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Problem booting XP

By hop228a ·
Hiya people,

A friend is having problems booting his laptop (Dell Inspiron), which he purchase on ebay about 2 years ago. At first the laptop wouldn't boot from XP on CD. At one stage when he tried to boot up a PCI.sys is corrupt message appears. He's tried to repair it by expanding the i83 file, it says there's an error with the C drive. Basically it can't read from C.

He believes its an hardware issue, but I think its more of a software issue.

Could someone point us in the right direction as to what/how to solve this.

Many thanks for your help.

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by sgt_shultz In reply to Problem booting XP

you need a way to run chkdsk to preliminarily rule out bad hardware (hard drive). If you can boot the XP installation CD on the bad laptop, use the Recovery console to run chkdsk on the drive. see mskb article from 30764 How to Install and Use Recovery Console in XP
if you can't boot from CD for whatever reason, you need to get that working. try booting another known good bootable CD (like win98 maybe?) to rule out bad cd media. make sure he has BIOS set to boot first from CD. if you have bad cd or cd-drive, see if you can get that replaced first.
otherwise, you could rule out bad hard disk with diagnostics and instructions downloaded from mfg website. look up which drive he (probably) has on the dell website using the dell service tag number on the laptop.

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by hop228a In reply to

Not long after posting the message,he can access the XP on CD now.

The problem is that when he runs repair under the Windows console, he tried to expand the i83 file to the system32 folder, but he gets a message that there's a "file enumeration" problem with the C drive.

He's tempted to reinstall, but have been told by the OS that this would require the drive to be partitioned. This leads him to the conclusion that something's gone wrong with the HD.

What method can he use to recover his data.

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by RCOM In reply to Problem booting XP

The C drive may have bad sectors and the PCI.sys file was damaged. The problem is if the boot sector of the drive is the bad area and you run scandisk or chkdsk there's a possiblity that it will mark the sector bad.

If it was just software the recovery console and replacing the file should work. I guess you've got the CD to boot so if that's the case and you boot from the win XP CD, run the setup, it does not detect a previous installation then instead continues to the partitioning page, there is, more than likely a problem with the hard drive. Since it's a laptop and the hard drives are so fragile it may have been bounced around too much. The hard drive wouldn't be that much to replace and can be found on Ebay too. I'd still check into the warranty from Dell and the drive maker, never know. Some drives have 5 years and sometimes people pay for the extended warranty which may still be valid. Worth a check.

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by hop228a In reply to

What method can he use to recover his data, as reinstall requires him to repartition the hdd.

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by RCOM In reply to Problem booting XP

If the data is important I wouldn't attempt any repairs to the drive. As I mentioned in my first response, running utilities like CHKDSK can make things worse.

If it spins up and runs you need to connect it to something else and try to get the data off. There's inexpensive adapters to connect a laptop drive into a regular PC, like 15 bucks or so.

Slave it and attempt to ghost or image the entire drive. If that won't work start copying files untill it won't anymore.

There are a lot of so called techs that frequent this site that will say things like, and I qoute... "if it can't be fixed in 30 minutes format the drive". I can count on one hand how many timesI've had to give up and start over.
Some would say I wasted a lot of time going through all the steps it may have taken, but I know that's where I've learned the most.

The reason I come to this site is because I enjoy resolving problems. This helps me keep up and I gain the knowledge of others that are more or less experienced than I am.

Anyway, don't take my first response as meaning dump the original drive and start over.

Here's the point I'm trying to make. Based only on what you've described and IMO it's time to start considering how important the data on the drive really is. If you don't take a serious approach and start looking at this in the worse case you may end up loosing the data as well as the drive. If we go the hind-sight route we'd come to the conclusion that the data should have been backed up. But in the real world that rarely happens.

Most physical data recovery is at least $1,000.00 but it can be done. If the hard drive works there's software that can get the data off it. I prefer RStudio. I think it's about $60.00.

But again if you think it's only software related the first thing is to try to get the data backed up. Then you can try various resolutions to the problem.

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by hrhold1 In reply to Problem booting XP

Have you tried to run Del Diagnostics utility to pinpoint a problem with the Laptop. These are avaialable from Dell if not all ready installed on the HD. Secondly, check the bios to be sure a virus or something else has not changed the HD to a different setting (IE: LBA, AUTO, or normal)from what it used to be or should be. Also WInXP, like Win2K requires drives to be recognized as 'volumes'; you may want to check to see if your basic settings comply to what the OS expects to see. As long as you can run 'chkdsk' you should gain some insight as to what the problem may be.

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by megasurfer In reply to Problem booting XP

Hook the drive up to another computer and run chkdsk with the /r switch. This will check the surface of the disk for physical errors, and try to move the data to undamaged areas if any damage is found. If the disk does have damaged clusters on it you can copy it over to another drive using XCOPY. Try using XCOPY and the following switches. "
XCOPY "X":\*.* "X" /D /E /C /I /H /R /K /Y", where "X" is the drive letter of the drive you are copying, and the drive you are copying to. These switches instruct XCOPY to ignore errors, and copy all files over to new drive, including System , Read Only, and Hidden files.

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by cglrcng In reply to Problem booting XP

I'd be thinking cih virus based on what was said about the OS not recognizing any partition. And RCOM, I'm with you (I already know how to format a drive properly), the most fun I ever had though in troubleshooting, and the most I ever learned was when Chas pointed me to a method here on Tech Republic concerning a process in DOS to clean and rebuild the registry from scratch. It took a while, but I learned more than 3 college courses could ever teach me in a year, in just 24 hrs.

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by hop228a In reply to Problem booting XP

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