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Blue screen from volsnap.sys during boot-up

Posted on 2006-11-16
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Last Modified: 2012-06-21
I use a Dell e1705 running Windows XP Home SP2.  Unfortunately, when I bought the laptop, it did not come with any repair cds.  Here's my problem:

Every now and then, when I just close the lid to my laptop (I have it set to not do anything), I'll open it up a few hours later, find I have no video output and will be forced to restart.  This morning was one of those days.  Not a huge problem, inconvenient yes, but I can deal with it.  My laptop had been running for about 3+ days straight so any number of things could have happened in between then and now, but all of a sudden, now I can't boot up.

As far as I remember, I didn't do anything outside of surfing the internet, watching movies, and listening to music.  I use Firefox with a couple anti-virus/spyware programs running in the background and I didn't download anything from any suspiscious sites, so I'm pretty sure it's not a virus/trojan.

Anyway, what happens when I try to boot up, is that it will get to the loading Windows XP screen for about 4 seconds before a blue screen will pop up saying there is a stop error with volsnap.sys.  No IRQL or memory dump or anything like that.  I'm typing this out from the library, so I cannot give a more detailed description, but next to volsnap.sys, it gives a memory address range.

I cannot boot in safe mode, VGA mode, debug mode, or anything else.  Last known good configuration does nothing.  I've tried all the boot up options.  I did some research and apparently volsnap is related to a Volume Shadow Copy Service or something like that.  The BIOS for this computer are laughable.  They make it so user-friendly that there's really very few things I can change, so I can't disable the Volume Shadow Copy Service from there.  I did, however, try to change all the settings anyway, but none of them fixed a thing, so I reverted them all back to their original values.

On this laptop, there came a diagnostics utility which can evaluate why your system is not working.  I left it on for two hours while I ran complete tests of memory, video, processors, etc.  All the tests came back negative.  Then I tried turning off my external hard-drive but that didn't help.

I hate the fact that this laptop didn't come with jack for emergency repair.  I have a Windows XP Pro cd and the 6 boot disks to start it up, but I have no floppy drive.  If only I could reach command prompt I could replace volsnap.sys with a fresh version (safe mode with command prompt obviously doesn't work).  I don't have a Windows XP Home cd so I can't reinstall windows.

The only thing that will work is starting up my computer via MediaDirect, which is basically a really lame way of loading a GUI that can only play music and some videos.

I'm at a loss for things to try.  I can't really send this off to Dell because of recent computer science related assignments that are due soon.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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Question by:Kronikle
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LeeTutor earned 400 total points
ID: 17960909
Could you borrow or buy (they're pretty cheap) a USB floppy drive to try the 6 boot disks in order to get into Recovery Console?

Otherwise, if you can borrow the use of another XP computer with a CD burner (and a Windows XP installation CD), you could try one of these options in order to boot into an OS off a CD and try replacing your volsnap.sys file:

They both allow you to boot into a "mini" version of XP and then run one of the "explorer substitute" programs installed in order to copy the volsnap.sys file from something like a USB flash drive:

BartPE - available from:
http://www.nu2.nu/pebuilder/

What is BartPE and PE Builder?

Bart's PE Builder helps you build a "BartPE" (Bart Preinstalled Environment) bootable Windows CD-Rom or DVD from the original Windows XP or Windows Server 2003 installation/setup CD, very suitable for PC maintenance tasks.

It will give you a complete Win32 environment with network support, a graphical user interface (800x600) and FAT/NTFS/CDFS filesystem support. Very handy for burn-in testing systems with no OS, rescuing files to a network share, virus scan and so on.
This will replace any Dos bootdisk in no time!

Or there is the Ultimate Boot CD for Windows, also based on BartPE:

What is the Ultimate Boot CD for Windows?
UBCD4Win is a bootable CD which contains software that allows you to repair/restore/diagnostic almost any computer problem. All software included in UBCD4Win are freeware utilities for Windows®. UBCD4Win is based on Bart's PE©. Bart's PE© builds a Windows® "pre-install" environment CD, basically Windows® booted from CD. With network support, the ability to modify NTFS volumes, recover deleted files, create new NTFS volumes, scan hard drives for viruses, etc. this project includes almost everything you need to repair your system problems. There are many types of utilities included that allow you to recover and/or repair a damaged system. Please visit the "List of Tools" page for a complete list of what is included in the latest version of the project.

http://www.ubcd4win.com/ (Overview)
http://www.ubcd4win.com/downloads.htm (direct downloads page link)

Here's a walk-through on using BartPE for file recovery tasks, etc.:

http://65.24.134.81/KipSolutions/BootableCDrom/BartsPE.htm

Another possibility is running a version of Linux off a bootable CD, like this one:

http://www.knoppix.com/

What is KNOPPIX®?
KNOPPIX is a bootable Live system on CD or DVD, consisting of a representative collection of GNU/Linux software, automatic hardware detection, and support for many graphics cards, sound cards, SCSI and USB devices and other peripherals. KNOPPIX can be used as a productive Linux system for the desktop, educational CD, rescue system, or adapted and used as a platform for commercial software product demos. It is not necessary to install anything on a hard disk. Due to on-the-fly decompression, the CD can have up to 2 GB of executable software installed on it (over 8GB on the DVD "Maxi" edition).


This site has an excellent tutorial on how to recover files using Knoppix:

http://www.shockfamily.net/cedric/knoppix/
Computer First Aid Using Knoppix

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LVL 66

Expert Comment

by:johnb6767
ID: 17961152
Since you have the XP Pro CD, try and get into teh recovery console. Once int eh recovery console......Lets try and disable the VS Copy Service.

disable vss (maybe vssc, you can always run listsvc and get the proper name of it....)

Then try and reboot into normal mode, and see how far you get, if any better.....
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Author Comment

by:Kronikle
ID: 17968310
Ultimate Boot CD is amazing :)

Got the problem fixed.  In fixing that I uncovered another problem.  Apparently my laptop battery is dead.  I've left my laptop on the charger for like a month and when I went to start it up completely unplugged, I got nothing.  Oh well.  That's for another time I suppose.

Thanks!
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Expert Comment

by:mtm1974
ID: 22239028
What utility on the Ultimate Boot CD did you use to fix the volsnap.sys error that you were receiving?
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