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Windows XP thinks hard drive is full/won't boot.

Posted on 2006-11-18
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Last Modified: 2016-03-20
Running Win XP on a 225GB NTFS drive (also Bitdefender avirus, Zonealarm, Window Washer trace eliminator, Mozy online backup), on a recently-purchased Sony Vaio Desktop.  I have 145GB available on the c: drive.

While running an online backup (Mozy unpacks 30GB of files to the WINDOWS/TEMP file to prepare them to send online), my Window Washer cleaner cleaned the TEMP files and crashed the backup.  The backup tried to restart but I cancelled it.  In the same hour, ZoneAlarm uploaded a routine update.

I decided to not start the online backup again right away so I could cleanly install an Okidata color laser printer.  I successfully installed the printer, using msconfig to DISABLE START UP ITEMS first.  The printer tested fine.

Several hours later, I returned to find the computer frozen.  I power switched off and rebooted, getting a clean boot but a popup that a miscellaneous file was corrupt and instructions to run chkdsk, which I did from the Run prompt.

Chkdsk deleted a bunch or orphans and some other files.  I then got a message that msconfig was corrupt and to run chkdsk again, which I did (it didn’t delete anything this time).

On reboot, the boot failed.  I booted into safe mode successfully, but the c: drive reported it now had only 201MEGA bytes of available space on a 225 GIGA byte drive.  This is completely incorrect, as confirmed by a safe mode defrag report (145GB actually available).

Now, the computer is barely functional in safe mode and won’t boot at all into normal mode because the drive is perceived as “overloaded.”

I managed to delete the WINDOWS/TEMP file, which was 30GB.  It “recreated itself” on reboot into safe mode (is that supposed to happen???) and now shows almost empty.

Safe mode works as long as I don’t overtask the computer.  It freezes on shutdown if it has to “Save Settings” and won’t shutdown.  It stops responding if I try to do any troubleshooting.

Normal boot always freezes while loading startup items.

Here is what I’ve done unsuccessfully so far:

1.      Restore to earlier time using EAZ-Fix (like GoBack but without the convoluted design) – snapshot loaded but drive still reports full and boot freezes
2.      Uninstall ZoneAlarm from safe mode – freezes on shutdown and is still there on hard reboot to safe mode
3.      Find files larger than 10,000,000 Kb (hidden files viewable) – no relevant files found that could actually be filing the drive
4.      Try to run chkdsk /f from safe mode – gives me an option to run on next reboot, but doesn’t actually run when I reboot either into safe mode or normal mode (don't know if another program is preventing this) IS THERE A CHKDSK-LIKE PROGRAM THAT CAN BE RUN FROM A CD-ROM???  I HAVE A FEELING THAT’S ALL I NEED!!!
5.      DeFrag ran successfully from safe mode but didn’t defrag most files.
6.             Find *.tmp (successfully deleted all)




I don’t have a WinXP CD (didn’t come with the computer).
I’m trying to avoid have to recover CD to day one and reinstall a large number of programs and settings.

I don’t think I have a virus as BitDefender scans every 24 hours and I never open anything suspect or do a lot of downloading.

Any ideas?  Once more, does anyone know of a chkdsk type third party software I can download to CD_ROM with another computer, then run entirely from the CDROM on the failed machine?  I can't get online in any mode on the failed machine and have no hard drive space to install any software now.  Additionally, deleting other files doesn't seem to change the perceived 201MB available a bit.  Maybe nothing's really being deleted or maybe deletions aren't being counted anymore.

Thanks in advance.

David
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Question by:davidmackett
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by:MichaelPro
ID: 17972928



"I managed to delete the WINDOWS/TEMP file, which was 30GB.  It “recreated itself” on reboot into safe mode (is that supposed to happen???) and now shows almost empty."
>> The files were marked to be deleted but your computer froze and after it ran checkdsk, chkdsk found those files (thinking that it's recovering lost files). so this is normal.

Yes, the best thing (and possibly the only thing) to do without reinstalling windows, is to use recovery option in windows xp. i understand that you do not have the CD with you so that would make it a bit difficult but with some of the system files missing or corrupted you won't be able to restore to to earlier point of time. if you use recovery option, you can keep your existing settings without a need to restore and loose your applications.

one other thing; if you have full backup of windows folder, there maybe a way to recover without windows CD. do you have the backup?

thanks,
Michael
KingRidge
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by:davidmackett
ID: 17973083
Unfortunately, I do not have a "recovery option" in Windows XP that I know of.  I do have an online backup of my data, (desktop and My Documents, QData, etc., but doubt Mozy backed up my Windows folder.  Do you think if I purchase a copy of WinXP that I will be successful in recovering my drive?  I guess this means there are no remote scandisk utilities out there.

The only other recovery option I have is the manufacturer's Recovery CD, which will return the computer to the state when purchased.  I guess I could then reload my programs and restore the online data backup, and perhaps I'm being too gunshy about doing it this way, since, while difficult, it may take less time overall.

One more thing, I guess I question whether any files are REALLY corrupt, since the overloaded harddrive may make all sorts of errant messages happen.  Or is that wishful thinking?

Also, is there a way to find and put in place (in safe mode) a file like 'configold.sys' or equivalent?  Might that be on the drive somewhere?
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by:zlito
ID: 17973096
A simple answer would be to add a hard drive, install with your recovery CD. Then take ownership of the files you need off of the old drive, copy them to the new drive. Be sure to change the jumpers on the drives, you can buy a 20 Gig drive for a small amount of money.
 With out the real XP CD your options are limited, if the recovery console was not installed.
 Another option is buy a XP CD, take it to a shop or use a friends computer and down load a live CD to see if you can fix it from there.
 But it sounds like ether your hard drive is going or you have some type of virus.
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by:davidmackett
ID: 17973666
Yes, I actually have an external hard drive I can copy the files to (if I can copy from safe mode).  I'm trying to avoid installing all the programs again to a new drive, then having to copy the data back to where it belongs.  With the solution above, I believe I'd still have to copy/setup all the programs from their setups, yes?
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by:davidmackett
ID: 17973703
I noticed a new wrinkle.  When I boot into safe mode, the Windows temp file is now not only being recreated, but being populated with Mozy backup files.  I delete (either to recycle bin and empty, or bypass recycle bin and off the drive), then shut down.  When I boot into safe mode again, the temp file is back and again populated with Mozy backup files as before.

Does this suggest a virus, or could something else be going on?
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by:nobus
ID: 17973933
if you wan to run chkdsk, i suggest download the ultimate boot cd for windows,burn it to cd,  boot from it.
under UBCD4Win>programs>disk tools>diagnostic  you find the chkdsk
http://www.ubcd4win.com/      
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by:MichaelPro
ID: 17974887
Unfortunately, I do not have a "recovery option" in Windows XP that I know of.  I do have an online backup of my data, (desktop and My Documents, QData, etc., but doubt Mozy backed up my Windows folder.  Do you think if I purchase a copy of WinXP that I will be successful in recovering my drive?  I guess this means there are no remote scandisk utilities out there.
>> yes, once you have the Windows XP CD, pop it in the drive and boot your computer to CD. First it will ask you 'to continue setup press Enter'  (Don't press R here), and then you'll press 'F8' to license agreement. However, on the next page(s) it will tell you that it already found a windows installation on the harddrive and if you are interested to 'repair' press R. that should take care of it. it's all automated from this point forward and the only thing you need to enter is the serial number of windows.

Note that, safe mode is not a problem; from what i can see, some of the operating ssystem files are not deleted or corrupted and the only way to repair them is through windows repair. although 5% of the times this may not fix your problem , it has a 'great' chance.

(One small note - there is a small chance that windows xp CD does not see your harddrive. if so, you need to get the harddrive driver and put it in the floppy when CD Boot and press F6 (in windows setup) when it's instructed at the bottom of the page"

thanks,
michaelPro
KingRidge
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by:davidmackett
ID: 17975452
Thanks, Nobus, for the remote chkdsk program.  I had high hopes as it found huge amounts of data marked allocated instead of free.  but when I rebooted, it hadn't fixed them.  I'll try the WinXP  /r next.  I'm now getting occasional 'file corrupted warnings when moving files to an external drive from safe mode, so it may be enough has been corrputed even a successful repair will not fix everything.  I'll let you know.
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by:RonHoffmann
ID: 17975494
If the problem is with your hard drive or if the file system sector allocation information has been corrupted I'd like to suggest you get a copy of SPINRITE. It's an amazing piece of software that can fix many different hard drive problems.
Make sure your computer is set to boot from cd. Option 2 should be sufficient. Run it and let it do it's thing. It may take a day or two on a 225GB drive. You can get SPINRITE from www.grc.com. It's the best data recovery tool and hardrive repair tool I've ever seen. Good luck.
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by:MichaelPro
ID: 17975749
i would suggest not to use too many different applications as each may have its own affect and corrupt more data. just stick with Microsoft at the time being. as far as the checkdsk goes, i hardly doubt you have Bad-Sector on the drive but you can give it a shot. you need to run chkdsk /r /f  to activate this and it will run on the next reboot.

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by:nobus
ID: 17977556
it maybe necessary to run it more than once. you can also test your disk drive with the disk tests, just to be sure it is not causing the problems itself
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by:orangutang
ID: 17993419
Yeah you can run chkdsk from the recovery console.
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by:davidmackett
ID: 18004291
I bit the bullet and hired Geeks to diagnose and innoculate the drive if necessary.  I tried every suggestion here and nothing worked.  I'll probably end up wiping and starting fresh, but will take the opportunity to install two more drives and separate the programs/data from the OS so this can't happen again as easily.  I'll report back to see what, if any problem was diagnosed.  Thanks for all the help...
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by:davidmackett
ID: 18098052
After diagnosis, the IT pro said Windows was "totally fried." Don't know how this happened on a new computer, but I have narrowed it down to the following possibilities:

1.  TEMP file wiped while in use by online backup program (unlikely).
2.  Virus (very unlikely)
3.  Getting too close to harddrive case with 5w aviation transceiver (transceiver's squelch opened by itself with static when getting too close) (I don't know enough about whether this can damage a drive or files)

Either way, it required wiping the drive and starting over.  the drive is mechanically sound, but Windows was dumping files in real-time while the pro was trying to get them off the machine.  A lot of damage, but luckly everything is backed up.

thanks for all the help.  It was definitely a learning experience!

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by:nobus
ID: 18099955
>>  3.  Getting too close to harddrive case with 5w aviation transceiver   <<   radiations can cause all kinds of havoc, especially when the grounding and / or shielding is not good.  I suggest checking those.
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