I lost the hard drive and replaced it. I restored a saved image and got the PC back running, but noticed I have two major problems. I tried to configure the system with current updates since the image file was several months old.
Going to Control Panel and initiating a Windows Update, I get the following message:
"Windows Update cannot currently check for updates, because the service is not running. You may need to restart your computer."
I went to Microsoft's site for help and tried the suggestions there like SPC /scannow, checking to see if the "BTI" and "Windows Update" services were running, and they were. None of Microsoft's suggested fixes has helped (no surprise to me!).
Going into the Event Logs, I see another problem that may be related to updates, but most definitely is another problem on its own. The Windows\system32\catroot2 (catdb) is missing. I followed the instructions on this help link found in the Event Log:
Basically, the instructions were to stop the cryptsvc service, rename the catroot2 folder to catroot2.old, and then restart cryptsvc.
The following was a way to repair catdb:
esentutl /p <%systemroot%>\System32\ca
The above fails because I did not have a "catdb". I went back to the backup set and copied over both the catroot and catroot2 folders and all their files. Vista will delete the catdb. I cannot find a way to get these two folders restored correctly. If I copy catdb from the backup set, and run the esentutl utility, it blows off with an error as it does not like the catdb from the backup set. If I reboot the machine, the catdb copied from the backup set, it consequently is deleted.
I believe these two problems are related.
I am trying my best to keep from reinstalling Vista because I cannot find the distro media. I would just upgrade to Windows 7 if it didn't cost $299.99.
Surely, there is a solution to fix this short of total reinstall.