I have stuffed up my installation of XP. Points are for telling me how to get things back to normal but please note: I need step-by-step, idiot-proof instructions.
The problem. My machine boots XP, but very slowly. In particular, the pale blue screen with the word "welcome" stays up for much longer than normal. When the machine has finally finished booting and I can see the desktop etc, there is no taskbar, the windows key has no effect when pressed, and simple operations like dragging a file from one explorer window to another do not work.
This happened after I installed AVGFree, ran a couple of checks and then uninstalled it. When I booted the machine after the uninstall, windows said it had to check a disk for consistency and then spent many hours correcting the security descriptor on - I think - every single file on my C: drive. (I went to bed after file number 135,000.) When it eventually finished and ran XP, I found the problems described above.
If you can get my system working normally again without me having to re-install windows then the points are yours.
I suspect however that I have a sick machine and XP needs repairing at least. I am really not enthusiastic about a complete re-install, but I accept that this may be necessary; it has been some time since I did a reinstall and the machine was getting rather sluggish.
The problem with a repair/re-install is that my primary disk is a SATA and my XP disk does not have SATA drivers (I believe XP disks released after SP1 do have drivers). I know the standard procedure is to create a floppy disk containing the drivers, to hit F6 when booting from the XP disk, and load the drivers from the floppy when prompted. Unfortunately this doesn't work: XP seems to load the drivers but when I then try to install windows or hit 'R' for the recovery console, I am told XP can't find any hard disks.
Here's the context of my problem. My machine is a dual-boot Win XP/Ubuntu 7.10 AMD64 with an Asus A8V Deluxe motherboard, a SATA and an IDE drive. I do not know the precise configuration of the drives, but until recently the machine was working fine and I have not changed anything so my guess is that everything is OK in terms of how the drives are physically connected to the motherboard and the BIOS settings.
I do not care if any proposed solutions delete/disable GRUB/Ubuntu.
I have the CD that came with the motherboard but I cannot use it to create the driver disk because of my problems with XP. If I try to use the setup program on the CD I get a message "InstallShield: 1607: Unable to install InstallShield Scripting Runtime". I can however read the disk and found what I think is the right "MakeDisk" program. This creates a floppy that is read by Windows during the F6/load SCCI driver dialog.
Please do not use email to contact me because that is another thing that is not working. Also I will not receive email notifications of proposed solutions for the same reason. I will of course check back regularly.