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View Full Version : Windows XP crashed! Save me!


DooWahDiddy
01-20-2005, 07:15 PM
Okay I had a whole BBQ Pit post composed in my mind wherein I took Gateway and Windows XP to the moon and back, but I thought I would trade in my anger and frustration for an impassioned plea for assistance from the fine folks at the SDMB.

My system has totally crashed (Gateway 7200X, WinXP Home, three months old) and even the Restore CD won't work! It starts to work, gets a ways into the Restore process, then says "Runtime error: abnormal program termination" and the system reboots.

I tried to take advantage of the joke that is "technical support" at Gateway, but after four phone calls of at least two hours each, and the fact that someone told me that "the guy who transferred you to me didn't want to help you, I guess" I'm at my wit's end. I refuse to believe I have to lose all my data in order to restore this thing, which is what they told me. There has to be another way!

Please help!

kpinocchio
01-20-2005, 08:12 PM
My system has totally crashed (Gateway 7200X, WinXP Home, three months old) and even the Restore CD won't work! It starts to work, gets a ways into the Restore process, then says "Runtime error: abnormal program termination" and the system reboots.

I recently had a similar problem when trying to reinstall Win XP onto a friend's PC. It turned out to be a hardware problem - a dodgy internal modem. After removing the modem Windows installed without incident. Have you had any hardware added recently?

If you try to restore from the restore CDs that came with your computer it will erase any data you have on the disk that Windows is installed on.

DooWahDiddy
01-20-2005, 10:32 PM
The restore disc that it came with gives me the option to do a "non-destructive" reinstall (i.e. does not destroy my data). The thing is, it doesn't get through the entire disc before the computer reboots.

As for the modem thing, I haven't had anything new installed recently, and how would I disable the modem if I can't even get the computer to do anything? I mean I'm really asking; I don't know...

Shagnasty
01-20-2005, 10:45 PM
I you could buy or somehow get your hands on a full-install version of the XP CD, you could try to restore using that. I have had to do that before with other computers.

mks57
01-21-2005, 12:28 AM
Your computer is broken. Gateway should fix it. Attempting to restore the operating system on a broken computer may just make things worse.

How valuable is your data? If it is irreplaceable, you might try removing the hard disk and replacing it with a similar hard disk. After the computer is repaired, and you are sure that it is working properly, you can install the original hard disk as a second hard disk and try to recover your files.

Buy a CD or DVD burner and backup your important files on a regular basis.

Number
01-21-2005, 07:16 AM
The simplest way to preserve your data would be to take the hard drive out of the problem PC, move it to another PC, and copy off what you need.

If you aren't comfortable doing that you could have someone make you a BartPE Book Disk (http://www.nu2.nu/pebuilder/) with the correct network driver. You could boot off it and copy data to another networked PC.

Once you have the data backed up you should try the full destructive restore, though it sounds like that won't work either. You will probably have to take the machine back to Gateway to have the hardware checked out.

Bad RAM is frequently the cause of these kinds of problems. You can test it on your own with the Windows Memory Diagnostic (http://oca.microsoft.com/en/windiag.asp) or Memtest86 (http://www.memtest86.com/). If the RAM is good then they will find no errors.

kinoons
01-21-2005, 12:32 PM
former gateway tech here....

The restoration CD's gateway sends out are not above being messed up...so it is possible you got a bad CD. They will replace if, but you frequently have to make a lot of noise to get that done. Also, the CD's they send out are not "full versions" of windows, but "ghosts" of the system when it was shipped. What you're most likely experiencing is an error trying to get that ghost onto the HDD.

A bad HDD could also be causing the error you're having. Last time I worked there they were sending out 3 restoration CD's. One of them you could use to boot to a dos prompt. If you type in GWScan at that prompt it will bring up a utility to run a test on the HDD just to make sure thats not it.

Your best bet is getting the info off the system somehow (see previous posts) and erasing the whole thing.

Also, good luck getting anyone to replace hardware without completely formating the system and reloading it. Until all software possibilites are eliminated parts generally did not get replaced. (Smart techs could usually tell hardware errors from software ones, but smart tech at Gateway are getting fewer and farther in between)

<hijack> I had a hard drive go bad in my gateway. Ran the GWScan test and it failed, an automatic replacement in any techs book. So I called Gateway, told them I was a former employee, gave them my old badge number, and explained exactly what I did. Homeboy made me trouble shoot the damn thing for 2 hours and then wanted to return the entire system for service. I talked to his supervisor and finally just got the new hard drive sent out, but damn...</hijack>

RevCo
01-21-2005, 02:09 PM
Oh, and I'd like to add to kinoons statement - if Gateway is anything like HP, there are lots of things that can go wrong with restore CD's. The biggest problem we had servicing HP's was the incorrect Restore CD's - the restore CD's that were sent out with the computer didn't work or were from the wrong computer model. Next biggest thing was defective media.

I'd recommend what another said - it's too easy to lose your data in the complete system restore, I'd recommend replacing the Restore CD's, and while they are being shipped, purchase a replacement hard drive and install it as the primary Hard Drive.

DooWahDiddy
01-21-2005, 05:15 PM
Thanks for the answers, guys. I went ahead and called a technician; they're coming out tomorrow at 3:00. My data is just too irreplaceable to be screwing around with this stuff... I have original orchestra scores that I don't have anywhere else, etc... I only had the computer three months, and I just hadn't gotten around to backing everything up yet. My fault, I know.

kinoons, I'm sure you were an exception, but man, you're right about the smart techs becoming extinct. I should send them my damn phone bill for the three-hour toll call where they just constantly transferred me from one person to another. And then the capper was, as I described in the OP, when one girl said, "That case number isn't working for me.... he must have made it up to get you off the phone". *not...in...Pit...holding...tongue*

Anyway, I'll report tomorrow, if anyone's interested. I'm kind of on pins and needles tonight though, just hoping that my data is recoverable...

I will also look into replacing the Restore CDs, should this happen again...

kinoons
01-21-2005, 05:27 PM
It is possible to pull data off of a dead HDD if the info is super uber unreplaceable...

http://www.drivesavers.com/index4.html

http://www.drivecrash.com/

disclaimer -- these two links are just the first two that came up with a google search, no assoication or experience with them, just demonstrating they do exist.

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