Saturday, November 2, 2013

Operating System (OS) Crash - Undone, Part 2

I was happy with new new set-up "clean" and nearly empty system on my fast computer.
Bookmarks were all saved by Chrome/Google browser. No need to hunt them down again (although I did in the first few days just to see how many of them I could find and /or recall). Attaching and booting the slow and small HDD to copy the needed files to a USB stick was easy too; just unplug and re-plug and back to the old "new" HDD.

Then I remembered that I had some unpublished photos on that other computer that I have not yet backuped (neither on USB stick nor the cloud). So, back to the old computer and switch it on. 
Too bad that I had forgotten to plug the monitor in after I had moved it back to it's resting place. Quickly, I made a shutdown, and turned all electricity off. You never know with Win XP what happens if you just plug the monitor in as it is running.
Only that this time the OS wasn't running yet, being an old slow system and me being used to that fast booting one. So, instead of a normal shut down, it was shut down half loaded. Which is not a good thing.

After I had the monitor attached I re-started the computer - only to end up in a black screen of options.
And no matter what option I chose I ended up in that same screen:
Windows can't boot correctly.

From my last experience with a non-booting computer, and not being able to describe in words to my helpful friends what actually went wrong, I took a video of that "loop" booting:



And then the batteries of the camera were empty.  Luckily I had a spare set, so I could just continue with the next boot "loop":


What to do now? I had this boot CD. So, after checking the CMOS/BIOS settings were correct for booting from CD: 

But nothing happened. 0.0 

I did have a floppy disk that said "boot" on it. I inserted that, only to find out that it had drivers for CD drives on it, but no other programs like chkdsk etc. And those drivers didn't work for my CD drive. 
Not because of the age difference or different system the boot floppy was made for. It also said windows 95/98 on the cover.
No, it was loose cables that stopped the CD drive from being read . headdesk
IT had taken me a week and a few talks with online friends to find that out. Now, with the cables reattached, I had no problem running that boot CD with all the checking programs. It had a min win XP on it - a nice visual for file checking. Albeit, very slow as it was using the Ram drive to run. 
This is what I found: 

Nothing on C:
Using a different program for file checking I saw this:

Something on C:
So, something was still on C: ; but it could not be read. I assumed it, as it kept wanting to boot with Win XP, thus it must have some files of that left on the HDD and in the "boot" sector. 

I was about to give up when I recalled my old computer times using DOS to run a computer. And I knew there was a DOS program on the boot CD. 
I found it and - wow- it had a nice mouse steered colored screen to navigate. No need to remember all those codes and orders to execute the programs. I chose the surface test.
Taken after the test just to show what I used as it stared too fast to take a before shot.
And it came up with 18 errors.

Those numbers don't tell me anything, but those are the errors. 
And when it found them, correct them automatically. More than deleting what was already "gone" could not happen anyway.
The repair in action. 
Doing one more test before "finished" - successfully. 
When it was finished I was surprised the file manager loaded so fast. It took me a while to realize that the old Win XP was all back, all files unharmed., nothing lost. I couldn't believe it, took the boot CD out and re-booted the system.

And yes, =))

It booted totally normal. I could get my few photos and now had a second system fixed and (after I delete some never used programs) will even have a rather fast computer again for backup should my "beloved" fast computer go crazy on me again. Or, I might even install a small LINUX system on that old computer. 

And if that all is not enough to feel happy about - I actually found the WLAN stick for that old computer again. and re-installed it too. Now, I do not have to go to that cold place with this computer just to get online with it over the router. 

Am I now a computer geek? Well, not an expert but also no beginner or "just user" too. 
For those interested in what boot CD I used:
Hiren Boot CD


A big THANK YOU to all the wonderful people on the internet out there that advised me and encouraged me over and over again this last month so I could "repair" this old computer without spending one cent; just a little time and patience.