[Resolved!] Help Please - Owner needs to squeeze a little more life out of lost cause

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shesun4givn2

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Hi guys, :)

I'm working on a friends PC, trying to squeeze a little more life out of it for her - she can't aford much in the way of repairs and definitely not a replacement yet.

The system was made by Patriot, it's a Barbie PC. Through extensive searching I've learned that Patriot is no longer in business, they were sued by the US Gov, and have filed bankruptcy. In trying to locate driver files for this machine, I've found one dead end after another, along with a LOT of irate former customers and employees.

I don't have all the pc's specifics right at the moment because the machine is in ScanDisk and only about 1/4 the way through (it's constantly restarting, but looks to be making slight headway each time it does).

It's running Win98SE and has 64mg sdram?. The hd is 1.5? gig.

On original boot it tries to load Windows, but fails with the message:

While initializing device configmg: Windows protection error. You need to restart your computer.

I've tried MS Knowledgebase's suggestion to disable external L2 cache through BIOS, but I'm unable to access any external cache while in BIOS. She possibly does not have external cache?

I've selected the Force APM 1.0 mode through Advanced Power Management with no discernable difference.

Apparently her pc has been booting only into Safe Mode (after the initial configmg-WPE) for the last few weeks/months (she's not positive how long). She didn't make any changes to the pc before it started booting into Safe Mode (to her knowledge - she has two daughters and doesn't think they've done anything to it). She has had internet access in the past, but doesn't have an account currently.

While in safe mode, I noticed her monitor is of type 'unknown' and wondered if there was a driver problem - hence the online fruitless search for patriot drivers.

I'm sure her pc has loads of spyware/malware on it. The desktop was completely filled with links to unsavory web sites and she had about 7 versions of AOL installed (which I have since uninstalled).

I have so far been unable to access the CDRom while in safemode and could not boot from the Win98 CD either. I have been able to create a Win98SE boot disk (from my PC) and was able to boot from the A drive, but with the following message:

Windows98 has detected that drive C does not contain a valid FAT or FAT32 partition. There are several possible causes.
1. The drive may need to be partioned. To create .... etc.
2. You may be using 3rd party disk-partitioning software. If so remove the Emergency boot disk and restart. Then follow on-screen instructions to start your PC from floppy disk.
3. Some viruses cause drive C to not register. Use a Virus scanning program to check for viruses.

She has no antivirus software installed.

I was able to access the CDROM booting from the A drive, but could no longer see her 'C' drive. I could see the RAMdrive C which the bootdisk created and I could see the CDRom drive as drive D, but could not access her C drive.

I've ran msconfig and unchecked several items I'm sure she doesn't need at startup, but I have not removed any of them yet.

I've just found a link here at TG which will allow me to start into Safe Mode with the CDRom available. I hope it works with this pc. After the Scandisk is through, I plan to boot with CD available and install Aida32 so I'll know a little more about this machine. I will also then be able to install and run HijackThis, Adaware, Spybot and Spyware Blaster. Since she doesn't have an internet access account, I'm not sure how to get her connected for the latest files though. Can I write them to my cd and upload them from there? I have cable modem access on my pc, but she does not have an EIC.

She has another error on bootup, not always but very often: Keyboard error.

Her keyboard, printer and cordless mouse are all USB. The pc has no other ports on the back but USB ports. I've tried the keyboard plugged into each of the different USB ports with the same keyboard error. It comes and goes. She also did not install any software for her logictech cordless mouse, just plugged it in and it works. I'm wondering if I need to try to install the software for it?

I've looked through her bootlog.txt file and found:

[00172A4F] DEVICE INITFAILED = VPD

along with PAGES of font failures (which I understand are not that uncommon).

When looking at some of her configuration files through notepad, I noticed the font was really large and in cursive italic. Maybe because of the font failures in bootup?

I know this was probably confusing, I'm just trying to remember everything I've checked or done.

Can anyone help me with determining the problems with this pc and possibly help to make it last a while longer? :rolleyes: I know, I know ... she'd be better to start over with new pc right? :D :p lol

Thanks for any and all opinions. :)
 

Styxx

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4,888
CD-ROMs don't work in Safe Mode, Ok? So its normak there.

The Audio, Video and modem drivers are likely available at driverguide.com

It sounds as though she simple needs another keyboard. that one has likely gone bad. test it with one you know works.

Tis usually indicates you need to format and install Windows
Windows98 has detected that drive C does not contain a valid FAT or FAT32 partition. There are several possible causes.
 

Styxx

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you can scan for virus in DOS, a possibility if you're virus infected. you couldn't even boot to safe mode if the partition was really gone. go to http://www.trendmicro.com/download/emg-disk.asp make the rescue set with 9-10 floppies on a working computer and take these to the target machine and boot with disk 1 in the [A] drive
 
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In Win98, if you have only been starting in Safe Mode, you can try restoring a prior registry, since no new backups will have been created. To do this, select the command prompt from the boot menu, and at the prompt enter:

scanreg /restore

and use the arrow keys to select a prior started registry from one of the first 4. Ensure that the dates on these are not very old, as all installs and settings changes after that date will be nullified.


For what it's worth, in clean boot troubleshooting you can UN check everything under the startup tab for test purposes, and you can do the same with autoexec.bat and config.sys.

If it is a BIOS problem you can try reloading the setup defaults. If you want to try an Operating System reinstall and can't get a boot disk to work, you can set the CD to first on the boot order there.

But you MUST have a valid fat32 partition or you couldn't even boot in Safe Mode. Perhaps you used the wrong kind of boot disk.

It is also very unusual for Scandisk to repeatedly restart in Safe Mode, and it suggests a viral process is managing to start there.

The monitor won't be an issue here.
 

shesun4givn2

Thread Starter
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Jul 7, 2003
Messages
237
Thanks Styxx for replying so quickly.

I've checked driverguide.com but don't see any drivers for a patriot. Maybe if I could determine the make of the audio, video and modem I could find them through the manufacturers. I know the audio and video are integrated on the mb. I'll do a little more searching to see if I can find the details for them.

I'd try another keyboard, but I don't have a USB one here. Is it possible to purchase an adapter to use a PS2 keyboard with a USB port?

I was afraid I may have to do a format and reinstall, something I'd not mind that much, if I knew I had all the correct drivers available. :rolleyes: She also needs a lot of the data on this machine for her line of work, :( so I was hoping I could avoid that if possible.
 

Styxx

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you could also remove the hard drive; jumper it as Slave; install it in a working machine with a CD burner and get the sensitive data off the hard drive onto CD that way.
 

shesun4givn2

Thread Starter
Joined
Jul 7, 2003
Messages
237
Thanks Styxx and Rog. :) Man you two are fast! :D

I've used her "GoBack" option which loads before windows to set her pc back to as far as Aug of '03 (when she knew for sure it was not booting into safe mode), but I still get the same errors and same safe mode boot up.

Should I use the scanreg / restore as well?

I will go to Trendmicro and make a rescue set of disks to check for virus.

Thanks Rog, I'll try unchecking everything in the startup of msconfig and step through it to see if there are any differences.

I'll also try loading the BIOS setup defaults.

I made the boot disk from my pc which is also running Win98SE, would there be a problem because I didn't make it with her pc?

Thanks for letting me know the monitors not part of the problem. :) I like good news! lol

Thanks guys, I'll start on these ideas right away. If you can think of anything else just let me know. I'll post back any results I get either tonight or tomorrow morning. :)
 

shesun4givn2

Thread Starter
Joined
Jul 7, 2003
Messages
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Originally posted by Styxx:
you could also remove the hard drive; jumper it as Slave; install it in a workjing machine with a CD burner and get the sensitive data off the hard drive onto CD that way.
Great idea Styxx! I could put it in my pc's removable drive bay. Duh! Why didn't I think of that? :rolleyes: lol Thanks for the idea. :)
 
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I'm not really familiar with GoBack but if it is like System Restore, it would be more thorough than Scanregistry, restoring both files and registry entries. Scanreg /restore would only do the registry, And I assume that the registry archives you would see after using GoBack would just be for a few days prior to that.

It is sounding like a serious hardware or motherboard problem. Perhaps the ram itself is an issue. Is there one module or two?

If two, try swapping out one at a time. If just one, try removing and reseating it.

If you made the boot disk from the same operating system there shouldn't be a problem.

I think the error you encountered may be the result of having that GoBack partition on the drive.
 

Styxx

Banned
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Sep 8, 2001
Messages
4,888
there won't be a prob using the Startup disk you made on the other machine most likely.
 

shesun4givn2

Thread Starter
Joined
Jul 7, 2003
Messages
237
Rog, when I used GoBack it said it was setting the Registry to the date I chose and also said it was setting the files back to that date. It appeared to be ok.

I'm not sure of the ram type, I THINK I saw somewhere while I was checking the pc that the ram was sdram. I'm fairly sure it is only 64 mg. I've been trying to remove the case from this little monster for the past 25 minutes! Grrrrrrrrrrrr lol I have opened up countless pcs of different makes and models, but I have NEVER came across one like this! Once you get all the decorative plastic casing off, you are left with a solid metal box with just a few screws visible. I've unscrewed all of them (except those holding the power supply in place), and STILL can't get the dang thing opened. *sigh* It must be me (too tired now). lol I'll try to check out the ram sticks (1 vs 2) tomorrow and let you know if changing them (or removing/swapping one) has any effect.

The partition error/Goback partition makes sense to me. :D

I'll hollar back tomorrow. Thanks again you 2 for your speedy support! :D :D :p
 
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