Need help, another computer won't boot

Dell Inspiron 530 desktop , two years old. Pentium dual core, WinXP Home, 2 GB RAM, 1 TB external HDD. Have a USP with computer and other stuff connected. wireless router, cable internet. Avast antivirus, several antispyware programs. I backup weekly with Retrospect, have a rescue disc. Also use Macrium to create image monthly.

So, yesterday was online (actually reading a post on the Dope) when the screen froze. Could not use mouse or keys, could not get to Start. So, held the on button for a few seconds to reboot.

Up came the Win flash screen, but the bar showing loading usually only would go by five or so times before getting to the welcome screen and then the desktop. This time it just kept going and going. After about five minutes, turned it off again. Restarted, same deal.

So then turned off the switch on the UPS which shut off the computer. Waited 30 seconds, turned it back on, and got the notice about improper shut off. It had the choice of going to Safe Mode which I picked, but then it went nowhere. Same deal when I hit F8 to get into safe mode.

I thought maybe the HDD was shot, but if the flash screen came up, and the mouse worked, figured Win must be corrupted.

I also put in the Win install disk and tried the Repair, but that went a while and stopped too. That was late last night, so can’t recall just what happened.

So, got out my Retrospect recovery CD. It gave me the choice to boot from the CD. What that did some time ago when I had to do a restore, was downloads a bunch of drivers and installs a stripped-down version of Win, just to get into the Retrospect program to do a restore. Last time it worked like a charm. This time it downloaded all the Win files, then just came to a stop again.

Then tried the Macrium restore CD. The image is stored on my external HD. It opened, gave me some choices, went from screen to screen, and found the image. Then I proceeded to the part where it starts to restore. It shows a progress bar, but nothing at all happened. Bummer.

By this time had to go to bed. This morning I tried the Macrium again, same deal. So, once again turned everything off, turned the UPS back on, hit the compurter ON button, and this time got a Win screen which said “volume is dirty,” “checking file system on C,” then CHKDSK started and eventually said “100% complete.” Then, “CHKDSK verifying index, Stage 1 of 3” That took a long time, then “Correcting error in index $I30 for file 8186.”

Then it started listing a long series of things going too fast to read, but something like “Recovering orphan or planned directory” with a lot more can’t read. That has been going on now for more than two hours. I am going to let it run its course, even if it takes all day.

Does anybody know what the heck is going on here, or how long that will last? I know it started wtih Stage 1, but not sitting watching this all scroll down, so no idea now what stage it is in now.

If anything good happens will post again, but meanwhile, anybody have any idea what went wrong, how to fix it (without a clean install if possile)?

Obviously it is the fault of the Dope, as that is where I was when it froze. Who do I sue? :smiley:

Blast the thing with a clean format.

Hopefully, you are backing regularly to make this a non-issue.

You’re likely to cause much less headaches by doing a clean format. The frozen Windows “initiating” screen is usually the result of a corrupted install. There are many, many solutions to this but none that are guaranteed to work. Reformat, reinstall windows, and off you go.

If you have a lot of critical information on the HDD that you can’t afford to lose, I would begin seeking professional help. They’ll probably tell you that they need to format (since most of them are lazy).

EDIT: See your current attempt through, but I wouldn’t look into it much beyond that. You’ll probably save yourself a ton of hassle by overanalyzing.

Oh dear. Please slap your wrist. You’ve already chosen to start the nuclear option so there’s no way back. It sounds like you were tired and sort of panicked. The first thing to do is to stop and think. Then inspect the laptop. In particular, was/is it getting hot? If so, was/is the fan working? Quite often, all these things need is a blast of compressed air to clean out accumulated dust.

I would agree that overheating causes a whole slew of problems, but I don’t think this is one of them.

If everything successfully boots (mobo posts, video card spins/displays, hard drive is churning properly) then I doubt it’s a heat issue.

It may be; it may not be. But it’s one thing the OP should check. In general, you want to try everything that’s non-destructive first.

It’s easy to do and worth ruling out, I’ll concede that.

Being destructive is the easiest option. That is why backing up regularly is a very good idea.

It’s easy to do (depending upon your medium, I suppose), and it makes reformating painless.

I sometimes spend a few weeks trying to troubleshoot a problem with many different opinions and sets of advice, but sometimes it’s easier just to forego it all.

I had mentioned that it was a desktop. I have a program that monitors the CPU and box temps, and it was running well within parameters. I also mentioned that I backup at least weekly, and also backup a mirror image.

The stupid CHKDSK is still running after five hours now. If it ever stops, and actually fixes things, fine. Otherwise, will have to bite the bullet and format and reinstall.

If it comes to that, am hoping that I can then install just Retrospect and do a complete Restore. I have had computers crash, and gotten the blue-screen-of-death a couple of times, but the backup program always brought me back to where I was perfectly. Hope that will work again if I have to reinstall Windows.

I’ve been using computers since 1981, so am somewhat experienced, and have learned a bunch of great swearwords when trying to fix them.

Worth running memtest for a few passes, and also a hard disk diagnostic. I keep a copy of Ultimate Boot CD handy Seatools diagnostic is the one I use for most hard drive investigations.

Well, persistence pays. I started the chkdsk yesterday, and it ran for, believe it or not, 23 hours, and then, amazingly, the desktop was back. Weird.