Discussion:
OT - "repairing" Windows XP installation
(too old to reply)
Lobster
2009-01-24 08:31:08 UTC
Permalink
Was just wondering... my PC is running increasingly badly and crashing
more often, to the extent that I reckon I need to reformat the HD and do
a clean re-install of XP, which no doubt will cure the problem.

However, as a no-risk option I thought it might first be worth trying to
'repair' the existing installation, which is one of the options on my XP
bootable CD.

How would that work, given that my XP disks are (IIRC) SP1, and I'm
currently running SP3? Does that matter or will I screw everything up
if I try?

Thanks
David
Rod
2009-01-24 09:00:57 UTC
Permalink
Post by Lobster
Was just wondering... my PC is running increasingly badly and crashing
more often, to the extent that I reckon I need to reformat the HD and do
a clean re-install of XP, which no doubt will cure the problem.
However, as a no-risk option I thought it might first be worth trying to
'repair' the existing installation, which is one of the options on my XP
bootable CD.
How would that work, given that my XP disks are (IIRC) SP1, and I'm
currently running SP3? Does that matter or will I screw everything up
if I try?
Thanks
David
I don't think that repair option does as you wish.

How high a spec. is your machine?

I ask because in considering similar, I would be tempted to try a
virtual machine if my machine were suitable. (Not enough memory or disc
space on this laptop I use.) This comes partly from partner's very
positive experience of running XP within a virtual machine on her Mac
(using VMWare Fusion). And partly from using VMWare way back (to run 98
within W2K).

My thought is that you could build a new environment, test it, transfer
stuff, etc. When happy with that, rebuild a basic environment,
re-install the virtual machine software and run what you created
earlier. With sufficient disc space you can keep several copies of your
virtual machine.

However, I do not know the current costs, supported configurations,
licensing issues, etc.
--
Rod

Hypothyroidism is a seriously debilitating condition with an insidious
onset.
Although common it frequently goes undiagnosed.
<www.thyromind.info> <www.thyroiduk.org> <www.altsupportthyroid.org>
PCPaul
2009-01-24 09:55:05 UTC
Permalink
Post by Rod
Post by Lobster
Was just wondering... my PC is running increasingly badly and crashing
more often, to the extent that I reckon I need to reformat the HD and
do a clean re-install of XP, which no doubt will cure the problem.
However, as a no-risk option I thought it might first be worth trying
to 'repair' the existing installation, which is one of the options on
my XP bootable CD.
How would that work, given that my XP disks are (IIRC) SP1, and I'm
currently running SP3? Does that matter or will I screw everything up
if I try?
Thanks
David
I don't think that repair option does as you wish.
How high a spec. is your machine?
I ask because in considering similar, I would be tempted to try a
virtual machine if my machine were suitable. (Not enough memory or disc
space on this laptop I use.) This comes partly from partner's very
positive experience of running XP within a virtual machine on her Mac
(using VMWare Fusion). And partly from using VMWare way back (to run 98
within W2K).
My thought is that you could build a new environment, test it, transfer
stuff, etc. When happy with that, rebuild a basic environment,
re-install the virtual machine software and run what you created
earlier. With sufficient disc space you can keep several copies of your
virtual machine.
However, I do not know the current costs, supported configurations,
licensing issues, etc.
A VM solution could work well, unless the OP uses a lot of very graphics
intensive programs - games etc. Apart from that, VMs work well. Feed them
RAM though, as much as you can fit in.

Another alternative is a 'parallel installation' of XP into another
directory, say C:\WINNT2. You should then get the choice at bootup which
to use, and still keep access to the exisitng files. You can also boot
the old one if you need specific apps which you can't/don't want to
install on the new one.
Rod
2009-01-24 11:31:31 UTC
Permalink
Post by PCPaul
Post by Rod
Post by Lobster
Was just wondering... my PC is running increasingly badly and crashing
more often, to the extent that I reckon I need to reformat the HD and
do a clean re-install of XP, which no doubt will cure the problem.
However, as a no-risk option I thought it might first be worth trying
to 'repair' the existing installation, which is one of the options on
my XP bootable CD.
How would that work, given that my XP disks are (IIRC) SP1, and I'm
currently running SP3? Does that matter or will I screw everything up
if I try?
Thanks
David
I don't think that repair option does as you wish.
How high a spec. is your machine?
I ask because in considering similar, I would be tempted to try a
virtual machine if my machine were suitable. (Not enough memory or disc
space on this laptop I use.) This comes partly from partner's very
positive experience of running XP within a virtual machine on her Mac
(using VMWare Fusion). And partly from using VMWare way back (to run 98
within W2K).
My thought is that you could build a new environment, test it, transfer
stuff, etc. When happy with that, rebuild a basic environment,
re-install the virtual machine software and run what you created
earlier. With sufficient disc space you can keep several copies of your
virtual machine.
However, I do not know the current costs, supported configurations,
licensing issues, etc.
A VM solution could work well, unless the OP uses a lot of very graphics
intensive programs - games etc. Apart from that, VMs work well. Feed them
RAM though, as much as you can fit in.
Another alternative is a 'parallel installation' of XP into another
directory, say C:\WINNT2. You should then get the choice at bootup which
to use, and still keep access to the exisitng files. You can also boot
the old one if you need specific apps which you can't/don't want to
install on the new one.
Yep - the old dual boot is definitely a good idea. Much better than
risking trashing the existing system without a proven working alternative.

I feel the possibility of copying a VM (once you have created one) from
one physical box to another and just running it is a mega-advantage.
(Not an argument!)
--
Rod

Hypothyroidism is a seriously debilitating condition with an insidious
onset.
Although common it frequently goes undiagnosed.
<www.thyromind.info> <www.thyroiduk.org> <www.altsupportthyroid.org>
Rod
2009-01-24 18:22:05 UTC
Permalink
Post by Rod
Post by Lobster
Was just wondering... my PC is running increasingly badly and
crashing more often, to the extent that I reckon I need to reformat
the HD and do a clean re-install of XP, which no doubt will cure the
problem.
However, as a no-risk option I thought it might first be worth trying
to 'repair' the existing installation, which is one of the options on
my XP bootable CD.
How would that work, given that my XP disks are (IIRC) SP1, and I'm
currently running SP3? Does that matter or will I screw everything
up if I try?
Thanks
David
I don't think that repair option does as you wish.
How high a spec. is your machine?
I ask because in considering similar, I would be tempted to try a
virtual machine if my machine were suitable. (Not enough memory or
disc space on this laptop I use.) This comes partly from partner's
very positive experience of running XP within a virtual machine on her
Mac (using VMWare Fusion). And partly from using VMWare way back (to
run 98 within W2K).
My thought is that you could build a new environment, test it,
transfer stuff, etc. When happy with that, rebuild a basic
environment, re-install the virtual machine software and run what you
created earlier. With sufficient disc space you can keep several
copies of your virtual machine.
However, I do not know the current costs, supported configurations,
licensing issues, etc.
Thanks for all the replies. Sounds like the answer to my original
question is "no" then!
I've already done most of the tricks and tests people have suggested
(but not all, and I'll follow those up).
I'm intrigued by the idea of running a virtual machine though.
Currently I have several networked machines running XP Home for family
use; they are all fairly old and low-spec ones, and the idea of buying
one new decent one to use as a server for the others sounds attractive.
I've also had positive experience of using VMs from an employer, both
working from home over the internet and working in the office. It had
never occurred to me to be able to reproduce that at home - I thought it
was pretty high-level, and expensive business software etc. Is it a
realistic proposition for an only averagely competent Windows home user
to get involved with? Anyone got any useful links to share?
Thanks
David
Getting a VM up and running is simple to anyone with any understanding
of PCs.

The difficult bits are making the right choice of VM software (Virtual
PC from MS, VMWare or Virtual Box) - <http://www.virtualbox.org/> -
keeping costs sensible, and not transgressing any licenses. (Or at
least, not such that you cause yourself a problem.)

I have two PCs at present. One laptop dedicated to XP. And a desktop
that I only ever use via Remote Desktop - which runs Vista for
'research' purposes. I keep meaning to get some other operating systems
on that machine - but have not yet decided what way round to do things.

Would happily tell you more but I am a bit out of touch with it on the
Windows front.
--
Rod

Hypothyroidism is a seriously debilitating condition with an insidious
onset.
Although common it frequently goes undiagnosed.
<www.thyromind.info> <www.thyroiduk.org> <www.altsupportthyroid.org>
Colin Wilson
2009-01-24 18:34:23 UTC
Permalink
Post by Rod
Would happily tell you more but I am a bit out of touch with it on the
Windows front.
Virtualbox is a good one to go for - i've got about 9 "machines" set
up under my install of it.
Rod
2009-01-24 22:54:58 UTC
Permalink
Post by Colin Wilson
Post by Rod
Would happily tell you more but I am a bit out of touch with it on the
Windows front.
Virtualbox is a good one to go for - i've got about 9 "machines" set
up under my install of it.
For fun I just installed virtualbox on my Vista desktop. Then created an
ubuntu VM. Ran it - it worked. All done remotely from my XP laptop.

Managed all of that, including the downloads, within the time partner
was on the phone to her sister. Nothing difficult. Instructions readily
available on the net.
--
Rod

Hypothyroidism is a seriously debilitating condition with an insidious
onset.
Although common it frequently goes undiagnosed.
<www.thyromind.info> <www.thyroiduk.org> <www.altsupportthyroid.org>
Lobster
2009-01-24 17:29:06 UTC
Permalink
Post by Rod
Post by Lobster
Was just wondering... my PC is running increasingly badly and crashing
more often, to the extent that I reckon I need to reformat the HD and
do a clean re-install of XP, which no doubt will cure the problem.
However, as a no-risk option I thought it might first be worth trying
to 'repair' the existing installation, which is one of the options on
my XP bootable CD.
How would that work, given that my XP disks are (IIRC) SP1, and I'm
currently running SP3? Does that matter or will I screw everything up
if I try?
Thanks
David
I don't think that repair option does as you wish.
How high a spec. is your machine?
I ask because in considering similar, I would be tempted to try a
virtual machine if my machine were suitable. (Not enough memory or disc
space on this laptop I use.) This comes partly from partner's very
positive experience of running XP within a virtual machine on her Mac
(using VMWare Fusion). And partly from using VMWare way back (to run 98
within W2K).
My thought is that you could build a new environment, test it, transfer
stuff, etc. When happy with that, rebuild a basic environment,
re-install the virtual machine software and run what you created
earlier. With sufficient disc space you can keep several copies of your
virtual machine.
However, I do not know the current costs, supported configurations,
licensing issues, etc.
Thanks for all the replies. Sounds like the answer to my original
question is "no" then!

I've already done most of the tricks and tests people have suggested
(but not all, and I'll follow those up).

I'm intrigued by the idea of running a virtual machine though.
Currently I have several networked machines running XP Home for family
use; they are all fairly old and low-spec ones, and the idea of buying
one new decent one to use as a server for the others sounds attractive.
I've also had positive experience of using VMs from an employer, both
working from home over the internet and working in the office. It had
never occurred to me to be able to reproduce that at home - I thought it
was pretty high-level, and expensive business software etc. Is it a
realistic proposition for an only averagely competent Windows home user
to get involved with? Anyone got any useful links to share?

Thanks
David
The Natural Philosopher
2009-01-25 02:46:12 UTC
Permalink
I'm intrigued by the idea of running a virtual machine though.
Currently I have several networked machines running XP Home for family
use; they are all fairly old and low-spec ones, and the idea of buying
one new decent one to use as a server for the others sounds attractive.
Sadly that is exactly the wrong way round.

Servers don't need huge power or RAM

Desktops do. The biggest chewers of CPU cycles and RAM are graphics
intensive apps - video stuff, web browsers running scripts and the like.

Grappng data off a disk and spitting it out of an ethernet port can be
dne by a cvverty low spec machine. I have an entry level motherboard and
512Mbyte of Ram and its more than adequate.

Wheras to run a decent video screen you need at least a GHZ of processor
and at least a gig of ram, maybe more.
I've also had positive experience of using VMs from an employer, both
working from home over the internet and working in the office. It had
never occurred to me to be able to reproduce that at home - I thought it
was pretty high-level, and expensive business software etc. Is it a
realistic proposition for an only averagely competent Windows home user
to get involved with? Anyone got any useful links to share?
Get an old machine witha decent amont of ram, get linux going for fun,
and see how you go.
Thanks
David
thescullster
2009-01-24 09:11:34 UTC
Permalink
Post by Lobster
Was just wondering... my PC is running increasingly badly and crashing
more often, to the extent that I reckon I need to reformat the HD and do a
clean re-install of XP, which no doubt will cure the problem.
Have you tried running hardware diagnostics first?
Slo-o-o-w running I have found is often due to clutter, but crashing can be
memory failure etc.
Did you get a diagnostic CD with your PC?
I would consider at the least running a memory check as issues here can
regularly result in frequent crashes.
Should be able to download free memory test - sorry don't have link to hand


Phil
Mike Clarke
2009-01-24 10:09:22 UTC
Permalink
Post by thescullster
Should be able to download free memory test - sorry don't have link to hand
http://www.memtest.org/
--
Mike Clarke
Arthur53
2009-01-24 10:00:59 UTC
Permalink
Post by Lobster
Was just wondering... my PC is running increasingly badly and crashing
more often, to the extent that I reckon I need to reformat the HD and do a
clean re-install of XP, which no doubt will cure the problem.
However, as a no-risk option I thought it might first be worth trying to
'repair' the existing installation, which is one of the options on my XP
bootable CD.
How would that work, given that my XP disks are (IIRC) SP1, and I'm
currently running SP3? Does that matter or will I screw everything up if
I try?
You could try the System Restore if you have it running.
I had some kind of virus/trojan eating up my chip last week.
I used SR to restore the system to its condition of a week earlier.
No problems now!

Arthur
Dave Plowman (News)
2009-01-24 10:01:50 UTC
Permalink
Post by Lobster
Was just wondering... my PC is running increasingly badly and crashing
more often, to the extent that I reckon I need to reformat the HD and do
a clean re-install of XP, which no doubt will cure the problem.
Have you tried CCleaner?
Post by Lobster
However, as a no-risk option I thought it might first be worth trying to
'repair' the existing installation, which is one of the options on my XP
bootable CD.
How would that work, given that my XP disks are (IIRC) SP1, and I'm
currently running SP3? Does that matter or will I screw everything up
if I try?
XP has a system restore facility. It works on dates - so if you remember
when you installed service pack 3 you could try going back to before that.
It gave me all sorts of problems here so that's what I did.

But don't take my way as gospel. PCs are a bit of a black art here. ;-)
--
*It's lonely at the top, but you eat better.

Dave Plowman ***@davenoise.co.uk London SW
To e-mail, change noise into sound.
John
2009-01-24 10:33:19 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dave Plowman (News)
Post by Lobster
Was just wondering... my PC is running increasingly badly and crashing
more often, to the extent that I reckon I need to reformat the HD and do
a clean re-install of XP, which no doubt will cure the problem.
Have you tried CCleaner?
Post by Lobster
However, as a no-risk option I thought it might first be worth trying to
'repair' the existing installation, which is one of the options on my XP
bootable CD.
How would that work, given that my XP disks are (IIRC) SP1, and I'm
currently running SP3? Does that matter or will I screw everything up
if I try?
XP has a system restore facility. It works on dates - so if you remember
when you installed service pack 3 you could try going back to before that.
It gave me all sorts of problems here so that's what I did.
But don't take my way as gospel. PCs are a bit of a black art here. ;-)
--
*It's lonely at the top, but you eat better.
To e-mail, change noise into sound.
I regularly use this to keep a check on changes to performance. Used it for
years. (although I prefer the "old test")
John
2009-01-24 10:33:40 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dave Plowman (News)
Post by Lobster
Was just wondering... my PC is running increasingly badly and crashing
more often, to the extent that I reckon I need to reformat the HD and do
a clean re-install of XP, which no doubt will cure the problem.
Have you tried CCleaner?
Post by Lobster
However, as a no-risk option I thought it might first be worth trying to
'repair' the existing installation, which is one of the options on my XP
bootable CD.
How would that work, given that my XP disks are (IIRC) SP1, and I'm
currently running SP3? Does that matter or will I screw everything up
if I try?
XP has a system restore facility. It works on dates - so if you remember
when you installed service pack 3 you could try going back to before that.
It gave me all sorts of problems here so that's what I did.
But don't take my way as gospel. PCs are a bit of a black art here. ;-)
--
*It's lonely at the top, but you eat better.
To e-mail, change noise into sound.
Sorry:

http://pcpitstop.com/

Give it a go.
Appelation Controlee
2009-01-24 18:31:30 UTC
Permalink
Post by John
[27 quoted lines suppressed]
http://pcpitstop.com/
Give it a go.
You have to pay for the end-to-end functionality.
Why not get System Mechanic, which is - AFAIK - currently free?
David in Normandy
2009-01-24 11:09:42 UTC
Permalink
Post by Lobster
Was just wondering... my PC is running increasingly badly and crashing
more often, to the extent that I reckon I need to reformat the HD and do
a clean re-install of XP, which no doubt will cure the problem.
However, as a no-risk option I thought it might first be worth trying to
'repair' the existing installation, which is one of the options on my XP
bootable CD.
How would that work, given that my XP disks are (IIRC) SP1, and I'm
currently running SP3? Does that matter or will I screw everything up
if I try?
Thanks
David
If the machine is increasingly running slowly and is unstable two common
causes are virus infestation or the hard drive is starting to fail and
having to do a lot of IO attempts to get and write data. You can
download tools to check the health of your hard drive.
--
David in Normandy. ***@yahoo.fr
To e-mail you must include the password FROG on the
subject line, or it will be automatically deleted
by a filter and not reach my inbox.
Dave Baker
2009-01-24 12:30:21 UTC
Permalink
Post by Lobster
Was just wondering... my PC is running increasingly badly and crashing
more often, to the extent that I reckon I need to reformat the HD and do a
clean re-install of XP, which no doubt will cure the problem.
However, as a no-risk option I thought it might first be worth trying to
'repair' the existing installation, which is one of the options on my XP
bootable CD.
How would that work, given that my XP disks are (IIRC) SP1, and I'm
currently running SP3? Does that matter or will I screw everything up if
I try?
Crashing is more likely to be a hardware fault than a windows one. XP is
fairly fault tolerant and usually if something goes wrong it will usually
just be an application that stops running rather than the whole system
crashing. First thing I'd do is download CCleaner (Crap Cleaner) which I
recommended on here a year or so ago. It will remove all the unwanted temp
files and cookies that build up over time and slow the pc down. Be sure to
mark any cookies you want to save because they have website preferences set
up in them first in the "Options", "Cookies" section. That will probably
mean ploughing through a listing of hundreds of them to find the ones you
want to keep but once you've done it you can run CCleaner every day in
seconds. The first time I ran it it removed several thousand unwanted files
and even on a daily basis it gets rid of up to 100 mb of crap that websites
have stored on your disk. Also run its Registry Clean option every now and
then.

Second thing to do is run a decent anti-malware program to see if anything
nasty is lurking on the disk. I suggest MalwareBytes AntiMalware (MBAM).
It's completely free, doesn't have any adware or spyware in it and doesn't
hog system resources. It will deal with most viruses, trojans, spyware and
adware but I've just had to manually remove a couple of really nasty trojans
using the Recovery Console that had made themselves undeleteable on both the
disk and in the registry. If you come across anything that tricky then ask
on alt.comp.anti-virus.

Third thing to do is to become better aquainted with the usual running
processes shown in Task Manager so you can spot unwanted ones i.e viruses
more quickly. Type the name of a process you're not familiar with into
Google and you'll find a website somewhere telling you what it is and
whether it's a normal part of Windows or malware. Soon you'll be able to
scan down the list in seconds and tell at a glance if you have something new
and unwanted in there.

It's also a good idea to go into Control Panel, Add/Remove Programs and get
rid of anything you no longer want. Be aware though most uninstalls don't
get rid of everything. You still often have to go manually into both
Programme Files and Documents and Settings to delete directories and files
the install created.

If after all that you are still having problems then either it's XP or
hardware. Instructions for a repair from CD are here

http://www.michaelstevenstech.com/XPrepairinstall.htm

but you'd be better off with a slipstreamed CD that already has the service
packs on it because the repair will remove them otherwise and you'll have to
download them again.
--
Dave Baker
Stuart Noble
2009-01-24 13:02:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dave Baker
Post by Lobster
Was just wondering... my PC is running increasingly badly and crashing
more often, to the extent that I reckon I need to reformat the HD and do a
clean re-install of XP, which no doubt will cure the problem.
However, as a no-risk option I thought it might first be worth trying to
'repair' the existing installation, which is one of the options on my XP
bootable CD.
How would that work, given that my XP disks are (IIRC) SP1, and I'm
currently running SP3? Does that matter or will I screw everything up if
I try?
Crashing is more likely to be a hardware fault than a windows one. XP is
fairly fault tolerant and usually if something goes wrong it will usually
just be an application that stops running rather than the whole system
crashing. First thing I'd do is download CCleaner (Crap Cleaner) which I
recommended on here a year or so ago. It will remove all the unwanted temp
files and cookies that build up over time and slow the pc down. Be sure to
mark any cookies you want to save because they have website preferences set
up in them first in the "Options", "Cookies" section. That will probably
mean ploughing through a listing of hundreds of them to find the ones you
want to keep but once you've done it you can run CCleaner every day in
seconds. The first time I ran it it removed several thousand unwanted files
and even on a daily basis it gets rid of up to 100 mb of crap that websites
have stored on your disk. Also run its Registry Clean option every now and
then.
Second thing to do is run a decent anti-malware program to see if anything
nasty is lurking on the disk. I suggest MalwareBytes AntiMalware (MBAM).
It's completely free, doesn't have any adware or spyware in it and doesn't
hog system resources. It will deal with most viruses, trojans, spyware and
adware but I've just had to manually remove a couple of really nasty trojans
using the Recovery Console that had made themselves undeleteable on both the
disk and in the registry. If you come across anything that tricky then ask
on alt.comp.anti-virus.
Third thing to do is to become better aquainted with the usual running
processes shown in Task Manager so you can spot unwanted ones i.e viruses
more quickly. Type the name of a process you're not familiar with into
Google and you'll find a website somewhere telling you what it is and
whether it's a normal part of Windows or malware. Soon you'll be able to
scan down the list in seconds and tell at a glance if you have something new
and unwanted in there.
It's also a good idea to go into Control Panel, Add/Remove Programs and get
rid of anything you no longer want. Be aware though most uninstalls don't
get rid of everything. You still often have to go manually into both
Programme Files and Documents and Settings to delete directories and files
the install created.
If after all that you are still having problems then either it's XP or
hardware. Instructions for a repair from CD are here
http://www.michaelstevenstech.com/XPrepairinstall.htm
but you'd be better off with a slipstreamed CD that already has the service
packs on it because the repair will remove them otherwise and you'll have to
download them again.
Just don't rely on system restore. Mine goes through the motions then,
after reboot, it says it wasn't possible, try another date. Same thing
whatever date I choose. Turned the bugger off. I don't know (or care)
what the problem is BTW
Dave Baker
2009-01-24 13:41:54 UTC
Permalink
Post by Stuart Noble
Just don't rely on system restore. Mine goes through the motions then,
after reboot, it says it wasn't possible, try another date. Same thing
whatever date I choose. Turned the bugger off. I don't know (or care) what
the problem is BTW
System Restore works extremely well and reliably so if yours isn't then
either you have malware which is crippling it or a serious windows
installation problem. System Restore is a good way of getting rid of malware
so it's becoming more common for viruses and trojans to disable it first as
part of their procedures. Even if you don't care I still suggest you
download Malwarebytes AntiMalware and see what it comes up with. There are
some really unpleasant malwares going about at the moment like Vundo which
can be very difficult to remove unless you're seriously au fait with what
goes on under the hood on your pc. I keep a fairly close eye on my pc
security and what's going on under the hood but I've still got landed with
two real stinkers in the last couple of weeks which had me struggling to
shift them for a while despite me being very experienced at that type of
thing.

Hackers have found ways to make their virus files almost impossible to
delete either in Normal mode or Safe mode by linking them into other
processes which tell you the file is in use and so can't be deleted. You
have to do it from a boot CD or the Recovery Console or by putting the disk
into another machine as the D drive. You still have to know enough to find
them in the first place though so you know what to delete.

Also keep an eye on any other unusual behaviour such as Google searches
taking you to sites other than the ones you were expecting.
--
Dave Baker
Dave Baker
2009-01-24 13:45:56 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dave Baker
Post by Stuart Noble
Just don't rely on system restore. Mine goes through the motions then,
after reboot, it says it wasn't possible, try another date. Same thing
whatever date I choose. Turned the bugger off. I don't know (or care)
what the problem is BTW
System Restore works extremely well and reliably so if yours isn't then
either you have malware which is crippling it or a serious windows
installation problem. System Restore is a good way of getting rid of
malware so it's becoming more common for viruses and trojans to disable it
first as part of their procedures. Even if you don't care I still suggest
you download Malwarebytes AntiMalware and see what it comes up with.
The other anti-malware program which is getting a very good reputation is
SuperAntiSpyware. It's a wanky name but a good program. Also never download
anything stated to remove malware that you see in Google ads or on websites
unless you really know it's a genuine product. Half of these things actually
instal malware rather than remove it.
--
Dave Baker
%steve%@malloc.co.uk (Steve Firth)
2009-01-24 13:58:19 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dave Baker
Post by Stuart Noble
Just don't rely on system restore. Mine goes through the motions then,
after reboot, it says it wasn't possible, try another date. Same thing
whatever date I choose. Turned the bugger off. I don't know (or care) what
the problem is BTW
System Restore works extremely well and reliably so if yours isn't then
either you have malware which is crippling it or a serious windows
installation problem. System Restore is a good way of getting rid of malware
so it's becoming more common for viruses and trojans to disable it first as
part of their procedures.
[snip]

I like the way in which you declare that XP is a fine robust OS and that
all problems are hardware glitches. Then you go on (and on) for long
paragraphs discussing problems that are solely software issues and the
fact that the Windows security model sucks donkey dick.
Dave Baker
2009-01-25 03:02:53 UTC
Permalink
Post by %steve%@malloc.co.uk (Steve Firth)
Post by Dave Baker
Post by Stuart Noble
Just don't rely on system restore. Mine goes through the motions then,
after reboot, it says it wasn't possible, try another date. Same thing
whatever date I choose. Turned the bugger off. I don't know (or care) what
the problem is BTW
System Restore works extremely well and reliably so if yours isn't then
either you have malware which is crippling it or a serious windows
installation problem. System Restore is a good way of getting rid of malware
so it's becoming more common for viruses and trojans to disable it first as
part of their procedures.
[snip]
I like the way in which you declare that XP is a fine robust OS and that
all problems are hardware glitches. Then you go on (and on) for long
paragraphs discussing problems that are solely software issues and the
fact that the Windows security model sucks donkey dick.
I similarly admire the way you invent things that I haven't actually said in
anything close to your chosen words and then attack them. It's called a
straw man argument but I doubt you know that. After a quick Google Groups
search which reveals you to be a twat who pisses off everyone who encounters
you I'm going to reward that admiration with the latest place in my
killfile. Click. Bye bye wanker.
--
Dave Baker
%steve%@malloc.co.uk (Steve Firth)
2009-01-25 12:57:18 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dave Baker
Post by %steve%@malloc.co.uk (Steve Firth)
[snip]
I like the way in which you declare that XP is a fine robust OS and that
all problems are hardware glitches. Then you go on (and on) for long
paragraphs discussing problems that are solely software issues and the
fact that the Windows security model sucks donkey dick.
I similarly admire the way you invent things that I haven't actually said in
anything close to your chosen words and then attack them. It's called a
straw man argument but I doubt you know that. After a quick Google Groups
search which reveals you to be a twat who pisses off everyone who encounters
you I'm going to reward that admiration with the latest place in my
killfile. Click. Bye bye wanker.
"Crashing is more likely to be a hardware fault than a windows one. XP
is fairly fault tolerant and usually if something goes wrong it will
usually just be an application that stops running rather than the whole
system crashing."

I suppose you need to kill file to run away from being called to book
for your lie.
Colin Wilson
2009-01-24 18:37:23 UTC
Permalink
Yeah, did that. Came up with a couple of odd registry entries, but
nothing more. I'll add it to all the other things that are constantly
monitoring my every move :-) Do you think Spybot and Adaware are worth
keeping? Zone Alarm seems to be ever more intrusive too.
Spybot S&D and Adaware are both worth keeping, but might be a little
bit of overkill. As someone who's used Spybot for years, I tend to
recommend that to people, and have some lame instructions on setting
it up on my website http://www.coreutilities.co.uk

ZA is getting more intrusive, but it's always a pain for the first
couple of weeks until it gets to know what programs you use on a
regular basis.
Stuart Noble
2009-01-24 18:02:59 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dave Baker
Even if you don't care I still suggest you
download Malwarebytes AntiMalware and see what it comes up with.
Yeah, did that. Came up with a couple of odd registry entries, but
nothing more. I'll add it to all the other things that are constantly
monitoring my every move :-) Do you think Spybot and Adaware are worth
keeping? Zone Alarm seems to be ever more intrusive too.
Dave Baker
2009-01-25 02:54:12 UTC
Permalink
Even if you don't care I still suggest you download Malwarebytes
AntiMalware and see what it comes up with.
Yeah, did that. Came up with a couple of odd registry entries, but nothing
more. I'll add it to all the other things that are constantly monitoring
my every move :-) Do you think Spybot and Adaware are worth keeping?
They're mainly going to find tracking cookies which aren't really a problem
and are going to be deleted if you use CCleaner daily anyway. I only have an
old 800mhz Pentium with 256mb ram so anything that takes up resources I
could be doing with for other things is a real pain so I only run
anti-malware programs when I know I have a problem. It would be nice to have
a decent anti-virus program running in the background all the time but they
slow things down too much for me. I just keep the browser settings as secure
as I can, run CCleaner frequently and keep an eye on the running processes
in Task Manager. If I get a virus so be it but I actually quite enjoy
pitting my wits against them and rooting them out manually rather than with
anti-malware programs. It invariably teaches you something new about pcs
each time at least. Just keep your important data backed up somewhere and
there's not much malware can do that's impossible to recover from. Even
keeping copies of your data on the same disk but a different partition like
the D drive helps because I've never come across a virus that infected
anything other than on the C partition. Usually they lurk in the
Windows\System32 directory so it helps to know what should and should not be
in there.

The other program I use every day is Ztree which is a Dos style file and
directory manager for decrepit individuals like me who grew up with pcs when
they first came out and can't get on with the newfangled Windoze way of
doing things. It lets me see what's on my disk more easily, sort files by
name, date, extension etc, search for them by partial name with templates
such as *xxx*.*, change file attributes or date stamps and edit text files.
--
Dave Baker
Stuart Noble
2009-01-25 12:27:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dave Baker
Even if you don't care I still suggest you download Malwarebytes
AntiMalware and see what it comes up with.
Yeah, did that. Came up with a couple of odd registry entries, but nothing
more. I'll add it to all the other things that are constantly monitoring
my every move :-) Do you think Spybot and Adaware are worth keeping?
They're mainly going to find tracking cookies which aren't really a problem
and are going to be deleted if you use CCleaner daily anyway. I only have an
old 800mhz Pentium with 256mb ram so anything that takes up resources I
could be doing with for other things is a real pain so I only run
anti-malware programs when I know I have a problem. It would be nice to have
a decent anti-virus program running in the background all the time but they
slow things down too much for me. I just keep the browser settings as secure
as I can, run CCleaner frequently and keep an eye on the running processes
in Task Manager. If I get a virus so be it but I actually quite enjoy
pitting my wits against them and rooting them out manually rather than with
anti-malware programs. It invariably teaches you something new about pcs
each time at least. Just keep your important data backed up somewhere and
there's not much malware can do that's impossible to recover from. Even
keeping copies of your data on the same disk but a different partition like
the D drive helps because I've never come across a virus that infected
anything other than on the C partition. Usually they lurk in the
Windows\System32 directory so it helps to know what should and should not be
in there.
The other program I use every day is Ztree which is a Dos style file and
directory manager for decrepit individuals like me who grew up with pcs when
they first came out and can't get on with the newfangled Windoze way of
doing things. It lets me see what's on my disk more easily, sort files by
name, date, extension etc, search for them by partial name with templates
such as *xxx*.*, change file attributes or date stamps and edit text files.
Hmm. I refuse to allow the PC's inner workings to become a hobby. I've
seen what it does to people :-)
John Weston
2009-01-24 17:01:53 UTC
Permalink
Post by Lobster
Was just wondering... my PC is running increasingly badly and crashing
more often, to the extent that I reckon I need to reformat the HD and do a
clean re-install of XP, which no doubt will cure the problem.
However, as a no-risk option I thought it might first be worth trying to
'repair' the existing installation, which is one of the options on my XP
bootable CD.
How would that work, given that my XP disks are (IIRC) SP1, and I'm
currently running SP3? Does that matter or will I screw everything up if
I try?
I assume you are not short of memory? When first installed, a low
memory system apparently works fine. Then you add more and more
software until it has to swap like mad. At his stage you can get a
"swapping storm" leading to a blue screen of death as something
overflows.

I've recently given a new lease of life to some old PCs for others by
simply installing extra memory from Crucial. (So I could return it if it
didn't work, but haven't had to do that yet...)
--
John W
To mail me replace the obvious with co.uk twice
Cicero
2009-01-24 13:18:58 UTC
Permalink
Post by Lobster
Was just wondering... my PC is running increasingly badly and crashing
more often, to the extent that I reckon I need to reformat the HD and do
a clean re-install of XP, which no doubt will cure the problem.
However, as a no-risk option I thought it might first be worth trying to
'repair' the existing installation, which is one of the options on my XP
bootable CD.
How would that work, given that my XP disks are (IIRC) SP1, and I'm
currently running SP3? Does that matter or will I screw everything up
if I try?
Thanks
David
=========================================
Try 'Spybot' if you're not already using it. It used to find some
extraordinary things when I was using Windows.

Cic.
--
==========================================
Using Ubuntu Linux
Windows shown the door
==========================================
Colin Wilson
2009-01-24 18:32:32 UTC
Permalink
Post by Cicero
Try 'Spybot' if you're not already using it. It used to find some
extraordinary things when I was using Windows.
In that case, your security was seriously lacking :-p
Jason
2009-01-24 20:56:03 UTC
Permalink
Post by Colin Wilson
Post by Cicero
Try 'Spybot' if you're not already using it. It used to find some
extraordinary things when I was using Windows.
In that case, your security was seriously lacking :-p
I don't think so - SPybot *found* some extraordinary things. That's security in
action :-)
Colin Wilson
2009-01-24 23:33:24 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jason
Post by Colin Wilson
In that case, your security was seriously lacking :-p
I don't think so - SPybot *found* some extraordinary things. That's security in
action :-)
Not quite - ideally they shouldn't have been able to get onto his
system in the first place.

This example is not security in action, it's security after the fact.

Simple steps might have reduced the potential damage that may have
been caused, such as:

1) SpywareBlaster - blocks known activex exploits
2) Firefox - far less prone to being hacked than IE in real life
3) Spybot S&D (properly configured) - hosts file & immunize

(immunize on Spybot S&D is similar to the protection offered by
SpywareBlaster, but it does no harm having both on the system in case
one catches something the other doesn't)
geoff
2009-01-24 23:51:42 UTC
Permalink
Post by Colin Wilson
Post by Jason
Post by Colin Wilson
In that case, your security was seriously lacking :-p
I don't think so - SPybot *found* some extraordinary things. That's security in
action :-)
Not quite - ideally they shouldn't have been able to get onto his
system in the first place.
This example is not security in action, it's security after the fact.
Simple steps might have reduced the potential damage that may have
1) SpywareBlaster - blocks known activex exploits
2) Firefox - far less prone to being hacked than IE in real life
I seem to have a problem with FF atm

takes half a minute to load, even after having removed and reinstalled
it

IE and chrome seem fine
Post by Colin Wilson
3) Spybot S&D (properly configured) - hosts file & immunize
(immunize on Spybot S&D is similar to the protection offered by
SpywareBlaster, but it does no harm having both on the system in case
one catches something the other doesn't)
--
geoff
Appelation Controlee
2009-01-25 06:29:29 UTC
Permalink
Post by Colin Wilson
Post by Jason
Post by Colin Wilson
In that case, your security was seriously lacking :-p
I don't think so - SPybot *found* some extraordinary things. That's security in
action :-)
Not quite - ideally they shouldn't have been able to get onto his
system in the first place.
This example is not security in action, it's security after the fact.
Simple steps might have reduced the potential damage that may have
1) SpywareBlaster - blocks known activex exploits
2) Firefox - far less prone to being hacked than IE in real life
3) Spybot S&D (properly configured) - hosts file & immunize
(immunize on Spybot S&D is similar to the protection offered by
SpywareBlaster, but it does no harm having both on the system in case
one catches something the other doesn't)
And don't forget the MVPS HOSTS file, which short-circuits a great many
tracking cookies by redirecting name resolution for the host sites (e.g.
doubleclick) to the loopback adapter (127.0.0.1).
As a result, where the adverts themselves are served by these tracking
sites, they won't be displayed on client commercial web sites, so there
will be empty space where they would otherwise be displayed.

http://www.mvps.org/winhelp2002/hosts.htm

There are a couple of utilities to be found down the page, that assist with
maintaing the HOSTS file. I use "HOSTS File Manager" that can be found
here: http://dundats.mvps.org/Software/Index.htm

FYI, the HOSTS file lives in the <drive>:\<windir>\system32\drivers\etc
folder (on my system, that's C:\WINDOWS\system32\drivers\etc).
Colin Wilson
2009-01-25 18:40:26 UTC
Permalink
Post by Appelation Controlee
And don't forget the MVPS HOSTS file
The Spybot S&D does fine for me, i've added a few for specific sites
since, but these probably aren't mecessary anymore if you use
AdBlockPlus in Firefox.
Dean
2009-01-24 13:55:53 UTC
Permalink
Post by Lobster
Was just wondering... my PC is running increasingly badly and crashing
more often, to the extent that I reckon I need to reformat the HD and do
a clean re-install of XP, which no doubt will cure the problem.
However, as a no-risk option I thought it might first be worth trying to
'repair' the existing installation, which is one of the options on my XP
bootable CD.
How would that work, given that my XP disks are (IIRC) SP1, and I'm
currently running SP3? Does that matter or will I screw everything up
if I try?
Thanks
David
Before trying anything it might be prudent to image the disk to another
physical HDD, say a USB drive. There are some free imaging tools available
on bootable CD's. This way, if you mess it up, you can at least retrun to
the same state. This may not be practical if you have the whole of your HDD
formatted as a single partition. The image file may well be bigger than
your USB HDD.
The Natural Philosopher
2009-01-24 14:37:57 UTC
Permalink
Dump XP and install Linux.
Colin Wilson
2009-01-24 18:30:30 UTC
Permalink
Post by Lobster
Was just wondering... my PC is running increasingly badly and crashing
more often, to the extent that I reckon I need to reformat the HD and do
a clean re-install of XP, which no doubt will cure the problem.
How old is it, and is there a common theme to the crashing ? - I had a
system that was getting increasingly random crashes, and despite
building quite a few systems over the years, I was struggling to
diagnose the cause.

It turned out to be bad capacitors around the processor - which was
quite common at one point, as a lot of manufacturers used a cheap
chinese clone of the electrolyte from a stolen formula, but was
missing one crucial ingredient :-}

If you're comfortable taking the side off, look for any bulging,
however slight around the big capacitors around the CPU - one or two
might be ever so slightly "domed" or leaking, and it only takes one
faulty one for the system to keel over randomly.
Post by Lobster
However, as a no-risk option I thought it might first be worth trying to
'repair' the existing installation, which is one of the options on my XP
bootable CD.
Depending on the mode of failure, if it happens within a couple of
hours of booting up, it's worth using a linux boot CD and seeing if
the system crashes with that running - if so, it's likely to be
hardware related, and harder to diagnose...

Other than that it's hard to know where to start - what software is
installed, and if you say Norton or McAfee we reserve the right to
laugh :-p

Have you noticed any potentially "malevolent" behaviour which might
indicate a worm / virus / malware / spyware ?
The Natural Philosopher
2009-01-25 02:56:27 UTC
Permalink
Post by Colin Wilson
Post by Lobster
Was just wondering... my PC is running increasingly badly and crashing
more often, to the extent that I reckon I need to reformat the HD and do
a clean re-install of XP, which no doubt will cure the problem.
How old is it, and is there a common theme to the crashing ? - I had a
system that was getting increasingly random crashes, and despite
building quite a few systems over the years, I was struggling to
diagnose the cause.
It turned out to be bad capacitors around the processor - which was
quite common at one point, as a lot of manufacturers used a cheap
chinese clone of the electrolyte from a stolen formula, but was
missing one crucial ingredient :-}
If you're comfortable taking the side off, look for any bulging,
however slight around the big capacitors around the CPU - one or two
might be ever so slightly "domed" or leaking, and it only takes one
faulty one for the system to keel over randomly.
Post by Lobster
However, as a no-risk option I thought it might first be worth trying to
'repair' the existing installation, which is one of the options on my XP
bootable CD.
Depending on the mode of failure, if it happens within a couple of
hours of booting up, it's worth using a linux boot CD and seeing if
the system crashes with that running - if so, it's likely to be
hardware related, and harder to diagnose...
Other than that it's hard to know where to start - what software is
installed, and if you say Norton or McAfee we reserve the right to
laugh :-p
Have you noticed any potentially "malevolent" behaviour which might
indicate a worm / virus / malware / spyware ?
Yes, everyone immediately thinks 'software' cos its Windows.

However crashes can as easily be caused by random hardware corruption.

I got some RAM off ebay for this machine. (Mac G4) It started to go
really flakey, and I thought the disk had gione..then I grabbed a new
disk and reinstalled, and the problems mostly went, but shit still kept
happening. So I started removing one memory stick at a time. with one
out, I had a stable system. That's in the bin now.


The other issue is drive failure. 2-5 years i all a heap IDE drve worked
fairly hard can take.

And never forget fans..again this machine stopped working last summer.
took it outside and blew a ton of fluff out of the power supply and the
CPU fans. Machine now runs fine.

So before reinstalling ANYTHING. check those puffy caps,. reseat all
memory, run memtest stuff, clean out the fans of all dust, and run a
complete surface scan on the disk. Ad if there is a Bios battery, check
and replace.

Once you have a reasonably high certainty of good HARDWARE, add software.
ransley
2009-01-24 16:56:07 UTC
Permalink
Post by Lobster
Was just wondering... my PC is running increasingly badly and crashing
more often, to the extent that I reckon I need to reformat the HD and do
a clean re-install of XP, which no doubt will cure the problem.
However, as a no-risk option I thought it might first be worth trying to
'repair' the existing installation, which is one of the options on my XP
bootable CD.
How would that work, given that my XP disks are (IIRC) SP1, and I'm
currently running SP3?  Does that matter or will I screw everything up
if I try?
Thanks
David
Do you have a updated security program, Norton will do a free test to
see if you have a bug. Is system fairly new, is HD full have you
drefraged it. Getting rid of junk programs, and check if XP has
updates and run scans.
Mark
2009-01-25 21:51:08 UTC
Permalink
Post by Lobster
Was just wondering... my PC is running increasingly badly and crashing
more often, to the extent that I reckon I need to reformat the HD and do
a clean re-install of XP,
You could try linux ;(
Then you would not need to worry about all the Malware spyware and viruses
that some seem to think you need to remove.

This will run as a live CD on just about any old PC.
http://www.puppylinux.org/

even a bloke called Lobster on the Puppylinux blog
http://www.puppylinux.org/blogs/lobster



-
george (dicegeorge)
2009-01-27 01:08:59 UTC
Permalink
Post by Lobster
Was just wondering... my PC is running increasingly badly and crashing
more often, to the extent that I reckon I need to reformat the HD and do
a clean re-install of XP, which no doubt will cure the problem.
However, as a no-risk option I thought it might first be worth trying to
'repair' the existing installation, which is one of the options on my XP
bootable CD.
How would that work, given that my XP disks are (IIRC) SP1, and I'm
currently running SP3? Does that matter or will I screw everything up
if I try?
Thanks
David
I use Autoruns for Windows
to turn off loads of programs whgich insi9st on starting up every time i
restart-
things like nokia pc suite
which i dont want hogging myh pc resources when i dont want it,
and lots of other programs..

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb963902.aspx

[g]

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