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win XP home user accounts lost

Discussion in 'Windows XP' started by Beeblebrox, Oct 7, 2008.

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  1. Beeblebrox

    Beeblebrox Thread Starter

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    HI, I'm gonona be quick about this, cause I'm in a hurry.

    I was fixing someone's computer yesterday. Disk read error. Wouldn't start. I tried various things like chkdsk. After some random scrambling it did manage to start when I chose last known good configuration. But, it was working really, REALLY slow. And when it got to the XP Home logon screen, there were no user accounts. Manual login didn't work either (Ctrl-Alt-Del). It didn't accept any of the user accounts that were there before.

    I checked the cables of teh SATA hard drive. They seemed a bit loose and did seem to solve the problem. After that chkdsk ran like a charm, but still no user accounts. I repair installed without problems. Still no user accounts. Tried safe mode, can't even log in as Admin (although it's a factory build so it might have a password).

    I think it all happened because I didn't check the cables right away. If I hadn't rolled back to the previous configuration I think I would have had teh user accounts (I actually did manage to boot once before the rollback but it was painfully slow and never got to the desktop, but the user accounts were there).

    Som any suggestions other than wiping the HDD and reinstalling. Important documents are safe on an external now and will advise the family to keep backups themselves from now on.
     
  2. Elvandil

    Elvandil

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    Messages:
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    It sounds like there was some damage to the file system during all of that. The missing user accounts may be just the tip of the iceberg. And if you create new ones, the space occupied by the old ones will probably still be in use and unavailable for you to use.

    If you have backups, the least painful, long-term solution would probably be a new installation. Then make periodic drive images--they back up the entire drive, all files and the operating system so they can all be restored, even to a new drive. And since the images can be mounted as drives to recover individual files from the image, no other backup method is needed.

    Macrium Reflect

    Or any of many others. Use a separate or external drive to store the images. Or if you have the space, do as I do on some machines and make an image of drive A on drive B and of drive B on drive A since it is unlikely both will fail at the same time.

    Free Drive Cloners/Imagers:

    Macrium Reflect
    Clonezilla (Bare-metal restoration from image)
    Partimage
    Dubaron Diskimage
    SystemRescueCD
    EaseUs Disk Copy (Copies disks or partitions)
    XXClone
    CloneZilla GParted LiveCD (Complete partitioning and drive imaging/restoration tools)
    Partition Saving
    PCI CloneMaxx
    Drive Image XML
    HDClone
    DriveClonerXP
    Self-Image
    copyr.dma (Copies disk with bad sectors for recovery)

    Commercial Apps:

    [email protected] Disk Image
    O&O DiskImage
    Acronis True Image Home
    Farstone Drive Clone (Drive image, snapshots, file/folder backups.)
    EAZ-FIX Professional and Easy Image
    Drive Snapshot
    ShadowProtect (Also online backups.)
    Keriver Image
    Avanquest Copy Commander
    Paragon Drive Backup
    NovaBackup
    R-Drive Image
    Norton Ghost
    HDClone Pro or Enterprise
    Terabyte Image for Windows
    Terabyte Image for DOS (can directly access FAT, FAT32, and NTFS partitions)
    Spotmau Disk Clone & Backup
     
  3. Beeblebrox

    Beeblebrox Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2003
    Messages:
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    Thank you. I ended up doing as you adviced, although it was a hell of a job (which will continue today...)

    During the process I cursed the fact that you need old technology to use new technology with XP (SATA floppy). They didn't know they had the floppy so I rummaged through their drawers and found it along with other critical stuff like mobo drivers... well, at least they HAD a floppy drive. Otherwise I would have been helpless. I don't have one. Wonder how the guys at the store installed my copy of XP... (gawd, I haven't had to reinstall in 2 years??!! That's an accomplishment :D )

    As for the imaging software, it's a no. The people in question are way too computer illiterate and it's not my job to teach them. Family's kids seem to know the art of torrent downloads, tho... I'll tell them to keep copies of important files on a USB stick or sumthing, that's it. At least they now have Windows and Office working. All the extras I'll install for them tonight.
     
  4. Elvandil

    Elvandil

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    XP is pretty old now and doesn't support a lot of the new hardware, including SATA. Vista will solve that problem. At least XP can be made to use SATA even though unnatural for it.

    You're right. backups are about all you can do now.
     
  5. Beeblebrox

    Beeblebrox Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2003
    Messages:
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    As of today the computer won't POST (no beep, nothing on screen, just the fans humming) although it worked fine yesterday. I suspect a broken CPU or mobo, as that was the case in my own computer once (not sure which one, but switching both solved it) and the problems then were very similar (filesystem corruption, increasing problems until total blackout). It's going to the store now. Not so sure how the warranty goes since an untrained amateur (me) has been messing around with it...

    thanks anyway.
     
  6. Elvandil

    Elvandil

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2003
    Messages:
    51,988
    Testing memory is a good place to start if it boots at all, and doesn't need a good hard drive to accomplish.

    MemScope (Floppy and CD images.)
    Microsoft Memory Test (floppy or CD ISO image)
    Memtest86

    If you have enough memory sticks, you can test them by removing one at a time and see if the problem disappears.

    If you are running Vista and can boot up, go to Start > Search and type:

    mdsched.exe

    Choose to run a memory diagnostic on next boot. Or, you can boot from the DVD and run it from there.
     
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