Repairing Windows without Installation CD?


F

fredrickal

I've had a compaq laptop for 5 years or so, and it's always worked fine up
until last week. When I start my computer, the initial windows screen comes
up (the one with the xp logo and the progress bar underneath) but then a blue
error screen flashes and my computer restarts. If I attempt to run in safe
mode (or any other mode) the same thing happens. Windows was installed by the
store I bought the computer at and they didn't give me a cd (of course).

I could use the boot disk if i had it, but I don't and don't know of anyone
who has one I could use. Is there any way I can repair Windows or get my
hands on an installation cd? Maybe somewhere I could download the software so
I could then put it on cd? Any help would be greatly appreciated, I'm going
out of my mind trying to figure this one out.
 
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B

Bruce Chambers

fredrickal said:
I've had a compaq laptop for 5 years or so, and it's always worked fine up
until last week. When I start my computer, the initial windows screen comes
up (the one with the xp logo and the progress bar underneath) but then a blue
error screen flashes and my computer restarts. If I attempt to run in safe
mode (or any other mode) the same thing happens. Windows was installed by the
store I bought the computer at and they didn't give me a cd (of course).

I could use the boot disk if i had it, but I don't and don't know of anyone
who has one I could use. Is there any way I can repair Windows or get my
hands on an installation cd? Maybe somewhere I could download the software so
I could then put it on cd? Any help would be greatly appreciated, I'm going
out of my mind trying to figure this one out.


If you can get your hands on a generic, unbranded OEM installation CD,
you might be able to use it (with your own OWM Product Key) to perform a
repair installation. You may first need to slip-stream in the
appropriate service pack first, though, to match your installations
current SP level.

Such CDs may be available at computer swap meets or through on-line
auction sites, but be very careful to ensure that what you get is, in
fact, an unbranded, generic CD, and not some manufacturer's
Recovery/Restore CD.


--

Bruce Chambers

Help us help you:


http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx/kb/555375

They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary
safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. ~Benjamin Franklin

Many people would rather die than think; in fact, most do. ~Bertrand Russell

The philosopher has never killed any priests, whereas the priest has
killed a great many philosophers.
~ Denis Diderot
 
P

Patrick Keenan

fredrickal said:
I've had a compaq laptop for 5 years or so, and it's always worked fine up
until last week. When I start my computer, the initial windows screen
comes
up (the one with the xp logo and the progress bar underneath) but then a
blue
error screen flashes and my computer restarts. If I attempt to run in safe
mode (or any other mode) the same thing happens. Windows was installed by
the
store I bought the computer at and they didn't give me a cd (of course).

I could use the boot disk if i had it, but I don't and don't know of
anyone
who has one I could use. Is there any way I can repair Windows or get my
hands on an installation cd? Maybe somewhere I could download the software
so
I could then put it on cd? Any help would be greatly appreciated, I'm
going
out of my mind trying to figure this one out.

You have a problem that may not be easy - that is, free - to solve. One
of the first steps is to contact Compaq support with the precise model
number and see if they can sell you a recovery disk. You can also try at:
www.restoredisks.com

who I've never used, but who seem to offer a variety of OEM restore CDs.
Perhaps they'll have yours.

One of the things I have done to fix a problem that sounds similar to yours
is to attach the drive to another system (or boot from a Linux CD), then
locate and delete
'pagefile.sys' in the root. Empty the wastebasket, put the drive back, and
reboot. You may have to reboot again, but this sometimes allows the system
to reboot properly. Takes about ten minutes.

Now, OEM restore CDs often rely on a destructive recovery, meaning that they
wipe the drive at the start of the process, which removes all your data.
So the prudent thing now is to attach the drive to another system and copy
all your data off, including mail and address lists. There are USB drive
adapters available for this, which start in the $25 range.

HTH
-pk
 
T

Twayne

fredrickal said:
I've had a compaq laptop for 5 years or so, and it's always worked
fine up until last week. When I start my computer, the initial
windows screen comes up (the one with the xp logo and the progress
bar underneath) but then a blue error screen flashes and my computer
restarts. If I attempt to run in safe mode (or any other mode) the
same thing happens. Windows was installed by the store I bought the
computer at and they didn't give me a cd (of course).

I could use the boot disk if i had it, but I don't and don't know of
anyone who has one I could use. Is there any way I can repair Windows
or get my hands on an installation cd? Maybe somewhere I could
download the software so I could then put it on cd? Any help would be
greatly appreciated, I'm going out of my mind trying to figure this
one out.

Still got any of the paperwork? There WAS a way provided to returnj the
system to its delivered state when you received the computer and it's
probably on a hidden partition on the hard drive. Find the instructions
on how to get that to work.
Go to Compaq's site and look for instructions for you model. If no
one has ever done a partition delete/create on the disk, then those
files are all still likely there to be used.

Cheers,

Twayne
 
F

fredrickal

That's a good idea. I have a flash drive where i could put my files, but how
would I be able to access them? You mentioned attaching my drive to another
system, how would I do that? I'm not too well informed when it comes to that
stuff unfortunately.

I also contacted Compaq through email so hopefully they can do something. At
this point I wouldn't mind if they sold me the oem cd. However, If I could
pull my files off the hard drive even though I can't boot up it might just be
easier to get a new computer since this ones already kinda old.
 
J

John Wunderlich

That's a good idea. I have a flash drive where i could put my
files, but how would I be able to access them? You mentioned
attaching my drive to another system, how would I do that? I'm not
too well informed when it comes to that stuff unfortunately.

I also contacted Compaq through email so hopefully they can do
something. At this point I wouldn't mind if they sold me the oem
cd. However, If I could pull my files off the hard drive even
though I can't boot up it might just be easier to get a new
computer since this ones already kinda old.

If you're not comfortable with cracking cases and moving drives to
other computers, you can try creating a free Live Linux CD such as
Knoppix and boot your system from the CD. You can then back up your
files to either a USB Storage device or over your network.

Knoppix:
<http://www.knopper.net/knoppix/index-en.html>

HTH,
John
 
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P

Patrick Keenan

fredrickal said:
That's a good idea. I have a flash drive where i could put my files, but
how
would I be able to access them?

Flash drives are not a good media for backups, as they have a tendency to
suddenly and permanently fail.

But you access them simply by plugging the drive into a USB port on another
systems.
You mentioned attaching my drive to another
system, how would I do that? I'm not too well informed when it comes to
that
stuff unfortunately.

Use either an external USB2 drive case, or as an alternative, there are
USB2 to IDE or SATA adapter cables - basically these are the same thing, but
with or without the box. Both start around $20. Laptop drive cases
come with a special 3-headed USB cable. You plug this into two separate
USB ports on the host machine, and the small end to the drive case. This
is necessary because hard disks draw about one amp, and USB ports supply at
most half an amp.

This does also require another system, so you may find that professional
assistance is helpful. The task is simple and straightforward.
I also contacted Compaq through email so hopefully they can do something.
At
this point I wouldn't mind if they sold me the oem cd.

I had to buy one for my Vista Thinkpad, and it was in the $30 range.
However, If I could
pull my files off the hard drive even though I can't boot up it might just
be
easier to get a new computer since this ones already kinda old.

I would agree, and you'll find that newer laptops are very much cheaper than
old ones were, largely because the cost of the display has plummeted.

As a tip, if you want to use XP Pro instead of Vista on a new laptop, use
the "business" or "office" links, instead of the "Home" links, on sites like
Dell or Lenovo or HP. Systems targeted towards business users generally
offer XP as a no-charge option, while those targeted towards basic consumers
do not.

HTH
-pk
 
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P

Patrick Keenan

Twayne said:
Still got any of the paperwork? There WAS a way provided to returnj the
system to its delivered state when you received the computer and it's
probably on a hidden partition on the hard drive. Find the instructions
on how to get that to work.
Go to Compaq's site and look for instructions for you model. If no one
has ever done a partition delete/create on the disk, then those files are
all still likely there to be used.

Cheers,

Twayne

It's important to pay close attention to the screens when using this
process, as the recovery may be destructive; if backups aren't current, data
can be lost.

HTH
-pk
 

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