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Windows 7: Dell XPS M1530 Startup Repair Loop, Offline SFC does NOT function

26 Feb 2012   #31
writhziden

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit
 
 

I wouldn't recommend it... In the end, it is up to you whether you want to take the risk. I'd say the chances are probably less than 50/50 that you will maintain your data. If you are not too worried about losing the data, that would be a fine solution, but if there is important data that you would be upset to lose, I would highly suggest finding another alternative. Borrowing a drive from a friend may be a better method. I'm sure you have a friend with a backup drive that wouldn't mind putting a folder on for you.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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26 Feb 2012   #32
Z92435

Windows 7, 32-bit & 64-bit (Depends on Which Computer)
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by writhziden View Post
I wouldn't recommend it... In the end, it is up to you whether you want to take the risk. I'd say the chances are probably less than 50/50 that you will maintain your data. If you are not too worried about losing the data, that would be a fine solution, but if there is important data that you would be upset to lose, I would highly suggest finding another alternative. Borrowing a drive from a friend may be a better method. I'm sure you have a friend with a backup drive that wouldn't mind putting a folder on for you.
Meh. I'm not yet done with the great clone exodus yet, since it took FOREVER for Carbon Copy Cloner (Mac OS X Cloning Software) to get the information off of my drive and make it into an image. God knows why the hell I saved that image, since it is just the native OS X image that Apple plopped down in my Macbook anyway (As soon as I got my Macbook, I cloned the Apple software into a bigger drive and put it into service.). Regardless, now I'm running disk clean up as well as defragmenting the hell out of the WD Scorpio Blue that was in the Dell XPS M1530, since Acronis actually is refusing to clone it over right now because it only barely fits. Here's hoping that after some shuffling around, I can free up some space to make it do it.

I do have good news though, which is that it does appear the Scorpio Blue is still barely under WD limited warranty under May 2012. Thus, I'm thinking that I can RMA the item for having what appears to be small, but critical bad sectors in thd drive. Yay for saving money! I'll try to pop by in here tomorrow morning to update on exactly how the problem is going and whether or not I've finally resolved it. Hopefully, WD will get their miserable website back online by then, so I can file my warranty return also.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Feb 2012   #33
writhziden

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit
 
 

Look forward to the post back. Best of luck!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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26 Feb 2012   #34
Z92435

Windows 7, 32-bit & 64-bit (Depends on Which Computer)
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by writhziden View Post
Look forward to the post back. Best of luck!
Well, after a night full of cloning experiments that makes me feel like Dr. Franknfurter when he's a not-so-sweet cross-dressing fool in a nightie, I was surprised to find that the errors remained in the system even after being cloned over to a new hard drive, which may possibly point to there being two problems: First being that there may or may not really be a hard drive bad sector issue, and the other being that my system folders may well be corrupted to hell, perhaps as the result of Startup Repair trying to recover data from bad sectors but not succeeding.

Regardless, I did find some more information which may possible be helpful. The first being that I remembered that when I last ran Spybot-S&D, it has just had an update, which led to the creation of a registry back up by Spybot, in the event that it hosed my regs, which is stored as regLocal.reg and regUsers.reg, and they cover the registry keys for the Local Machine and Users, respectively. According to most people over on the Spybot forums, while it is a weird method to restore it, it is apparently possible to double click these files, have Windows take over and just insert them into your registry file. However, I'm currently not sure exactly how this should be accomplished via the command prompt that I can access from WindowsRE. Do you know of any way to help? My current thought process is that, being that these backups were made incredibly recently prior to the crash, they should be mostly, if not all, good and current. Thus, even if my regback folder had been corrupted, if the error lies in either one of these, I can get it resolved that way.

Conversely, my other train of thought is, now that I've got two identical cloned disks, assuming that the error isn't with the registry, since even the possibly corrupted regback restore led to some improvement, is there a way that I can do a install over one of them, then simply use either the command prompt or installation disk to copy over just the system files to the other? In essence, making one of them into an organ donor for the other? If need be, I can possibly start with just one folder (e.g. Drivers, maybe?), then move my way down the line. Would that work at all? After all, isn't that what a repair install does, to just replace the system files, but not others? I know this is one hell of a suggestion, but maybe I can do it manually from the clone donor?

Just as a starting point, is there a way one can get a hold of the logs generated when Windows boots up in Safe Mode? If so, I can possibly check out exactly what needs to be replaced, since when I try to boot in any of the Safe Modes, the list of files and drivers does load, it just hits a wall suddenly somewhere down the line. If we can see that log, we can possibly know where to start.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Feb 2012   #35
writhziden

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit
 
 

I do not know if this will work, but if they are .reg files, you could try using regedit.exe from the System32 folder and typing regedit.exe /s "path to file" (and yes, keep the path in quotes). This will work, I just tested it with my Windows installation DVD.

Also, installing Windows on the same machine, getting everything working, and not installing any software but the device drivers for the system should allow you to copy everything over cleanly to the old installation and fix Windows files. I am not guaranteeing this since I have never tried it, and I do not want to try it now as that would be a couple hours out of my day to test, but it seems like a valid hypothesis that may turn into a working theory.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Feb 2012   #36
Z92435

Windows 7, 32-bit & 64-bit (Depends on Which Computer)
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by writhziden View Post
I do not know if this will work, but if they are .reg files, you could try using regedit.exe from the System32 folder and typing regedit.exe /s "path to file" (and yes, keep the path in quotes). You may have to use regedt32.exe; I'm not sure. I'll have to test it out myself through my installation disc by rebooting my computer.

Let us know if this works. I am trying to find any other possible solutions as well.
If I didn't express my gratitude yesterday, please do know now that I really do appreciate all your help in this, whether we succeed or not. Regardless, I'm getting the feeling that we're playing with the big boys now, and if one of these crazy notions of mine works, I think we might need to co-author an article on having just one more step to try before doing the re-install.

In any case, I'm currently making an image of the bad drive using this method and UBCD that you recommended yesterday, so that I can go ahead and use up both HDs, as long as it nets me with at least one that's fully recovered, all with a safety net. Regarding the log, I have not yet had a chance to dig it out, but according to my google-fu, what I'm looking for is the ntbtlog.txt that's supposed to be generated when Safe Mode is attempted, right? I'm under the impression that I can use the "load driver" option of an installation disk to copy and paste it onto a flash drive or something to view.

Currently, my thought immediately after the imaging process is done is that maybe I should check out the ntbtlog.txt file, and save a copy or two of both the Spybot reg backups, as well as my regular reg, regback, and backup regback folders (Because I already tried the Loop trick, remember?), which would render me safer, just in case this ends up with velociraptor badness. Also, I just read about pulling a minidump out of the machine. Am I able to do that without being able to fully boot up? If so, I think that'd give us more information in working with exactly what part of the boot process goes guano insane.

I'm going to grab some lunch, while waiting for the chkdsk and image making process I've got going to be done. Then, I'll check back on any thoughts or leads you've got. Once again, thanks for everything, bud. I totally owe you a fish taco if I'm ever in Colorado. =)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Feb 2012   #37
writhziden

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit
 
 

Sounds good. You should also note that I edited my last post with some more information regarding getting things back up and running. You are welcome to sort through the ntbtlog.txt file and let us know any of the info it spit out to see if we can try to make sense of it if you have any trouble doing so.

The minidump folder can be found in the Windows directory. If you can get it off the drive, we have a lot of experience analyzing the .dmp files it contains that Windows generates. It won't provide us all possible useful information, but it does comprise 90% of the information we use to track down problems like these.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Feb 2012   #38
Z92435

Windows 7, 32-bit & 64-bit (Depends on Which Computer)
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by writhziden View Post
I do not know if this will work, but if they are .reg files, you could try using regedit.exe from the System32 folder and typing regedit.exe /s "path to file" (and yes, keep the path in quotes). This will work, I just tested it with my Windows installation DVD.

Also, installing Windows on the same machine, getting everything working, and not installing any software but the device drivers for the system should allow you to copy everything over cleanly to the old installation and fix Windows files. I am not guaranteeing this since I have never tried it, and I do not want to try it now as that would be a couple hours out of my day to test, but it seems like a valid hypothesis that may turn into a working theory.
Writhziden,

I wouldn't think that that you nor anyone else would have a couple of hours around and an extra computer whose contents you don't care about to try this, just in case it is a velociraptor badness territory. However, with my situation, I think we can both admit that it is already just a drop of bad away from being a Santorum-Palin ticket here. Thus, if you don't mind putting up with my stupid questions, I'll go ahead and try it. After all, I have very little to lose, unless one of the hard drives truly dies, which I somehow doubt (or hope won't) will happen. However, as I've mentioned in the first post, I consider myself to be an advanced user, not a technician nor a guru. Thus, I would like to have your help in letting me know which files you think we can replace step by step, and which ones I really should not touch, much like the drawers of a nun.

As I tried to imply in my previous post, my self generated process will be to just re-install one of the hard drives with windows after all the backing up and such are done, then copy over the "drivers" folder from the "Windows32" folder in C:\. However, I'll be honest that I'm not familiar with this enough to know if that will copy over everything, if I just do the copy and paste trick using the "load drivers" option with the cd. In addition, can you please take me through how to launch regedit from the command prompt using installation disk? I seem to recall trying it once and getting told by cmd that it's not a recognized command. But, as hazy as that memory is, it could be wrong.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Feb 2012   #39
Z92435

Windows 7, 32-bit & 64-bit (Depends on Which Computer)
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by writhziden View Post
Sounds good. You should also note that I edited my last post with some more information regarding getting things back up and running. You are welcome to sort through the ntbtlog.txt file and let us know any of the info it spit out to see if we can try to make sense of it if you have any trouble doing so.

The minidump folder can be found in the Windows directory. If you can get it off the drive, we have a lot of experience analyzing the .dmp files it contains that Windows generates. It won't provide us all possible useful information, but it does comprise 90% of the information we use to track down problems like these.
Okay, stupid question #1: Can you tell me how to make sure a minidump is generated whenever the boot attempt doesn't work? The post I found on the forum requires one to go through the "Start" menu, which is worthless to me, because I can't get into Windows, as you know. I can get into F8 now, as well as command prompt, so can I enable it through these channels? additionally, even if I can get it generated, can I simply do the "load driver" copy-and-paste method to get that folder onto a flash drive? If not, you're going to have to tell me a way.

I'll try to get the ntbtlog.txt and minidump uploaded as soon as the chkdsk is done, which will be in just a minute.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Feb 2012   #40
writhziden

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit
 
 

So to do it via the installation disc, what I did was started it like I was going to install. I immediately hit Shift+F10 once it loaded. Then I typed
regedit.exe /s "C:\users\mike\documents\test.reg"
but there was no confirmation as to whether it did anything. I assumed it worked because there was also no error message. However, just to be sure, I then typed the command
regedit.exe "C:\users\mike\documents\test.reg"
and it said running could possibly change the system setup (or something to that effect) and to only select yes to continue if I trusted the source. So I would say this was a successful test run for what you are trying to do.

As to how to replace the Windows file, I would do it via the installation disc as with the .reg file. Start the command prompt with Shift + F10 when the install disc loads. Then run the command
robocopy /s /r:5 /w:0 /xj C:\Windows D:\Windows
I am assuming you are copying from the current system drive (assumed as C: ) to the secondary system drive (assumed as D: ). I do not know how familiar you are with the robocopy command, but I find it does the best job of replacing system files. As I said, if you do not install any programs and only install device drivers and possibly Windows Updates (though the more I think about it, the more I think this may be a bad idea unless you know the exact state of the updates when the machine went kaput), the Windows directory should be clean enough to do the above steps.

I am thinking the Windows updates may be an issue with the transplant scenario... If you know the exact state of the updates, that would go a long way to making this work.



Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Z92435 View Post

Okay, stupid question #1: Can you tell me how to make sure a minidump is generated whenever the boot attempt doesn't work? The post I found on the forum requires one to go through the "Start" menu, which is worthless to me, because I can't get into Windows, as you know. I can get into F8 now, as well as command prompt, so can I enable it through these channels? additionally, even if I can get it generated, can I simply do the "load driver" copy-and-paste method to get that folder onto a flash drive? If not, you're going to have to tell me a way.

I'll try to get the ntbtlog.txt and minidump uploaded as soon as the chkdsk is done, which will be in just a minute.
Not a stupid question. If there is no minidump folder in the Windows directory, then you need to configure them to be created. You can enable them through the registry using the command prompt and following the steps in How to configure system failure and recovery options in Windows
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 Dell XPS M1530 Startup Repair Loop, Offline SFC does NOT function




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