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System unable to get past login screen

MillerTime

FPCH Member
Joined
Jan 10, 2008
Messages
14
Location
San Jose - USA
#1
On my Dell 5150 computer running XP Home Edition I performed a disk defragment. Afterwords, I installed another internal hard drive and an external drive from Maxtor. While configuring them and formatting them, I noticed that some files were being copied from the original hard disk. I tried to stop it by using a cancel from the program without any success ( the Maxtor format and disk management program). I then performed a ctl,del and alt to bring up the system screen to select task manager and stop the program from running. This was unsuccessful. Next, I tried to reboot the system using the same screen without success. I finally turned off the external drive and performed a reset using the power off button on the front of the computer.

The system now starts up and progresses to the login screen, where I can enter the information and it trys to boot up. However, it starts to configure the operating system followed by shutting down the network connections and other things and returns to the login menu. This becomes a loop that cannot be stopped even using the administrator login. Safe mode does the same thing.

I then used the setup disk from the computer and went into the recovery mode and used the chkdsk /r to attempt to repair it. Some files were repaired or recovered with this process. However, the computer still exhibits the same problems.

One big concern is to recover the files I have saved on the hard drive where they are password protected. I have had problems in the past with reinstalling the software and not able to unlock my previous files.

Any help would be appreciated! I have some books but they don't offer much help.
 

Seth

FPCH Long Term Member
Joined
Dec 17, 2007
Messages
2,268
Location
Canada
Operating System
Windows Vista - Home Premium
#2
Hello MillerTime.

Sounds like a program was initiated to copy your old drives contents onto the new one. If that's the case, it would have just copied them over but left the originals intact.

At this point, I would disconnect the internal and external drive and get that data later. The priority is getting the system up and running. I also think that the system is trying to boot from the drive that contains the copied (but incomplete XP files). The above procedure will confirm this as well.
 

MillerTime

FPCH Member
Joined
Jan 10, 2008
Messages
14
Location
San Jose - USA
#3
Hi Seth:

Disconnected both drives and same problem exists. My thoughts are that either the FAT table, registry or system files associated with the bootup or startup files have been correpted, overwritten, or deleted. Perhaps the Maxtor software initiated a format onto the drive I was working on and maybe wanted to make it bootable?

Unfortunately, this is a very week point in the Windows platform where these files are not protected and not automatically backed up. Somehow, they should be locked where installing programs or any work using the system should not be able to corrupt them without providing repetative passwords.

Help!
 

AdvancedSetup

FPCH Long Term Member
Joined
Jan 9, 2008
Messages
819
Location
34° 12' 35" N, 118° 29' 21" W
#4
Well you should probably STOP right here if there is data on the original drive that you need.

Messing around with it will increase the chances that you will not be able to fully recover the data.

If that's the case let us know and we can provide assistance with that. If there is no real data (pictures, documents, etc..) that you need then we can proceed with attempting to repair it.


Do you have the original Windows XP install CD ?

If so please boot from that CD and run a repair on the affected system and see if the XP CD can repair it, but only if you're not going to potentially need to recover data.
 

AdvancedSetup

FPCH Long Term Member
Joined
Jan 9, 2008
Messages
819
Location
34° 12' 35" N, 118° 29' 21" W
#6
Yes that is correct in general a repair will not affect programs or personal data.

In this case though I'm not sure what state the system is really in or what happened for sure so it's very possible for a repair to potentially install data on the drive in an area where it has been marked as available which could be accidental deleted data. Thus a bit better to air on the side of caution (IMHO)

I do many repairs in my day to day work and I don't worry about user data loss, but typically because the failure was from various other issues and not from some routine that appears to have deleted files from the main system.

When a directory or file is deleted it's not really overwritten but the pointer to the data is removed and that block of data where the directory or file was stored is now marked as available to use if the system wants or needs to write data there. As long as it's not written to then there are many utilities to recover the data easily.
 

Seth

FPCH Long Term Member
Joined
Dec 17, 2007
Messages
2,268
Location
Canada
Operating System
Windows Vista - Home Premium
#7
Advanced,

I have no concern that the repair will cause user data loss, as I've completed hundreds of repairs without such issue.

My real concern is a repeat episode when it's time for MT to re-connect the additional drives.
 

MillerTime

FPCH Member
Joined
Jan 10, 2008
Messages
14
Location
San Jose - USA
#8
Thanks for all the suggestions. I have some important data and files under "my documents" that were password protected. Also, some desktop files and favorites/cookies for my internet explorer files would want to be saved. Any suggestions on where they might be located? I thought I would install the XP Pro version on the second hard drive for a dual boot and try to retrieve the files and data from the primary hard drive. Then I would need to find a way to unlock the files.

Is there a listing of files that I could search the hard drive for after this to replace the corrupt or bad ones? Or is this not worth the time where repairing it to attempt to get the system to boot up and retrieve information would be best?

I also have a program called "Final Data 2.0" that I have used previously to retrieve information from corrupt memory sticks when they fail. Would this be of any help with this problem?

I have tried a similar repair on another computer in the past where it locks up the password protected data and makes it inaccessible. Is there a way to unlock this or get around it? I have tried the administrator and other passwords without success.

Many years ago I have performed programming and used the DOS editor but am not really familiar with it now. I'm thinking of retrieving the data, using the repair cd, followed by a clean format and installation of XP Pro. Does this sound like the best course of action?

Thanks in advance for your time and consideration.
 
Joined
Oct 16, 2007
Messages
217
Location
Cheshire UK
#9
Will a repair install still allow access to 'password protected' files ? I always intended to check on a virtual machine but never got round to it.

I am assuming 'password protected' is the user accounts option to keep your files private.

I am sure I remember seeing somwhere that this option encrypts the files, or it may just be file permissions.

Dave
 

RandyL

Administrator
Joined
Jan 22, 2003
Messages
4,878
Location
USA, Nebraska
PC Experience
Very Experienced
#10
Hi everyone;
Are you running XP Home on the afflicted computer right? If I remember right Pro encrypts them and you might be out of luck. With Home it might just be a matter of taking ownership.

I think setting the old drive as slave would be the option to go with and try to retrieve the files.

Final Data 2.0 works with Windows. I haven't used it though.

RandyL
 

MillerTime

FPCH Member
Joined
Jan 10, 2008
Messages
14
Location
San Jose - USA
#11
Hi RandyL:

The original system came with and still has Windows Home Edition installed on it where I would upgrade later to the XP Pro. This has some better retrieval features and is still supported by Microsoft with updates.

A local friend has a program that allows you to boot from it and retrieve the desired files to save on another hard drive. Can't remember the name of it.

Has anyone had success with Vista? I have a full version of the Business edition of it from school but have not installed it onto any computers. I have heard mixed results and don't feel comfortable or used to the way you navigate through it.
 

RandyL

Administrator
Joined
Jan 22, 2003
Messages
4,878
Location
USA, Nebraska
PC Experience
Very Experienced
#12
It's worth a shot to try the data retrival program. If you get your data go ahead and try the repair of your Home edition. Hopefully you can get your password protected folders open. Let us know the name of the program especially if it works.

Yes I have Vista Home Premium now. There are some major changes but you won't have any problem figuring it out especially since you're used to XP.

Thanks everyone for helping out on this one. MillerTime is an old highschool friend of mine. Problem is he lives hundreds of miles from me now.

MillerTime check your Private Messages.
RandyL
 

Seth

FPCH Long Term Member
Joined
Dec 17, 2007
Messages
2,268
Location
Canada
Operating System
Windows Vista - Home Premium
#13
I was thinking about Miller's predicament a bit more:

It's not known what was copied and to what drive. For example Miller, your personal files may be on one of the secondary drives, or the original drive. Given that, perhaps the best option may be to slave each drive to another computer until you can find and backup the files you want. In such a case, you're guaranteed to find your files and you wouldn't have to use recovery software. Instead, just use Window's Explorer to explore each drive.

Once the backup is done, a clean install of XP can be performed.
 

MillerTime

FPCH Member
Joined
Jan 10, 2008
Messages
14
Location
San Jose - USA
#14
The main drive with the saved files and home edition is the C drive.

I booted up with the second drive with XP Pro and looking at the C drive with the files. When I try to access the file folder for my documents and settings on the original C drive, it shows that it is not accessible and access is denied. All other accounts, including the administrator, allow me access to the files.

As I looked at the Maxtor Max Blast 4.0, I found an option called "add the drive as the new boot device" from the menu selection. I can only think this was enabled as I partitioned the drive and formatted it for the NTFS. I found 6 file folders on the external drive I was setting up and one debugging file. The file folders consisted of 3 with miscellaneous names using alpha and numerical characters (with driver update files), 1 Dell with contact, docs, utility, and drive file subfolders and files, 1 document & settings folder empty, and 1 program folder with miscellaneous Dell folders and files. I'm tempted to look at the original hard drive for these folders and place the files into them to see if it corrects the problem.

I went into the dos prompt and looked at the C:/documents and settings folder. I tried to access my directory and the reply was "access is denied". It appears that my files and data are locked or encrypted where no one can view them, even if I use my password or the administrative one.

Any suggestions for programs or ways to over ride this so I can copy the files and save them before restoring the hard drive or installing a new operating system?

Currently I'm trying 2 programs called Final Data and Data Rescue PC. The Data Rescue won't recognize my external hard drive using either the firewire or USB interfaces. Not sure if the motherboard doesn't enable them for this program. It wants to use the second hard drive where it will completely format it. I'm not fond of this since I have the XP Pro software installed on this and want to use it to boot up after retrieving the files. The Final Data program is reading the C drive and will take a few hours to go through the 160 GB hard disk.
 

Seth

FPCH Long Term Member
Joined
Dec 17, 2007
Messages
2,268
Location
Canada
Operating System
Windows Vista - Home Premium
#17
NT and I always seem to be on a similar boat:)

Note to others:

Given my previous discussions with Advanced Setup, I requested a more simplified name. NT was suggested and seemed appropriate.

How about Ron, Ron?
 

MillerTime

FPCH Member
Joined
Jan 10, 2008
Messages
14
Location
San Jose - USA
#19
Thanks for the tips!

The link to the Windows NT and 2000 does not appear to apply to the XP Home and Pro versions of the software even though they look similar in program interface. Is there a difference or is Microsoft combining the support together since they can run on the NTFS platform and they behave similar?
 

RandyL

Administrator
Joined
Jan 22, 2003
Messages
4,878
Location
USA, Nebraska
PC Experience
Very Experienced
#20
Hi MT;
Don't worry about your data recovery software. Just follow the links provided by AdvancedSetup and seth. You already have your files backed up. You simply need to follow those steps in order to "take ownership" of the files. Then you can use them. The above links are specifically for XP.

Thanks guys.
RandyL