URGENT! Laptop CORRUPTED; Do I HAVE to Reformat?

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Post 3+ Months Ago

HELP! I have a Dell Inspiron 8200 running Windows XP. Something(s)--possibly in my registry--must have gotten corrupted because:

(1) NO PROGRAMS WORK CORRECTLY; error messages or no response. Most links do not work at all. Could not add Emoticon to this message;

(2) CAN'T RUN SYMANTEC SYSTEMWORKS programs such as its degragger (message says system in use);

(3) MISSING FILE ERROR MESSAGES all over the place;

(4) CAN'T EVEN COPY AND PASTE or click, hold and move;

(5) STARTUP AND TASKBAR DISAPPEAR, even after I get them back;

(6) CANNOT MINIMIZE OPEN WINDOWS without the window disappearing (there is no way I can create an area of the task bar so I know which programs/files are open. The only way I can get the windows back is to open Task Manager, click on the one I want, and then hit Switch To);

(7) CANNOT RUN REPAIR-- I get to the point where it asks which choice I want to repair, but NO CHOICES appear. I tried typing in 1 and Enter, but I just got a LONG list of strange-looking files.

By now, you've more than gotten the idea. Is there ANY way to save me(I already re-installed WIN XP) from having to reformat my hard drive?

(And, if I DO have to reformat, where can I find a list of the files (data, etc.) I should save on a CD.

THANKS!
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Post 3+ Months Ago

  • Ragnar78
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Uhmm..if its as corrupted as this you wont find the files...cause even if they are still their, their location has been deleted most probably...so just reinstall XP without formating the partition, you might be able to get the data back...OR ask a freind to seriously scan your pc with his own (connect both PCs) and probably you might clean it first before installing XP
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Sounds like a virus. Could be one of many. If you can boot into safe mode or vga mode, try running your antivirus software from there.

Several viruses could do exactly that. Hard to tell which one, but definitely has the characteristics of a virus.

Even after successfully running a virus scan you may need to resort to backup as much as you can and restoring your computer, or if possible repairing it. Before restoring any backup files run a virus scan on them.

Good luck, but from your description it sounds like you're pretty much back to square one.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Thanks to both of you. It does sound like a virus, but I can't figure out how it got in. I use Systemworks and Zonealarm.

In the chicken or the egg category, the first clue I got that something bad was happening was weeks ago when I couldn't run Speedisk (defrag) and it kept showing that my drive was 95% FRAGMENTED. If I could have defragged, perhaps some of the later problems would not have happened. Of course, the Speedisk problem most likely resulted from the overall problem.
  • DuckIT
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Ouchie! Thats some fragmentation!! Few of things to try (If it will let you):

1) Check you have plenty of space left on C (or whatever letter your system drive is, probably C though). PC's do strange things when they run out of space and the swapfile can't grow/shrink as it wants to.

2) Run Housecall virus check from Trends site(http://housecall.trendmicro.com/)

3) Run scandisk (My Computer>Right click the drive in question> properties>Tools>Check now) you can also try a windows defrag from here.

4) Run msconfig (start>run>msconfig) click the startup tab in msconfig, and remove anything you consider strange/unnecessary from the list by unticking the boxes. Just looking at my msconfig startup list theres not much you can wreck by unchecking stuff in there as all the important services run in the services list (services.msc). The list in msconfig is for applications that run after your machine is started like tray icons, virus checkers etc. If anything does stop working you should be able to run msconfig again and just tick on whatever stopped working. I won't be held responsible though if you remove something that wrecks your machine!!!

Other than that your getting pretty close to a rebuild. Unfortunately no one here can really tell you what data needs to be backed up as every machine is different. Its up to you to search the machine looking for your data. You could always try a good computer store and get them to try and fix it or help you get your data off it.

S
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Post 3+ Months Ago

One more thing, some issued have been happening with the Defrag apps of System Works...
you should at least have 15% or 20% of free HDD to be able to do a correct Defragmentation.
If you have 6 or 10%, the Speeddisk app might corrupt the partition in a real damaging way (it already happened to me).

As for viruses i still think you should connect your PC to a freinds PC, cause the Components that are being downloaded to allow webscaning might be infected, and you might retreive info to his pc.

Good luck anyway..
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Post 3+ Months Ago

NO VIRUS! Check out my answers to Stephen's list:

(1) I do NOT have "plenty of space left on C" -- actually much less than a Gig. I have tried repeatedly to remove programs using Add/Delete in Control Panel and have gotten error messages such as:

"Windows Installer Service could not be accessed. This can occur if you are running Windows in Safe Mode (which I am not) or the Windows Installer is not correctly installed" and "Setup failed to launch installation engine. The stub record received bad data."

(2) I ran Housecall virus check and it reported that my files are virus-free;

(3) Neither ScanDisk nor Defrag worked from Tools.

(4) I had already removed unnecessary files from MSCONFIG.

To: Ragnar78

Your suggestion points up my Catch--22 dilemma: How do I free up space if I CAN'T delete programs?
  • DuckIT
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Post 3+ Months Ago

How much less than a gig? If you have like 600MB then whilst thats low, its not into crash territory. If we're talking under a 100MB and often going to around the 0MB mark then it c ould be that. Sounds more serious to me though than it being out of space!

S
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Post 3+ Months Ago

It has never gotten to near zero, but was down to 172 at one point. I have to agree (as much as I would like to feel otherwise) that it is more serious and that I have to reformat. : (
  • DuckIT
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Post 3+ Months Ago

There may be a couple more things you can try:

When you run the setup of Windows XP choose repair from the list. If that fails you can try sticking a new copy of XP over the top of the old one. This is called an in place upgrade and basically refreshes Windows.

*In theory* the in plac upgrade keeps all of the settings & programs. In practice I find it keeps *most* of the old settings, and just a few apps etc need reinstalling. This may not work, but if you have the time to spare it may be worth a try! Back up your data beforehand if possible!

S[/b]
  • Smokenjoe
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Post 3+ Months Ago

It sounds like you are going to have to wipe and reinstall, but here is somthing that may help you in the future.
http://www.ozzu.com/mswindows-forum/throw-your-boot-disks-away-t24463.html

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