This is for a customer, I fix PCs for a living.
PC is an HP Slimline 7250n running XP Media Center SP2 (Desktop PC).
After extensive malware removal, PC works fine in Safe mode but in normal mode at boot get an error about Explorer.exe has encountered an error and has to close and then things go bad. I then Expanded Explorer.exe from the i386 folder to the Windows folder and this did NOT fix the problem.
THE ABOVE IS BACKGROUND ONLY; I DOUBT THIS POST HAS ANYTHING TO DO WITH MALWARE.
I then tried a Windows repair install from a generic Windows Media Center SP2 CD. However the CD drive was broke so I replaced it with a 2003 internal CD drive I CARRY AROUND FOR EXACTLY THIS USE. After the copy phase, I get the following error "Setup can not set the required Windows XP configuration information. This indicates an internal setup error. Contact your system administrator. Press F3 to continue"
Before continuing read the following two links
What MS says about this error
What HP says about this error for a wide range of HP laptops
Note; The HP article is dated 2006, the same time period, a XP Media Center SP2 PC probably came out as Media Center was introduced in 2005. Also I doubt the problem exists just for HP laptops.
Also the HP article essentially says the MS KB article is wrong, there is no problem, just continue.
Regarding the MS KB article (incompatible HW or update the BIOS)
I did change the CD drive but SO WHAT ??? ALL 2003 CD DRIVES ARE COMPAITBLE WITH WINDOWS XP SP2 AREN'T THEY ?
Also I have used this EXACT CD drive with at least 5 previous XP SP2 Repair Installs with no problems. My XP Media Center SP2 CD has also been used at least 5 times on Repair installs.
Furthermore before the Repair install I checked Device Manager and there were no yellow marks, ie all devices worked and were hence compaitble with the OS. Also the only external attached devices are a PS 2 mouse and keyboard. There was no printer.
Also if the new CD drive was not compatible with the BIOS, then the XP Repair Install could not have copied thousands of files from the CD to the HD, right ?
My inclination is to follow the HP article advice and ignore the error message and jsut continue. If that fails replace the 2003 CD drive with a new 2009 Sony internal DVD burner (but I do not know why that would matter).
NOW IT IS YOUR TURN, WHAT DO YOU SUGGEST?
If any malware expert replies here, you must HAVE SEEN MALWARE CAUSE THIS EXACT ERROR MESSAGE DURING A REPAIR INSTALL.