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Vista won't boot, issues with repair

post #1 of 16
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My Toshiba laptop is having an issue and it won't boot past the Windows scrolling icon screen, it simply restarts itself. I have spent a day attempting to repair with chkdsk as well as the startup repair using the manufacturer installation disk. System restore won't work as it tells me there are no existing restore points to use.

It's telling me specifically that \Windows\system32\DRIVERS\avgrkx64.sys is missing or corrupted. It also gives a status error code of 0x0000098. Believe me, I know the importance of backing up and with my desktop I backup frequently and redundantly. I however use my laptop perhaps once a month and have nothing backed up, so a complete reinstall is my last option, and it may come to that. Does anyone have any more ideas? I was considering hooking up the drive to my desktop, finding and deleting the corrupted file, and inserting a new one. Is this even possible? Is there anything else I can try?
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post #2 of 16
    That's a problem being caused by AVG Anti-virus.  Something went wrong with one of its drivers, so you'll have to remove the offending drivers before the computer can boot.

    Do you have a Windows Vista or Windows 7 installation disk, or a Windows System Repair disc?  If you don't have either, but you do have a functioning system, make a System Repair disk by following the instructions here.  Your computer may already have it installed as a startup option; to check that out, read the little popout at the bottom of this page.

    Anyway, boot into System Repair.  A step-by-step procedure is available here.  That guide is good up to step 6.  For the next step, read this page.  Click "Command Prompt" and type "regedit" (without the quotes) and press [Enter].  Registry Editor should open.

    At this point, I don't remember if you have to mount your system's registry file or if System Repair does that for you.  If you don't find any keys with "AVG" in the name when following the steps below, you'll have to mount your system's registry.  Let me know if that is the case and I'll give you step-by-step options on how to do that.
    Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet.  If there is no key named "CurrentControlSet" under "SYSTEM", navigate to the "Select" key (it is a little farther down).  Look at the value under "Current" and navigate to the "ControlSet***" folder with that number (e.g. Current = 1 means to navigate to "CurrentControlSet001").


    Now that you're in the "CurrentControlSet" (either directly, or by using the method I described above), navigate to the "Services" key.  Expand the key (click the little [+] sign next to the key).


    Scroll down and look for any key that starts with "AVG" or "Avg".  When you find one, click on it to open it.  Then, rename the "Start" value to "-Start" (right-click it, and click rename).  Next, create a new DWORD value named "Start" and set its value to 4.  To do this, right-click in an empty spot under the last value in the list, and click "New\DWORD (32-bit) Value", type "Start", and press [Enter] twice.  Type [4] and press [Enter] again.


    You're done with that one, move on to the next key that begins with "AVG".  If you've just done the last one, you're done!  Close Registry Editor and restart your computer.

    I hope that wasn't too complicated!  Hopefully that will allow your computer to boot.  You will have to find another anti-virus program, though—or if you're brave, reinstall AVG with the latest updates. thumb.gif
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post #3 of 16
    I had overlooked your mentioning the possibility of connecting the drive to your desktop computer.  If you have the hardware to do that, you can do the registry edits I mentioned in my previous post from your desktop computer.  That will probably be easier than trying to boot the laptop with a System Repair disk.

    If you want to go that route, go ahead and connect your laptop's HDD to your desktop computer.  Next, you'll have to enable Windows Explorer to show all hidden files and folders.  Open Windows Explorer and press [Alt], [T] and [O] in sequence to open Folder Options.  Click on the "View" tab.  Make sure that the "Show hidden files and folders" option is selected, and that "Hide extensions for known file types" and "Hide protected operating system files (Recommended)" are both unchecked.  Click [OK] when you're done.

    Press [Win]+[R], type "regedit" and press [Enter].  When Registry Editor opens, double-click "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE" (important), and then click "File\Load Hive."  Find your laptop's HDD, and then navigate to "?:\Windows\system32\config" and open the file named "SYSTEM" (it may be lower-case).  It should then ask you for a mount name.  Enter "SYSTEM (laptop)".  A new key named "SYSTEM (laptop)" should appear right under "SYSTEM" in your "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE" registry branch.

    Now follow the registry editing instructions in my previous post, except that you will have to replace "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM" in my instructions with HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM (laptop)".  If you fail to do that, you'll be changing your desktop computer's configuration, not your laptop's configuration!  I'm sure you don't want to do that!  When you're done, right-click the "SYSTEM (laptop)" key and click "Unload hive."  Shutdown your computer and put the HDD back in your laptop and try booting it.
 
Edited by Techie007 - 5/20/13 at 5:58am
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post #4 of 16
Thread Starter 
Ahh Techie, this is very helpful stuff. Thanks for taking the time. I cannot access the Registry from my laptop as it just crashes and resets very early in the boot process, and many many repair attempts have been unsuccessful. I will take an SATA cable and hook it up to my desktop machine. I'm comfortable navigating in the registry. I'm just curious if deleting the AVG folder would remove the offending driver and allow the OS to boot? Would the Registry changes still be necessary? I will post back my progress.
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post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 
Techie007, the registry edit was successful and the AVG files are no longer preventing the system from booting. However, it's now telling me that ntoskrnl.exe is missing or corrupts. There seems to be plenty of info floating around about this to fix it. If I can't I will have to reinstall after all this anyway. Unless you have anything you believe is important to add? Thanks.
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post #6 of 16
    Congratulations on the successful edit! thumb.gif  The reason I didn't have you delete the AVG driver files is because sometimes, boot will fail (with the same message, file corrupted or not found) if the file is removed.  Also, the driver files are most likely in the system32 folder, not the AVG folder.  So I thought that setting the driver's start type to "disabled" was the best option.

    It sounds to me like you're dealing with data corruption.  Either the HDD is failing, or some data has gotten corrupted on the HDD (it does happen, usually it is caused by file cross-linking).  Using your desktop computer, I would copy any really valuable data from the laptop's HDD and then run "chkdsk {driveletter}: /f /r /b" on it (in Windows, press [Win]+[R] and type "cmd" and press enter; then enter the chkdsk command I gave above).  If chkdsk starts finding bad sectors on it, the HDD needs replaced (if you didn't copy your files at this point, I would stop chkdsk and do that immediately because chkdsk can make failing HDDs unreadable).  If chkdsk completes without finding any bad sectors, the problem is just data corruption, and replacing the data should fix the problem.
    Do you have a computer that is running the same OS as your laptop?  If so, you could try overwriting "?:\Windows\system32\ntoskrnl.exe" with a copy from that machine (it's probably a good idea to keep a copy of the original, though).  I actually wrote myself a simple VB6 program to repair the boot of a computer that had a failing HDD.  It would analyze the system's NTOSBOOT prefetch file to find out which files the computer used to boot, and then it would replace those files with the ones on the host machine; however, you'll need a host machine that's running the same OS as the laptop to do that.
    I don't know about Dell, but all HP computers have a factory reset partition on the HDD, that will format and reload C:\ with the factory default files, essentially reloading Windows.  After testing the HDD with chkdsk, perhaps try looking for a special "factory reset" BIOS shortcut key.
Edited by Techie007 - 5/21/13 at 4:53am
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post #7 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thank you! I understand, I figured AVG intertwined itself into more areas than it''s home folder. I have already run chkdsk with that set of commands as well as a separate diagnostic utility, and the drive appears to to be operating in tip top with no bad or reallocated sectors. I do believe that the boot files are simply corrupted. For some reason it's not being repaired, so I may have to do this manually. It would be fairly easy to plug in the hard disk to the destop and save the important data and then restore it to factory condition. However, I especially enjoy problem solving. I love cleaning out really stubborn malware infections too, is that weird? There seems to be enough anectdotal information floating around on how to fix this, so I'm gonna give it a go. It's quite possible thats it's what you would call "FUBAR" anyway, and the best option would be a reinstall.

My laptop is the only machine I have running Vista, so I do not have an uncorrupted source for this file. I never liked Vista, but for the amount of use I get from this machine, upgrading didn't make a lot of sense.
Edited by Jcoffin1981 - 5/21/13 at 5:33pm
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post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 
I was able to fix the boot files by manually inserting corrupted and missing files. It finally began to boot and came up with an F4 BSOD. After running more thorough diagnostics on the drive it did find a few bad sectors (0.2% of drive). There is no other indication that the drive is failing, but the BSOD screen may be enough of a red flag. I would like to avoid replacing the drive if possible. If I have to get new hardware I will probably get an SSD. Should I attempt a reinstall or just go out and buy a new drive?
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post #9 of 16
    You mean you actually got it to boot to the desktop at least once, and then you started getting a BSOD again?  Then you scanned the disk and found bad sectors?  If that's the case, perhaps you should probably consider getting a new drive.  You mentioned reinstalling.  Does your Dell have a recovery (factory reset) partition on it?  If so, I hope you burned system recovery discs for yourself already; you could use those to reload the system, even onto a new drive.
    If you have (or get) a Windows disc (or factory restore disc), I would try zeroing and full-formatting the HDD and installing Windows on it before giving up on it totally.  Don't activate Windows immediately, just let it run on the 30 day trial.  If it's still working by the end of that time, you might be fine with that HDD.  I've had a couple of HDDs that were failing badly, but are working just fine now, having lost all their slowness and bad sectors after being zeroed and reformatted.  I have no explanation, just anecdotal evidence for that one!
    It's really your call.  Hopefully those ideas were helpful! thumb.gif

P.S. I wrote myself a HDD zeroing program that works from Windows that also logs down any failed writes.  Failed writes indicate a failing HDD.  I was stunned when one of the HDDs that I mentioned earlier that had hundreds of bad sectors zeroed from beginning to end without a single write error!  chkdsk now reports that the HDD has no bad sectors, and the drive is working perfectly for me.  I'm not sure if there is other HDD zeroing software out there that logs down failed writes or not while zeroing; but if you want to use my program, let me know and I'll upload it on UbuntuOne.
 
Edited by Techie007 - 5/24/13 at 5:23am
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post #10 of 16
Thread Starter 
Well, I ALMOST got to the desktop. It got past the scrolling Windows icon bar where the welcome screen/desktop was about to pop up. I then got the F4 BSOD. I have had that error code once before with my Crucual M4 SSD and the 5000 hour bug, so I was fairly certain it was the hard disk, which would explain the missing/corrupted boot files. Before since all the health data checked out, I elected to do a "quick scan" of bad sectors, being biased and not really thinking it was the hard disk. I would love to get an SSD, but now's not a good time.

I don't have a recovery sector on the drive, but the manufacturers disk allows a complete factory reinstall.

I would like to give your formatting program a go. If you could give me brief instructions on how to download it I would be much oblidged.
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