repeated boot errors /system file missing

Each time, I have used the repair console in XP to replace the indows/system32/config/system, sam, software etc files and loaded new drivers.

After half a dozen boot error occurrences, I theorized that I had a bad hard drive.  

I installed a new hard drive, installed new XP sp3 and the same error happened again.  My question is how do I troubleshoot this?

MIght it be mobo, memory or something else I have not considered?  Running an ASUS M2A-VM with 4 gb of RAM.

I was doing something different every time it happened.  The most recent time I was in IE8 surfing the Netflix site, got a blue screen and then the boot error.  This was the first time I got the blue screen.

So what do I troubleshoot next?
barrypilgerAsked:
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JakeCampbellCommented:
Do you have other computers attached to the same network? The system, sam and software "files" that you were replacing are actually the system's registry and SAM database (stores usernames and passwords). If they were deleted while the system was active I can only imagine the blue screen you'd get. I'm wondering if you have a hide-and-seek virus some place on your network? If you have a new drive and a fresh clean load of Windows, do you have other drives attached to the system? Have you connected to the same local computer(s)? Anything like that?

What virus protection were you using/are you using now?

Jake
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Ivano ViolaSystem AdministratorCommented:
I guess the blue screen are causing Windows to be corrupted. I suggest you run memtest to test the memory in you computer.

http://www.memtest86.com/

This could be why the computer blue screens randomly. If this comes back clean it could mean you have a faulty system board. It wouldn't be a bad idea to run a chkdsk on your hard drive as well.

Start with the memtest. Let us know how it goes.
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Ivano ViolaSystem AdministratorCommented:
Never mind about the chkdsk... you have a new hard drive. :)
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JakeCampbellCommented:
ivanoviola, I don't mean to challenge you here, but I fail to see the likelihood that bad RAM would cause a simultaneous reboot and multi-tree registry corruption. Have you ever experienced such an issue? I have seen files damaged, but only as they were actively processed in memory (i.e. files being downloaded or copied) I would imagine bad memory causing random reboots (had it happen) but I don't think corrupt registry data in memory would be written back to the disk before the blue screen dumped memory. That is actually a purpose of the blue screen.

Jake
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MisterTechCommented:
Have you tried going into msconfig and stopping all services and apps from starting up except the ones that bring you online?  Sometimes this is because of a driver conflict.  And what does your event log say?
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kentcomputersCommented:
Like others have said, I suspect bad memory, or possibly a bad cable to the hard drive.

Take out all of the memory except for one stick, and plug your hard drive in with a different SATA or IDE cable.
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Ivano ViolaSystem AdministratorCommented:
Thanks for your input Jake....not helping Barry's problem much in the process.

Barry never mentioned anything about a simultaneous reboots. When a computer blue screens while your logged into Windows, there is every chance that you can corrupt the registry. A lot pf processes are occurring in the back ground, accessing the registry. This is why Barry is experiencing boot/system errors after his computer blue screen. Faulty RAM is a common cause of blue screens (along with system board issues, driver/software issues and PSU problems).

If you haven't experienced many computer memory issues then I guess you shouldn't comment.
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JakeCampbellCommented:
ivanoviola, I have experience RAM issues frequently in my 20 years of computer maintenance, what I am saying is that I have never seen a modern OS corrupt the registry while bluescreening, this is OFTEN a software issue triggering software issues. Because the registry was stable through install and some operation (as he said a new install was successful for some time) I am doubting that some magical intermittent RAM issue is running perfectly for a given interval and then corrupting his registry and allowing that damaged copy to be rewritten to the disk.

Jake
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barrypilgerAuthor Commented:
Thanks experts.  One memory stick was the culprit.  Onward!!!
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Ivano ViolaSystem AdministratorCommented:
I'm glad we worked out the problem, Happy to help!
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