty annoying. I appreciate the help you guys have provided so far. (In my past computer issues too)

18th Mar 2004, 18:06
If you can get into SAFE MODE.

Tap the F8 key (tap tap tap tap) while the boot sequence is running. When the screen says "loading windows" or the equivilant, you should get a selection of modes. (Command, Safe mode, etc.)

Select Safe, and if you get the SAFE mode operating, Open MY COMPUTER, C:(local Drive) Windows, System32.

Set the VIEW in the toolbar to DETAILS. Look for any folder that looks like a square with a green banner at the top.
Right click PROPERTIES, If it is from TOTEMPOLE, it is a trojan.
RENAME all of them with a complete new name ending in .OLD Such as Garbage.OLD garbage-1.OLD and so on. Then DELETE THEM.

This may be. Pup.exe, This is a trojan that generates three or four exe programs and a couple of .DLL's.

Go to www.PCPITSTOP.com and run the virus checker at the left of the page. Make a list of every thing they list. Check the links that tell you how to kill what they find.

Then go to http://housecall.trendmicro.com and run the free virus scanner there. Trend will kill any they find.

18th Mar 2004, 22:19
http://www.safer-networking.org/ - SpyBot
http://www.lavasoftusa.com/ - Adaware
http://www.trojanscan.com/ - Online Trojan Scanner(use IE)

19th Mar 2004, 17:22
Ok, its getting really difficult to even post here, but Im here, and thanks for the help. Im still having issues however. Ok, as for programs, I have Spy Bot, Ad Aware, and Spyware BeGone. None have done anything for me. I went to Trend Micro, and let them run a scan. They found 18 things, but could only delete around 13. The remaining things were a few entries of Worm_kwbot.c and Troj_winshow.A. I wrote down what they told me to do to remove them, ie going into regedit, however after going to every different location, I could not find any of the things they were telling me to look for. For example, for the trojan, they had me look in 3 places to delete a folder called 6CC1C918-AE8B-4373-A5B4-28BA1851E39A, but it was not found in any of the locations. Same with the worm, they had me look in 3 places for system32SAS="system32.exe and CMD=cmd32.exe, but it too was nowhere to be seen. I went to the trojan scan, and ran into another issue, it would get about 1 minute into the scan, then suddenly all Internet Explorer windows open would vanish. Now, I clicked control, alt, delete, to see what I could see, and I closed a few things I didnt recognize, DLG, VRC and something else along the lines of reg32. Well, now, I can access IE options without it vanishing, (I just realized that the trojan scan might work now, Im going to try it) Im at the point now where I just want to back everything up, format and go, but even that is turning out to be a battle. I have an external CD burner, but the installation CD is long gone. I did install it in the past though, despite this. I dont remember, but I assume that new hardware was automatically detected. Well, windows is not detecting it now. Its pluged in, it has power, but windows doesnt see it. So, do you guys know how I can go about installing it manually?

19th Mar 2004, 17:41
Unplug it and plug it back in(assuming it's a USB drive). You could go to the manufacturers website and get the drivers from there as well.

I have a few more av scans as well:

http://us.mcafee.com/root/register.asp? which requires an account(which is free) but it only checks drive c. They have a popup when you close the scan.


http://www.pandasoftware.com/activescan/ requires a free account as well.

19th Mar 2004, 17:59
No, its a 25 pin old school style. Ive tryed that, windows just doesnt detect it. I tryed download a driver I cam across, it installed ok, and it found the machine, but it could write anything, I kept getting an error, I will try their site and the virus scans you mentioned. Also, the other things I found running in processes are type32, alg, smss (or something like that) This is getting really bad, I mean, hell, I cant even back my stuff up. I'll let you know soon.

19th Mar 2004, 18:31

The two sites above have information on processes. Use their searches to find the processes you're concerned with.

19th Mar 2004, 18:55
Randomly killing processes you don't recognise is a Bad Idea that can kill your Windows install. Given that you're planning to format and reinstall, that may not be fatal, but definitely back up the important stuff first - if not to CD, e-mail it to yourself or pop it on a server somewhere or something.

19th Mar 2004, 19:28
LOL, I know its dumb. But nothing has screwed up yet, well, beyond what is already messed up. Emailing stuff works for anything small, but Im aiming to get programs Ive downloaded, music, drivers, ect, I mean, it obviusly isnt crucial, but it will take me a really long time to get it back. (Im dial-up) So, basically, right now, I want to kill the viruses, get the CD burner working, back my stuff up, and not worry about the other crap thats happening now.

22nd Mar 2004, 16:55
Ok, everything is backed up, I formatted, reinstalled and everything is back to normal. A big thank-you to everyone who helped me out.