View Full Version : How do you fix...

15-04-2003, 02:32:01
a laptop that's running WinXP and refuses to even start in safe mode? It was shut (sending it into hibernation mode) while the settings were being saved and is now giving configuration errors when windows attempts to start. It came with recovery disks for the OS, but using them will wipe the HD (which is not good). It did not come with a boot floppy (and I am unsure how to make one for an XP computer).

Sir Penguin
15-04-2003, 02:51:23
You can download Windows 9x boot disks off the Internet. I'm not sure how that would help, though. If you have the install CD and the disk space and your machine will boot from CD, you can reinstall Windows without wiping the drive (although as far as I know you'll have to reinstall most of the software to get everything going again). There are also some sort of recovery tools on the install CD, which may or may not help.


15-04-2003, 02:54:18
That's the problem. It's not a clean install CD for XP; it's a recovery CD. And if you put in the recovery CD, hit F12 to choose your boot device, and select "CDROM" it tells you that all your data on the HD is about to disappear. I'll try DLing a boot disk.

Sir Penguin
15-04-2003, 02:59:41
Check out www.bootdisk.com.


15-04-2003, 03:11:29

15-04-2003, 03:51:49
Recovery discs are evil.

Be a good lad and acquire WinXP Pro, for your own good.

The recovery console on it is a godsend.

15-04-2003, 04:02:29
That's what I might do.

But DLing 600 megs when it should have come with the computer is fucking ridiculous.

It's going to come down to installing an illegal version and keeping it on for just as long as it takes to burn a CD with research data on it, then wiping and installing from the recovery disks. What a fucking pain.

I'm going to kill my gf when I see her...

Sir Penguin
15-04-2003, 04:11:11
That's a rather drastic way of taking out your anger at a computer. I doubt a court would convict you, though, computers can be frustrating.


15-04-2003, 05:30:40
I think he meant his other girl friend.

And why kill her?

15-04-2003, 05:47:11
Cause it's her computer and I'm the closest thing she has to technical support.

Apparently she doesn't want to ask the other medical physicists at the hospital because they'll think she's stupid.

The Shaker
17-04-2003, 16:31:21
In my experience all medical physicists are either stupid or drunks.

17-04-2003, 19:20:19
What precisely is a medical physicist?

17-04-2003, 19:27:04
You know, if she is going to make that sort of problem, you should just buy her a 60 Gig+ external USB (2) drive, and just MIRROR her laptop's drive to it every weekend or so. Then when she fouls out her laptop again, you have a decent backup to go back to, so you can just recover easily. Combined with an occasional write out to small external media (CD-R, Flash Thumb/Cruzer Drive, etc) for those critical just updated data docs, this makes for a very safe setup. 60 Gig+ external USB (2) drives are very cheap in these parts. Heck, 300 Gig external USB (2) drives are very cheap in these parts. Prices are just going to continue to drop for certain sizes.

The only deal with restoring from a straight copy would be that nothing is registered. However, I suppose you could use an actual BACKUP utility to mirror/backup the whole thing. Then when it fries out in the future, you just rebuild the system, and restore from backup? I don't know about this first hand, as I have not bothered trying. I don't mind reinstalling my apps. I just want my 'important' data backed up and protected, for when the computer gets fried.

Sir Penguin
18-04-2003, 00:33:31
Keep a 512 MB paritition freed, and back up a raw binary image of the complete Windows filesystem. Reformat the Windows partition, install an OS with a raw data writing utility in the half-gig partition, and rawrite the binary data back to the Windows partition.


21-04-2003, 07:44:40
You mean, RAID your laptop?

Sir Penguin
21-04-2003, 07:48:38
No, what does RAID have to do with it? I don't even know if what I suggested is possible. But if it's not, it should be.


21-04-2003, 08:00:10
It is possible to copy your file allocation out. It isn't something users are presumed to want to do on a laptop very often. Actually, like, never as far as I know, but my geek rating is actually pretty low for me to be posting in this forum.

21-04-2003, 13:04:01
My geek quotent is low too, but that doesn't stop me :D

Ghost should be able to do what SP said....tho it's a Norton product.

22-04-2003, 01:46:54
Norton bought Ghost from it's original makers. So it should be safe for another iteration or two before it's down to Norton's normal abysal shit.

Sir Penguin
22-04-2003, 02:12:37
Hell, I'm too young and inexperienced to be a full geek (much to the chagrin of the aging full geeks, who, for some reason, don't like talking about their old 8086es and bulletin boards and things around me despite the fact that I've dialled into a bulletin board and I own an XT), but that doesn't stop me.


25-04-2003, 19:07:32
I am also having gf tech support issues. See my thread.

Dyl Ulenspiegel
25-04-2003, 19:44:38
Tech idiot mode:

What I never understood: If the OS is fucked and you can't boot from that harddrive, why can't you access the data for recovery by hanging it to another computer?

I remember that a geek friend of mine once told me it's possible in principle, but doesn't work in practice. Upon trying, of course it didn't work.

Was he wrong about the principle part?

/Tech idiot mode

Qaj the Fuzzy Love Worm
25-04-2003, 20:09:51
You can. If the O/S is trashed but the file system is intact, and provided you set the drive jumpers to slave/master/whatever correctly, and providing you're connecting the drive to a machine with an O/S that can read the trashed O/S's drive's file system, then it should all be okay.

Of course, if your file system is screwed, or your hard drive is physically trashed, you're out of luck.

25-04-2003, 20:28:55
Well, if the file system is screwed, there are low level tools that will let you go out, look, and even recover files, one sector at a time. But those tools aren't used by even the Geek Gods anymore. When you had a file table failure on a floppy, it was childs play to recover the data. On a mere 5 or 10 Meg HD, you could get back your stuff if you wanted to put in the time. On a 10 Gig HD, you'll be searching and trying to piece together a file for the rest of your life...

Dyl Ulenspiegel
25-04-2003, 20:39:00

"provided you set the drive jumpers to slave/master/whatever correctly"

I think we tried to connect the drive as a slave, but something didn't work right, only got a few pieces of useless data. Probably the trashed file system you describe, though I think a good part of the drive was totally inaccessible.

Anyway, should Kitty try that?

Qaj the Fuzzy Love Worm
25-04-2003, 22:16:55
An obstacle to recovering files from a laptop is that generally laptops only have one HD connection. You tend not to be able to plug a laptop HDD into another laptop as a slave and get the files off that way.

Why is this a problem? You can just hook it up to a desktop, right? Not so fast! Laptops these days use 2.5" HDDs rather than the 3.5's in desktop. The connectors are different - from memory, the 2.5's are 33 pin, wheras the 3.5's are 40-something. To use the laptop drive in a desktop you need a pin dongle. They're fairly common and affordable, so once you have one it should be fairly simple to access the drive.

Desktop to desktop is way easier. I should know - I've done it once or twice here at work on "bad drives" that turned out to just be bad O/S's.


DS, I can't even begin to imagine the tedium of going through a large HD to check for a large file, esp. the way some people I've seen let their HD get fragmented.

25-04-2003, 22:30:57
Wrong thread. Oops.