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Solved: Unstable WinXP Machine - Corrupt registry?

Discussion in 'Windows XP' started by whiles, Nov 11, 2007.

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  1. whiles

    whiles Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2007
    Messages:
    12
    This machine has been unstable for a while now. It has gotten to the point where after every reboot, something has changed -- sometimes the sound device driver could not be loaded, reboot, it's ok, but firefox won't load, next reboot, my nvidia control panel won't load, reboot, something is funny with microsoft .net framework.

    Now after a reboot, I have the registry error: "one of the files containing the system's registry data had to be recovered by use of log or alternate copy". Bummer.

    This error, along with all of the inconsistent program and system errors, leads me to believe the registry is hosed.

    My questions are:
    If the registry is corrupt, a clean install is the only answer?

    I don't know at what point it became corrupt, but are there telltale signs to look for as I am installing new software?

    Is there some strategy for installing new software that I don't know about, such as backing up the registry before installing anything?

    Is there a resource/faq/tutorial that someone knows about that outlines a general strategy for troubleshooting a system which is having OS and software problems.

    Is there any chance that these things could be hardware related?

    Ok I really appreciate anyone taking the time to help with this. Here's my log file.

    Logfile of Trend Micro HijackThis v2.0.2
    Scan saved at 5:02:23 PM, on 11/11/2007
    Platform: Windows XP SP2 (WinNT 5.01.2600)
    MSIE: Internet Explorer v7.00 (7.00.6000.16544)
    Boot mode: Normal

    Running processes:
    C:\WINDOWS\System32\smss.exe
    C:\WINDOWS\system32\winlogon.exe
    C:\WINDOWS\system32\services.exe
    C:\WINDOWS\system32\lsass.exe
    C:\WINDOWS\system32\svchost.exe
    C:\WINDOWS\System32\svchost.exe
    C:\WINDOWS\system32\spoolsv.exe
    C:\Program Files\Common Files\Apple\Mobile Device Support\bin\AppleMobileDeviceService.exe
    C:\PROGRA~1\Grisoft\AVG7\avgamsvr.exe
    C:\PROGRA~1\Grisoft\AVG7\avgupsvc.exe
    C:\PROGRA~1\Grisoft\AVG7\avgemc.exe
    C:\WINDOWS\system32\nvsvc32.exe
    C:\Program Files\TightVNC\WinVNC.exe
    C:\Program Files\Linksys Wireless-G PCI Wireless Network Monitor\WLService.exe
    C:\Program Files\Linksys Wireless-G PCI Wireless Network Monitor\WMP54Gv4.exe
    C:\WINDOWS\Explorer.EXE
    C:\WINDOWS\system32\RUNDLL32.EXE
    C:\Program Files\Java\jre1.6.0_03\bin\jusched.exe
    C:\PROGRA~1\Grisoft\AVG7\avgcc.exe
    C:\WINDOWS\SOUNDMAN.EXE
    C:\Program Files\iTunes\iTunesHelper.exe
    C:\Program Files\Yahoo!\Widgets\YahooWidgetEngine.exe
    C:\WINDOWS\System32\svchost.exe
    C:\Program Files\iPod\bin\iPodService.exe
    C:\Documents and Settings\Rudolph the Red\Desktop\CCleaner\portable.exe
    C:\Documents and Settings\Rudolph the Red\Desktop\CCleaner\ccleaner.exe
    C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe
    C:\WINDOWS\system32\ctfmon.exe
    C:\PROGRA~1\Grisoft\AVG7\avgwb.dat
    C:\Program Files\Trend Micro\HijackThis\HijackThis.exe

    R1 - HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main,Search Page = http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=54896
    R0 - HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main,Start Page = http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=69157
    R1 - HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main,Default_Page_URL = http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=69157
    R1 - HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main,Default_Search_URL = http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=54896
    R1 - HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main,Search Page = http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=54896
    R0 - HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main,Start Page = http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=69157
    R1 - HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Internet Connection Wizard,ShellNext = http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=74005
    R3 - Default URLSearchHook is missing
    O2 - BHO: BitComet ClickCapture - {39F7E362-828A-4B5A-BCAF-5B79BFDFEA60} - C:\Program Files\BitComet\tools\BitCometBHO_1.1.9.24.dll
    O2 - BHO: SSVHelper Class - {761497BB-D6F0-462C-B6EB-D4DAF1D92D43} - C:\Program Files\Java\jre1.6.0_03\bin\ssv.dll
    O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [NvCplDaemon] RUNDLL32.EXE C:\WINDOWS\system32\NvCpl.dll,NvStartup
    O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [nwiz] nwiz.exe /install
    O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [NvMediaCenter] RUNDLL32.EXE C:\WINDOWS\system32\NvMcTray.dll,NvTaskbarInit
    O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [SunJavaUpdateSched] "C:\Program Files\Java\jre1.6.0_03\bin\jusched.exe"
    O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [AVG7_CC] C:\PROGRA~1\Grisoft\AVG7\avgcc.exe /STARTUP
    O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [WinVNC] "C:\Program Files\TightVNC\WinVNC.exe" -servicehelper
    O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [SoundMan] SOUNDMAN.EXE
    O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [QuickTime Task] "C:\Program Files\QuickTime\QTTask.exe" -atboottime
    O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [iTunesHelper] "C:\Program Files\iTunes\iTunesHelper.exe"
    O4 - HKCU\..\Run: [ctfmon.exe] C:\WINDOWS\system32\ctfmon.exe
    O4 - HKUS\S-1-5-19\..\Run: [AVG7_Run] C:\PROGRA~1\Grisoft\AVG7\avgw.exe /RUNONCE (User 'LOCAL SERVICE')
    O4 - HKUS\S-1-5-20\..\Run: [AVG7_Run] C:\PROGRA~1\Grisoft\AVG7\avgw.exe /RUNONCE (User 'NETWORK SERVICE')
    O4 - HKUS\S-1-5-18\..\Run: [AVG7_Run] C:\PROGRA~1\Grisoft\AVG7\avgw.exe /RUNONCE (User 'SYSTEM')
    O4 - HKUS\.DEFAULT\..\Run: [AVG7_Run] C:\PROGRA~1\Grisoft\AVG7\avgw.exe /RUNONCE (User 'Default user')
    O4 - Startup: Yahoo! Widget Engine.lnk = C:\Program Files\Yahoo!\Widgets\YahooWidgetEngine.exe
    O9 - Extra button: (no name) - {08B0E5C0-4FCB-11CF-AAA5-00401C608501} - C:\Program Files\Java\jre1.6.0_03\bin\ssv.dll
    O9 - Extra 'Tools' menuitem: Sun Java Console - {08B0E5C0-4FCB-11CF-AAA5-00401C608501} - C:\Program Files\Java\jre1.6.0_03\bin\ssv.dll
    O9 - Extra button: BitComet Search - {461CC20B-FB6E-4f16-8FE8-C29359DB100E} - C:\Program Files\BitComet\tools\BitCometBHO_1.1.9.24.dll
    O9 - Extra button: (no name) - {e2e2dd38-d088-4134-82b7-f2ba38496583} - C:\WINDOWS\Network Diagnostic\xpnetdiag.exe
    O9 - Extra 'Tools' menuitem: @xpsp3res.dll,-20001 - {e2e2dd38-d088-4134-82b7-f2ba38496583} - C:\WINDOWS\Network Diagnostic\xpnetdiag.exe
    O16 - DPF: {30528230-99f7-4bb4-88d8-fa1d4f56a2ab} (Installation Support) - C:\Program Files\Yahoo!\Common\Yinsthelper.dll
    O23 - Service: Apple Mobile Device - Apple, Inc. - C:\Program Files\Common Files\Apple\Mobile Device Support\bin\AppleMobileDeviceService.exe
    O23 - Service: AVG7 Alert Manager Server (Avg7Alrt) - GRISOFT, s.r.o. - C:\PROGRA~1\Grisoft\AVG7\avgamsvr.exe
    O23 - Service: AVG7 Update Service (Avg7UpdSvc) - GRISOFT, s.r.o. - C:\PROGRA~1\Grisoft\AVG7\avgupsvc.exe
    O23 - Service: AVG E-mail Scanner (AVGEMS) - GRISOFT, s.r.o. - C:\PROGRA~1\Grisoft\AVG7\avgemc.exe
    O23 - Service: iPod Service - Apple Inc. - C:\Program Files\iPod\bin\iPodService.exe
    O23 - Service: NVIDIA Display Driver Service (NVSvc) - NVIDIA Corporation - C:\WINDOWS\system32\nvsvc32.exe
    O23 - Service: VNC Server (winvnc) - TightVNC Group - C:\Program Files\TightVNC\WinVNC.exe
    O23 - Service: WMP54Gv4SVC - GEMTEKS - C:\Program Files\Linksys Wireless-G PCI Wireless Network Monitor\WLService.exe

    --
    End of file - 5548 bytes
     
  2. redoak

    redoak Gone but never forgotten

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2004
    Messages:
    6,782
    "Is there some strategy for installing new software that I don't know about, such as backing up the registry before installing anything?"

    Yes, this is highly recommended!

    You could try "System Restore," using a "restore point" prior to the installation.

    I employ "ERUNT," allowing it to backup my registry every time I start up my computer. I would not, however, accept the offer to also install/use the "optimizer" companion utility. It "hosed" my system a while back! Any utility that claims to "clean", etc. the Registry may well lead to serious problems and is best ignored.

    {redoak}
     
  3. whiles

    whiles Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2007
    Messages:
    12
    Thanks.

    I've really neglected the safety precautions in setting up this system. I have a Dell that is rock solid, but this machine that I assembled myself has been wrought with instability, probably since I have been haphazardly trying out a lot of different apps.

    Is there a reason that you use ERUNT instead of relying just on System Restore? Restore is said to back up registry as well as other system files -- ERUNT covers this too?

    After a clean XP install, during the process of installing software, are there other precautions that you would recommend taking?
     
  4. Jeruvy

    Jeruvy

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2007
    Messages:
    568
    Couple other pointers. I notice you've got BitComet installed. Minor adware. I'll let a sheild advise on removal of that, and I'll stick to the registry.

    Short of backups and restoral of the registry you really cannot 'fix' it. Redoak has given you the most common methods of 'rolling back changes'.

    However you have CCLeaner installed, which in it's own is a ok tool, but beware of CLEANING the registry. It is not necessary unless you have malware or the like hiding, and in those cases you clean just what is necessary.

    Cleaning 'bloat' and other such nonsense from the registry is quite simply not required. The chances of breaking the registry is too high to be deleting stuff because it may not be required anymore. There is no PROOF cleaning the registry does ANYTHING to improve your system in any way. Registry cleaners are the modern day equivalent of 'snake oil'. It may taste great, but doesn't help in any way.

    If you know what you did in ccleaner and/or made backups of the registry keys before deleting them, you could just restore them by double clicking on the reg file.

    Not sure if that helps, but good luck :)
     
  5. whiles

    whiles Thread Starter

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    Nov 11, 2007
    Messages:
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    OK. The info on reg cleaners is helpful - I was under the impression they were useful. I did use CCleaner to clean the registry, but the system was unstable before that.

    I didn't know about BitComet's Adware - thought it was clean. I'll run some scans to see if it shows up, and whether there is an option to remove. If someone knows specifically how to deal with it, please advise.

    I'll attempt to find a stable restore point, which I'm sure will be months ago.

    I have installed a lot of software. So if I restore to a point before the software was installed, will the files no longer be present on the system? Microsoft's documentation was vague on this.
     
  6. Elvandil

    Elvandil

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2003
    Messages:
    51,988
    System Restore is the best way to make a registry backup routinely. No other software is required. You should create a restore point before making important changes to the system or installing drivers.

    Don't use registry cleaners.

    Random, unrepeatable errors such as you are experiencing are often the result of bad sectors on the hard drive or defective memory. I would test them.

    Microsoft Memory Test (floppy or CD ISO image)
    Memtest86

    Free Hard Drive Testing Applications:
    HD Tune
    HDAT2 (Diagnostics and bad sector recovery)
    MHDD Low-level Diagnostics
    Bootable Hitachi Drive Fitness Test Floppy or CD Image (works on most drives)

    Hard Drive Manufacturers' Diagnostic Utilities Links:
    TachTech
    BleepingComputer
     
  7. whiles

    whiles Thread Starter

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    Messages:
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    Ah cool this is helpful.

    "Random, unrepeatable errors such as you are experiencing are often the result of bad sectors on the hard drive or defective memory."

    thanks for the links, I'll post any useful results
     
  8. Elvandil

    Elvandil

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2003
    Messages:
    51,988
    Heat is another possibility. Make sure air vents are clean, dust has not accumulated on cooling fins and fans, and that there is ample space allowed for air flow.
     
  9. whiles

    whiles Thread Starter

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    Messages:
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    Thanks. This box stays nice and cool. It's a newer system and pretty clean.
     
  10. whiles

    whiles Thread Starter

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    Messages:
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    Ok so I tried a system restore point, and upon reboot, XP says that it could not restore from that point, with no other information, just failed.

    So I ran Memtest86 over night and it showed up with a load of errors. I don't understand the results, but I know they weren't good. Here are some:

    Pass: 40%
    Test: 21%
    Test #8 Modulo 20

    Wall Time: 10:10 (10 hours - that should have been enough time to run, right?)
    Cached 2048
    Rsvd Mem 276m
    Mem Map e820-Std

    Pass:8
    Errors:1835008
    ECC Errors:0

    So that's what I thought might be important. Checked it this morning and it was pretty much frozen at this stage.

    This is one stick of 2Gb RAM. From reading, it seems like testing the RAM in another port is the next step, to try and track down whether it is the motherboard or not. Any advice?
     
  11. Elvandil

    Elvandil

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    Aug 1, 2003
    Messages:
    51,988
    You have a single stick? If not, try removing one at a time. Otherwise, your idea of a different slot is good.

    But we don't want to see even a single error, never mind 1835008 of them! I'd say the mem is the problem at this point, but trying it in another slot costs nothing but time.

    The only other possibility I can think of is timing. If you have speeded up the RAM, changed timing from 3T to 2T, for example, the RAM just may naot be able to handle the speed. Try default settings (if it has been changed).
     
  12. whiles

    whiles Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2007
    Messages:
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    Yeah for sure - I was pretty proud that I broke 1 million errors.

    It sure feels good to be getting close to tracking down the problem - this little Ba$htardo has been causing me high anxiety for months. Now I can take him out to a field with a bat and go Office Space on his little green A$$.

    So I'll try some new RAM before thinking about the registry errors. All the timings have been default.

    thanks for help Elvandil
     
  13. Elvandil

    Elvandil

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2003
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    51,988
    The trouble is that saying that the "registry is corrupt" is kind of like saying "the car doesn't work". It describes the problem, but is far too general to point to a solution. The whole car (registry) can't be broken. I think that when your RAM is fixed, the other problems may well vanish.
     
  14. whiles

    whiles Thread Starter

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    Ok, so help me understand backing up the registry then -- are there times when simply installing new software will somehow mess up the registry, and then what sorts of errors and problems could you expect to see?
     
  15. Elvandil

    Elvandil

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    Making a system restore point backs up the registry as well, so no other software is needed. You can restore the registry from a backup, even if the restore point cannot be accessed or used by the system (if you have a parallel OS to work from, like www.ubcd4win.com or Ubuntu, or any Linux distro with NTFS access, or any Windows version with NTFS drivers).

    Installing bad drivers or software leads to the problems you might expect: lock-ups, loss of hardware access, high CPU usage, disk errors (from shutting down the machine when it locks up), programs malfunctioning, and so on.
     
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