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Duke Atreides

Calling All Greater Comp Gurus!

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I have this Dell (lovely computers btw) that I was hired to fix, the owner of the comp does not want to lose any of his files. The problem was the comp would not stay online, (he also uses AOL) I brought it home to hook it into my LAN to update his Windows OS (XP Pro), something he had never done in the 6 months hes had the thing. This particular comp was a refurbished one and although there is the Dell XP disc I cant find a stinking cd key. The comp would not acknowlege the Ethernet cable was plugged in so I popped in another Ethernet card= plug and play cinfig error that wont stop even after I put the stupid original card back in. :blink:

 

Suspecting a virus and with the absense of any AV software on comp and no access to internet I popped in a Norton disc to scan the comp, after this the thing began to act real funny ie: when windows loads up the comp blue screens and shuts down after 5 minutes, I then tried a repair install of the OS and the thing runs fine but 5 minutes into setup the comp shuts down again. I am at a loss and need some major computer guru help.

 

Thanks

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If you are going to do a reinstall of the OS and can't find a CD key, just call up dell.. I'm sure they would be glad to provide you with it.

 

Edit - as bigred said below.. use a cd key viewer

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the windows cd key should be stuck onto the case somwhere. all pc manufactures are required to put the cd key sticker somewhere on the case.

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I work in a computer repair shop and there are a few things we always do first to diagnose a computer. Get Memtest or another bootable memory test utility and then get a HDD test untility as well. There are a few out there including one called DFT which is what we use as well as ones from the HDD respective manufacturer. If the HDD is a Maxtor go to Maxtor's website and so on. It sounds to me like the HDD is going bad from what you are describing. If you can find the DFT HDD scanner or another untility it is probably going to give you a 0x70 or 0x72 error. Both of which mean a failing HDD. Most likely it just has a corrupt or invalid sector and will have to be replaced. Also...if you can get it to boot into "Safemode with Networking" (hit F8 repeatidly after you restart until it brings up the options) see if you can get online. If you can get online go to Trendmicro's website and use their free HouseCall virus scan. It is always up to date and will find detect any virus or trojan, even ones that are memory resident.

 

Beyond that I would ask the customer what he needs backed up and then remove his HDD and hook it up to one of your own computers to see if you can extract the data. It might be the only way you can get to the info since there is obviously something wrong with windows. If you have any other question feel free to PM me and I can try to get you some links which i dont currently have to the above items. Good Luck..

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If it restarts during the repair installation, it may be as simple as a power or heat problem. My comp was doin the same things your describing, one because I had a virus (thats what made me reinstall/repair windows) and two the reason it kept shutting down was because of the CPU overheating, try coolin it down a bit to see if you get through the install.

 

EDIT: :withstupid: I've also had those symptoms when a Maxtor drive of mine died.

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If all else fails, and Windows is not playing nice, you can also use a live Linux CD to get to the hdd. Using Knoppix, Suse, Gentoo, dang small, etc... These CDs run Linux completely off the CD, and it doesn't need to write anything to the hdd. They can mount the hdd as read-only, they work with about 90% of known network cards, and play nice with Windows networks, so you should be able to get to the data they need and save it across your network for a backup.

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The best thing, and easiest thing to do in your situation is connect the HD to a secondary ide on your own computer, or one of your work computers. Use a equivalent sized drive and backup anything that isnt part of the OS. This way if the drive fails it wont crash the computer, itll just show up as an error because your using a seperate OS to browse the hd. :typing:

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Thanks for the help guys,

 

Ive told the guy his probs and he just said get a new hard drive, I found the magic jelly bean program and extracted the cd key and reinstalled on another hard drive, THAT was the biggest problem.

 

Now I'm downloading about 4 Gazillion gigabytes of updates from Microsoft and installing Norton, Spybot etc.

 

I appreciate the help. :wub:

Edited by Duke Atreides

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For what it's worth I seem to remember reading that Norton could cause blue screen after 5 minute type problems or something. Probably just needed uninstalling :)

 

Oh, by the way, I wouldn't have risked plugging that machine into my home network :) Ooops!

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