Ive been recently taking advice from this site regarding a major computer upgrade, which will happen this weekend. Im very keen now. I got great support from Garycase, sublifer and Coral47.
So what happens last night? My existing PC decides to give up on me. First experience was a Checksum error message during POST, after the auto memory test, after which it just sat there. As the next thing that occurs after memory check is detecting the HDDs, I assumed an issue with the C: drive.
However I do have the OEM XP CD, so I booted up from this and requested a Windows Repair. Not via the Repair Console I asked to do a Windows Install and then after loading the vanilla drivers it reaches the screen where it detects an existing installation and asks for confirmation whether a fresh install is desired, or if you want Windows XP to attempt to repair the existing installation. This is the option I took.
Well first time through it got to the 34 minutes remaining countdown, and just froze there. I had no choice but to reboot again by turning the thing off (CD still in drive). This time it got to 6 minutes remaining, and froze again.
Reboot#3 same (last resort) choice of shutting down, again reached the magic 34 minute mark, froze again. Reboot#4, froze at 6 minutes! Getting really ticked off at this stage! Reboot#5 success! (or so I thought). It made it to the Windows graphical UAC logon screen, asking for my UAC password. Entered it, and reached my familiar desktop great! Im thinking all my data is still there.
Unfortunately, as soon as I tried to move the mouse and get down to doing stuff, I discovered the thing had frozen again!! What the *&#@!
Tried 3 more times to reboot (with the XP CD out now), and each time reached the UAC logon screen, but it freezes there. I gave up and went to bed!
Now when I do my major upgrade this weekend I intend to do a fresh XP install anyway, so the disk will be wiped/reformatted to start with. However I wish to extract my data from the C: drive to a USB stick beforehand obviously, so I want to fix this problem so I can do that.
Why is this happening? Ive got Award Dual BIOS (c. 2004 - v6.0g I think), so I went in there and requested a boot from the backup BIOS but nothing changed. Does it sound like a HDD problem, or the OS? Im not really sure (the checksum error during POST has gone, bear in mind).
Ive got a Vantec HDD Dock now so I can remove the C: drive and (hopefully) extract any data onto my laptop provided the HDD is not totalled. Ill find out tonight.
What worries me though, is the source of the problem. If its my existing Gigabyte mobo, well Im changing over so its not really an issue. But if my HDD has an inherent problem, Im a bit nervous about spending a lot of time doing a fresh install if its going to stop on me again.
How can I identify the source of the problem please? How will I know if the drive is OK do I run Chkdsk - is that good/reliable enough? Is there any more robust way to check? On-line tools?
Thanks in advance.