Jump to content



Photo

Urgent Help Needed


  • Please log in to reply
29 replies to this topic

#16 OP Soni

Soni

    Neowinian

  • Joined: 26-February 06

Posted 11 October 2012 - 07:02

Edit to above post: The evaluation version of windows 8 has now downloaded onto the windows 7 laptop I have, I intend transferring this over to a USB stick, can somebody talk me through what I need to do to make it run? And will this be the eaisiest method to retrieve my data and will DEFINETELY NOT overwrite my files?


#17 +theblazingangel

theblazingangel

    Software Engineer

  • Tech Issues Solved: 3
  • Joined: 25-March 04
  • Location: England, UK

Posted 11 October 2012 - 18:17

I think that you could do with things being better clarified...

A summary of your options:

1) Connecting the hard drive to another computer

You connect the hard drive to another (working) computer, you load the operating system that is installed on the computer's own hard drive, and this allows you to access the contents of the other hard drive (as though you had connected an external secondary drive), thus enabling you to retrieve a backup copy of your data files.

There are multiple ways of doing this:


1a) An adapter cable or docking station
1b) An external hard drive enclosure (one that you can open up to change the hard drive in)
1c) Opening up the computer case and connecting up data and power cables (assuming there are some of the correct type)


RAID will make this more difficult. Assuming you have RAID type 1, your chances of the above working (as though you didn;t even have RAID) are fairly good, however other forms of RAId will probably rule these methods out.

2) Running another operating system

Operating systems are typically installed onto and run from a hard drive, it is however entirely possible to run an operating system from other forms of storage, such as a CD/DVD or USB pen drive (i.e. "removable media").

Running an operating system from a CD/DVD/USB-pen-drive on your computer gets around the problem of the operating system installed on the computer being broken. The computer's internal hard drive will be available to the operating system that you are running off of a CD/DVD/USB-pen-drive, allowing you to recover your files.

Some options:

2a) You can download copies of Linux specially prepared for this called "Linux Live CD's" (just having taken a look at Ubuntu's website, it seems that their standard install disk now actually has a "try before you buy" feature, which is essentially the same thing), and there are instructions for installing to a USB pen drive instead.





2b) UBCD4Win, a Windows XP based live CD, that "contains software used for repairing, restoring, or diagnosing almost any computer problem".








2c) Building your own copy of Windows 7 or 8 which will run off of CD/DVD/USB-pen-drive. See instructions here for example. However, this requires that you download a large package called the "Windows AIK", to get at a tiny little tool that comes bundled within it (I personally wouldn't trust copies of just the tool itself posted online).


Note, beware of the "Windows 7 USB tool" that I believe someone mentioned earlier, according to this webpage, it seems to be a way of putting the windows setup onto a USB pen drive, from which you can install Windows as an alternative to the standard of installing from CD/DVD, it is not for running a copy of Windows from a USB pen drive.

3) Repairing the existing operating system

This option should replace any broken files belonging to the operating system, allowing it to run once again. It will not however remove viruses or repair problems with third party software/drivers that may be causing the problem(s), so there is no garuantee that it will put your system into a stable state through which you can recover your files. Side note, after a repair install, you may have to reinstall Windows updates, and also some or all of your programs.

First, notes/warnings:
- If your computer has a 'restore to factory settings' option/feature, do NOT use this, you will loose all of your data if you do
- "OEM" Windows reinstallation disks (like the DELL one that you have) are not the same as normal Windows installation disks and may very well delete all of your data!

There are two ways to do a repair of an exisiting installation of Windows:









3a) Do an actual "repair install" (called "startup repair" in vista/7/8).










There are three ways of doing this:










3a1) Via recovery options presented in the Windows installer (of proper setup disks, not OEM "reinstallation disks" afaik)













3a2) Via a "system recovery disk", which you will have had to have already created on the machine you're trying to repair, or on a sufficiently similar machine.












3a3) Via the "advanced boot options" (see here)







Once you've got the "system recovery options menu" up, choose the "startup repair" option. (useful info).




3b) Simply reinstall Windows on top of the existing installation (WITHOUT reformatting or recreating the partition).





This option is available to those using retail versions of Windows, but not those with OEM versions, since OEM manufacturers nowadays only give customers "reinstallation disks", which are not the same as a proper setup disk. I did encounter some webpages mentioning the use of a retail disk to do a repair of an OEM installation, but did not get a clear understanding of whether it actually works or not.








As described, you simply run the Windows setup routine without doing a reformat. The installation will rename the existing "Windows" folder to "Windows.old" and install new operating system files to a new "Windows" folder. The "Windows.old" folder can be deleted once setup is complete. Your data will remain intact, programs may need to be reinstalled to work correctly, and Windows updates will need to be reinstalled.











You could also alternatively install a newer version of Windows on top as an upgrade installation, which would essentially do the same thing. Do not do the "custom installation" option if it tries to make you though, this reformats and installs the new operating system I believe - not what you want!


Using a install disk, it may be so that the disk must have the same service pack as the installation in order for it to allow you to do the repair, I'm not sure. Alternatively if the disk does not have the service pack, the service pack may simply have to be reapplied via Windows update. (In the case of a "system recovery disk", it would have to have been built on an installation with the same service pack as the installation currently has).

Actually I lied, there's three ways, there's also "sfc /scannow" from a command line, but as far as I know (and I don't actually have much if any experience in actually doing repairs like this), the "Startup repair" option already does the same as this.

Recommendations

Firstly, recovering your files:
- Whether option #1 is the best choince for you obviously depends on various factors - do you have the components for any of the sub-options; are you willing to spend money on them if necessary; are you willing to wait for a delivery (if you're not going to pop down to the shops for it); are you okay with opening up your computer in order to connect it if necessary.
- Whether option #2 is the best choice depends on whether or not you already have a live CD, or are capable of making one (2a & 2b only require downloading an ISO and burning it to disk, but 2c is much more involved). It also depends, if going with option #2a, how familiar with Linux you are (not that it requires very much familiarity at all, but still requires some). Also obviously if creating a CD/DVD you need a CD/DVD burner, and a writable CD/DVD to hand.
- Option #3 will be making changes to the existing Windows installation on the computer, and so if you mess it up badly somehow, in the worst case senario you could loose your data. It does not require you to download or purchase anything though. However, as mentioned above, if the problem is caused by a virus or currupt piece of third party software, the repair to Windows may not do anything to regain access to your files.

It's up to you to make a decision.

btw, if you do option #3b, and do an upgrade install with Windows 8 preview, beware that it expires after a short period, and you'll have to completely reformat and reinstall windows when it does. Also be aware of the upgrade path rules from Vista to 8, upgrading 7 to 8 preserves all your data and programs, but XP/Vista to 8 is different, with Vista SP1, data and setting are supposedly preserved (programs, I don't know), otherwise only data is preserved. Be careful.

Secondly, recovering your system once you've actually recovered your data, I think you'll definately want to do a reformat and reinstallation, to ensure any malware that may have been introduced is wiped away. Then, give your daughters "standard" level user accounts on it, and keep the admin account to yourself, that should go some way to preventing this happening again.

Edit to above post: The evaluation version of windows 8 has now downloaded onto the windows 7 laptop I have, I intend transferring this over to a USB stick, can somebody talk me through what I need to do to make it run? And will this be the eaisiest method to retrieve my data and will DEFINETELY NOT overwrite my files?

The copy of Windows 8 that you've got is only applicable to options #2c, and #3b. See also the note just above.


edit: why are big gaps being inserted into my post :/

#18 vetDirtyLarry

DirtyLarry

    ®®\vers.12.vis.13.u.03.al\DL

  • Tech Issues Solved: 1
  • Joined: 31-August 03
  • Location: dirty jersey
  • OS: Win 8 | OS X 10.8.5 | Android 4.2.2
  • Phone: Galaxy S4

Posted 11 October 2012 - 18:23

Thank you all for your replies.

However, altgough I know how to reformat hard drives and install software etc., and basic networking tasks, my pc skills don't extend beyond that!

Can you talk me through the EASIEST solution bearing in mind it is a RAID drive?

I did have my daughters Windows 7 laptop wirelessly networked with the broken pc (when it was working) and tried the other night connecting up to drag the files accross whilst the broken pc was on the log on screen buy it wasn't seeing it, so this is a no go idea either?

Did you try what I suggested? No one has said you will not be able to see the 1 drive yet if it was setup in RAID, so I would give it a shot.

#19 OP Soni

Soni

    Neowinian

  • Joined: 26-February 06

Posted 11 October 2012 - 18:34

BlazingAngel, you are certainly an angel mate, I had just burned the DVD using the windows 7 laptop and Dow loaded the USB dvd burner and burned the DVD (couldn't fit it on USB needed 4gb) and had just popped the DVD into the drive if the knackered pc and switched it off ready to switch on again, boot menu, and select DVD!!

Then checked my phone as your email came through just as I was looking at it!! How bad could that have been if I didn't see your email!!

So, I understand I need to NOT run this bootable DVD I've burned with windows 8 evaluation?

I am prepared go do whatever is necessary to get my family photos back, and although I've installed memory, PCI boards, hard drives and the like, I've never had the RAID drives out in this pc and I personay believe it will be difficult and may not even work.

I'll willingly buy anything I need to do this, however I'm not that technical and don't understand Linux.

One thing I forgot to mention is I have an OEM version of xp media centre edition, and you mentioned about installing another operating system onto my raid hard drives? Is this easy with raid and will it definetely not over write my data and photos?

#20 +theblazingangel

theblazingangel

    Software Engineer

  • Tech Issues Solved: 3
  • Joined: 25-March 04
  • Location: England, UK

Posted 11 October 2012 - 19:31

BlazingAngel, you are certainly an angel mate, I had just burned the DVD using the windows 7 laptop and Dow loaded the USB dvd burner and burned the DVD (couldn't fit it on USB needed 4gb) and had just popped the DVD into the drive if the knackered pc and switched it off ready to switch on again, boot menu, and select DVD!!

Then checked my phone as your email came through just as I was looking at it!! How bad could that have been if I didn't see your email!!

So, I understand I need to NOT run this bootable DVD I've burned with windows 8 evaluation?

I am prepared go do whatever is necessary to get my family photos back, and although I've installed memory, PCI boards, hard drives and the like, I've never had the RAID drives out in this pc and I personay believe it will be difficult and may not even work.

I'll willingly buy anything I need to do this, however I'm not that technical and don't understand Linux.

One thing I forgot to mention is I have an OEM version of xp media centre edition, and you mentioned about installing another operating system onto my raid hard drives? Is this easy with raid and will it definetely not over write my data and photos?

The Windows 8 preview you downloaded and burned to disk will be a full windows 8 setup disk. Installing Windows 8 over the top of Vista as an upgrade install is one possible option (3b above), however I'd recommend that you try other options first! Certainly DO NOT run the Windows 8 (or XP MCE) setup and allow it to re-format / re-partition the drive, 'cus you'll loose everything.

In regard to your Windows XP MCE disk, as far as i know, you can only install a newer version or same version of a Windows operating system over an existing one, at least if you run the setup from within Windows (which you can't), such a restriction might not be given when running the setup having initiated the installation directly from the disk, but I wouldn't advise it, it'll likely cause more problems.

I think it sounds like option 2b or 1 is best for you, infact just go with 2b, go and get yourself a copy of UBCD4Win, burn it to disk, boot that, and backup your files.

Once you've backed up your files, use the Vista reinstall disk to wipe the computer and install a fresh copy of windows.

#21 +BudMan

BudMan

    Neowinian Senior

  • Tech Issues Solved: 86
  • Joined: 04-July 02
  • Location: Schaumburg, IL
  • OS: Win7, Vista, 2k3, 2k8, XP, Linux, FreeBSD, OSX, etc. etc.

Posted 11 October 2012 - 20:03

Raid was brought up and it was assumed it was 1, are we sure its not 0?

If 0 then you can not just pull out 1 drive out and connect it. If 1 then sure you can pull one out and access the files.

#22 OP Soni

Soni

    Neowinian

  • Joined: 26-February 06

Posted 11 October 2012 - 22:16

This is getting deeper.....

I've kind of got somewhere, i've managed to get into Safemode for long enough (around 8 minutes sometimes, othertimes only 30 seconds) and managed to copy files a few at a time over to my external hard drive, i have therefore copied everything that i needed, there is some music files that i would have liked to have copied, but not such a major issue as can always download those again - it was my family photos that i mainly wanted.

This is the problem.

I can't actually get to reformat the hard drive, as its crashing even before Windows starts.

These are the symptoms from the very beginning when it all started:-

1. Originally i couldn't log on, it got to the account log on screen and froze as i was typing in my password. It then started getting worse, whereby it would then not even allow you to left click the account name, but you could move the arrow around the screen fine.

2. I then rebooted into safemode, and was shocked when i was trying to transfer files over to my external hard drive and the screen went black, the power button started flashing red which it does when there is no input being received, and i heard the pc speed up and something spinning quite fast inside.

3. Safemode was initially crashing after about 30 seconds of login in, but tonight a few times its allowed me in for around 8 minutes at a time.

4. I then copied my files across, put the Dell Vista Reinstallation CD into the drive and went into the boot menu, and before i even got to change the boot sequence, it crashed again, screen went black, power button on monitor started to flash red, and the pc tower sped up like something was spinning quickly inside.

So - its not Windows related? Not a virus of Malware???

Any ideas what it could be? I don't really have the money to put the PC into a shop to be tested, but at the same time i don't want to go out and waste money on replacing things that it 'might be'.....

Its a DELL XPS420, about 4-5 ish years old

Edit: I've even tried the diagnostic tool and it got as far as 3/4 way through the CPU test of 4 CPU's and crashed before finishing......

#23 OP Soni

Soni

    Neowinian

  • Joined: 26-February 06

Posted 11 October 2012 - 22:39

Guys, do you think I may have cracked it?

Just took the side of the pc off to check inside and its the fan on the nvidea graphics card that's spinning away, is this normal? Can't say as I've noticed it before, also when the machine starts the fan is running, but very smooth and quietly, but when it crashed, the graphics card fan speeds right up.

Could this explain the screen going black and the power button on the monitor flashing as if no input? Also could explain why the account names dissapeared from the screen last night? All sounds likely doesn't it? But what about not being able to click the left mouse button in the account names?

Here is a photo of the graphics card, but there is also a yellow/amber light lit up on the main board at the back, towards the bottom right of the boars can you see it? Is that normal?

Posted Image

Next to that amber yellow light on the board it states 'Aux Power' and next to it says 'INTRUDER'????

#24 xendrome

xendrome

    In God We Trust; All Others We Monitor

  • Tech Issues Solved: 9
  • Joined: 05-December 01
  • OS: Windows 8.1 Pro x64

Posted 11 October 2012 - 22:41

Sounds like you have a rootkit installed and it's linked it's self to one of your driver files for the USB or kb/mouse.

Download this to a USB stick and run it in safemode - http://support.kaspe.../tdsskiller.exe

Do a scan.. see what it says

BTW you should have your photos copied into Dropbox or pay for Carbonite or something if they are this important to you..

#25 +theblazingangel

theblazingangel

    Software Engineer

  • Tech Issues Solved: 3
  • Joined: 25-March 04
  • Location: England, UK

Posted 11 October 2012 - 23:25

I'm glad that you've rescued your files, that's the most important thing.

Guys, do you think I may have cracked it?

Just took the side of the pc off to check inside and its the fan on the nvidea graphics card that's spinning away, is this normal? Can't say as I've noticed it before, also when the machine starts the fan is running, but very smooth and quietly, but when it crashed, the graphics card fan speeds right up.

Could this explain the screen going black and the power button on the monitor flashing as if no input? Also could explain why the account names dissapeared from the screen last night? All sounds likely doesn't it? But what about not being able to click the left mouse button in the account names?

Here is a photo of the graphics card, but there is also a yellow/amber light lit up on the main board at the back, towards the bottom right of the boars can you see it? Is that normal?

<photo snipped>

Next to that amber yellow light on the board it states 'Aux Power' and next to it says 'INTRUDER'????

You seem to have a lot of dust built up. hut the computer down, and try and clean some of that out, just for the hell of it on the off chance that it could be causing a problem (I very much doubt it would be the cause, but worth doing imo). When you turn it back on, make sure that all of the fans are running - if a fan isn't working, it could cause temperatures to rise on whatever components it is meant to be cooling, which could cause odd behaviour. (Again, very unlikely to be the cause, but worth checking).

Ignore the sudden speed up of fans just before the computer shuts down, just after startup, just after a crash, whatever, normally the motherboard and/or operating system will vary the speed of fans, keeping them going only as fast as necessary to provide sufficient cooling, which reduces wasted energy and keeps the computer quieter, fans may suddenly go up to full speed in certain scenarios like those just outlined because whatever controls their speed isn't at that moment in time, e.g. the last few fractions of a second before the computer fully powers down. I.e. what you're experiencing there is most likely perfectly normal behaviour!

In terms of the yellow 'intruder' light, don't worry, by opening the case you've probably just tripped a sensor, which is a sign to technician at the manufacturing company, should you send it back to them, of the fact that the case has been opened. You should be able to reset it in the BIOS settings if you really want to.

Sounds like you have a rootkit installed and it's linked it's self to one of your driver files for the USB or kb/mouse.

Download this to a USB stick and run it in safemode - http://support.kaspe.../tdsskiller.exe

Do a scan.. see what it says

BTW you should have your photos copied into Dropbox or pay for Carbonite or something if they are this important to you..

I believe that he just said that the computer just crashed when trying to open the boot menu, would that not suggest a h/w issue rather than malware?

Still, worth a shot. @Soni, if you can;t get into safe mode to try and run the above rootkit scanner, try it in UBCD4Win - i.e. get UBCD4Win, burn to disk, boot... oh, wait, you said it just crashed before even getting to the boot menu didn;t you, so that's not going to work, never mind.

I think someone more experienced with trouble shooting pc h/w issues needs to take over from me at this point...

#26 Nothing Here

Nothing Here

    Neowinian Senior

  • Joined: 23-February 08
  • Location: California, U.S.A.
  • OS: Windows 8 Pro / Kororaa 17

Posted 11 October 2012 - 23:31

Soni, all you would have done was download a Ubuntu LiveCD burned it to a disk or use Unetbootin to load it to a USB flash drive. Load it up, access the folder you need and copy them to another flash drive.

#27 OP Soni

Soni

    Neowinian

  • Joined: 26-February 06

Posted 12 October 2012 - 05:36

HI guys, thank you for all of your suggestions, much appreciard, I shall try the tootkill suggestion tonight and let you all know if I can run it.

Yeah, it crashed earlier a few times whilst in the diagnostic test menu when checking the memory and also another time whilst it was checking the CPU's, dies this therefore point to hardware problems and not malware?

Will check all the fans as suggested, however I don't 'think' the power supply fan was on, should this always be on? The only one that can be heard is the Graphics card?

Of any hardware gurus are able to offer any further suggestions I would be eternally grateful as I can try it tonight when I get in from work.

P.S. would a fan not working on the power supply disable the left mouse button at the logon screen, make the logon account names dissapear?

#28 OP Soni

Soni

    Neowinian

  • Joined: 26-February 06

Posted 13 October 2012 - 12:40

Right, i've run the rootkill application and it hasnt found any threats!

I've also got it logged into SafeMode with the conservatory door wide open (its coolish today in the UK around 11degrees) and it hasn't yet crashed and has been running for around 10 minutes without any problems, although i haven't logged in normally yet (without Safemode) to see if i can log in or whether its still frozen.

I'm wondering if its the Power Supply fan? It always used to make a racket, was really spinning hard for years (as its stored in the Conservatory and it gets boiling in the Summer months) but now its not spinning at all, the only noise from the machine is the NVidea graphics card fan which sits ontop of the board.

Do you think it could be the Power Supply fan causing these problems? If it is the power supply fan and its cool and i try it with the door open then it shouldn't freeze on the login screen should it? Wouldn't it work normally if its running cool and this would prove its the fan or not if it works fine when cool? i shall try it in a minute, just transferring some other stuff over from the hard drive to the external.

Also forgot to mention, the other night i was able to get my photos accross to the external, as was getting in for about 8 minutes at a time before it went/crashed, however as the time went on the time decreased and was then occuring regularly at around 30 second time periods following boot and then got so bad it was crashing even in the boot menus when trying to run diagnostic checks.

Could this definetely point to it being the fan on the power supply causing these problems?

#29 OP Soni

Soni

    Neowinian

  • Joined: 26-February 06

Posted 22 October 2012 - 19:48

Update:

I sorted it in the end, i realised the Power Supply fan is in fact working because i could feel it gently blowing out, but it isn’t noisy like my old 10 year old PC so sounds like its not spinning.

I cleaned the inside out with compressed air, it was in a terrible state, all the vents on the rear and front were covered in a carpet of fluff. I thought this might be what was causing it to crash.
However, following the clean, i booted it up, and it still crashed, the picture went off, and the graphics card fan span like mad again.

I then removed the graphics card, found a load of fluff between the graphics card fan and the actual card, i therefore blew this through as well, put it all back together, but it still crashed....

I then realised that when i removed the card, it was boiling hot and i mean hot!
So, when it still crashed again, i felt it, and it almost burned my fingers it was so hot.

I then checked Speccy, but it didn’t have a temperature for the card, only the CPU....

So i went on to the NVIDIA website, used the automatic identification tool (even though i already knew it was the 8600GTS and it confirmed that, and identified the driver that had only been updated this month, i downloaded that, restarted the computer, and as soon as it restarted the fan ran quicker that it did prior to the update on boot up, and this time Speccy was actually showing the temperature for it, and something else struck my eye, i couldn’t remember Speccy showing the graphics card before as a GTS 8600GTS, so checked Speccy report that i printed, and it actually had the Graphics Card listed as 14MB Standard VGA Graphics Adaptor (Nvidia), but was now showing as a 8600GTS!!

So far knock on wood its been about 3-4 days on constant and no crashed J

How could the Graphics Card driver have changed, could it have been a virus that caused this?

#30 Hum

Hum

    totally wAcKed

  • Tech Issues Solved: 5
  • Joined: 05-October 03
  • Location: Odder Space
  • OS: Windows XP, 7

Posted 22 October 2012 - 20:06

^ Maybe the old driver became corrupted and Windows tried to rollback ?

Maybe your kids clicked on some automatic Update, and something wrong was installed ?



Click here to login or here to register to remove this ad, it's free!