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Repair Reinstallation FROZEN! Help??

After having numerous problems beginning w/ a sudden restart of my computer while browsing the internet in mid-June and getting progressively worse (My Documents folder disappeared, unable to start any programs, taskbar disappeared, unable to access task manager, frozen after startup and log-in, only able to boot in safe mode... new user profile created and worked fine at first, Ad-aware found a couple low-risk data miners and removed them, I was able to access old user's allegedly non-existent My Docs folder from new profile, but unable to install new McAfee anti-virus software because my "version of Windows is not supported" - my virus software had expired, and unable to backup my 1000's of files to external drives, then at end of June my new user profile started having problems, all web browsers stopped working, unable to access internet except to send error reports to Microsoft, no web browsing, no program updates, can't get updates to AdAware).

I use ZoneAlarm but these problems happened before the July 9 XP update (I never got this update).

I should mention that 6 other people I know here in town are having the same problem, starting in June. I have a Dell Dimension 4300S which I've upgraded w/ more RAM and a new hard drive a couple years ago. 2 of the other people having these problems have newer, faster computers.

After discussing this for a long time in the Virus forums (they don't think it's a virus, I do), I did several system restores (my computer is "unable to restore to" any of my restore points, going back to April (there are none prior to April 20).

Someone there suggested I reinstall Windows, but I wanted to try a repair reinstallation first so I wouldn't lose all my files and programs. I chose the "upgrade" option on my WindowsXP disk since it detected I already had XP installed (there was no "repair" option anywhere to be found, so I'm assuming this was it), and it told me it would only update Windows files but keep my programs and personal files intact, so I thought, sounds good. The problem is that this "upgrade" has been hanging at the "Installing Windows" point since last night, and it has said it has 34 minutes left since then.

The CD is still cycling through the text screens describing the new features of XP, so it's not *entirely* frozen, and I can move my cursor, but hitting Esc does nothing, and I'm afraid to turn the computer off in the middle of a Windows repair reinstallation.

Windows Experts, what should I do???

I desperately need to finish a graphic design job on this computer (I don't have the programs I need on my Mac and can't afford to buy the Mac versions any time soon, barely making rent), and I need it to be able to connect to the internet. I was really hoping this repair reinstall would work.

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My idea:

In reply to: Repair Reinstallation FROZEN! Help??

buy a new hard disk and do a clean install of Windows XP. First reset the BIOS to something called 'defaults' or 'safe defaults'. If that fails on a new hard disk, it's time for either a new motherboard or a totally new computer (that's practically the same).

Then mount the existing hard disk in an external enclosure and see what data you can get off it. Then repartition and format it and if that gives no errors, you've got a spare disk to use somewhere.

Takes twe days at most. Maybe even one day until it's ready for finishing your job. The finer details can be done later.

Hope this helps.


Kees
Kees

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Thank you for your quick reply!

In reply to: My idea:

O.K., if the motherboard was the problem, does anyone know where to get a cheap desktop P.C. w/ no extras? Just a desktop body and motherboard w/ a new hard drive in it, NO operating system included? Or I could buy the hard drive separately. The only problem I have w/ my current Dell is I can't fit more than 1 hard drive inside of it, so if I was getting a new motherboard I may as well get a new computer "body" or whatever, right? Or not. I could get a new motherboard. I don't necessarily need more than 1 hard drive inside the computer, if I could get the damn thing to let me copy files to external drive (as it is, my Lacie drives are recognized by plug n play when I mount them, as external storage devices manufactured by Lacie, and they show up as working properly in control panel, but I could never get them to show up in Windows Explorer, so they were useless. I couldn't copy files to them. They work fine w/ my new Mac, though).

I'm just trying to figure out what would be the cheapest route here. It is an 8-year-old computer, but I can't afford to spend more than a couple hundred dollars, and even that I'd have to try to borrow.

I have an operating system, a color monitor, tons of programs, etc. I don't know where to get a reliable, inexpensive computer online w/o Windows Vista included. I'm not interested in a new OS at this time.

Thanks!

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I didn't say it was the motherboard.

In reply to: Thank you for your quick reply!

It could be any hardware component, including the disk.

Your choice to jump to buying a new computer if - maybe - a hard disk is enough. The problem with first buying a hard disk for your current computer is that that is an IDE drive, while most new ones use SATA.

I would advice to go to a local PC shop to assemble your new computer, if you buy one. Most, if not all, things you can buy on Internet come with XP or Vista.
If you already have a Mac, are you sure you need one with Windows also?

And you really should have posted on the problem with your external hard drive earlier than just now. If you use it on the Mac it most probably has a Mac-filesystem. And that can't be read or written in Windows. The simple solutions:
1. One FAT32 partition - can be accessed from both your PC and Mac
2. Separate partitions for Mac and Windows
It has really your own choice to configure it for one machine only.

Kees

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IDE drive?

In reply to: I didn't say it was the motherboard.

"The problem with first buying a hard disk for your current computer is that that is an IDE drive, while most new ones use SATA."

Browsing for hard drives, I saw that some at mwave.com are listed as EIDE, but when I click on the description it doesn't say IDE anywhere. It says ATA-100. This is really, really confusing. I'd like to first buy a new hard drive that's compatible w/ my old Dell, install it w/ Windows, and hook up the old drive as an external. But if the Dell dies on me completely, I'd like to be able to put this new hard drive and my CD burner drive (also 8 yrs old) in a new barebones computer.

Re: going to a local shop to have a computer put together, I should mention I live in a small town and the county's PC shop quoted me $719 for their most basic system w/o an OS!

Researching online, I found a power-saving 'green' "barebones system" at mwave.com ('SHUTTLE K45 intel 945gc chipset Core 2 Duo bare system') for $97. It appears to come w/o a hard drive. It sounds like a good deal, maybe? (it's been many years since I shopped for a PC), but I'm not sure I'd be able to put my old CD burner from my Dell in it. It looks like it can support an IDE hard drive, if I get one for my old Dell and it still doesn't work (am I correct in this?). I'm not sure what the UltraDMA100 part means below...

http://www.mwave.com/mwave/Skusearch.hmx?scriteria=ba24741


STORAGE INTERFACE
# (1) UltraDMA100 IDE channel Master from ICH7
# (2) On-board SATA connector

ONBOARD CONNECTORS
# (2) SATA connector
# (1) ATA100 bus master IDE connector
# (1) ATX main power connector
# (1) ATX 12V power connector
# (2) 4pin fan connectors

Oh, and I do have a newer Mac laptop w/ OSX, but all of my Adobe software is on my PC and I can't afford to buy the Mac versions as well. I also have a ton of sound editing software for my PC that I'd like to continue using, which cost me a great deal. I have about 40-something PC programs for Windows that I need to keep using.

Any further help is greatly appreciated!

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ok, I realized...

In reply to: IDE drive?

I should probably move this to a different forum, since now I'm getting into hardware instead of WindowsXP. Also, I think the above computer is not what I was looking for. I don't think it even comes w/ a power supply.

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