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Dell n250 does not run following corruption message.

Posted on 2005-04-05
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Last Modified: 2009-12-16


Hi,

I recently replaced a keyboard on this laptop and had to clear the air vents to stop it overheating. It is back in the shop now with what I assume is an unrelated problem.

It was returned because the user (who plays a lot of games) was unable to start windows. He tells me there was a message something like,
 'windows was unable to start because the following file is missing or corrupt.....windows/sysconfig.'

However it won't even get that far for me. Press the start button and the pc turns itself straight off without any flicker from the hdd light.

I have tried booting from a Windows OS disk but it makes no difference.

Any idea how I can procede?

In trouble again,

Nashwan1
(David)
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Question by:nashwan1
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38 Comments
 
LVL 92

Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 13705184
since you replaced the keyboard, probably there is where the trouble started, so doublecheck your connections, screws and so; you can even try the old kbd (what was the problem?)
maybe you did something to the power on switch / cable / connector?
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Author Comment

by:nashwan1
ID: 13705493


How would this tie in with the corruption message, Nobus?
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Author Comment

by:nashwan1
ID: 13705506


Perhaps I should mention that the laptop worked fine for a while so if a power switch connection or something like that was disturbed in changing the keyboard (and I admit I made a meal of what should have been a simple job) at the time it worked on for a while.
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LVL 88

Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 13705700
What do ayou mean with "it worked a while"? How long was that "While"? Maybe it just worked until the battery was empty? So there could be a problem with a power supply connection.
If it is a common type of notebook, it may be easy to find another similar notebook with similar power supply. You could then try your notebook with that powersupply (Or try your powersupply on the other notebook). Also remove the battery when trying.
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Expert Comment

by:ddrdan
ID: 13705759
If you gave it back to him after the keyboard fix and it was working, I think the owners been playing "laptop tech" ... LOL.

Check the ribbon cable from the power switch to the mother board. Take a magnifying glass and inspect the metal contacts on the ribbon. While inserting the ribbon into the ziff sockect I tilt the contact side away from the socket and sort of roll it in to prevent damaging those printed metal contacts.

Just fixed a sony viao last week with the start symptom, it did not have the software fault your owner mentioned. It had damage to that ribbon from the owner changing the keyboard. One contact had peeled back and wasnt making contact. I always pinch those ribbon cables between my fingers before inserting. It makes sure the leading edge of that contact is down.
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Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 13705782
my comment was supposed to get your laptop running again somehow, now it does not, so the error message is irrelevant; you must get it running first...
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LVL 15

Expert Comment

by:davidis99
ID: 13705834
Based on your initial comments, especially

"Press the start button and the pc turns itself straight off without any flicker from the hdd light"

it sounds like the existing install of Windows is severely corrupted, while you may or may not have some minor hardware issues, but your other comment

"I have tried booting from a Windows OS disk but it makes no difference"

is ambiguous - are you able to boot from the Windows CD but still having problems with the Windows install, or are you unable to boot from CD?  If you can boot from CD, have you been able to reformat the drive and reinstall Windows but still have the same problem?
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Author Comment

by:nashwan1
ID: 13706230


 Ok - various. Think ddrdan is right about the owner playing laptop tech - I see that a number of the case screws are missing and they were all in place when it was returned.

Can't be more specific than 'worked for a while' since it was with the owner for some ten days I assume it worked longer than a battery's worth.

By making no difference I meant just that. The PC does not stay powered up long enough to read the OS  disk.

It does not seem to be a common Dell model - I have never seen an n250 before and searching on the net finds no technical information for the model whatsoever.

The situations  I get into!

Regards

Nashwan1 (david)


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Author Comment

by:nashwan1
ID: 13706587


Right - the connector between the power lead and the block on the card below the switch was loose. It now powers up.

The exact message I get is:

Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt

\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM


The original OS disk is not available. Is there any alternative to reformatting and loading a new OS?

Nashwan1
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Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 13707222
that's what i said in my first post; now we can go further .
What OS are you running?
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Author Comment

by:nashwan1
ID: 13707885


I have reformatted and put another copy of XP Pro on said laptop.
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Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 13708577
i would start with testing the ram  with memtest86+ from    http://www.memtest.org/      
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LVL 10

Expert Comment

by:tfjeff
ID: 13710814
most of the time when I've seen that error happen time after time after time it was a bad hard drive, run dell diagnostics on the system, especially the hard drive.
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Author Comment

by:nashwan1
ID: 13726862


Can I download a copy of DELLdiagnostics from somewhere?

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LVL 88

Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 13726913
You should be able to download such files directly from dell, provided they exist for your system. Just enter the dell service and support section, input the tag number on your PC, and you should see all files that apply to that PC.
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Author Comment

by:nashwan1
ID: 13726961


I am getting the message ccAPP.exe - unable to locate component The applicatiion has failed to start because MSCVP71.dll was not found. Reinstalling the application may fix the problem.

What's all this about? What must I reinstall?

Drowning fast

Nashwan1
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Author Comment

by:nashwan1
ID: 13727016


I understand this laptop was purchased on ebay without its OS, drivers and diagnostics disks or the identiification to get Dell support. The service tag can be seen on the bottom of the PC.
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Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 13727262
the ccAPP.exe  is a file from norton, so if you can reinstall it, it can solve your problems.
Or you can use the norton utility :

http://service1.symantec.com/SUPPORT/nav.nsf/docid/2001092114452606
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Author Comment

by:nashwan1
ID: 13729218


I will reinstall Norton

and let you know state of plya after that
0
 

Author Comment

by:nashwan1
ID: 13736676


I am getting

Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt:

<windows root>\system32\hal.exe

Please reinstall a copy of the above file.

Don't see how I can given that I cant get Windows to run. Get the same message if I try to boot up from the OS cd.

Any ideas?

Yours in quiet desperation

Nashwan1
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LVL 88

Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 13736824
Normally there is a HAL.DLL, but not a HAL.EXE. to me that looks like a virus. I'd slave the disk to another PC of which you are sure it is malware free, and then run a thorough AV and Malware check on it, or if it is faster, delete all partitions on that disk, repartitions it and reinstall windows.
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Author Comment

by:nashwan1
ID: 13743208


sorry I mistyped the message it was hal.dll that was listed. However booting wont even get that far any more. It goes to the 'sorry for the inconvenience' screen offering different modes to start in but goes no further no matter what you select. Safe mode lists the drivers to load and then freezes so I am well amd truly stuck.

I was thinking of downloading a boot disk from somewhere (windoes 98ME maybe) and seeing if I can get a dos prompt from which I can reformat and then try reloading XP.

Looking back I see tfjeff thought that the original corruption message may have meant a bad hdd and I'm thinking that looks likely now but without getting the thing to run I sont see how I can prove that one way or the other.

Nashwan1
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Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 13743216
Look at the UBCD (http://ultimatebootcd.com) Which has tools on it with which you can test your disk and also clear and create new partitions etc.
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Expert Comment

by:tfjeff
ID: 13744661
lots of times hal.dll messages can be caused by a corrupted boot.ini file.  Try booting to recovery console and running a bootcfg /rebuild.  If that doesn't work, you can download the hddct (hard disk drive confidence test) from dell at:
ftp://ftp.dell.com/diags/Dhddct13.exe

some dell systems can run hard drive diags without a disk or anything by pressing control+alt+D on the dell logo splash screen.  You might give that a shot as well.

good luck
jeff

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Author Comment

by:nashwan1
ID: 13815689


I have used ULTIMATE BOOT CD.

 FDISK tool from filesystem tools produces the  error/halt.

BIOS reported 0 sectors/track assume 63!
illegal partitiion table - drive 01 sector 0

DOS mem corrupt, first _mcb=0254

PANIC: MCB chain corrupted
System halted.

I am guessling this is not good but I can't find any reference to this message at UBCD or anywhere else on the net. Any ideas anyone? What other programs from UBCD might I also run?


Regards

nashwan1




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LVL 88

Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 13815732
Xfdisk, I think that is a more powerfull fdisk clone.
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Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 13815776
did you test the Ram, is i said before?
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Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 13815849
memory tests in different versions (including memtest86), by the way is also on that CD...
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Author Comment

by:nashwan1
ID: 13821753




Cant use recovery console since the Windows disk does not progress that far.

Memtest86 v1.40 ran 13 tests over night without finding an error.

From Filemanagement on UBCD, FDISK & XFDISK produce identical error messages as detailed above.

Is the Dell tool mentioned by Rind freeware since this laptop was bought on Ebay and we don't have access to Dell help?
If so is it self-booting or can it somehow be added to  the UBCD tools thru the user-designed section?

Regards,

nashwan1 (david)
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LVL 88

Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 13821901
The dell software for your notebook is free, but to download it you have to enter your service tag number on the dell Homepage. If you don't have that number it is difficult to find the correct software that corresponds to that notebook, but you should still be able to access the download site and get everything you need. You can also visit Dell's ftp site directly (ftp://ftp.dell.com).  But again, it will be very difficult to find what is good for your hardware from all those downloads there.
Also, with all those tools you've tried, it looks as unlikely that the dell software will bring you any further. What you can do is find out what manufacturer of harddisk is being used and then using that manufacturer's Disk testing utility to find out if the disk is still OK. These utilities should also be on your UBCD. If there is none for your disk, you can try the powermax utility. I think that will run on other manufacturer's disks as well.
If you have any important data on the disk I'd connect it via an adapter to a Desktop PC and copy that data to the other PC. Then, again using the tools of the manufacturer you can try lowlevel formattin the disk and then testing it again. If it now tests OK, You can reinstall windows, if it still doesn't test OK, get a new disk.
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Author Comment

by:nashwan1
ID: 13878933


Power Max doesnt run beyond some incomprehensible information and then:

Loading boot sector... booting...
Starting Caldera DR-DOS

Will try to find the test program at Dell tomorrow. Service tag is visible on the bottom. Had enough for today!


Regards

Nashwan1
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LVL 92

Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 13879000
maybe you better download the ultimate boot cd, it contains all those tests, and many more....


http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/
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LVL 88

Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 13879145
"From Filemanagement on UBCD, FDISK & XFDISK produce identical error messages as detailed above."

He's done that already...
0
 

Expert Comment

by:pcadik
ID: 13942423
Hi,

You will need to use the recovery console for this. You can use any windows xp cd for this. The steps below are for doing a manual system restore.



Instructions: Type in the text in BOLD.
 

1.         CD \ (Note: between "cd" and "\" there should be a "blank space" else the command won't work)
2.         CD SYSTEM~1\_RESTO~1

            NOTE: The appropriate command should be used according to the error message aka if the
                      file "system" is corrupted use the first command if the file "software" is corrupted use
                      the second command line.

                       If it gives an error "Access Denied" while accessing the folder, follow the method
                       below:

                       a.       CD \<Enter>
                       b.       CD WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG <Enter>
                       c.       REN SYSTEM SYSTEM.BAK <Enter>
                       d.       EXIT <Enter>
                       e.       Now restart the computer and follow step I of the article.


3.                   DIR

            NOTE: when you hit <Enter> it will list all the restore points folders like rp1,rp2..............we have to see the
                        last restore point to copy the file from a recent backup. if the restore points have more than one
                        page then u have keep on hitting the <Enter> key to view the last restore point folder.

4.                   CD RP {the last restore point no}

                      (Note: Example: cd rp9, if rp9 is the last restore point, where last restore point no.=9)

5.         CD SNAPSHOT

NOTE:  Now the command Prompt will look like this c:\system~1\_resto~1\rp9\snapshot> ( Note : restore point 9 assumed for clarity of the content, you have to goto the last restore point folder as described in the previous lines) Now according to the error message we have to copy the appropriate file from the restore point folder.

6.         copy _registry_machine_system c:\windows\system32\config\system
            copy _registry_machine_software c:\windows\system32\config\software
            copy _registry_machine_sam c:\windows\system32\config\sam
            copy _registry_machine_security c:\windows\system32\config\security
            copy _registry_user_default c:\windows\system32\config\default


7.        Type EXIT <enter> to restart computer and boot to the hard drive normally.

Hope this helps.
0
 

Expert Comment

by:pcadik
ID: 13942429
sorry formatting on the text were removed. ill be happy to answer any clarifications
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Author Comment

by:nashwan1
ID: 14357378


Fixed the problem with a rescue disk called 'Disaster Recovery System' that had its own Linus operating system on board. This got the PC running and I then fixed the file structure with one of its tools. It then allowed me to load a new copy of windows and everything hunky dory since.

THanks for all your help which was a veritable education on how to approach such problems but I cant in all honesty say that any single contributor put me on the right lines. I just tried a disk that came free with a mag.

regards

Nashwan1

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