XP corrupts on shutdown? How to read event logs off external drive

Hello, ( sorry this is long-winded)
I have a Dell laptop Inspiron 8500 that I used extensively for work. 2ghz cpu P4m, 2gig ram, 160gig hitachi HD.
A couple of times in the past few months it has occasionally came up with only a flashing cursor in the top left. Now it does it once a week at least. I've cannot boot into safe mode. The bios seetings seem ok. I can only boot from a bootable ISO CD.

To workaround so far, when this happens: I remove the laptop drive then use anouther computer to read the drive using a usb to mini IDE adapter to read off my recent work, I run the Hitachi factory tests for this drive via bootable ISO: It always passes fine. The drive reads fine too.
Then I use "Acronis True Image home" to restore the drive back to the last backup( which I do 2 weekly now because of this ) It takes 3hours to restore the image, and then I copy back my recent work , and all works fine for about a week.

I bought "ASO advanced Sytem Optimizer" and cleaned up the registry, and defragged the drive using "AShampoo Magic Defreg". I was excited because I thought it was a registry problem or fragmentation issue.

It worked fine all week and seems faster even. I was happy.

Today it did the same no-boot thing when I when to to boot up. Blank screen with flashing cursor in the top left.

It really seems like something is killing either the registry, mbr, or bootloader on powerdown.

Now I'm restoring the images now,  and will turn on shutdown system even tlogging, But how will I read the logs when I use the
drive as an external usb drive on the good machine.

I'm running the Dell diags disk and it all passes. I can boot and restore the
partition using Acronis. I'm at a loss... Thanks for any help. Thanks!!! -Lee Studley
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The event logs are stored here on the drive:

They are called:
Application Log: AppEvent.evt
Security Log: SecEvent.evt
System Log: SysEvent.evt

On the working computer, open Event Viewer
Go to the "Action" menu and choose "Open Log File..."
Browse to the above paths on the connected drive and open.

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Peter HartCommented:
is it the hibernation screwing up?
start - control panel - power options -
set all the power schemes settings to "never"
advanced - make sure its unticked and it shuts down weh nyou press the offbutton
hibernate tab - make sure its NOT enabled (unticked)
save and see..
Peter HartCommented:
or the screen saver gets screwed - disable screen savers.
CrazyLeeAuthor Commented:
CrazyLeeAuthor Commented:
******SOLUTION******:This website and faq pretty much sums up what I've been experiencing.

My current hypothesis is the 137gig limit in the bios, in coordination with the XP SP2's ability to go above 137gigs. Using acronis I was able to transfer upgrade( awhile back ) from an 80gig drive to this 160gig drive. All was well until these issues popped up. I think as the drive utililization grew, I started having problems with my bios's lack of LBA48( >137 gig ) support. It's almost like I'm getting address aliasing/wrap around problems after the drive started filling up. For the Inspiron 8500 there is no bios yet that handles LBA48 correctly, so I downsized my partition to 100gigs using Disk Manager and all seems to be well so far. If you search on this problem, it seems it's common on a lot of laptops that were made before 2004 and/or people not updating their bios. I've not heard this solution, so I hope it gets investigated more. I welcome comments on this !! -Lee

******SOLUTION******:This website and faq pretty much sums up what I've been experiencing.

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Windows XP

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