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  1.  
    I did a Windows update today. 1 update in the package - Malicious Software Removal Tool. On reboot, my PC couldn't get past the Welcome screen (Win XP SP3). The bastard.

    1. Can't come up in Safe Mode with or without networking, unless Admin account, and then without Networking. The bastard.
    2. System Restore shows only one restore point (11 July). That's not right. The bastard. It takes an hour and the problem isn't fixed. The bastard.
    3. Decide to restore from Acronis True Home 2010 archive on external drive (Dec 2012, good enough). Still not fully unpacked from house move so takes half an hour going through boxes, finally found under a bunch of clothes in a plastic bag, stuffed inside a large plastic desk tray. Discovered that Acronis cannot start the restore because it cannot run in Safe Mode. The bastard.
    4. Put in the Acronis Boot CD. Checked BIOS boot order - CD 1st, check. Boots off HD, the bastard. Back in safe mode, cannot see the CD anymore. The bastard. Opened up case and checked connections. All OK, and it ejects etc. So cannot use Acronis unless I get the CD back working. The bastard.
    5. Repeat the restore point for July 11. Stupid bastard doesn't know what restore state it's in, so consumes another hour doing a no-op restoring its own state.

    Still waiting for that. Plan B is to do an Acronis restore over the LAN. That's providing that Safe Mode w/network decides to work this time. Or somehow remotely fix up the CD driver. Otherwise fucked.
    • CommentAuthorBigOilRep
    • CommentTimeJul 17th 2013
     
    You should use Linux, it's like the pope - infallible. Expect when it isn't.

    In b4 Al.
    •  
      CommentAuthorlegendre
    • CommentTimeJul 17th 2013 edited
     
    Posted By: BigOilRepYou should use Linux, it's like the pope - infallible. Expect when it isn't.

    In b4 Al.


    Dammit, beat both of us to it!

    ETA: I just caught the humorous typo..
    • CommentAuthorBigOilRep
    • CommentTimeJul 17th 2013
     
    When I was attempting to install a 1880s email client it set my PC on fire - the resulting disaster killed 46 people.

    In b4 Mary.
  2.  
    Posted By: BigOilRepYou should use Linux, it's like the pope - infallible. Expect when it isn't.

    In b4 Al.
    Fuck off
    • CommentAuthorBigOilRep
    • CommentTimeJul 17th 2013
     
    @legendre - just the luck of the draw!
    • CommentAuthorBigOilRep
    • CommentTimeJul 17th 2013
     
    Ah, come on now Andrew, Al will turn up and tell you the same thing - just at much greater length.
  3.  
    I'm not in a good mood. CONSTRUCTIVE suggestions, however, will ensure my eternal gratitude.

    Just look at those combinations I listed. What shit.
    •  
      CommentAuthorlegendre
    • CommentTimeJul 17th 2013 edited
     
    Posted By: Andrew Palfreyman Or somehow remotely fix up the CD driver.


    If the BIOS can't boot from the CD that's not a driver problem, it's more like the CD drive just bit the dust. Does it even see that drive it in CMOS setup? If not, that's telling you something.

    Could be a coincidental failure, but the situation sounds so cattywampus that I'd suspect what really happened here was a hardware failure triggered by the amount of thrashing during an update.

    Funny as it sounds, after BoR's comment, I would suggest using a Linux Live CD (like Xubuntu) to see if the machine can actually boot and run +any+ OS at the moment. This is the kind of thing you get with an IDE controller failure, or a faulty HD or other IDE device that's fucking with signals on the bus and screwing the whole works up.

    Anyway, I'd confirm that you still have a set of working hardware, before spending any more time trying to rescue a completely stuffed WinXP install. Some of the live Linuxes also have Memtest86 available as an option at boottime. Good for shaking down the system as well.
  4.  
    Thanks.

    Yes, the CD is there in BIOS, as I already typed. Yes, the CD drive ejects, as I already typed. It has power and bus connection working therefore. I suspect a driver corruption.

    How would booting from Linux Live CD (like Xubuntu) work if the CD won't boot?

    Still restoring to the same place... :(
    •  
      CommentAuthorlegendre
    • CommentTimeJul 17th 2013
     
    Posted By: Andrew PalfreymanThanks.

    Yes, the CD is there in BIOS, as I already typed. Yes, the CD drive ejects. It has power and bus connection working therefore. I suspect a driver corruption.


    If the CD is OK then why won't it boot from it? You stated that it was 1st in order, right - but it's still not bootable - and XP doesn't see it either?

    If that's the case, then I'd pop a new / spare CD drive in there. You're going to need one anway.. so fix your hardware (known issue) before going further with "software" (unknown issue).
    •  
      CommentAuthorDuracell
    • CommentTimeJul 17th 2013 edited
     
    Have you tried turning it off and on?

    ... :7

    But seriously, I think your only bet at this stage is to restore your image to different hardware. By now your existing system is probably so fucked that it would require a low level format just to get it someway bootable, and if it really is, as others have suggested, a hardware failure then even that might not work, and even if it did the fix might at best only be very a temporary one, so the whole attempt would probably just be a colossal waste of time and effort, and you would only be postponing the inevitable restore to new hardware.
    • CommentAuthorBigOilRep
    • CommentTimeJul 17th 2013
     
    Does your BIOS not support booting from a USB stick?
  5.  
    If your PC is broken, how are you on the forum?

    •  
      CommentAuthorlegendre
    • CommentTimeJul 17th 2013
     
    Posted By: DuracellBy now your existing system is probably so fucked that it would require a low level format just to get it someway bootable (...)


    ATA drives should almost never need a low-level format.. and if they really do, don't use anything other than the manufacturer-supplied tool for it. It's generally a one-time only procedure, done at the factory.

    Most anything can be fixed by re-partitioning and formatting - as in, creating new filesystems on the partitions.
    • CommentAuthorjoshs
    • CommentTimeJul 18th 2013 edited
     
    Posted By: Andrew PalfreymanI did a Windows update today. 1 update in the package - Malicious Software Removal Tool. On reboot, my PC couldn't get past the Welcome screen (Win XP SP3). The bastard.

    1. Can't come up in Safe Mode with or without networking, unless Admin account, and then without Networking. The bastard.
    2. System Restore shows only one restore point (11 July). That's not right. The bastard. It takes an hour and the problem isn't fixed. The bastard.
    3. Decide to restore from Acronis True Home 2010 archive on external drive (Dec 2012, good enough). Still not fully unpacked from house move so takes half an hour going through boxes, finally found under a bunch of clothes in a plastic bag, stuffed inside a large plastic desk tray. Discovered that Acronis cannot start the restore because it cannot run in Safe Mode. The bastard.
    4. Put in the Acronis Boot CD. Checked BIOS boot order - CD 1st, check. Boots off HD, the bastard. Back in safe mode, cannot see the CD anymore. The bastard. Opened up case and checked connections. All OK, and it ejects etc. So cannot use Acronis unless I get the CD back working. The bastard.
    5. Repeat the restore point for July 11. Stupid bastard doesn't know what restore state it's in, so consumes another hour doing a no-op restoring its own state.

    Still waiting for that. Plan B is to do an Acronis restore over the LAN. That's providing that Safe Mode w/network decides to work this time. Or somehow remotely fix up the CD driver. Otherwise fucked.
    There was a continuous reboot problem with a Windows 7 hotfix. I no longer have any machines that I support on XP so I don't know if there is a similar issue here.

    You are indeed in a pickle. I am partial to image back-ups performed with Paragon Gmbh's image back-up software as that boots into Linux by itself and can do an image restore without anything in windows working. It works on a clean HDD if needed. One does need to prep a bootable USB flash, but that can be done after the fact on any working computer.

    I don't wish BSOD on anyone. Your only out that I can see is to boot safe mode and remove the last hotfixes and see if you can get back up.
    • CommentAuthorAsterix
    • CommentTimeJul 18th 2013 edited
     
    I haven't seen an ATA drive in over a decade that could be low-level formatted by the customer. Generally, LL format was something that you did with ST506-interface drives (and probably ESDI, I don't recall).

    Perhaps Duracell means a re-partition and filesystem format.

    First off, can you get to your important personal data, using either CD or USB stick boot? Or can I assume that you're like the other .001 percent of users who actually takes a backup every week or so. (I actually have a second, identically-configured system that I rsync to every day).

    After you get what you need to save, just re-install Windows.
    • CommentAuthorjoshs
    • CommentTimeJul 18th 2013
     
    I agree that he needs to make sure he has secured his data before he tinkers too much. Silly me I assume that he has a good back-up image of his important data on an external or network drive somewhere. If that assumption is wrong, then Andrew needs to make such a thing now before he goes much further.

    The next step would be as I said above, to try and back out any recent hot fix. I would also go online to see if any recent hot fixes are known to brick XP machines.

    A hardware failure is possible. But I think this is most likely a software problem. It could be Microsoft, or it could be Andrew caught something nasty that has now struck him.
    •  
      CommentAuthoralsetalokin
    • CommentTimeJul 18th 2013 edited
     
    I could tell you how to fix it, but after all the mockery I'm getting without even having posted anything.... maybe I just won't.

    I'll just sit here with my fully working Lxxxx system that works, fully, and runs complicated 96 bpp *Windows* image editing software, edits 2 GB video files with a non-linear video editor every day, and plays Angry Birds, displays DTV in a window or full screen and surfs all the virus-riddled porn I want, without difficulty. And I'll watch the flailing here while you try to restore your system to the state it was in immediately before it fucked up. Which seems strange to me: you fell off the cliff once, why skirt so close to the edge again? But never mind.




    OK, I'll help. But you have to actually try what I suggest, before you tell me I am FOS.

    Turn it off and unplug it from the UPS and the LAN. Let it sit for fifteen minutes without ANY power. (Personally I would also unplug the data line to the HDD at this point. We are diagnosing the CD drive and the MB, we don't need any help from your existing HDD.) Then see if it will boot from the CDROM drive using a fresh clean burn of Legendre's Linux Mint (or, since I have not had good luck personally with mint, try Ubuntu 8.04 or just a gparted boot disk.) Do NOT plug it back into the LAN until you know you have working hardware by using the Linux distro live boot or the gparted live disc.

    If it does not boot, replace the CD/DVDROM drive. If it still does not boot after that, you need a new motherboard because your BIOS is fucked somehow or you have other hardware faults. Your data is probably safe, as long as you don't do something stupid like trying to re-install Windows.

    If the hardware is working you can take the old hard drive out and set it down in a safe place. Put another smaller empty HDD in the computer and load a minimal Linux distro including gparted onto it. Then put your old HDD back into the box, along side Yet Another empty HDD, and use the Linux tools to transfer your data and program partitions from the old HDD to the new one. Leave the OS partition alone.

    You do have your old disk partitioned into Data, Program and OS partitions, of course. Don't you?
    •  
      CommentAuthormaryyugo
    • CommentTimeJul 18th 2013 edited
     
    If you're going to follow Al's advice, also remember to remove the CMOS battery from the motherboard when you power down everything.

    If you're not familiar with LINUX or don't wish to use it, you can do everything Al suggests to save your data by using any known good Windows system. You can connect your hard drive to it with USB or eSATA connections and you can mount it into any inexpensive external case. You can also check the hard drive for malware with that connection.

    Malwarebytes Pro is good. http://www.malwarebytes.org/products/malwarebytes_pro/ . Adwcleaner is good but not quite as safe to your system: http://general-changelog-team.fr/fr/downloads/viewdownload/20-outils-de-xplode/2-adwcleaner OR http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/download/adwcleaner/ (but on that site, be cautious which download link you click-- avoid the ones marked "sponsored"... they are scareware!)

    And remember, AL's system is protected by God so nothing can hurt it... as long as he prays regularly.