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Windows xp error

Discussion in 'Windows XP' started by Bailiwick, Apr 25, 2010.

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  1. Bailiwick

    Bailiwick Thread Starter

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    Hi - My computer will no longer boot. The computer is a IBM Thinkpad T42 2372WU, I believe it was originally a US Government computer. It had Win XP Pro installed when purchased as a refurb. After it crashed several times, I purchased a new Windows XP Home disc from Microsoft. It originally worked perfectly, and then crashed after about four months of reltively constant use. When I try to install it, it goes through all the recovery steps and then says that the file \windows\system32\config\system is missing, corrupt, or can't be read. I have followed every instruction I can find on the web to correct this problem, and nothing seems to work.

    My question, at this point, is whether it can be determined that this is a hard drive problem, or something else. Because if it is a hardware problem, I would like to buy a new hard drive, install it, and reload the OS. There is absolutely nothing on the computer that I need to save. All files have been backed up, and I own the software that will need to be reinstalled.

    Someone had indicated that this might be a motherboard problem, and all I am trying to find out at this point is whether it makes sense to buy a new hard drive. I assume I will be able to install it easily, and would be happy to have a higher capacity hard drive in any case.

    Unless there is some other solution, and, frankly, I doubt very much that there is. All help will be much appreciated.

    Many thanks.

    Jon S.
     
  2. Macboatmaster

    Macboatmaster Trusted Advisor Spam Fighter

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    Could you please clarify - do you mean This is the first time you have tried to install XP HOME or do you mean XP home install originally worked.
     
  3. Bailiwick

    Bailiwick Thread Starter

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    Hi Macboatmaster - XP Home install originally worked. Actually, the situation is a little more complex, however. The computer - a refurb purchased about 4 months ago - originally had XP Pro installed. After a month or so, it started having crashes and I could always go back to a restore point. This was not a problem with files, sine I use Dropbox for everything on that computer, but it was clearly a pain for apps. Since I had all the apps, I had to reload them, and I did it five or six times. But I could never get the computer to accept SP3. Then, it crashed when I was visiting a (very) high tech firm that I was doing business with and I asked if one their tech people could take a look at it. The tech man decided to load XP Pro with SP3 and gave me a disk for it. At about the same time, I called Microsoft and since I had an upgrade disk from Win 2000 to XP Home, they sold me a new complete Win XP Home disc for $25. When the computer crashed the next time, I thought it would be better to reinstall XP Home, since I really owned the licensed copy. This time, I was able to install SP3. The machine then worked perfectly, until this last crash, when nothing I do seems to work. I seem to have had every kind of error message, although I am now getting only the one I described when using XP Home.
    I have spent so much time on this that all I really want to confirm is that it is a hard disc problem, and, when confirmed, I'll buy a new hard disc. But if it could be a motherboard problem, then I think I'll have to give up the ghost and contribute to the US GNP.

    Thanks again.

    Best,

    Jon S.
     
  4. Macboatmaster

    Macboatmaster Trusted Advisor Spam Fighter

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    Depending on where you got to with the XP Home disc try this .
    http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;307545
    which repairs the config file in Windows system32 files
    If this does not work, then still in the Recovery Console, type at the command prompt "chkdsk /r"
    without the colons of course.
    See this http://support.microsoft.com/kb/307654
    If this does not work DO a repair installation see this under Repair current installation
    http://www.theeldergeek.com/repairing_windows_xp.htm
    If that does not work you are down to a complete re-install.
    If that is what you have already tried - repeat it with ( presuming it is a laptop) Everything disconnected including any internet, printer etc.
     
  5. Bailiwick

    Bailiwick Thread Starter

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    Hi MacBoatmaster - I have done everything you have suggested, more than once, and nothing works. Does this indicate a hard disc problem, or something else, please?

    Thanks again.

    Best,

    Jon S.
     
  6. Macboatmaster

    Macboatmaster Trusted Advisor Spam Fighter

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    When the computer is switched on tap F2 - repeatedly, see if it will enter setup and then see if the hard drive is shown in setup.
    If it is exit setup- DO NOT CHANGE ANY SETTINGS UNLESS you know what you are doing.
    This will not TEST the hard drive, we are simply seeing if it is recognised by the computer.
    If it is not put at least it goes to setup screen, then we can at this stage presume it is the HDD.
    It MAY NOT be, but this is a starting point.
    On the base of the laptop will be a number of compartment lids with screws, not always but usually the largest will be the hard drive, undo the cover 0 HAVING REMOVED THE BATTERY and of course unplugged the power supply, and check when you have the right cover off that the hard drive is plugged in securely.
    Post back with the results please.
     
  7. Bailiwick

    Bailiwick Thread Starter

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    Hi Macboatmaster - If I tap on F2, absolutely nothing happens. If I tap on F12, I get a choice of 3 boot options. If I click on the hard drive, I get this message:

    "Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt:
    \WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM

    You can attempt to repair this file by starting Windows Setup
    using the original Setup-CDROM
    Select 'r' at the first screen to start repair."

    I have done this several times, and after the computer appears to "accept" the setup disc, it gives me one or another error message.i have also followed all Microsoft instructions as to how to correct the missing file noted above and nothing works.

    TY again.

    Best,

    Jon S.
     
  8. Macboatmaster

    Macboatmaster Trusted Advisor Spam Fighter

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    Press the Blue Access IBM button and then select enter setup utility, then as 6
     
  9. Bailiwick

    Bailiwick Thread Starter

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    Hi Macboatmaster - I really don't understand you last instruction. Could you please clarify, and perhaps give me furhter steps, so as to save going back and forth a bit.

    thanks.

    Best,

    Jon S.
     
  10. Macboatmaster

    Macboatmaster Trusted Advisor Spam Fighter

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    According to the web the IBM Thinkpad T42 has a blue colour I presume, key called the IBM access button, this according to what I read gives you a number of options including entering BIOS setup
    I am trying to establish if the hard drive is shown in the BIOS.
    Another way would be to take out the hard drive, normally there is an access flap on the base of the laptop, most likely the largest access point, you will probably have a number of these, one for the ram, one for PCI cards such as graphics, perhaps one for the wireless card and usually the larger one is the hard drive. Switch off, TAKE OUT THE BATTERY. then if you can remove the hard drive, after taking off the access flap it is usually held by another two screws securing the actual drive, it then simply pulls out. Put the drive in a drive holder and connect that via USB to another computer and see if the drive is good and can be accessed.
    It could also be a ram fault.
    The easiest first approach is to see if the drive is recorded in the BIOS .
    http://www.trustedreviews.com/laptops/review/2004/09/13/IBM-ThinkPad-T42/p1
    See the link for the IBM access button and other details

    Away now for 2 days, good luck
     
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