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laptop hard drive problem (any way to do a system restore?)

Posted on 2014-03-20
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Last Modified: 2014-04-21
Hi, last week I powered my laptop on (hp dv9000, running xp) and I forgot to plug the power supply in so as the laptop was booting into windows, the battery died and the computer powered off.

I plugged the laptop in to the power jack and pressed the power button and I got an error saying to run the windows recovery console because it detected a missing file. I installed the cd and ran the recovery repair wizard and it successfully fixed the problem. Windows booted normally and all my files were intact.

The only problem I had was sometimes when I power the laptop up the bios settings show and right when the windows icon is supposed to load the computers screen stays black and windows does not boot. If it does that I just hold the power button and shut it off and put it back on, usually the second time it successfully boots.

But ever since the power outage about 50% of the time when I power it up I have to shut it off and put it back on in order for it to load. So today I removed the hard drive and ran sea tools for diagnostics, seatools found no problems. I rebooted the computer with the laptop drive still attached and windows 7 said it detects problems on drive D (the laptop drive) and it was doing some sort of a "repair" which took about an hour.

After the repairs were finished I went into the properties and I noticed that the drive now showed over 350 gigs of free space. This had me concerned because I was supposed to have only about 20 gigs free. So some how during the "repair" it marked a lot of my good files as free space.

I then reinstalled the drive back into the laptop and I booted it up and got an error: "windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt. <windows root> \system32\ntoskrnl.exe please re install a copy of the above file.

At that point I really panicked and I removed the drive and ran a recovery utility to scan the drive and see if it can recover the data. The program I used was "getdataback for ntfs" . That program took about 10 hours to scan the drive but luckally it was able to recover all my data so I backed the entire directory up (about 460 gigs of data).

So with my data now backed up I was going to see if I can do a restore so I tried to boot to command prompt in safe mode but I got the same error about the missing file. So is there any easy way for me to do a system restore? I have a new drive I am going to eventually re install the OS onto but I have some files and programs I need to use tonight if possible, so if I could get it running it would be great even if it runs unstable until I install a new drive.

So my goal is to undo the changes that the "repair wizard" did today when it lost over half of the files on my drive.  Like I said already I have the files backed up on a spare drive now but I want to recover the original hard drive so I can run a few programs I need for work.
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Question by:hydrive1902
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by:rick81
rick81 earned 63 total points
ID: 39944385
assuming you have 1 partion, C drive?
I would suggest doing a repair install of windows but unlikely it will preserve the free space.

if you have got a backup of your data, you're lucky.  

worst case you might have to cut your losses.  format the drive, resintall windows and restore your data.

if windows see's the drive as free space, not sure there is a way for this to change.
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Assisted Solution

by:web_tracker
web_tracker earned 63 total points
ID: 39944435
If you are trying to recover  things like to product keys of applications you previously installed, then it would be worth your while trying to get the system running again such as doing the windows repair install, even if you seem to be over writing files. Since you have the system backed up you can go this route. Doing the repair it should leave your applications intact, but it may cause some data loss. Most of the time it will not affect your data, but there is a chance that the data may be over written that is why they always recommend you backup your data before you do the repair.
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LVL 70

Assisted Solution

by:garycase
garycase earned 63 total points
ID: 39944524
What are the specs for the PC you attached the laptop drive to?    It sounds like it did not properly "see" the structure of the drive, and consequently "fixed" a non-existent problem and modified the partition table.

You were lucky that GetDataBack was able to recover all of your data, but it's not very likely you'll be able to boot again with that drive.    You should simply put your new drive in the laptop, and do a fresh install of the OS ... that will likely take less time than "fiddling" with the old drive -- and will clearly have a more successful result.

If you post the specs of the other PC, however, we may be able to determine with more certainty what likely happened.,
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LVL 92

Accepted Solution

by:
nobus earned 125 total points
ID: 39944641
try this method :
windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt:  \WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/307545
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
An easier way is to boot from a Bart PE CD (or UBCD4Win CD) and use the file manager for manipulating files. Here  the procedure :
1. rename c:\windows\system32\config\SYSTEM to c:\windows\system32\config\SYSTEM.bak
2. Navigate to the System Volume Information folder.
it contains some restore {GUID} folders such as "_restore{87BD3667-3246-476B-923F-F86E30B3E7F8}".
The restore points are in  folders starting with "RPx under this folder.
3. In such a folder, locate a Snapshot subfolder. This is an example of a folder path to the Snapshot folder:  C:\System Volume Information\_restore{D86480E3-73EF-47BC-A0EB-A81BE6EE3ED8}\RP1\Snapshot
4. From the Snapshot folder, copy the following file to the c:\windows\system32\config folder
 _REGISTRY_MACHINE_SYSTEM
5. Rename _REGISTRY_MACHINE_SYSTEM to SYSTEM
6. Exit Bart PE, reboot and test

Use a fairly recent restore point from at least a day or two prior to problem occurring .

** you can add the other hives also with this procedure

http://www.nu2.nu/pebuilder/       BARTPE
http://www.ubcd4win.com/            UBCD4WIN


FYI - these laptops are known for bad video soldering, and often need reflowing the chip (ive done 5 of these with success)
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LVL 46

Assisted Solution

by:noxcho
noxcho earned 62 total points
ID: 39947972
In short - you cannot revert the changes done by CHKDSK which was doing its work as it found some errors. It re-addressed the hard links of the OS interface to actual data and now the real data on the HDD is marked for overwrite.
You have recovered the data, now take deep sigh and simply reinstall the OS and programs.
Then use full disk backup software weekly at least to take backups of system and data. This will save you next time much time and nerves.
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LVL 8

Assisted Solution

by:nader alkahtani
nader alkahtani earned 62 total points
ID: 39952597
HD may has bad sectore that must be marked as damaged by using chkdsk /r
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LVL 27

Assisted Solution

by:Steve
Steve earned 62 total points
ID: 39961119
I know it's not the answer you may want to hear, but it's true that you're really short of options.
It looks like your diagnostic tools found some corruption and dealt with it in the only way it can, removing the files from the drive. Due to the amount of free space you now have it looks catastrophic and even running repairs etc are unlikely to fix it.

If we were offering advice prior to you using the diagnostic tools we may have had options, but the tools you used have made changes that you are unlikely to be able to fix.
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LVL 92

Assisted Solution

by:nobus
nobus earned 125 total points
ID: 39961332
hydrive, how is it going?
if needed, you can backup  the data and do a factory reset also
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Author Closing Comment

by:hydrive1902
ID: 40012464
thanks everyone- nobus still going to try your solutuon! thanks for the ideas and help, as always!
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LVL 92

Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 40012602
not sure why ytou closed this?
if you want you cna even re-open it, and award points after you find a solution (or not)
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