Computer help required

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admiral51
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Computer help required

Post by admiral51 »

Hi All

Not French car related but without a working PC i cant get access to the FCF so hopefully Admins will let this one run :wink: :wink:

Once again i find myself using my 8 year old Win ME Pc after yet another failure of a newer PC.

Not too sure what the boy was researching but its made the pc virtually unuseable and not having any way of rebooting/restoring to base settings as no Master CDs i need some answers :twisted:

Can i reinstall XP from a CD
If Yes will the install format and delete the hard drives
Does anyone have a CD of XP i could "borrow" for a few days

I now have a new printer/scanner that wont work with Win ME and wireless mouse/keyboard ditto :evil:

Anyone near me that would be prepared to have a look see :)

Cheers

Colin
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xantia_v6
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Post by xantia_v6 »

Assuming that your PC has the MS hologram label with the product key (25 letters and numbers), then you can install form any XP disk. This will offer to perform a new installation (reformat) or repair (no reformat).

Can you describe the symptoms you have? someone here may be able to give an easier solution.

Most "name brand" PCs have specific XP install disks with matching hardware drivers and software add-ons, a generic disk might not have all of these.
admiral51
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Post by admiral51 »

Hi xantia_v6

Yes the PC does have the MS hologram and sticker :D
Its a Packard Bell PC running MS XP Multi Media but i got it second hand and has been modified from a standard set up.

It came with some CDs for the various cards installed (drivers etc) and a GIGABYTE CD.

As you can tell im not that good with PCs,just want the damm thing to work. :D

From memory it has the usual HD C along with 2 others installed ( D + E)

C drive is where XP is installed while D is a 20GB HD and E is a 200 GB HD.

Windows will load but then it keeps saying that it cant find drive C and that windows has encountered a critical error and run out of memory.

Convinced its been caused by a virus of some description as it all started when Acrobat Flash Player tried to install an update. (Or so the boy says :twisted: )

Not worried about what information was on the thing (pics etc) as most of them are i have on CDs so all i really want to do is get the thing back to basic XP with all HD formatted/cleaned

Cheers

Colin
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Post by red_dwarfers »

If you've got the hologram sticker on the side of the PC you should be away providing you can get your mits on the relevant disk.
Firstly, on the sticker, what does it say next to the Windows XP bit, Home, Professional or Mediacentre?
You need to borrow a disk that matches up with the version and hopefully the one you use will work.
Another stumbling block is the whole OEM/Retail/Volume License thing. For example, if you can't understand why the XP Pro disk you've got hold of won't match up to the XP Pro number on the case when you type it in then you have the wrong type of XP Pro disk for that type of license.

Saying that, you may be able to get away with doing a repair using the XP disk.
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spider
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Post by spider »

True, you need to match Home / Pro / Media and match OEM / Retail

It will (probably) be OEM though.

Not sure if it varies between SP releases either.


I do have a Pro OEM disk but that's about it.
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Post by evilally »

Can you post a screenshot or even a reasonable digital photo of the error? Possibly the errors aren't real, but rather one of these bits of "pc tune up" type rubbish that ends up holding your PC to ransom. Does it suggest purchasing another bit of software to sort it?
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xantia_v6
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Post by xantia_v6 »

spider wrote:True, you need to match Home / Pro / Media and match OEM / Retail
I think a retail disk always works with an OEM key, I have also used a Pro disk to resurrect a Home machine, not sure about the reverse combinations.

You could (if you were inclined) use this as an opportunity to upgrade to Win7.
admiral51
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Post by admiral51 »

Hi
The sticker actually says
Windows XP Media Center Edition 2008 NEC

As for posting a screenshot not until i untangle the wires from this one and reconnect the old one :lol: :lol:

Im pretty sure the program was Ultra Defrag that seems to want me to run a defrag and then purchase a licence when it cant fix the problems but the boy has run the defrag as he thought it was a genuine windows security program.

Interesting on upgrading to windows 7 not thought about that :idea:

If i re install XP i assume the install would format drive C. Can i manually format the other drives to have a clean start?

Colin
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Post by Xaccers »

Ultradefrag is an opensource free defragger for windows.

Can you boot into safe mode at all and do a system restore?
Or try from safe mode command prompt only and do a system restore.

To my knowledge, MS did not release XP Media Centre Edition to the public, only OEMs, so if you re-install XP you will lose the MCE functions.

As for formatting, if you can get hold of a CD with XP on it (Not a recovery image which blats the hard drive) then you can re-install XP without wiping it, just by not deleting the partition during the install.
admiral51
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Post by admiral51 »

Hi Xac

I have tried a system restore in safe mode but it has made no difference :evil:

As for the MCE part of XP im not really that bothered with it never used to be honest :)

My thoughts on having the HD drives formatted was that i would then start from scratch with XP installed and hopefully a clean system

As you can see im not that tech with computers :lol:

Colin
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Post by Xaccers »

The best thing is to wipe the drives (delete partitions during install) and start from scratch.
Of course if you've got personal data and no backups then wiping might be an issue.
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myglaren
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Post by myglaren »

Most Packard Bell's have a hidden partition to restore the OS from, rather than discs.
Try booting and hitting F12 while it POSTs
There should then be instructions for a complete reinstall or a repair install that will leave your files intact.
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spider
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Post by spider »

myglaren wrote:Most Packard Bell's have a hidden partition to restore the OS from, rather than discs.
Try booting and hitting F12 while it POSTs
There should then be instructions for a complete reinstall or a repair install that will leave your files intact.
I'm well against that kind of supplied setup, as its not good unless you can burn recovery disks.

I remember about ten years ago asking about recovery options in a well known shop and they said it was partition only, so I asked what would happen if the hard drive died completely, they did not have an answer for me.
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Post by Xaccers »

spider wrote:
myglaren wrote:Most Packard Bell's have a hidden partition to restore the OS from, rather than discs.
Try booting and hitting F12 while it POSTs
There should then be instructions for a complete reinstall or a repair install that will leave your files intact.
I'm well against that kind of supplied setup, as its not good unless you can burn recovery disks.

I remember about ten years ago asking about recovery options in a well known shop and they said it was partition only, so I asked what would happen if the hard drive died completely, they did not have an answer for me.
What they should have said was "Bring it in, pay us a fortune, and we'll install a standard copy of XP home for you, but not give you the disc so you have to come back if anything goes wrong again"
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spider
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Post by spider »

Xac wrote: What they should have said was "Bring it in, pay us a fortune, and we'll install a standard copy of XP home for you, but not give you the disc so you have to come back if anything goes wrong again"
Its interesting to note they will not usually supply it without an OS.

With a deduction of the OEM cost (or perhaps 30-50% of the OEM cost, which will probably be their 'real' bulk cost) despite how much you ask...

I think I told them I was going to install Suse 'nix at the time, which resulted in more blank looks.

That particular retailer (not related to my 'bank' thread at all, different completely supplier) has improved a fair bit now, and they do supply recovery disks, or at least an option to create one.


Off topic: I recall various Compaq servers have their actual bios in a hidden partition, although its easy to put back if needed, just their bios nothing else its a half sensible idea (as the cmos is tiny and only needs to store the config not the code)