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Standard User cheshire_man
(knowledge is power) Tue 29-Jan-13 18:35:15
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A 'fun' XP problem...


[link to this post]
 
I went round to a neighbour's yesterday as his elderly HP XP PC wasn't working properly. He'd used it a couple of days earlier, closed it down. But next time he went to use it, it went faulty.

Turned out that it booted up fine to the desktop. But the desktop was completely empty - no icons, no task bar, absolutely nothing. Left or right clicking the mouse had no effect. Ctrl-Alt-Del had no effect. Windows key had no effect. Windows+ (for example) E produced the expected HDD noise it is 'loaded' Explorer, but nothing on the desktop. Similarly various function keys.

Basically there was no way to get anything to appear on the desktop.

Looked as if Windows Explorer was crashing but without any means of, for example, running RegEdit (one of the possible fixes) it seemed impossible to resolve.

Tried Safe Mode - straight after displaying the module list it crashed and rebooted' Tried Debug mode - booted up and then hung. Tried Last Known Good Configuration - blank desktop.

Checked the BIOS for odd settings, all looked ok.

Eventually I went into the (HP) Recovery Mode on boot up. That set the machine back to factory settings, though didn't lose the data.

Then I tried to installer the drivers for the BT Voyager BB modem. No joy. I then realised that it had been reverted to XP SP1 and that the installer and/or drivers needed a later SP.

Today I went back with a spare router, connected that up and soon was on the internet.

Windows Update wouldn't work with SP1...

Had to manually download SP2 and SP3 and then install them.

After that Windows Update found another 125 updates....

Eventually, after removing Norton Antivirus 2004 and installing Microsoft Security Essentials I was able to run things, and access his Yahoo email.

Bit of tidying still needed but at least the system is usable.

Sorry about all that rambling but 2 questions arise.

1 What might have caused the problem in the first case?
2 What could I have done instead of going to Recovery Mode?

There may be other lessons I could have learned but at the moment I can't think what they are.

And yes, I'm working on persuading him to upgrade to a Win 7 PC and to get a router.

On that latter point, any suggestions for an inexpensive basic router (would need more than 1 LAN port), he's only about 1km straight line from the exchange so a short line.

Tony
Standard User XRaySpeX
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Tue 29-Jan-13 19:40:03
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Re: A 'fun' XP problem...


[re: cheshire_man] [link to this post]
 
Not much else you could have done except try a Recovery Boot disk like Hirens.BootCD.15.2.zip and view the HDD from there to see what's missing.

(Don't be fooled by all the "Download" advert buttons on that page, clink on the link to the .ZIP near the bottom)

1999: Freeserve 48K Dial-Up => 2005: Wanadoo 1 Meg BB => 2007: Orange 2 Meg BB => 2008: Orange 8 Meg LLU => 2010: Orange 16 Meg LLU => 2011: Orange 19 Meg WBC
Standard User cheshire_man
(knowledge is power) Tue 29-Jan-13 21:10:12
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Re: A 'fun' XP problem...


[re: XRaySpeX] [link to this post]
 
Yes, I'd taken Hiren's with me but couldn't see what it could do in that situation.

Googling around it seems that Explorer crashing to give an empty desktop isn't unknown, but it seems that normally either Ctrl+Alt+Del and/or the ability to run RegEdit (as corrupt registry entries can cause the problem) seem to be the 'solution'. But given that it was impossible to get anything at all to show on the desktop it was very much back to basics.

The whole process of recovering the system, from the HP Recovery load to downloading and applying SP2 & SP3 and all the subsequent updates is very very boring - especially on an old and slow PC [yawn]

Tony


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Standard User XRaySpeX
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Tue 29-Jan-13 21:34:21
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Re: A 'fun' XP problem...


[re: cheshire_man] [link to this post]
 
Just did a similar recovery on an HP XP that was consistently freezing while or after the desktop was displayed.

BTW: SP3 includes SP2. Wasted some time before I realized that frown

1999: Freeserve 48K Dial-Up => 2005: Wanadoo 1 Meg BB => 2007: Orange 2 Meg BB => 2008: Orange 8 Meg LLU => 2010: Orange 16 Meg LLU => 2011: Orange 19 Meg WBC
Standard User cheshire_man
(knowledge is power) Tue 29-Jan-13 21:50:42
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Re: A 'fun' XP problem...


[re: XRaySpeX] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by XRaySpeX:
BTW: SP3 includes SP2. Wasted some time before I realized that frown
Ah, I was told that SP2 had to be applied before SP3 would install. I see it says
In order to install SP3, you must first have Windows XP Service Pack 1a (SP1a) or Service Pack 2 (SP2) installed.
So perhaps you had SP1a. The system I mentioned only had SP1 in its Properties, I've no idea whether it would have said SP1a if that were the case.

Ah well, 'tis done now. Next time I'll take a book grin

Tony
Standard User XRaySpeX
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Tue 29-Jan-13 22:03:43
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Re: A 'fun' XP problem...


[re: cheshire_man] [link to this post]
 
I think the HP factory setting did have SP1a, but I was going by this:
Overview
Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) includes all previously released updates for the operating system.

System requirements
Supported operating systems: Windows XP Home Edition , Windows XP Professional Edition, Windows XP Service Pack 1, Windows XP Service Pack 2
Tho' the latter doesn't include "Windows XP Service Pack 1a".

1999: Freeserve 48K Dial-Up => 2005: Wanadoo 1 Meg BB => 2007: Orange 2 Meg BB => 2008: Orange 8 Meg LLU => 2010: Orange 16 Meg LLU => 2011: Orange 19 Meg WBC
Standard User cheshire_man
(knowledge is power) Tue 29-Jan-13 22:10:01
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Re: A 'fun' XP problem...


[re: XRaySpeX] [link to this post]
 
I didn't try SP3 straight off. Question was

Do I try SP3 straight off, and waste however long it takes to find that it needs SP2/SP1a, or do I wait while SP2 is installed and then install SP3?

Heads they win, tails I lose smile

Anyway, I've now put SP2 and SP3 in my toolkit.

Tony
Standard User cavillas
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Wed 30-Jan-13 12:11:12
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Re: A 'fun' XP problem...


[re: cheshire_man] [link to this post]
 
You could have tried using the XP disk and going inot command promt recovery. Then use MBR and fixboot. My friend had the same trouble a short time ago and this fixed it, it booted ok straight away, I then ran a few ant malware progs andthere were afew bits on it that had to be removed. Since then no problem.

Alf
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Standard User cheshire_man
(knowledge is power) Wed 30-Jan-13 12:19:59
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Re: A 'fun' XP problem...


[re: cavillas] [link to this post]
 
It did boot ok, so I don't think it was an MBR issue. It got as far as displaying the desktop, albeit completely empty. It responded (HDD clicking) to various key combos. So Windows was up and running, just that Explorer (for the desktop) wasn't running.

Tony
Standard User xon
(experienced) Wed 30-Jan-13 19:03:37
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Re: A 'fun' XP problem...


[re: cheshire_man] [link to this post]
 
Hidden files? Cant remember what but cleaned malware, using Malwarebytes, from a PC about a year ago and afterwards, although clean, it had a blank desktop. Resolution was to "unhide" the files, using a straightforward command. Try googling, its way more reliable than my recollection smile

xoff
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