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  • Serious XP issue, please help

    I've never had an issue like this before and I'm totally stumped. My XP keeps failing within a day or two of installation. This has happened at least three times in the last four days. I'm not downloading anything from untrusted sites, or doing anything else that would normally be associated with severe system failure. After a reboot XP won't boot and says something along the lines of cannot find C:\windows\system32\system (I know I have the path right, but I'm unsure of the filename) This message comes up right after POST, before the splash screen usually comes up. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Techknow_Shaman
    I've never had an issue like this before and I'm totally stumped. My XP keeps failing within a day or two of installation. This has happened at least three times in the last four days. I'm not downloading anything from untrusted sites, or doing anything else that would normally be associated with severe system failure. After a reboot XP won't boot and says something along the lines of cannot find C:\windows\system32\system (I know I have the path right, but I'm unsure of the filename) This message comes up right after POST, before the splash screen usually comes up. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
    A search on google provides some others who have experienced what you describe:
    http://www.short-media.com/forum/showthread.php?t=13531

    Some malware will target this missing file, and spyware/adware/virus/worm scans would seem in order once you get your machine booted to some basic state. Of course, once a system has been compromised, it is best to "repair" your system well enough to have it boot (even a reinstall of OS over present OS (which usually leads to an unstable OS) so you may archive only data-files to secondary media, then clobber the whole OS with format of volume and new MBR through a reinstall. Then, before any data-files are copied back to the fresh install, the media with the possibly tainted files should be scanned with a variety of modern and up-to-date antivirus tools and malware scanners.

    Obviously, trying to backup and restore any *,exec, *.com, *,dll, etc files increases your risk for re-infecting your newly installed system.

    If an attempted re-install fails to work, then hardware failure is more likely. You would likely see this as you try to install by overlaying a new install over the present one without a format or partition modification. In such a case, it may be better to yank the drive (assuming the drive is not the damaged part) and get the machine fixed, then try the reinstall (overlay) to archive your files.

    As for "I'm not downloading anything from untrusted sites, or doing anything else that would normally be associated with severe system failure.,.."
    There have been multiple worms which attack Windows XP services, so even though *you* may not be doing things like this, that does not mean your OS and services are not. Also, use of MS Lookout! Express or a variety of other tools can be risky as well.

    I think you will get best results if you address this problem in a WinXP support forum than you would here.

    Good Luck!

    Comment


    • #3
      I have a hunch that the drive may be failing, even though it's relatively new. I even tried a zero-fill to obliterate all data. I tried google first, and it said it may have something to do with the improper removal of a worm. My anti-virus found nothing before the failure. None of the other comps on my network seem to be affected.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Techknow_Shaman
        I have a hunch that the drive may be failing, even though it's relatively new. I even tried a zero-fill to obliterate all data. I tried google first, and it said it may have something to do with the improper removal of a worm. My anti-virus found nothing before the failure. None of the other comps on my network seem to be affected.
        Many antivirus tools will not search for other "bad" software like adware, spyware, and some trojans and depending on the anti-virus software, some service-based worms.

        If you have multiple machines, then you should be able to (with a little work) setup a second machine with a fresh install of WinXP and then make the present questionable drive as a slave on a free slot (assuming ata/ide) and use various repair and testing tools to scan for malware and try to repair and/or test the drive for errors.

        Again, I will state, you will likely get better support on a WinXP forum for this question.

        (I just reviewed all of your posts, and a majority of your posts are questions where you are asking for support for WinXP; this is not a good track record and you can do better than that. I see you have contributed 2 support answers in various threads and this is good to see contributions to the forum.)

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by TheCotMan
          Many antivirus tools will not search for other "bad" software like adware, spyware, and some trojans and depending on the anti-virus software, some service-based worms.
          By any chance do have any concrete example (especially regarding trojan and service based worm). It's not that I don't believe you, it is that I'd rather avoid such AV.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Jaem
            By any chance do have any concrete example (especially regarding trojan and service based worm). It's not that I don't believe you, it is that I'd rather avoid such AV.
            For the various adware and spyware, I know NAV and am pretty sure McAfee do not make claims to remove such software or target such software. For these, there are various other tools like "pestpatrol" and a few others which are used to specialize against such software.

            As for worm that are service-based (not e-mail-based), I do not have any examples ATM, but with some google-fu, I am sure I could find some.

            [Edit: Added content below]

            Another one
            Symantec for one they do not consider tftp service of worm to be a threat

            Just did a search with google for: antivirus "not detect" service worm and there are many more hits which I am too lazy to examine and provide citation and reference.

            I seem to recall there have been "web-based scanners" which only find infected files, but do not detect memory resident service based worms unless they leave evidence in files or the registry (for windows.)

            HTH
            Last edited by TheCotMan; June 21, 2004, 12:51.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by TheCotMan
              For the various adware and spyware, I know NAV and am pretty sure McAfee do not make claims to remove such software or target such software.
              A new feature in NAV Corporate 9.0 is the identification of spyware/adware (but still no removal). I haven't checked if the rest of Symanctecs producst include this feature (but they probably do).
              “Bigamy is having one wife too many. Monogamy is the same.”

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by spahkle
                A new feature in NAV Corporate 9.0 is the identification of spyware/adware (but still no removal). I haven't checked if the rest of Symanctecs producst include this feature (but they probably do).

                It sounds to me that you are losing the MBR and or the section of the hdd where its stored has a problem. A virus can overwrite the MBR and if youre dual booting, theres a chance you mess it up to the point that you cant recover, if you dont know where the XP partition is from the NT/XP bootloader program. Another cause could be adding another HDD device, messing up the location of windows according to NTLDR

                When XP boots, it uses "C:\boot.ini" to tell the NT loader where your windows is located.

                Here's what I would do if i were you. First, make sure your XP cd is not damaged. Second, make the system recovery disks, and create a restore point. Know and or write down where windows thinks your OS partition is. Third I would run a program like hdd regenerator, especially on the first few sectors where the MBR is written. Best to run that on the full hdd, but that will take a long time on a big drive. Four, make sure you have a bootable floppy and know the "fdisk /mbr" command. If something gets messed up with the MBR that should be able to recover most problems.
                Yes I'm back bitch!

                And darker than ever

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Kry0NiK
                  *snip*
                  A virus can overwrite the MBR and if youre dual booting,
                  *snip*

                  Four, make sure you have a bootable floppy and know the "fdisk /mbr" command.
                  Be aware that if you use the master boot record attribute with fdisk, you'll only get to boot into your primary Windoze partition- i.e. you'll have to fix the rest by hand.


                  LosT

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Techknow_Shaman
                    I have a hunch that the drive may be failing, even though it's relatively new. I even tried a zero-fill to obliterate all data. I tried google first, and it said it may have something to do with the improper removal of a worm. My anti-virus found nothing before the failure. None of the other comps on my network seem to be affected.
                    XP *sigh*

                    I didn't read to the bottom of the thread because people started to talk about trojans/adware etc. which was off topic... A couple of things can be happening and there are a whole crapload of questions (a decision tree) that you have to navigate to find the solution (which may be a failing drive, a failing slot on your motherboard, an outdated driver esp for ATA100) and a problem with the formatting that you're using and/or software configuration installation licensing blah blah blah.

                    *** The 3 P's ***
                    Power
                    Patching
                    Programming

                    Every single troubleshooting call goes back to these 3 basic questions.

                    You need to check your drivers, your hardware revisions and the patching of the OS and whether you got everything plugged in properly. Did you build the box yourself? If so, there are a whole host of things that "any intelligent sane person" would know needed to be done when configuring the motherboard that could confuse poor, dear windows....

                    Go through the device manager and see if you've got all the right drivers installed - then make sure they're up to date.

                    Scan for virii (even if you think you're clean, chances are you got cyber cooties from the last web cam ho you surfed or something) Trend Micro housecall is free and web based.

                    Are you using hibernation? If so, make sure you are flushing your pagefile EVERY time you reboot. This is an advanced setting in the Local Security Policy. I've posted it before, pm me if you need point and click instructions.

                    For issues like this the platform configuration *details* are extremely important. Go through the basics, consult google and if you're still stumped come back for more abuse.

                    -ndex
                    That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Now is the perfect time (and excuse if you need one(hope not)) to switch to *nix....
                      Unfortuatly, the sad truth is.... windows is still needed now and then... (/me turns to puke).
                      The only constant in the universe is change itself

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I would try eliminating the easiest hardware first.. Try installing to a different hard drive if you have one, try testing the ram.. http://www.memtest86.com/memt30.zip
                        (handy boot disk that runs a memory test). Its actually pretty accurate. Ive fixed many unstable machines using it.

                        I once had a machine that kept crashing after a few days, it also would turn it self on. I troubleshot everything on the machine, testing ram, and reinstalling the os about 7 times, sometimes it would fail durring install, sometimes it installed no problem.. Thought it was a bad cd, or cdrom drive.

                        Turned out the die on the cpu (the little square core) was chipped on 1 corner..
                        was an AMD XP chip, and was such a piece, really it was shaved off, that it wasnt noticable.. my parts distributor caught the problem.. after they replaced boards and stuff as well..

                        So if all else fails, and its a cpu with a exposed core, you might want to check that.
                        bad cpu can cause really wierd stuff..

                        Just some hardware suggestions..
                        Last edited by [Syntax]; June 27, 2004, 02:11.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Delete pplz
                          Last edited by kiji; June 29, 2004, 19:18. Reason: Delete plz
                          "I'm not smart enough to do everything, But I'm dumn enough to try anything."

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Have u tryed reformating the hard drive if so and it happens agian then you've got a faulty hard drive - sounds like the files being written to the hard drive aren't coming back the same.

                            Have u tryed the following:

                            Try doing a low-level format and error-check within the BIOS. Will take a while, but should discover any error.

                            The exact process depends on your BIOS, but look for an option related to the hard disks called Format.
                            "I'm not smart enough to do everything, But I'm dumn enough to try anything."

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