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Corrupted system files on startup

Discussion in 'Software' started by rlstuver, Jan 14, 2008.

  1. rlstuver

    rlstuver New Member

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    I hate to start this thread after seeing what happened to Fanaticals, but I must. I have a Thinkpad R40e that gives me a boot error "Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt: \WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM". Using the XP setup disk running on "R" (repair) it will sometimes fix it with several files listed as corrupted. Sometimes it can't fix it. Anyhow, Reformatting the HD and setting XP up again works and will work until I shut it down (sometimes several times sometimes the first time) then it gives me the same boot error. I have done a scandisk, a chkdisk and even changed the harddrive but it still does it. Other than changing the HD, all else is as it was when I bought it. HELP..:study
     
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  2. Spilly

    Spilly Kilobyte Poster

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    Sounds like a faulty hard drive to me.
     
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  3. Sparky
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

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    Make sure you do a regular format when you start over..

    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/302686
    If that does not work then as already said it looks like a duff HD.
     
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  4. JohnBradbury

    JohnBradbury Kilobyte Poster

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    Make sure you run scandisk with the 'scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors' box checked. To do this:

    • Double-click My Computer, and then right-click the local disk that you want to check.
    • Click Properties, and then click Tools.
    • Under Error-checking, click Check Now.
    • Under Check disk options, select the Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors check box.
    • Click Start.

    If it finds any bad sectors it will mark that area of the disk and the OS will not save anything to those sectors. Although I'd recommend you get a new HDD if that's the case.
     
  5. JohnBradbury

    JohnBradbury Kilobyte Poster

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    double post - can a mod please delete this :-)
     
  6. zebulebu

    zebulebu Terabyte Poster

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    I thought corrupt HDD to begin with as well, but then I noticed he'd posted that he has actually changed the drive. I'm guessing maybe a bad IDE/SATA cable and/or connector on the mobo
     
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  7. rlstuver

    rlstuver New Member

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    As I said I have changed the hard drive, Formatted as suggested, but it still corrupts the same files. I've used the same setup disk on other computers to try it and it works fine. Could there be something in the computer itself like the BIOS that would do this for some reason?
     
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  8. rlstuver

    rlstuver New Member

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    My computer is an IBM thinkpad notebook and the connections look fine. Could such a problem cause the same files to be corrupted?
     
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  9. JohnBradbury

    JohnBradbury Kilobyte Poster

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    Sorry about that I managed to miss the fact that you'd changed the HDD.

    Out of interest when you re-installed the OS did you simply re-format the existing partition or did you remove the partitions and re-create them? It might be a long shot but I'm wondering if you've tried that or FIXMBR?
     
  10. Mathematix

    Mathematix Megabyte Poster

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    How's the power to the thinkpad? If the HD isn't spinning at a sustained speed you could be seeing errors like this. Zebulebu has so far come up with the best idea that cables may be faulty, but failing that check the PSU.
     
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  11. rlstuver

    rlstuver New Member

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    I have repartitioned after cleaning the drive and put 2 partitions on it and reloaded XP into the second partition. It still corrupted the same files so it must be going after the files themselves and not the spot on the HD.
     
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  12. rlstuver

    rlstuver New Member

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    I don't know about the consistency of the power but would that corrupt the same files every time?
     
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  13. JohnBradbury

    JohnBradbury Kilobyte Poster

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    In which case it has to be a hardware issue. If it's not the drive then it has to be either the connectors, cables, or as Mathematix suggest you might have an issue with power.
     
  14. rlstuver

    rlstuver New Member

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    Thanks.. Is there anything that you know of that would possibly corrupt the file I mentioned in the first thread during shutdown or startup. It's always the same files and it never happens if I leave it on. (Don't you dare tell me to always leave it on...)
     
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  15. rlstuver

    rlstuver New Member

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    I picked this unit up at a great price and I even checked to see if it was stolen. I have wondered if there was a way to set it up to do this if it was stolen.
     
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  16. JohnBradbury

    JohnBradbury Kilobyte Poster

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    Okay lets take a look at this from the beginning [I was half asleep last night].

    If it keeps happening then I would have suspected a HDD issue or problem with the MBR. If scandisk and chkdsk are showing no problems then it's probably not that. Add to that you've changed the HDD so we can rule out the drive completely.

    If you looked at the connectors and everything seems fine then we should assume these are okay too. Whilst it could potentially be a power issue I don't think it is. If the drive was losing power or didn't have enough to spin up then you'd most likely get the read/write head scratching the spindles causing bad sectors [which would have shown up on your previous tests].

    So let's look at what's happening. You're saying it happens specifically when shutting down. So basically when the computer tries to write information from active memory to the registry...

    Have you run a memory test? Try http://www.memtest86.com/

    If that checks out okay I might need some further info. Firstly you said that sometimes you can restore the system using recovery console. When you do this can you check the event logs and see if you have any errors.

    Secondly have you tried installing just a base build of XP, i.e. no drivers or software other than what the XP disk installs? Keep the laptop off the internet [pull the cable / switch off wireless] and do a base build. Does it still give the same problem on shutdown?

    If it doesn't then it could be an issue with the drivers or software you're installing on top of the base build. If it does can I ask if you're using a legal copy of XP if not then these downloaded copies can often contain spyware or virus patterns which are used to infect your machine straight away.

    Try some of this and get back to us...
     
  17. Mathematix

    Mathematix Megabyte Poster

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    The errors occur during startup and shutdown when the drive is most active. This is either tied to a mechanism problem (since it clearly isn't because drive have been swapped with the same problem), or a power issue. Remember that HD require sufficient power to sustain spin and rapdly read and write data.

    I would try copying very large files of say 1GB+ from folder to folder and see if any errors occur. This will stress test your HD to see any problems.

    Worth a try, but given that it's the same files are being corrupted, and the fact that between startups it is unlikely that files are written to the same addresses in memory this is unlikely to be the problem. If this was the cause you would also be having problems whilst using your computer.

    Secondly, depending on how bad the power issue is if this is the case you could get false positives for bad data during memory tests.

    Make detailed notes of any errors generated (hex codes, etc.).

    Do not do this! Remember that you do not exactly know what is causing your HD errors, and if the problem is local to the HD you could end up with a failed/corrupt installation. Check the HD power first!!

    This problem doesn't strike me as a malware issue, but take heed none-the-less.
     
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  18. Nelix
    Honorary Member

    Nelix Gigabyte Poster

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    Does anyone know if this was resolved and if so what the problem was?
     
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  19. rlstuver

    rlstuver New Member

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    As of yet it is still doing it and nothing has seemed to help. I have faught with this thing so much I am about ready to see how well it flies from a height!!!
     
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  20. JohnBradbury

    JohnBradbury Kilobyte Poster

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    What have you tried so far?

    Have you collected any event logs as suggested?
     

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