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Why Won’t My Device Drivers Install?

February 17th, 2014 No comments

Developing your skills as a computer owner is the only way to ensure you can get through minor issues without having to hand your device to a repair technician. Polishing up your device driver management skills could leave you frustrated if all your attempts fail to install the proper files. Keeping your device drivers updated is crucial for system safety, so you will need to build these skills now rather than later. You only need to take a few troubleshooting steps to discover why you are experiencing the problem. Fixing driver issues can save you a lot of time and money over paying for repairs every time a device has a hard time connecting.

Mismatches and Mistakes

The majority of driver installation errors arise from simple mistakes, making them surprisingly easy to solve. All too many experienced computer users have clicked on the wrong link for a download and ended up with a file they didn’t want. Double checking that the file you received is the one you wanted in the first place only takes a moment and could save you a lot of hassle. Other issues arise when you download a driver designed for a different operating system or type of processor. Check all of the following points for compatibility when choosing your download:

  • Version of Windows – XP drivers rarely load at all when used on Vista or 8 computers
  • Type of processor – Check if your computer uses a 32-bit or 64-bit processor by visiting the System tab in the Control Panel
  • Driver version – Some driver versions only work with specific firmware upgrades available for the device
  • Latest updates – You need the best version of the driver file that works with your device to avoid bugs and glitches

Most third party websites fail to list all of the details for each driver they provide. Looking for a website specializing in Windows XP drivers or stick with the manufacturer’s websites to make sure you have the information you need to make the right decision.

No Connected Device

It may seem smart to try and install needed drivers before investing in a device or connecting it to your computer. However, this is a little more difficult than you might expect. It takes a little more work to start the installation process without triggering it by connecting your new webcam or printer. You must download an executable installer file in the form of .EXE or .MSI in order to even attempt it. With just a .DLL driver file, you must attach the device to install the appropriate driver. If the computer doesn’t recognize the device when you attach it, there may be an issue with the port or the hardware itself.

Lack of Administrator Privileges

The administrator account on a computer is often the only one authorized to make changes to the system files. This means that trying to install important drivers from a limited user account often backfires and leaves you unable to use your newest device. Log in to an account with administrator privileges before starting up any installer packages to give the program a chance to add files to the System folder and write registry changes. Computers with only one account tend to have administrator allowances already added to the login credentials, and you can change the privileges of your current account to give yourself the necessary access from the Control Panel.

Problem Solving: Safe Mode Installation

When driver installation fails, the process should reverse automatically and remove all of the files. This means you are ready to start a new installation when you locate a better match for your system or solve the problem preventing the process. Try starting the installation in Safe Mode to give it a better chance of working this time around.

  • Shut your computer down with the Start menu. Gather your driver installer files and place them on the Desktop before completing this step.
  • Start the system back up again with the power button. Press the F8 button at the top of your keyboard shortly after the boot screen appears, but before Windows itself loads and displays the colored flag. It may take you a few tries to get the timing right on this step.
  • Choose either Safe Mode with Networking or without, depending on your preferences. It is generally best to choose the network-free option if you are adding drivers for devices related to networking, such as wireless adapters and Ethernet ports.
  • Run your installer and complete the driver installation process. Shut down the computer again, then restart it without pressing F8 to boot into normal mode again.
  • Test your driver and device.

Problem Solving: Automatic Driver Scanners

You can also put an end to installation problems with Windows XP drivers by using the right kind of driver assistance software. While there are many programs that use a collection of files to match your device to the right one, not all of them can scan and detect what you have attached to the computer. Pick a driver installer package that scans and automatically picks drivers for you if you aren’t sure what is causing the installation issues with another file. Without this kind of support, you may end up dealing with an endless loop due to the same exact driver.

Categories: Driver FAQ, FAQs, Troubleshooting Tags:

Can XP Drivers Work On Vista?

January 9th, 2014 No comments

Driver files are highly specialized, with plenty of coding going in to each distinct version of a particular file. If you could open the drivers and examine them, you would find great differences in the files needed to make one device work with a Windows XP system and a MacBook Pro. While this does make it a little harder to get devices working when you can’t seem to locate a matching driver file, it is necessary to prevent a lot of communication errors between a printer or MP3 player and the computer.

The Trouble With Generic Drivers

There have been many attempts to create generic driver files over the years that have backfired or mostly failed. Since the various operating systems are so different in how they operate, it is hard to design a set of instructions that work on all of them. Executing an action on Windows XP requires different code than it would on Windows Vista. This means that a driver written for XP will do nothing on Vista – or possible create havoc by executing inappropriate actions when triggered by the device. Installing the wrong drivers can send the system into a complete reboot loop. Many users attempt to force trustworthy XP drivers to install through the Device Manager. The computer may warn you about the practice or complete it without complaint. If you aren’t sure that a file is designed for the version of Windows you’re using, get a fresh download rather than attempting to install it manually.

Generic Exceptions

This rule about driver complications is mainly true for complex devices like printers, MP3 players, scanners, external hard drivers, and similar accessories. Very simple items, including USB flash drivers and basic keyboards, communicate with all Windows operating systems just fine. These items are covered by generic drivers. You can tell if a certain accessory falls into the umbrella of generic coverage by looking for the Plug and Play designation on the packaging. Devices with this capability tend to work just fine with both XP and Vista without any concerns about downloading and installing new drivers. Unfortunately, it’s nearly impossible to find devices more complicated than basic input or storage tools that can just start working with the computer without the download and installation of drivers.

Upgrading Your Operating System

Many people face a driver conundrum for the first time when they want to upgrade a computer with Windows XP to Vista or an even newer OS. Digging out the recovery or installation discs that came with the system will only provide you with a set of XP drivers if that is what was originally installed. Even if the system had an option to order with Vista pre-installed, the manufacturer was only allowed to send you discs for the OS you picked. Unless the system had a dual installation of the newer system, don’t expect recovery discs to be much help during an upgrade. You are going to have to go on the hunt for Vista appropriate drivers rather than relying on XP files.

The Generation Gap

It is perfectly possible for a computer running Windows XP to be incompatible for an upgrade despite being powerful enough to support it. Even if the processor and memory is sufficient, some older systems and components just don’t have support anymore. Check that the manufacturers decided to make Vista drivers for the computer and hardware you are trying to use. If they didn’t, there may be no safe and reliable way to force the newer operating system to work with the hardware. There is a generation gap between the two systems of quite a few years, so only expect the last few computers that shipped with XP to feature drivers and other forms of support for newer options.

Six Steps To Finding Vista Drivers

Always start by double checking that your computer can handle the higher demands of the newer operating system. Once you are sure it’s worth undertaking, you need to make a few preparations before popping the OS installation disc into the drive.

  1. Find a reliable driver program and save it. Look for a major installer that includes libraries for both XP and Vista drivers. If you run this program shortly after the fresh copy of Vista is in place, most to all of your drivers should be installed automatically.
  2. Make a list of all of the components inside the computer. You will likely need to hunt down drivers for each wireless card and graphics card separately, so use the Device Manager to examine what’s installed before attempting to make a switch.
  3. Check the manufacturer’s website for the computer and see if Vista drivers are available. If there are missing support files, head to the websites for the makers of each component. Use the exact model numbers reported by the Device Manager to make sure you are getting the right files.
  4. Don’t forget about 32 vs 64 bit system requirements. If you use 64 bit drivers for your XP installation, the same will be needed once Vista is the dominant OS.
  5. Load all of the drivers onto USB flash drives or burn them onto CDs. USB devices tend to be the best choice because the generic drivers that come along with the new version of the OS should mean that support is available after the initial Vista boot.
  6. Be prepared to roll back to your previous version of the system if there are unexpected incompatibilities. Having a second computer for driver and system file troubleshooting online is best when doing this kind of work. There can be issues with the installation itself, even if you have all of the right drivers and other files on hand.
Categories: Backup, Driver Tools, FAQs Tags:

When Should I Remove Drivers From My Computer?

January 3rd, 2014 No comments

Since drivers are such crucial system files, it is best to handle them very carefully. Overzealous removal of files that seem unneeded or outdated could cripple your system and leave your hardware on the fritz. Most users should leave their drivers alone, but problems popping up may require you to do a little selective trimming of the archives. It takes a few steps to fully remove driver files. However, virus infections and incompatibilities often call for the deletion of device drivers before brand new copies can be installed. Learning when and how to remove driver files is important if you don’t have a computer service department to fall back on for repairs.

Arguments Against Removal

It is a good practice to uninstall software and games when you’re done with them to keep your hard drive from getting cluttered. However, driver files are small and won’t take up significant room. There are far more benefits to keeping older version of drivers around than there are risks associated with them. If you keep your files, you can:

  • Easily rollback to a previous working version when an update causes all sorts of issues. Many new releases come with unexpected bugs, so rollback is one of the most powerful driver tools you can use on Windows XP.
  • Use System Recovery to reset your entire computer back to a point before a virus or bug took hold. If the drivers have been deleted since the last good working point, recovery will likely fail in at least one way.
  • Keep generic drivers from being installed for hardware you use every day. Removing a driver still in use often triggers an automatic installation that leaves you with limited to no use of the equipment.
  • Registry files are left behind after many types of incomplete driver uninstalling processes. Leaving these listings could mean that new items are incorrectly recognized as the old equipment. New sound cards or printers with no response are often linked to driver confusions.

Corruption And Malware

One situation that calls for uninstalling the older set of drivers is when malware or viruses strike. Many high level viral threats attack the system files to make it much harder for you to remove the infection. Being forced to delete your graphics card driver may cause the system to act up, but it could be your only option for eliminating the threat. Your anti virus software may ask to quarantine the file before deleting it, which will require a reboot. Make sure you follow the uninstallation process after quarantine, then clear the system with your anti virus program, before you attempt to install a new copy.

Driver Errors

You may also need to initiate a full removal of scanner drivers or similar files if you find that error codes keep popping up every time you start your computer. This is often the only indication that you are dealing with file problems at all. Keep an eye out for:

  • Code 18 – The driver is in need of reinstallation before the device can work properly again.
  • Code 38 – There are issues loading the driver files because existing instances are already open.
  • Code 45 – The hardware is not connected.
  • Code 49 – Too many devices have been installed into the registry. This is the code most linked to the need for immediate deletion of old and unneeded drivers.

New Equipment

When you want to replace a stock piece of hardware or an outdated accessory, you may need to completely remove old drivers along with the unwanted equipment. Leaving files in place often means a new video card or sound card is simply recognized as the previous version. This prevents the hardware manager from following the process for adding the right driver files for your upgrade. Again, deleting the physical drivers won’t take away the corresponding registry listings, so follow a full uninstallation if your new equipment recommends it. It’s smart to follow the process even if it isn’t recommended when installing anything attaching to the motherboard.

It is also recommended that you prune out some outdated drivers if you reconfigure your hardware and remove things that aren’t replaced. Leaving too many drivers behind will use up precious system resources and slow down the start up process. Each driver file has to be loaded during the boot phase, so excess listings can lead to slightly slower loads. This is barely noticeable on a modern system, but an older XP computer with limited memory and processing power could struggle greatly if it gets too bogged down. You may find a streamlined start after a careful survey of driver files that are no longer needed.

How To Remove Drivers In Full

A quick process is all it takes to remove driver files and the registry listings associated with them. You won’t be able to see the files for missing or disconnected hardware unless you take the right steps to unlock them says Tech Republic.

  1. Open your Start Menu by clicking the circular icon in the left hand lower corner.
  2. Select the Run option near the bottom.
  3. Enter the word “cmd”, without the quotes, into the Run box that appears. Use lower cased letters.
  4. When the Command Prompt window opens, type in “set devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices=1” without the quotes. Press enter after to execute the command. Nothing will appear to happen, but the setting will change as soon as you see the blinking cursor move to the next line.
  5. On the next line, enter “devmgmt.msc” with no quotes. Again, press enter. At this point you will see the Device Manager opening – without you having to go through the Start Menu again.
  6. Open the View menu at the top of the Manager screen. Click on the Show Hidden Devices option.
  7. Check the updated listing on the screen. You should see any inactive or unused drivers as grayed out icons and text. Double check every device and listing before making any changes. When you find something you can verify needs removal, right click and select Uninstall to complete the process.

Ten Steps To Recovering An Older Gateway Computer

December 30th, 2013 No comments

An older Gateway computer makes for a fine gift to the local school, retirement home, or job center. You can also hand down unwanted systems to help younger relatives succeed in school. Recovering the system and restoring it to the factory settings ensures that none of your personal files or data is left on the hard drive while providing the new user with the best possible performance. The process is the same for both desktops and laptops from the manufacturer, and it is easy enough for beginners to complete.

1. Find The Model Number

Without the model number on hand, it’s a pain to try and figure out exactly what the system needs, especially if it isn’t responding at this point due to viruses or driver problems. Flip over any notebooks or laptops and check for a label on the bottom with a 10 or 12 digit number. Don’t be alarmed if there are letters mixed in to help distinguish your exact model. Desktop and tower units likely have a label on the back, but you may need to tip it over and look on the bottom.

2. Gateway System Recovery

Once you know your model from the number and a quick search on the Gateway support website, you can find out if your computer includes the Gateway System Recovery partition. This service was provided for all systems shipped after the end of 2004, so only the oldest systems should lack this kind of support. Each hard drive with this recovery option includes a hidden partition containing all of the drivers and operating system files, but you will need to burn them onto a CD or DVD in order to use them for re-installation.

3. Creating Or Ordering A Recovery Disc

If the system is working and accessible, you can create your own recovery discs to reset to the factory original settings. Follow these steps:

  1. Click on the Start Menu icon.
  2. Navigate to the Programs tab, then select the System Recovery Access listing.
  3. Select the type of operating system, driver, or application restore disc you want to burn. Insert the appropriate media, then follow the disc creation steps on the screen.

You can also order driver recovery discs and supplies for reinstalling Windows XP from Gateway Support, but there are small fees and shipping costs associated with this option.

4. Using A Recovery Disc

Whether you make the disc yourself or find the original one shipped with the manual, you can use it to bring the system back to a fresh slate. Start by inserting the appropriate disc, then restart the system. These discs are designed to open when the computer boots so system files can be loaded. The boot screen should offer to open the disc and perform installation services. If it doesn’t, you can press F8 during the booting process to open the loading screen and choose the disc instead of the hard drive.

5. Operating System Installation

Installing a fresh copy of the Windows XP operating system wipes the hard drive, erasing the files that clutter the hard drive. This frees up space and can give plenty of storage for new material, but it also removes damaged and corrupted files to replace them with working copies. Take off anything you want to keep before beginning any driver or operating system recovery processes. Using these recovery discs leaves you with an older version of the XP kit, so run Windows Update as soon as possible after the computer starts once again.

6. Spot Missing Drivers

Once you’re working with a fresh copy of the OS, you can work to restore drivers and make sure you have them all. Open the Device Manager and check for the yellow warning icons that indicate problems. You can use the tools provided through the Device Manager to install files on your own, or try picking up a complete driver suite and get the best shot at solving all of the missing models at once. You may need to remove hardware and replace it if drivers can’t be found or if you suspect damage.

7. Reinstall Software

Computers that will be donated should be given away at this point, but owners that plan to keep and use older Gateway units can start reinstalling software now. Stick with browsers, word processors, and games that run on low resources if the computer is more than a few years old. You may find it quite bogged down and unable to smoothly complete tasks if you overload it with multitasking software and recent releases.

8. Upgrade The Memory

Nothing improves the performance of an aged Gateway computer like a RAM upgrade. Just a one GB upgrade is enough to make it easier for the processor to handle modern software. Find out what type of RAM you need by:

    • Checking the manual and documentation that came with your computer.
    • Searching with your model number on the Gateway website and noting the type of upgrades they recommend.
    • Visiting a memory manufacturer’s website, like Crucial.com, and using the automatic scanning programs provided to discover what you need to purchase.

9. Gateway Support

If something goes wrong, you may be able to look up the issue on Gateway Support. Older computers don’t qualify for free phone support, but customer service is available for various fees. Use the help center and the official forums to get help from experts to take care of your problems yourself and restore a computer that is far beyond the limits of its warranty.

10. Set Up Antivirus

Finally, protect your newly recovered computer with an appropriate antivirus program. When processing power and memory is limited, stick with simple programs designed to protect resources. You may find it hard to browse the web or work on tasks otherwise. Pick a suite offering spyware and malware protection as well so you don’t have to clutter up the space with multiple programs all running at once.

Categories: Driver FAQ, FAQs, XP Drivers Tags:

How to Reset/Remove your Windows XP Administrator Password

December 21st, 2011 No comments

So, you forgot your Windows XP Administrator password? If not, you wouldn’t be reading this post, would you? But well, even if you haven’t forgotten your password and are reading this post, this could help you someday in the future to recover it. So, read on.

Passwords can be hard to remember because many software programs, websites etc. require you to use strong passwords. For example, a website called ClickBank needs its members to have a password with:

  • 2 upper-case letters (e.g., A, B, C, D…)
  • 2 lower-case letters (e.g., a, b, c, d…)
  • 2 numbers (e.g., 1, 2, 3, 4…)
  • 2 special characters (e.g., !, @, #, $…)
    A password having all the things noted above would be very difficult to remember. And, there are other passwords that you need to remember. Of course, such difficult passwords help in that they don’t let others log into your accounts, because others can’t guess them.

But how can you remember such long and difficult passwords? One option is to use password programs like RoBoForm which remembers all of your passwords and you just need to remember one master password to log into all of your accounts, programs or websites.

But what if you have forgotten your Windows XP Administrator password? Programs like RoBoForm work only after you’re logged into Windows. So, how do you log into Windows without knowing your Administrator password? Even the Recovery Console cannot help you if you don’t remember the Administrator password. But don’t despair. There is a way out! This article will show you how to remove or change an Administrator password.

1. First of all, make sure that your CD drive is the first boot device. You can do this by entering the BIOS/CMOS setup and changing the boot device. In some computers, pressing a key brings up a boot menu containing a list of boot devices.

2. Either way, insert your Windows XP CD into the CD drive and boot your computer from it. If you receive a message to press any key to boot from CD, just press any key on your keyboard.

WindowsXP_Setup_Press_any_key

3. Windows XP setup will start loading files. Wait till you get the following screen and then press the Enter key to setup Windows. (Don’t worry, nothing from your old Windows XP will get deleted.)

WindowsXP_Setup_Welcome_to_Setup

4. Accept the license agreement by pressing the F8 key.

WindowsXP_Setup_Accept_License

5. After accepting the license agreement, you will be asked if you want start a Repair process. Press R to start the Repair process.

WindowsXP_Setup_Repair_Screen

6. Windows XP Setup will now check your hard disks for any errors and after that, it will start copying files. Let it do this step. This may take some time, so have patience.

WindowsXP_Setup_FileCopy1    WindowsXP_Setup_FileCopy2

7. After the file copying is done, the computer will reboot. Let it reboot and then boot normally. If you’re asked to press a key to boot from CD, don’t press a key this time. Let it boot from the hard disk on its own.

WindowsXP_Setup_Reboot_Screen

8. After the computer reboots, Windows XP setup starts installing (repairing) Windows, as shown below.

WindowsXP_Setup_Preparing_Installation

9. Keep an eye on the bottom left-hand side of the setup screen. When you see a green progress bar saying “Installing Devices”, press the SHIFT + F10 key (i.e., keep the SHIFT key pressed and then press the F10 function key).

WindowsXP_Setup_Installing_Devices

10. This would open a command prompt window wherein you can type commands. If the current folder, as shown below, is not C:\Windows, just type cd .. to come out into that folder. You may also type cd\windows to go into the Windows folder.

Now, while in the command prompt, type the command NUSRMGR.CPL and then press the Enter key.

WindowsXP_Setup_NUSRMGR

12. The User Accounts window opens. Click on “Change an account” and then select the Administrator account.

WindowsXP_Setup_Change_Password_1

13. When you see the below screen, asking you what do you want to change about Administrator’s account, click “Change the password”. 

WindowsXP_Setup_Change_Password_2

14. Now in the next screen, type a new password for the administrator’s account. You may even leave it blank if you want to, but it’s not recommended. Type the new password once again to confirm. You may type a password hint in the space provided. Now, just press the Enter key to change the password to your new password and then close the User Accounts window.

WindowsXP_Setup_Change_Password_3

15. If you just want that Windows should not ask you for the administrator password, open a command prompt by pressing SHIFT + F10 key, as above, but instead of NUSRMGR.CPL, type CONTROL USERPASSWORDS2. When you get the following screen, just uncheck the checkbox which says “Users must enter a username and password to use this computer. From now on, Windows won’t ask you any password for any user.

WindowsXP_Setup_Remove_Admin_Password

16. Type the command, exit in the command prompt window to exit it.

WindowsXP_Setup_Exit_CMD_Prompt

 17. The installation process would continue. On the following screen, just click ‘Next’. Or, if you want to change the regional and language options, click the customize button and do so. Once you’re done, click ‘Next’.

WindowsXP_Setup_Regional_Options

 18. Windows XP Setup continues to install Windows and finishes in a few minutes.

WindowsXP_Setup_Registering_Components   WindowsXP_Setup_Saving_Settings

 19. After saving the settings, the computer restarts and then you get a welcome screen as shown below. Click Next.

WindowsXP_Welcome_Screen_1

 20. You may or may not want to turn on automatic updates. Select your choice and then click Next.

WindowsXP_Welcome_Screen_2

 21. when asked for registering with Microsoft, select “No, not at this time” and then click Next. 

WindowsXP_Welcome_Screen_3

 22. On the thank you screen, click Finish. 

WindowsXP_Welcome_Screen_Finish

23. You get the following screen, asking you to logon by clicking your username.

WindowsXP_Logon_Screen_1

24. At this point, press Ctrl-Alt-Del twice to get the following logon screen and then change the username to Administrator. Provide the password you just changed and click OK. Leave it blank if you removed your Administrator password.

WindowsXP_Logon_Screen_2

25. Windows XP starts normally and you can start working. 

WindowsXP_Desktop

Windows XP Recovery Console FAQ

September 2nd, 2011 No comments

This article discusses, explains and gives solutions for all the possible questions one may have about the Windows XP Recovery Console. It’s a great time saver for newbies looking for an all-in-one FAQ article on the Windows XP Recovery Console.

Note: The term, “setup disc” and “installation disc” used in this post, both mean the same thing and refer to the Windows XP installation disc.

 

 

1. What is the recovery console?

2. What are the requirements for using the Windows Recovery Console?

3. What is the Recovery Console used for and when should it be used?

4. What can the Recovery Console do for me?

5. I use an imaging software regularly to backup my Windows partition. Do I really need to know about the Recovery Console?

6. Which versions of Windows support the Recovery Console?

OR

On which versions of Windows does the Recovery Console work?

7. What happened to the Recovery Console on other Windows versions like Vista and 7?

8. What should be done before using the Recovery Console?

9. How to get into the Safe Mode in Windows XP?

10. How to install the Recovery Console, after Windows is already installed?

OR

I have a working Windows XP system. How can I install the recovery console on the hard disk drive so that it’s available as a boot menu option?

11. How to start the Recovery Console directly from the Windows XP CD?

OR

How can I start the computer and use the Recovery Console from the Windows installation disc?

OR

How can I run the Recovery Console without installing it?

 

 

 

 

 

12. I don’t have the Windows installation disc and I don’t want to install the Recovery Console on the hard drive. Can I download the Recovery Console from somewhere and put it on disc?

13. How to delete or remove the Recovery Console installation from the system?

14. In what circumstances, is the Recovery Console helpful?

15. How is the Recovery Console Accessed?

OR

How to start the Recovery Console?

16. How to access the Recovery Console without a Windows XP disc?

17. How to enter the Recovery Console if the administrator password is lost or forgotten?

18. Is there a way to make Windows XP not ask a password for the Administrator account only in the Recovery Console?

19. How to use the Recovery Console?

20. Which commands can be used in the recovery console?

21. Can the recovery console be used to remove malware (spyware/viruses/trojans)? If yes, how?

22. How to access the Recovery Console if the Windows XP computer doesn’t even boot or start up?

OR

How do I get to the recovery console if my Windows XP crashed and doesn’t boot?

23. Why doesn’t my Windows XP installation CD give me the option to start the recovery console? Where is it?

OR

I don’t see any option to start the Recovery Console, using my Windows XP disc. How do I start the Recovery Console?

OR

How can I get to the Windows Recovery Console without an official Windows Setup CD?

 

24. While booting the Windows XP computer using the setup disc, I get the error, “Setup did not find any hard disk drives in your computer.” , but the hard drive is connected and working. What’s the problem and how to solve it?

25. Where can I find drivers for my hard disk controller? How can I tell what kind of hard disk controller I have?

26. After installing the XP Recovery Console, I get the error “BIOSINFO.INF is missing (Error 14)”. Where can I get this file or how can I solve this problem?

27.I get a BSOD (blue screen of death), every time I try to install the Recovery Console. How can I install the Recovery Console?

 

 

 

Advanced usage of the Recovery Console:

28. What are the limitations of the Recovery Console and how to remove them?

29. How to install Recovery Console during an unattended installation?

30. I don’t have access to the normal mode or the safe mode in Windows XP. Using the Recovery Console, can I somehow find out, which version of the service pack is installed on the system?

31. If I try to install the Recovery Console on a Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2)-based computer, I receive the following error message:

Setup cannot continue because the version of Windows on your computer is newer than the version on the CD.

32. Can I use system restore for restoring the system from within the recovery console? If yes, how?

OR

How can I use the Recovery Console to restore the system to an earlier state?

33.  How to uninstall a hotfix or Service Pack via the Recovery Console?

34. How to create an XP Recovery Console on a USB flash drive, which is bootable?

OR

Is it possible to create and use a Recovery Console on a USB flash drive? If yes, how?

 

 

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Q.1. What is the recovery console?

Ans. The Recovery Console is a command-based, set of diagnostic tools available in some Windows versions.

It is a text mode troubleshooting and recovery tool introduced by Microsoft in Windows 2000 and later versions of Windows, including Windows XP. It helps recover, change or fix files or settings which could cause the computer not to function properly. It is available on the XP installation discs and can be installed to the hard drive as an extra boot option. It allows you to boot from disc and run a command-line “console”, from within which you can examine your hard disk, copy files and fix problems.

Many people don’t know or haven’t even heard of the Recovery Console. But when their system fails to boot, it could be too late to learn about this tool.

If your Windows system can’t boot even in the Safe Mode,the Last Known Good Configuration, or other boot menu options, you can try using the Recovery Console to restore the system to an earlier system restore point. Since this method involves using commands to find and troubleshoot Windows problems, you should be an advanced Windows user, who knows how to use at least some basic commands. You should also have an administrator password, to log on to the recovery console.

In the Recovery Console, commands are available which you can use to work with directories and some powerful commands like fixboot can fix a damaged hard disk boot sector. You can access Help for the commands in the Recovery Console by typing help at the Recovery Console command prompt.

 

Whenever Windows doesn’t work, or fail to boot, most people think of doing a re-install. Using the Recovery Console doesn’t come to their minds, even though it is one of the most useful tools for error recovery, without making any loss of data. So, whenever Windows gives any error message which tells you to fix it using the Recovery Console, you shouldn’t ignore it. It’s not that hard to use the Recovery Console and it’s much faster than installing Windows and all the software programs again.

 

 

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Q.2. What are the requirements for using the Windows Recovery Console?

Ans. Note the following requirements before using the Windows Recovery Console:

  • Unless you have installed the Recovery Console as a boot menu option, you should have a Microsoft Windows installation disc.
  • You should know the Microsoft Windows Administrator account password.\
  • You should have at least some experience in using MSD-DOS commands.

You will have access only to the root directory and the Windows directory. You won’t be able to access any other directory through the Recovery Console.

Note: If you don’t have an official Microsoft Windows XP disc, you can get into the Recovery Console by getting this Recovery Console ISO disc image file, burning it on a CD and booting from this disc. Burning an ISO image file is quiet different from burning data files to a CD. If you don’t know how to burn an ISO image file to disc, view this post first.

 

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Q.3. What is the Recovery Console used for and when should it be used?

Ans. The Recovery Console is used to help resolve a number of major system problems.

The Recovery Console is particularly useful for repairing or replacing important operating system files, if you have to repair Windows by copying a file from another source like a CD-ROM, or if you have to reconfigure a troublesome service which is not letting the computer startup. When these files or services won’t work properly, Windows may not startup at all, not even in Safe Mode. In such cases, you must start the Recovery Console to restore the files.

The Recovery Console is also useful in situations such as removing malware, spyware, trojans and other viruses, which cannot be removed in Normal Mode and Safe Mode.

This method of system recovery is for advanced users only! It allows you to access the files, format drives, disable and enable services, read and write data on a local drive and do many administrative operations from a console prompt.

 

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Q.4. What can the Recovery Console do for me?

Ans. When you use the Windows Recovery Console, you can get limited access to NTFS, FAT, and FAT32 partitions, without starting the Windows graphical user interface.

In the Windows Recovery Console you can:

  • Use, copy, rename or replace operating system files and folders.
  • Enable or disable services or devices from starting when you next start your computer.
  • Repair the file system boot sector or the Master Boot Record (MBR).
  • Create and format partitions on drives.

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Q.5. I use an imaging software regularly to backup my Windows partition. Do I really need to know about the Recovery Console?

Ans. It’s always better to know more than one way to recover a system. Secondly, not everyone uses an imaging software to backup their partitions and you may be at some other computer or could help someone else recover Windows, if you knew how to use the Recovery Console. Thirdly, you could have some important data that you haven’t yet backed up and Windows failed to boot.

It would be very useful to know and familiarize yourself with the Recovery Console, even if you have no intention of using the command line. If ever their is a problem, causing Windows XP not to boot, this command line facility could allow you to repair a corrupted system or backup precious personal files. In old DOS-based systems, a DOS boot disk could be used to access and retrieve data. But the NTFS systems like Windows XP cannot be accessed using DOS.

It’s possible to create many types of CD boot disks which provide for emergency repair and retrieval of data, using Linux or special NTFS readers. However, Windows XP comes with its own accessory for handling this. The Recovery Console will work with FAT and NTFS formatted disks but it’s especially useful with NTFS formatted disks.

 

 

 

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Q.6. Which versions of Windows support the Recovery Console?

OR

On which versions of Windows does the Recovery Console work?

Ans. The Recovery Console is supported in the following Windows versions:

  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Server
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Advanced Server
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional Edition
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Datacenter Server
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition (32-bit x86)
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Standard Edition (32-bit x86)
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Web Edition
  • Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional

However, note that if you have an OEM computer, your computer manufacturer may or may not have installed the Recovery Console, or may have totally removed it from the boot or recovery disks. Check the information that came with your computer or go to the manufacturer’s website to know more. Not all manufacturers provide the Windows XP setup disc.

 

 

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Q.7. What happened to the Recovery Console on other Windows versions like Vista and 7?

Ans. The Recovery Console in earlier versions of Windows has been removed in these versions of Windows and replaced by several tools located in the System Recovery Options menu. The System Recovery Options menu is on the installation discs.

If Windows doesn’t start correctly, you can use these tools to repair startup problems, restore your system files to an earlier point in time, run tests on your computer’s RAM, and in some editions of Windows Vista, restore your entire computer and system files from backups.

For more information, see:

What are the system recovery options in Windows Vista?

What are the system recovery options in Windows 7?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Q.8.  What should be done before using the Recovery Console?

Ans. When Windows doesn’t boot in the Normal Mode, the first thing to try is the Safe Mode and undo any changes that you did, before it stopped booting normally. Say, if you installed or updated some software program, you should uninstall the program or the update and then try to restart the system normally. You should also try the “Last Known Good Configuration” boot menu option, if Windows doesn’t boot. This works many times and the next time you start your computer, it should start up normally.

If Windows doesn’t boot with both of the above options, only then should you try to use the Recovery Console. But, before using the Recovery Console, it’s a good practice to do the following:

 

 

Back up your hard drive by creating the exact image of it

It’s a very good practice to create an image copy of your hard disk, before you start using the Recovery Console. This is because, in the hands of an in-experienced user, or by wrongly using it, the Recovery Console could do more harm than good and you could lose important data. There are many commercial and some free image Recovery programs available which can do this for you. If you wish to know about them or how to use them to create an image, view this post.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Q.9. How to get into the Safe Mode in Windows XP and Vista?

Ans. You should keep tapping the F8 function key or hold it after you turn the computer ON. If it doesn’t give the advanced boot menu options screen, turn it off while Windows XP tries to boot up. Then turn it on, again. Windows will bring up the Advanced Options Menu, where you can select the Safe Mode or the “Last Known Good Configuration” option. Sometimes, the system automatically restarts due to problems booting up normally and the next time it presents you with the Advanced Options Menu automatically.

 

 

 

 

 

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Q.10. How to install the Recovery Console, after Windows is already installed?

OR

I have a working Windows XP system. How can I install the recovery console on the hard disk drive so that it’s available as a boot menu option?

Ans. To install the Recovery Console, you will need your Windows XP CD. The version of Windows XP on the CD must match or surpass the version installed on your computer, thus a Service Pack 3 disk is recommended.

If you don’t have the Windows installation disc, try to borrow one from a friend or co-worker. If you still can’t find one, you can download setup disks or disk images from Microsoft. However, since floppy disk drives can only be found on very old computers, so a Recovery Console CD or ISO image can be downloaded from here. If you don’t know how to burn an ISO disk image to a CD, view this post.

The following paragraphs explain how to install the Recovery Console on a working Windows computer. If Windows isn’t starting up and you wish to use the Recovery Console, check the answer to the next question below (Q.10).

You can install the Recovery Console on your computer to make it available as a boot option. It will be helpful when Windows doesn’t start. You can then select the Recovery Console option from the Windows boot menu, during startup. To install the Recovery Console, you must be logged on into Windows as an administrator.

Although you can run the Recovery Console by starting it directly from the Windows XP CD, it takes more time to start and you may not have the Windows XP CD handy at that time. So, it’s better to have it as a start menu option.

 

To install the Recovery Console on to the hard drive, follow these steps:

Insert the Windows XP CD into the CD-ROM drive.

Click Start, and then click Run.

In the Run box, type the following command and hit the Enter key:

D:\i386\winnt32.exe /cmdcons

D is the drive letter for the CD-ROM drive. Replace it with your CD-ROM drive’s drive letter.

If you have the 64 bit edition of Windows XP professional, type the following command and hit the Enter key:

D:\amd64\winnt32.exe /cmdcons

A Windows Setup dialog box appears, which describes the Recovery Console option. To confirm that you want to install the Recovery Console, click Yes.

Once the installation is complete, click on OK and then remove the CD from the drive. Then, restart the computer. After you restart your computer, “Microsoft Windows Recovery Console” can be seen as a boot option in the Windows boot menu. You have successfully installed the Windows Recovery Console.

This post gives step by step instructions on how to install the Recovery Console to the hard drive.

Here’s a YouTube video which shows how to install the Recovery Console.

 

 

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Q.11. How to start the Recovery Console directly from the Windows XP CD?

OR

How can I start the computer and use the Recovery Console from the Windows installation disc?

OR

How can I run the Recovery Console without installing it?

Ans. Follow the steps given below, to start the Recovery Console from the Windows XP installation disc:

  • Boot the computer with the Windows XP install disc in the CD drive. If you don’t know how to do this, check out one of these YouTube videos:
  • How To Change First Boot Device in BIOS?
  • Change Boot Order and Boot from a CD/DVD
  • When you see the “Welcome to Setup” screen, press the R key to start the Recovery Console.
  • The Recovery Console starts. If you have more than one Windows installation, select the installation that you wish to repair from the Recovery Console, by pressing the installation number followed by the Enter key. If you have just one Windows installation, just type 1 and press Enter.
  • When prompted, type the Administrator password. If the administrator password is blank, just press ENTER. If you don’t know the password, try pressing the Enter key anyway. Most of the times, this may work. If it doesn’t work, view this post on how to reset your Windows XP administrator password.
  • When you see the prompt C:\Windows\>, type the command, help and press Enter to see a list of all available commands. Now, you can enter the commands you wish to use.
  • For information about a specific command, type the word help followed by the command name and then press ENTER.
  • To exit the Recovery Console and restart the computer, type exit at the command prompt, and then press ENTER.

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Q.12. I don’t have the Windows installation disc and I don’t want to install the Recovery Console on the hard drive. Can I download the Recovery Console from somewhere and put it on disc?

Ans. Download it from here, unzip it and burn it to a CD as an ISO file. It’s just about 7 MB in size and runs faster than booting with a Windows installation disc. If you don’t know how to burn an ISO file, read this post.

 

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Q.13. How to delete or remove the Recovery Console installation from the system?

Ans. Warning: Modifying the Boot.ini file incorrectly may prevent your computer from restarting. Make sure that you delete only the entry for the Recovery Console. Also, change the attribute for the Boot.ini file back to a read-only state after you finish this procedure.

Follow the steps given below, to remove the Recovery Console installation from the hard drive:

  • Open My Computer, and then double-click the hard disk partition (mostly drive C), where you installed the Recovery Console.
  • Click the Tools menu, then click Folder Options, and then click the View tab.
  • Click ‘Show hidden files and folders’, click to clear the ‘Hide protected operating system files’ check box, and then click OK.
  • From the root folder (drive C), delete the Cmdcons folder and the Cmldr file.
  • At the root folder, right-click the Boot.ini file, and then click Properties.
  • Click to clear the Read-only check box, and then click OK.
  • Open the Boot.ini file in Microsoft Windows Notepad, and remove the entry for the Recovery Console. It looks similar to this:

    C:\cmdcons\bootsect.dat=”Microsoft Windows Recovery Console” /cmdcons

  • Delete the line that looks like the above.
  • Save the file and close it. Again, right click it, click on properties and click the check box to make the file read-only. Then, click OK.
  • Now, when you restart your computer, you won’t get the Recovery Console boot menu option anymore.

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Q.14. In what circumstances is the Recovery Console helpful?

A number of commands are available in Recovery Console. Using these commands in specific ways can help solve specific problems. All Recovery Console commands must be entered manually using a strict syntax.

Here are some examples where executing particular commands in the Recovery Console was necessary to resolve very damaging issues:

  • Repair the Master Boot Record in Windows XP.
  • Restore Hal.dll From the Windows XP CD.
  • Restore NTLDR and NTDetect.com from the Windows XP CD.
  • Restore a backup of the registry files to start Windows.

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Q.15. How is the Recovery Console Accessed?

OR

How to start the Recovery Console?

Ans. The Recovery Console is usually accessed from the original Windows installation CD. Alternatively, it can be accessed from the Windows boot menu, but only if it has been preinstalled on your system.

To start the Recovery Console from the Windows installation disc, view Q.10 above, and follow the instructions.

To install and start the Recovery Console from the hard drive so that it’s available as a boot menu option during Windows XP startup, view Q.9 above, and follow the instructions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Q.16. How to access the Recovery Console without a Windows XP disc?

Ans. Accessing the Recovery Console Without a Windows CD

Most of the times, OEM computer manufacturers don’t include the Windows installation CD with their systems. They include a recovery partition on the system or one or more system recovery discs. They may or may not provide a way to access the Recovery Console. So, if you own an OEM or branded computer, check the documentation whether your manufacturer provides a way to access the Recovery Console. If it’s missing, continue to read below.

Many years ago, computer vendors used to provide a Windows Setup disc along with their computers which would allow users to reinstall individual system files or Windows components, in case something went wrong. But today, the best that you can get with a branded system is the so-called recovery or restore disc. Many vendors don’t even provide such a disc, instead, they put a restore partition on the computer hard drive itself. This partition is hidden from normal view and can be accessed using a key displayed during computer startup. But imagine what would happen if the hard drive fails! You can’t even access the recovery partition in such a case. Unless, you’re a computer geek, you have no way of getting back your data or recovering from the Windows crash! You may be able to order recovery discs from your vendor, but this can take quite a long time and if your computer’s warranty is over, then you’d have a very hard time. And even if you are able to get such a disc, it’s still an OEM disc and not the real Windows Setup disc, which may lack some features available on the real Windows disc.

Some major OEM computer vendors provide a software program which allows you to create a restore disc from the hidden restore partition, so this is the first thing you should do, after buying a branded computer system. Your vendor’s website may also have such recovery disc software from where you can download and burn it to disc. SO, you should check it. But know that with a recovery or restore disc, you won’t be able to reinstall or repair a previous Windows installation. It will only give an option to format and reinstall a clean and new copy of Windows.

So, what are the alternatives to be able to repair your Windows installation or restore just a few needed system files? First, you should look within your Windows folder or even on the root of the system drive (mostly C:) for a folder named i386. Some vendors copy the Windows installation files into this folder. If you find such a folder, you should burn it to a disc. Also look for the drivers folder within the Windows folder and burn that one too. Even though this disc won’t be bootable and functional as a Windows Setup disc, it’d still be useful if you are able to boot into your Windows system, somehow.

Since you may have bought the system many years ago, and applied updates and patches to the original Windows, now the disc that you burned, won’t have all of those patches and updates. A solution to this problem is to slipstream with the XP SP3 update. To know more how to slipstream Windows XP, view this post. You can also use the free Autostreamer to do this job.

Another problem is to get the Windows XP product key. It may be on a sticker somewhere on the computer or in the documentation that came with it. Note it down somewhere, where from you can retrieve it easily. In case, you can’t find it, there are some programs that will do this for you. ViewXP, Keyfinder and Belarc Advisor – all of them can do this for you.

If you don’t want to work hard, doing all of the above, there are programs that can make life simpler for you. They are called disc imaging programs. View this post to know more, how to use such a free program to make an image of your Windows partition to recover later, in case of a system crash.

 

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Q.17. How to enter the Recovery Console if the administrator password is lost or forgotten?Ans. To recover or reset your Windows XP Administrator password, view this post.

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Q.18. Is there a way to make Windows XP not ask a password for the Administrator account only in the Recovery Console?

Ans. Using this registry hack, you can’t recover a password. But using this may help you one day to enter the Recovery Console, when you can’t boot into Windows XP normally. This hack makes Windows XP not to ask for a password in the Recovery Console.

This hack has to be carried out when your Windows XP is working normally. Follow the below procedure:

Click Start –> Run  and type in regedit and press the Enter key.

Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\WindowsNT\CurrentVersion\Setup\RecoveryConsole

Set the DWORD SecurityLevel value to 1

Exit Registry and Reboot.

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Q.19. How to use the Recovery Console?

Ans. If Windows isn’t starting and you don’t have the Recovery Console installed as a boot menu option, you need the Windows XP Setup CD.

To run the Recovery Console from the Windows XP CD:

Put the Windows XP CD into the CD drive, and restart the computer.

When you see the “Welcome to Setup” screen, press R to start the Recovery Console.

(When you use the Recovery Console, you are working at a special command prompt, not the ordinary Windows command prompt. The Recovery Console has its own, special command prompt. To enter this command prompt, the Recovery Console asks you to type the local Administrator password.)

The Recovery Console takes some time to start. When the Recovery Console menu appears, a numbered list of the Windows installations on the computer appears. (Generally, only c:\Windows appears if there’s only one installation of Windows.) Press a number before you press ENTER, even when only one entry appears.

Note that if you press ENTER without selecting a number, the computer restarts.

If you have a dual-boot computer, select the Windows installation that you want to repair with the Recovery Console.

When asked, type the Administrator password. If there’s no password for the administrator, just press ENTER.

When you see the prompt for %SystemRoot% (generally C:\Windows), you can start using the available commands for the Recovery Console.

At the command prompt, type the appropriate commands to detect and repair your Windows installation.

For a list of available commands in the Recovery Console, type HELP at the command prompt, and then press ENTER.

For information about a command, type HELP COMMANDNAME at the command prompt, and then press ENTER. For example, to know more about the DIR command, type HELP DIR and press the ENTER key.

To exit the Recovery Console and restart the computer, type EXIT at the command prompt, and then press ENTER.

 

 

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Q.20. Which commands can be used in the recovery console?

Ans. What do you do in the Recovery Console? Which Commands do you have to enter or type? And, how to get help about these commands? The table given below, lists all the available Recovery Console commands and their descriptions. If you want more details about a specific command, they can be accessed by entering a “/?” after the command-name. For example:

dir /?

For more details about these commands, please view this knowledgebase article from Microsoft.

The Recovery Console is a command-line interface. Most of the commands come from MS-DOS. So, if you have used MS-DOS before and are familiar with it, you can figure out what a command does.

Note that the Recovery Console has its own command interpreter and the commands may somewhat differ from those of the same name in a regular DOS command prompt. Also, in the default configuration, some commands are disabled or limited in their functions. Refer to the answer to Q.27  to remove some of these restrictions.

 

The following commands can be used in the Recovery Console:

Command

Description

Attrib Changes the attributes of a file or directory
Batch Executes the commands specified in the text file
Bootcfg Boot file (boot.ini) configuration and recovery
ChDir (CD) Displays the name of the current directory or changes the current directory
Chkdsk Checks a disk and displays a status report
Cls Clears the screen
Copy Copies a single file to another location
Delete (Del) Deletes one or more files
Dir Displays a list of files and subdirectories in a directory
Disable Disables a system service or a device driver
Diskpart Manages partitions on your hard drives
Enable Starts or enables a system service or a device driver
Exit Exits the Recovery Console and restarts your computer
Expand Extracts a file from a compressed file
Fixboot Writes a new partition boot sector onto the specified partition
Fixmbr Repairs the master boot record of the specified disk
Format Formats a disk
Help Displays a list of the commands you can use in the Recovery Console
Listsvc Lists the services and drivers available on the computer
Logon Logs on to a Windows installation
Map Displays the drive letter mappings
Mkdir (MD) Creates a directory
More Displays a text file
Rename (Ren) Renames a single file
Rmdir (RD) Deletes a directory
Set Displays and sets environment variables
Systemroot Sets the current directory to the systemroot directory of the system you are currently logged on to.
Type Displays a text file

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21. Can the recovery console be used to remove malware (spyware/viruses/trojans)? If yes, how?

Ans. View this post to know how to use the Recovery Console to remove malware.

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22. How to access the Recovery Console if the Windows XP computer doesn’t even boot or start up?

OR

How do I get to the recovery console if my Windows XP crashed and doesn’t boot?

Ans. If you have the Windows XP installation disc, insert it into the drive and boot the computer from the disc. If you don’t know how to boot the computer from a CD/DVD, view this post.

After the setup loads the needed drivers, you’ll get a screen asking you what to do, as shown below. Once you’re on this screen, press the R key on your keyboard to start the Recovery Console.

 

 

 

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23. Why doesn’t my Windows XP installation CD give me the option to start the recovery console? Where is it?

OR

I don’t see any option to start the Recovery Console, using my Windows XP disc. How do I start the Recovery Console?

OR

How can I get to the Windows Recovery Console without an official Windows Setup CD?

Ans. If you don’t have the Windows XP installation disc, you can download a small, 7 MB ISO image  of just the Recovery Console, burn it to disc and boot the computer using that disc. This has an advantage over using the installation disc – it boots the system much faster than the Windows XP installation disc.

Download the Recovery Console ISO image from here.

If you don’t know how to burn an ISO image to disc, view this post.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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24. While booting the Windows XP computer into the Recovery Console, using the setup disc, I get the error,

“Setup did not find any hard disk drives in your computer.”

The hard drive is connected and working. What’s the problem and how to solve it?

Ans. Your hard drive needs a special driver, which is not included in the standard Windows XP setup disc. You need to download and install your hard disk driver from the computer or hard drive manufacturer’s website or from the Internet. Then, put it on a floppy drive and have it ready when booting your computer from the setup disc.

If your computer doesn’t have a floppy drive, see whether you can get one from a friend or relative. If you can’t get it, view this post about how to install SATA drivers without a floppy drive, and even after Windows has been already installed! No need to make a slipstreamed CD!

 

Solution for people who have a floppy disk drive attached to the computer:

When you have the hard disk driver ready and boot the computer off your XP setup disc, after a few seconds, you get a message telling you to press F6 if you want to insert a third party driver. At this time, press the F6 key and then insert your driver floppy into the floppy drive.

Press F6 if you need to install a third party SCSI or RAID driver…

Windows Setup won’t instantly tell you that it recognized your pressing the F6 key. Wait for it a minute or two. You will be given the option:

To specify additional SCSI adapters… or special disk controllers…

Press ‘S’ to select this option.

You will then be given a list of hard disk drivers to install. NOTE: The list will only show the first four drivers, even though there may be more than four. If this is the case, simply use the arrow keys to scroll down through the list until you find your exact hard disk controller driver. Then select it with Enter.

Once you have specified the correct hard disk controller driver, Windows XP Setup should be able to view your hard drives and then you will get the opportunity to enter the recovery console.

You won’t need to specify the hard disk driver or insert the driver floppy every time – the driver gets installed or copied to the hard drive and the next time you start the Recovery Console, it would be loaded automatically.

 

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Q.25. Where can I find drivers for my hard disk controller? How can I tell what kind of hard disk controller I have?

Ans. Click the Start Menu and click Run. Then, type in devmgmt.msc and press the Enter key. In Device Manager, click the + (plus) sign next to “IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers” and then double-click on the hard drive controller. Clicking the driver tab in the device properties, would tell you the drive controller manufacturer and model number.

Device Manager - HDD Controller

Note down this information, and then go to the manufacturer’s website, search for and download the driver. Typical drivers have a bunch of files in them. For example:

iaahci.cat

iaahci.inf

iastor.catiastor.infiastor.syslicense.txtreadme.txttxtsetup.oem

For more information or if you want to install SATA drivers to an already installed Windows XP system, read this post:

 

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Q. 26. After installing the XP Recovery Console, I get the error “BIOSINFO.INF is missing (Error 14)”. Where can I get this file or how can I solve this problem?

Ans. Microsoft tells you to install the Recovery Console from the Windows XP installation disc, but many computer vendors don’t ship any official Windows XP installation disc. So Microsoft instructions may not always work.

First, remove the existing Recovery Console. View the answer to Q.12 for removal details.

Once the Recovery Console is removed, now install the Recovery Console again. Instead of installing from the Windows XP installation disc, install it from the existing XP installation on your hard drive.

Click the Start Menu and then click Run. In the Run box, type:

C:\WINDOWS\i386\winnt32.exe /cmdcons

 

and press the Enter key. When the Windows Setup dialog box appears, click OK.

WindowsSetup1

On the next Windows Setup dialog box, click Yes.

WindowsSetup2

If you’re connected to the Internet, Setup downloads some updates if available. If you’re not connected to the Internet, you get the following dialog box. Just click “Skip this step and continue installing Windows”.

WindowsSetup3

Setup starts copying files and then gives the following dialog box. Just click OK. The Windows Recovery Console has been successfully installed.

WindowsSetup4

 

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Q.27. I get a BSOD (Blue Screen of Death), every time I try to install the Recovery Console. How can I install the Recovery Console?

Ans. Unless you’re sure of the cause, you should do everything that Microsoft recommends on the BSOD page, like restarting the computer, checking for viruses etc.

If you’re not able to read the BSOD error because after the BSOD, the system reboots, keep pressing the F8 function key before Windows restarts. When you get the Windows Boot Menu, highlight “Disable automatic restart on system failure” and press the Enter key. This won’t make your system reboot on BSOD and you can see the error.

Windows XP F8 Boot Menu

If you still keep getting the BSOD, it’s quite possible that the Recovery Console doesn’t have the correct driver for your hard disk controller. But, how do you replace the hard disk controller driver for the Recovery Console? Read and follow the instructions in this post.

 

 

 

 

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28. What are the limitations of the Recovery Console and how to remove them?

Ans. Restrictions and Limitations of the Recovery Console:

From the Windows Recovery Console you can only use the following folders:

  • The root folder.  For example: C:\, D:\, etc
  • The %SystemRoot% folder and subfolders of the Windows installation you are currently logged on to
  • The Cmdcons folder
  • Removable media drives such as CD-ROM drives If you access other folders, you get an “Access Denied” error. You also cannot copy a file from the local hard disk to a floppy disk, though you can copy a file from the floppy disk or CD-ROM to a hard disk and from one hard disk to another.

Recovery Console rules
There are many environment rules in effect in the default Recovery Console. Type the command, SET, to list the currently applied environment rules. The default rules are:

AllowAllPaths = FALSE

prevents access to directories and subdirectories outside the system installation that you selected when you entered the Recovery Console.

AllowRemovableMedia = FALSE

prevents access to removable media as a target for copied files.

 

AllowWildCards = FALSE

prevents wildcard support for commands such as copy and del.

 

NoCopyPrompt = FALSE

the Recovery Console will ask for confirmation when overwriting an existing file.

 

Removing Console Restrictions

Removing the above Recovery Console restrictions have to be carried out while you’re logged into Windows XP normal mode. They can’t be done from within the Recovery Console.

Open regedit and find HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Setup\RecoveryConsole\. In the right pane, this key will have an entry “SetCommand”. Put a value of 1. This is shown in the figure below.

Remove_Recovery_Console_Restrictions

Registry editing is not for everyone and can do more harm in the hands of an inexperienced user. Those who are not confident in using it can download this small script which will make the Registry edit for you. You only have to extract it, right-click on it and click install. Click here to download the setcommand script in zip format. Before using it, you may want to backup the registry or create a system restore point.

 

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29. How to install Recovery Console during an unattended installation?

Ans. In order to install the Recovery Console during the unattended installation of Windows, it is necessary to use the [GuiRunOnce] section of the unattend.txt file. The command needed for an unattended installation of Windows XP is:

CD_Drive:\i386\winnt32 /cmdcons /dudisable /unattend

Where CD_Drive is the drive letter of your CD_Drive.

For more information about how to use the Unattend.txt file, see the Deployment Planning Guide of the Windows 2000 Server Resource Kit.

 

 

 

 

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30. I don’t have access to the normal mode or the safe mode in Windows XP. Using the Recovery Console, can I somehow find out, which version of the service pack is installed on the system? 

Ans. From within the Recovery Console, while in the Windows folder type:

dir explorer.exe

The date and size of explorer.exe will tell you the Service Pack installed on the system:

Windows XP Service Pack Creation Date of explorer.exe File Size of
explorer.exe (in bytes)
No Service Pack 08/23/2001 05:00 AM 1,000,960
Service Pack 1 08/29/2002 03:41 AM 1,004,032
Service Pack 2 06/13/2007 03:23 AM 1,033,216
Service Pack 3 04/14/2008 05:42 AM 1,033,728

 

 

 

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31. If I try to install the Recovery Console on a Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2)-based computer, I receive the following error message:

Setup cannot continue because the version of Windows on your computer is newer than the version on the CD.

Ans. View this Microsoft Knowledgebase article. It has simple instructions on how to solve this problem.

 

 

 

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32. Can I use system restore for restoring the system from within the recovery console? If yes, how?

Ans. Yes, you can restore the system using the Recovery Console but this process is lengthy and you should use it only when you can’t boot the system normally or even using the Safe Mode and other options from the XP boot menu. Please view this post to know the procedure.

 

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33.  How to uninstall a hotfix or Service Pack using the Recovery Console?

Ans. To uninstall a hotfix or Service Pack using the Recovery Console, view this post.

 

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34. How to create an XP Recovery Console on a USB flash drive, which is bootable?

OR

Is it possible to create a USB pen drive bootable version of the Recovery Console?

Ans. Yes, it is possible to create a USB pen drive version of the Recovery Console and it’s not too hard to do. Follow the steps given below to create the USB version of the Recovery Console.

WARNING: Any data you have on the USB flash/pen drive would be erased and the drive would be formatted for use with the Recovery Console. Make sure to backup any data you may have on the pen drive to another drive, before continuing with the below procedure.

Note: Booting from the USB flash drive depends on your computer’s BIOS. If this option isn’t present there, then this thing won’t work for you. You may want to try using a Recovery Console disc, instead.

 

1. Download and extract this file to a location on your hard drive. For example, C:\.

2. After extracting the above file to a suitable location, open the extracted folder in Windows Explorer and double-click to run the file named hpusbfw.exe.

3. Select your device, if you have more than one, from the drop-down list. Then, select the FAT32 file system from the available types and type any volume label of your liking. Now, click on Start, to format your flash drive.

Format_Flash_Drive

4. Open the command prompt and drag bootsect.exe on to the command prompt window. The path to the bootsect.exe file would be printed. Add the option /nt52 followed by the letter of your flash drive, as shown below, and press the Enter key to update the bootcode on your flash drive.

Command_Prompt_1

Command_Prompt_2

5. Copy the contents of the folder, “Copy my contents only” to your flash drive.

6. Open the file TinyHexer by double-clicking on it, from the location you extracted the zip file in step 1.

7. Click the File Menu and click Open, to select and open the NTLDR file which is on your flash drive.

8. Once this file is open, click the Edit Menu and then click Find/Replace. Check the options “find text” and “ignore case”, type NTLDR in the text search box and then click the Find button. Then, click the Replace button, check the option “is text” and type CMLDR in the replace text box. Finally, click “Replace All” button to replace all instances of NTLDR by CMLDR.

Tiny_Hexer_Hex_Editor

9. Now, click the File Menu and click Save As, to save it to your flash drive. Name the file as USBLDR and then exit TinyHexer.

10. To test the USB Recovery Console, reboot your system and then, select the first boot device in your CMOS boot options as the USB flash drive or if available on your system, press the key to show the boot menu. Select boot from USB, save and exit the CMOS setup. The Recovery Console should start and should be up within seconds.

 

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How to install the Recovery Console to the Hard Drive?

July 6th, 2011 1 comment

This article explains how to install the Windows XP Recovery Console to the hard drive, so that it is available as an option in the Windows boot menu.

1. Insert your Windows XP installation disc into your CD drive. Then, open up the Windows Command Prompt by typing the command cmd into the RUN dialog box and pressing the Enter key.

2. When the command prompt opens up, type the drive letter of your CD drive (e.g., F: as shown below) and press the Enter key.

3. Once you get the CD drive letter prompt (like F:\> here), type the command given below and press the Enter key:

i386\winnt32.exe /cmdcons

 RC_cmd

4. The Windows Setup dialog box opens and asks you whether you want to install the Recovery Console as a startup option. Click Yes to continue.

RC_install_dialog_box

5. If you’re connected to the Internet, it may connect to Microsoft.com and update some setup files. This won’t take more than a minute or two, depending on your connection.

RC_Setup_dynamic_update 

6. Once setup is updated, it starts copying files and within a few minutes, it’s done.

RC_Setup_copying_files

7. Setup informs you that the Recovery Console was successfully installed and gives some other information about the Recovery Console. Click OK to exit setup.

RC_Setup_successful_message

8. Now, to test whether it installed alright and whether it’s working, you’ll need to reboot the computer. Don’t forget to remove the Windows Setup CD from the CD drive first.

RC_BootMenu

How to check for a CMOS Battery Failure?

July 4th, 2011 No comments

What is a CMOS Battery?

The CMOS battery is an important part of the computer, because it helps the computer remember its settings and about itself. It’s important that this battery is in good health. There are some symptoms which you can see for signs of a weak or dead CMOS battery.

The CMOS battery makes the CMOS memory remember settings, including date and time settings. If the battery is weak or dying, the clock will get reset to 12:00 and the date to Jan 1, every time you start the computer. The computer may also shutdown, unexpectedly. It may also ask where it should boot from, when you power it on. These are some signs of a weak, dying or dead CMOS battery.

Many computers will give a warning message about the CMOS battery, when you boot them up. Nowadays, CMOS batteries are not replaceable and are built inside the motherboards, when you see symptoms of a dying CMOS battery, you probably have to replace the motherboard. Check with your motherboard manufacturer, if you have a new motherboard, since the manufacturers consider this a defect. You may be eligible for a replacement motherboard.

CMOS_Battery0

This battery is connected to the south bridge chip, to power both CMOS memory and RTC circuits. You can see the CMOS battery within its motherboard socket in the above picture.

RTC_Chip 

The above is an example of a south bridge chip. The CMOS memory and the Real Time Clock (RTC) are both embedded in this chip, nowadays.

CMOS_Battery4    CMOS_Battery3

Recognizing CMOS Battery Failure

When your computer starts up, the BIOS may give a warning message like "CMOS checksum error, defaults loaded". It will also tell you to press a key to enter the BIOS or just continue. Go into the BIOS and change the date/time and other settings that need to be changed. Then, save and quit. After restarting, if you still get the above message, you should replace the CMOS battery.

If you don’t get any such warning, check that the time and date on your system is correct. If the time resets to 12:00 and date resets to Jan 1, this is an indication of a dying CMOS battery and you should replace it. You should first confirm this by setting the time and date in your BIOS. If they reset again after restarting the computer, replace the battery.

If the computer suddenly shuts down or you get hardware errors like not detecting the hard drive, CD drive and RAM, this may cause the computer to shutdown. First check that all the cables are properly plugged in. Then, remove and re-insert the RAM. If the system still shuts down, you should try to replace the CMOS battery first, since it’s cheaper than trying to replace other parts.

Check the CMOS battery voltage, if you have a multimeter. The voltage across a good battery should be about 3 volts. When it’s below 2.5 volts, it may start giving problems. If the battery voltage is below 1.8 volts, the battery is dead.

Replacing the CMOS battery

When you remove the CMOS battery, all the hardware settings stored in the CMOS memory are lost. So, you should record or note down the CMOS settings before removing the battery. Go into the BIOS by pressing the required key (mostly F1, F2, Del or F10). Note down any customized settings like hard drive configuration, CPU speed adjustments or port activation/deactivation etc. Then, shutdown the system and unplug.

When you have replaced the battery, enter the BIOS once again and select "Load BIOS Setup Defaults". (Depending on your BIOS Manufacturer, you may have "Load Standard Defaults", "Load Fail-Safe Defaults" or just "Load Defaults"). Then, reconfigure the customized settings that you noted earlier. Save the settings and exit the BIOS.

AMIBIOS_MainScreen

Replacement CMOS batteries can be purchased at any electronics stores or online. Compare the engraved serial numbers before purchasing the battery.

Remove power and discharge static electricity before touching delicate electronics.

Below are links to some videos on how to remove and replace a CMOS battery:

How to replace your PC’s battery

CMOS battery replacement

Windows XP Troubleshooting FAQ

July 3rd, 2011 1 comment

 

 

Q.1. In Windows XP, when opening the Task Manager, Registry Editor or Folder Options (from the Tools menu in My Computer), I get a message saying these tools have been disabled by the administrator. How do I re-enable them?

OR

I can’t access Folder Options in Windows Explorer. Task Manager and Registry Editing is also disabled. I get an error dialog box which says that they are disabled by the administrator. How do you solve this hell?

 

 

Q. 2. On double-clicking any drive partition or folder in My Computer, a search window opens up? How do I open the drive to open a file or view the drive contents?

 

Q. 3. On double-clicking any drive or partition in My Computer, I get a message saying that copy.exe could not be found, to make sure that the name was correctly typed and then try again. How do I open the drive to open a file or view the drive contents?

 

OR

 

 

On double-clicking any drive or partition in My Computer, the Open With dialog box shows up. How do I open the drive to open a file or view the drive contents?

 

Q. 4. Even though the “always open folders in the same window” checkbox is checked under Folder Options, on double-clicking any folder in My Computer opens it in a new window. What should I do to open all folders in the same window?

 

Q. 5. On opening any folder, another folder with the same name is created inside it. This is happening with all the folders. How do I remove all these extra folders?

 

 

Q. 6. My Documents folder or My Computer opens up automatically at Windows startup. How to get rid of this?

 

 

Q. 7. I get the following error message when I start the computer:

 

NTLDR is missing

 

Press any key to restart.

 

OR

 

Boot: Couldn’t find NTLDR

 

Press any key to restart.

 

Is there a way to get Windows and my data back or have I lost all the data?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Q. 8. On starting my computer, I receive the following error message:

 

Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt:

 

C:\Windows\System32\hal.dll.

 

Please re-install a copy of the above file.

 

Is it possible to repair Windows without reinstalling?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Q. 9. On starting my computer, I receive the following error message:

 

“C:\Windows\System32\config\system” file is missing or corrupt.

 

Is it possible to repair Windows without reinstalling Windows?

 

 

 

 

Q. 10. I installed Windows 98 over my existing Windows XP installation. Now, I’m unable to boot into Windows XP. I’m not getting any option to select which OS to start. What do I do to get Windows XP back?

 

 

Q. 11. How to delete or remove a duplicate entry from the Windows boot menu?                                                                           OR

 

How to set the default OS in the Windows boot menu?                OR

 

The default boot time is set to 30 seconds. How to change the default boot time in the Windows boot menu?

 

 

 

 

Q. 12. Check disk starts every time the computer is started, even though Windows was properly shutdown. How can I stop the disk check from running every time?

 

 

Q. 13. On starting my computer, I receive the following error message every time:

 

CMOS checksum error, defaults loaded.

 

How can I stop or correct this?

 

 

 

 

Q. 14. When sending or receiving a message in Yahoo messenger, I get a blank window and can’t see any contents in the chat window. What’s wrong and how to solve it?

 

 

Q. 15. I had to re-install Windows, but after re-installing it, the Standby option is grayed out and can’t be clicked in the shutdown dialog box. How to enable it again?

 

 

Q. 16. I get the classic logon box instead of the new welcome screen in Windows. How to get the welcome screen back?

 

 

Q. 17. A process named ctfmon.exe always runs in the background. Ending the process through the task manager just restarts it automatically. How to get rid of this strange process?

 

 

Q. 18. In Firefox, all the bookmarks vanished and the list is empty. How to get them back?

 

 

Q. 19. Some files’ icons are wrongly shown. How can I get the corrupted icons back?

 

 

Q. 20. In Windows XP, all the icons on the desktop suddenly show an ugly background rectangle behind the text. How to make the text transparent?

 

 

Q. 21. The common tasks pane has vanished and is not shown anymore when I open My Computer. How to get it back?

 

 

Q. 22. A Copy To / Move To dialog box opens up automatically whenever I right-click on the start button and select Open. How can I open the start menu folder?

 

 

Q. 23. Even after checking the “Show hidden files/folders” checkbox under the Folder Options menu, it gets automatically unchecked and I can’t see the hidden files and folders. How can I see my hidden files and folders?

 

 

Q. 24. How can I get mspaint.exe back? I accidentally deleted the file.

 

 

Q. 25. In Windows explorer, image files aren’t shown as thumbnails, even after clicking the Thumbnails view in the view menu. How can I view the images as thumbnails?

 

 

 

 

Q.1. In Windows XP, when opening the Task Manager, Registry Editor or Folder Options (from the Tools menu in My Computer), I get a message saying these tools have been disabled by the administrator. How do I re-enable them?

Ans. Read this post and download the small tools to enable the Task Manager, Registry Editor and Folder Options.

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Q. 2. On double-clicking any drive partition or folder in My Computer, a search window opens up? How do I open the drive to view a file or the drive contents?

Ans. Open the registry editor by typing the command regedit into the RUN dialog box and hitting the Enter key. Then, go to the following two keys, one by one and delete the string named “Default”, from the right-pane:

HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Directory\shell

HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Drive\shell

 

Reboot the system and the search window should be gone. If it’s still showing up, then delete the subkey named “find” from below both the above keys. Reboot again and the search window should be gone away for good.

 

Regedit_Delete_Search_Window

 

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Q. 3. On double-clicking any drive or partition in My Computer, I get a message saying that copy.exe could not be found, to make sure that the name was correctly typed and then try again. How do I open the drive to open a file or view the drive contents?

OR

On double-clicking any drive or partition in My Computer, the Open With dialog box shows up. How do I open the drive to open a file or view the drive contents?

Ans. Open “My Computer” and then click “Folder Options” and then the “View” tab. Under the View tab, click the “Show hidden files and folders” radio button and then click OK.

 

Folder Options

Folder Options - Show Hidden Files

 

Now, open each drive or partition in “My Computer” and check whether there is any file in the root of each drive or partition (C:\, D:\, E:\, etc). If it exists, delete each instance of the file and then reboot the computer. The problem is solved.

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Q. 4. Even though the “always open folders in the same window” checkbox is checked under Folder Options,  double-clicking any folder in My Computer opens it in a new window. What should I do to open all folders in the same window?

Ans. Download thefollowing file, unzip it and run the .REG file (by double-clicking on it). Then, reboot the computer and the problem would have been solved.

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Q. 5. On opening any folder, another folder with the same name is created inside it. This is happening with all the folders. How do I remove all these extra folders?

Ans. Your computer is infected with a virus called Brontok / Rontokbro or its variant. To remove it, download and run MalwareBytes’ Anti-Malware.

Any of these tools also remove Brontok / Rontokbro and its variants successfully:

Symantec

Sophos

Bitdefender

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Q. 6. My Documents folder or My Computer opens up automatically at Windows startup. How to get rid of this?

Ans. Here’s the solution to this problem.

 

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Q. 7. I get the following error message when I start the computer:

NTLDR is missing

Press any key to restart.

OR

Boot: Couldn’t find NTLDR

Press any key to restart.

Is there a way to get Windows and my data back or have I lost all the data?

Ans. Boot using the Windows Setup CD and enter into the Recovery Console by pressing the “R” key, when prompted. Now Log into windows installation and enter admin password. Now type the following commands at prompt:

copy x:\i386\ntldr c:\
copy x:\i386\ntdetect.com c:\

Where “x” is your CD drive. Change it to the drive letter of your CD drive. (Change c:\ to the appropriate drive letter where Windows XP is installed):

If the simple procedure given above doesn’t work, or if you don’t understand it easily, try the step-by-step instructions given in this post.

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Q. 8. On starting my computer, I receive the following error message:

Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt:

C:\Windows\System32\hal.dll.

Please re-install a copy of the above file.

Is it possible to repair Windows without reinstalling?

Ans. Boot using the Windows XP Setup CD and enter into the “Recovery Console” by pressing “R”. Login into the Windows installation and enter your admin password.

Now, type the following commands at the command prompt, one on each line, and this should repair your Windows XP installation (Change c:\ to the appropriate drive letter where Windows XP is installed):

attrib -r -s -h C:\boot.ini

del c:\boot.ini

bootcfg /rebuild

fixboot

If the simple procedure given above doesn’t work, try the step-by-step instructions given in this post.

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Q. 9. On starting my computer, I receive the following error message:

“C:\Windows\System32\config\system” file is missing or corrupt.

Is it possible to repair Windows without reinstalling Windows?

Ans. Boot using the Windows XP Setup CD and enter into the “Recovery Console” by pressing “R”. Login into the Windows installation and enter your admin password.

Type the following command at the command prompt and then reboot the computer. This command should fix the above error.

copy %windir%\repair\system  %windir%\system32\config

If the above didn’t fix your system, once again boot into the recovery console, using the Windows installation CD.

Now, type the following commands at the command prompt, one on each line, and this should repair your Windows XP installation (Change c:\ to the appropriate drive letter where Windows XP is installed):

fixmbr

bootcfg /scan

bootcfg /rebuild

fixboot

 

If both the simple procedures given above don’t work, try the step-by-step instructions given in this post.

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Q. 10. I installed Windows 98 over my existing Windows XP installation. Now, I’m unable to boot into Windows XP. I’m not getting any option to select which OS to start. What should I do to get Windows XP back?

Ans. The Windows 98 installation over-wrote the boot loader. Boot using the Windows XP Setup CD and enter into the “Recovery Console” by pressing “R”. Login into the Windows installation and enter your admin password.

Now, type the following commands at the command prompt, one on each line, and this should repair your Windows XP installation:

fixmbr

bootcfg /scan

bootcfg /rebuild

fixboot

If both the simple procedures given above don’t work, try the step-by-step instructions given in this post.

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Q. 11. How to delete or remove a duplicate entry from the Windows boot menu?

OR

 

How to set the default OS in the Windows boot menu?

OR

 

The default boot time is set to 30 seconds. How to change the default boot time in the Windows boot menu?

Ans. You can use any of the following methods:

 

In the RUN dialog box, type sysdm.cpl and press the Enter key (or click OK). In the System Properties, click the Advanced tab and then click the Settings button under the “Startup and Recovery” section.

Now, click on the Edit button and you can change the boot loader settings here. You can easily find and remove the extra / duplicate entry from this file.Click OK to save the settings.

 

Systen_PropertiesSystem_Properties_Startup_Recoveryboot_ini

 

 

 

 

 

                       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is another way to delete the duplicate entry. In the RUN dialog box, type the command msconfig and press the Enter key. If you want to remove the corrupt/non-working entries, click the “Check all boot paths” button.

msconfig

 

 

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Q. 12. Check disk starts every time the computer is started, even though Windows was properly shutdown. How can I stop the disk check from running every time?

Ans. Download thefollowing file, unzip and then run the reg file by double-clicking it, to stop disk check from running every time on boot up.

 

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Q. 13. On starting my computer, I receive the following error message every time:

CMOS checksum error, defaults loaded.

How can I stop or correct this?

Ans. This problem shouldn’t occur in new computers as the battery is in-built into the chip and not something that can be replaced.

However, if you have an old computer, and get this message every time you start computer, it’s probably time to replace the CMOS battery, found on the motherboard.

For more details about CMOS battery, please view this post.


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Q. 14. When sending or receiving a message in Yahoo messenger, I get a blank window and can’t see any contents in the chat window. What’s wrong and how to solve it?

Ans. Please download Windows Script from the following links:

Windows 2000

Windows XP

Windows Server 2003

If you are using Windows Vista or 7, it already comes with Windows Script pre-installed. You just need to run the following command from the RUN dialog box or the Command Prompt:

regsvr32 vbscript.dll


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Q. 15. I had to re-install Windows, but after re-installing it, the Standby option is grayed out and can’t be clicked in the shutdown dialog box. How to enable it again?

Ans. Re-install your video/VGA/display driver from the driver CD that came with your computer motherboard or with the video card (in case it’s not an in-built one). Re-installing the video driver will re-enable the standby option.

If you don’t have the driver CD, then go to the video card manufacturer’s website and download the driver to install it.

If you’re unable to find your driver CD and can’t get a driver for your video card online, you may download a driver scanning tool, and install it. This tool will search and update your computer drivers easily.

 

 

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Q. 16. I get the classic logon box instead of the new welcome screen in Windows. How to get the welcome screen back?

Ans. Type the command, “control userpasswords” in the RUN dialog box and press the Enter key. On the userpasswords screen, click on “Change the way Users log on or off”. Then, check the option “Use Welcome Screen”.

XP_UserAccounts

UserPasswords_Logon_Options

 

In case, you get the error,”Uninstall client services for Netware”, you’ll need to uninstall the Netware client services from the network connections properties.

 

 

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Q. 17. A strange process named ctfmon.exe always runs in the background. Ending the process through the task manager just restarts it automatically. How to get rid of this strange process?

Ans. Note: CTFMON.EXE is needed for the keyboard layout switching to work correctly, so don’t remove it if you are using this feature.

Open Control Panel and then double click to open Add/Remove Programs. Now, click on the Microsoft Office entry and then click on the “Change” button.

Now, select “Add/Remove Features” and click on “Next”. Now, expand “Office Shared Features” and click on the “Alternative User Input” and then select “Not Available” and finally click on Update. This will permanently remove that ctfmon.exe and your problem will be solved.

You can also use a 3rd party utility, CTFMON-Remover to get rid of ctfmon.exe easily.


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Q. 18. In Firefox, all the bookmarks vanished and the list is empty. How to get them back?

Ans. Type the following command in the RUN dialog box:

“%appdata%\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles”

Now, open the “xxxx.default” folder, within the Profiles folder above (where xxxx will be random numbers and characters).

Now, open the “bookmarkbackups” folder and can see your bookmarks here. From here, you can import them back into Firefox again.


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Q. 19. Some files’ icons are wrongly shown. How can I get the corrupted icons back?

Ans. You can use any of following methods:

a. Download Microsoft TweakUI from this page or directly from this link. Install it. Run it and click on the “Repair Icons” option in the “Repair” section.

b. Open My Computer and go to:

C:\Documents and Settings\User_Name\Local Settings\Application Data

Replace C: with your system drive letter (where Windows is installed) and “user_Name” with your Windows XP username.

Now there’ll be a HIDDEN file called “iconcache.db”, delete it ,and restart your system. Note that to be able to delete hidden files, you need to have the “Show Hidden Files” option enabled in the Folder Options, in My Computer.


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Q. 20. In Windows XP, all the icons on the desktop suddenly show an ugly background rectangle behind the text. How to make the text transparent?

Ans. Type the command “sysdm.cpl” in the RUN dialog box and press Enter. When the system properties open, click the “Advanced” tab, then click on the “Settings” button under the “Performance” section and enable the option “Use drop shadows for icon labels on the desktop“. This should take care of your problem.

 

Systen_Properties   SystemProps_PerformanceOptions_DropShadow

 

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Q. 21. The common tasks pane has vanished and is not shown anymore when I open My Computer. How to get it back?

Ans. In My Computer or Windows Explorer, click on “Tools -> Folder Options” and then click the radio button to select the “Show Common Tasks in folders”, under the Tasks section. Click OK to save settings. Now, the tasks pane should be visible in My Computer.

Folder_Options_Enable_Tasks-pane

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Q. 22. A Copy To / Move To dialog box opens up automatically whenever I right-click on the start button and select Open. How can I open the start menu folder?

Ans. Open the registry editor by typing the command, “regedit”  in the RUN dialog box and then go to the following key within regedit:

HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\AllFilesystemObjects\shellex\ ContextMenuHandlers\

Now under this key, delete following 2 sub-keys, and your problem would be solved:

Copy To

Move To


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Q. 23. Even after checking the “Show hidden files/folders” checkbox under the Folder Options menu, it gets automatically unchecked and I can’t see the hidden files and folders. How can I see my hidden files and folders?

Ans. Open the registry editor by typing the command, “regedit”  in the RUN dialog box and then go to the following key within regedit:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\Current Version\explorer\Advanced\Folder\Hidden

Expand this key by clicking the plus sign and you’ll see 2 more sub-keys – “NOHIDDEN” and “SHOWALL”.

Make sure that the string values of the “CheckedValue” and “DefaultValue” on the right-side pane are “2” and “2” for “NOHIDDEN” and “1” and “2” for “SHOWALL” respectively.

If the values are different, change them and you’ll be able to enable/disable these options from the “Folder Options”.

regedit_show_hidden_files

You can also change the Hide/unhide files’ settings using regedit:

Within regedit, go to the following key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Current Version\Explorer\Advanced

On the right-side pane, change the value of “Hidden” to:

1 – To show hidden files

2 – To not show hidden files (i.e., to hide them)

 

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Q. 24. How can I get mspaint.exe back? I accidentally deleted the file.

Ans. You can use any of following methods:

a. In My Computer or Windows Explorer, in the address bar, type the address – “%windir%\System32\DLLCache”

Within the DLLCache folder, look for the mspaint.exe file, and if its there then copy it to “%windir%\System32\” folder.

b. Insert your Windows Setup CD into the CD drive and go to the “i386” folder. Now, look for the mspaint.exe file, it’ll present there but the last letter of extension will be “_”, i.e., “mspaint.ex_

Now, open the Command Prompt and go to “i386″ folder and type the following command:

expand mspaint.ex_ %windir%\System32\mspaint.exe

c. Type the following command from the Command Prompt:

sfc /SCANNOW

It’ll automatically restore the files. Note that it may ask you to insert your Windows setup/installation disc.

CMD_SFC_Scannow

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Q. 25. In Windows explorer, image files aren’t shown as thumbnails, even after clicking the Thumbnails view in the view menu. How can I view the images as thumbnails?

Ans. Open the RUN dialog box and type the following commands one by one:

regsvr32 shdocvw.dll

regsvr32 thumbvw.dll

regsvr32 shimgvw.dll

Restart your computer and your problem would be solved.

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How to Fix “Task Manager has been Disabled by Your Administrator”?

June 21st, 2011 No comments

I can’t access Folder Options in Windows Explorer. Task Manager and Registry Editing is also disabled. I get an error dialog box which says that they are disabled by the administrator. How do you solve this hell?

This is a common problem in Windows. When you open the Task Manager, it doesn’t open and the option is grayed out. Sometimes, only the Task Manager is disabled, but many times the registry editing and folder options are also disabled.

taskmanager_toolbar_ menu

Trying to run the Task Manager using the RUN dialog box shows the following error:

taskmanagerhasbeendisablebyyouradministrator.png

Running it with the Windows shortcut Ctrl-Alt-Del or Ctrl-Shift-Esc keys has no effect.

If your computer is part of a local network or if you are not a computer administrator, it’s possible that the administrator has disabled or restricted it using the registry editor or the group policy.

In case you are the sole user of your computer, it’s most likely that your system is infected with a virus, which has disabled the Task Manager. Many times, the registry editor and the folder options in Windows Explorer are also disabled.

Once you’ve removed the virus, follow the simple step given below to restore the Task Manager again.

Copy and paste the following into the RUN dialog box and press the Enter key (or click OK):

REG add HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System /v DisableTaskMgr /t REG_DWORD /d 0 /f

If the above command doesn’t work or gives an error saying that the registry has been disabled by the administrator, download and run the small utility to enable the Task Manager from here.

Here’s a VB script which also enables the Task Manager. Download it from here, then unzip and run it by double-clicking on it.

If Registry editor is also disabled, then download, unzip and run the VB script to enable it.

For enabling Folder Options, download, unzip and run this VB script.