What to do after install and format dont fix problems

I have been having horrible computer luck lately. I am now in territory that goes beyond my scope and knowledge and need some help. I hate computer problems but I usually can fix them, now I am just at a loss. I probably should have come here sooner, but I am stubborn and convinced I could fix it. Now I have done so much tinkering and tried so many things I cant really explain what happened or how it happened or what the cause was.

So here is where I am now.

I reinstalled Vista and wiped my hard drive. It worked for about two days and then same problems occurred.
Boot cant find files, files are corrupt.
Booting into safe mode doesnt work
repairing doesnt work
no last known good configuration
constant crashes

Checked drive get this
WDC WD3200KS - fail return code 7

Alright, so my hard drive is bad. Removed hard drive.

Now I am paranoid about data loss, so I have a backup for all my files, plus a back up for that backup. So I have lost really nothing.

So I took my second backup, powered down my main backup and removed it from the system for fear that constant reboots will cause unnecessary wear on that drive, and if for some reason that crashed id be screwed.

anyway, took the backup of the backup and installed windows vista on it.

All was going well, installing the massive amounts of updates then I got blue screen, and crashes. Looked at log and it says stuff about
POST ERROR - memory size decreased and different. --- which I am assuming is because I was checking my RAM for errors.

Started the process again, paying more attention to the updates and what was going on because now I am concerned that it is more than one hardware problem and that maybe it isnt the harddrives crashing but something making them fail. Or possibly a combo of hardware problem plus updates...

Anyway during second attempt to reinstall, and I formatted the drive this time. KNowing I had a backup so still all files are fine.

installed updates, get to SP1, doesnt install even though it says it did. Which happens everytime I have done the reinstall.
downloaded SP1 from microsoft
gets to 99% failed (which has happened to me when SP1 first came out)

it reverted and then this comes up

Failed to Start required file missing
NTOSKRNL.exe 0x0c0000098

tried to repair
startup repair cannot repair
corrupt file

can anyone give me some pointers into what could be going on....

it has been a week of trying to fix this and I can give clues, I have other errors written down from when this stuff first started happening, but it doesnt seem relevant now.

Any help or direction to go or course to take would be very welcomed. I will supply people with any other info that I can.

Thanks for anyone who spends their time thinking about this stupid problem.
Thanks again
11 answers Last reply
More about what install format dont problems

  1. The common denominator to all your installations is the Vista DVD - if that is corrupted so some files weren't expanded, it would explain a thing or two.

    You can test your hardware with a LiveCD of a Linux operating system - PCLinuxOS is a good one from http://www.pclinuxos.com. Burn it to CD using ImgBurn from http://www.imgburn.com and that makes a bootable image which can start the machine. It doesn't impact on your hard disk and will even work without one installed.

    Meanwhile, take that WD disk out, slave it to another computer and run Checkdisk at the Command Prompt using the syntax chkdsk x: /r where X is the drive letter currently assigned. The /r switch after the space will run a five stage process including finding and trying to fix any disk errors. Read the end report carefully - it may be quite revealing.

  2. hmmmm,

    fascinating, so the dvd could be corrupted? Wonder how that happens...

    Thank you for the help, I will attempt to do just this.

    I have another question. So do you think the first HD died, and then I compounded or, the issue persists because my DVD is corrupt?

    Should I just buy a new Windows disk, maybe upgrade to windows 7?

    I plan to build my own computer within the next five months, is windows 7 better than vista so should I just upgrade to it now? Should I wait to buy a new windows OS because windows 8 will be out?

    THe new machine will be mostly utilized for gaming, photoshop stuff for work, and digital painting. Would windows 7 be better than Vista for those things or does that not really matter?

    I know that when vista first came out people were up in arms about it being crappy, I havent had too many problems with it, but maybe I should just buy a new OS since I want to upgrade anyway?

    My other computer is a laptop, and so I am not sure that I can hook up the hard drive to it.

    The only other computer I have is a really old windows XP machine that hasnt been turned on in a year or two not even sure it has enough spots to actually slave the drive too. I will check and report back.

    If I get the comp up and running, which I guess I might need to buy a new hard drive too, could I then check the WD disk on my vista machine?
  3. really appreciate your help

  4. My theory on the flawed DVD was just that - a theory - but most computer problems are fixed by eliminating possibilities and when you're down to the last one, as Sherlock would have said, "what remains, Watson has to be the truth". Looking for the common denominator is always worth a shot.

    I wound't recommend buying W7 yet until you've checked out the hardware. Linux will find all the drivers and wiill either work flawlessly or not and if it doesn't, it's the machine's fault in my experience.

  5. Oops - only half my reply appeared. Odd! :D Windows 7 will definitely be better than Vista for gaming purposes but test everything first. Western Digital has its own testing software - Lifeguard, I think - and it could be worth buying a converter to run the tests while slaved to the laptop. You could rescue your personal flies at the same time, although you could do that through Linux as well.

  6. did a check disk on the drive. I was able to actually roll back Vista to before sp1. which previously I had not been able to.

    So I think this is what is happening.
    First hard drive is bad. Which has been removed, and I will chkdsk that later.

    I ran a chkdsk on my backups backup which is now being utilized as my main hard drive. And I did not see any problems.
    I think the problem now is, either the DVD has corrupt files and therefore is not installing all the necccessarry files, or the files are damaged and dont work and a miriad of windows problems are occuring...


    the SP1 is screwed up somehow and maybe thats because of the DVD... I dont know..

    But I reinstalled SP1 yesterday after being able to go back to an earlier restore point. The SP1 gets to 100% complete... hangs there for a good minute or two, and then says it did not install properly and is reverting changes...

    Any new ideas?

    and I am going to wait to buy 7 but I might buy it sooner than later because if Vista is screwed up I need an operating system, and in the next five months I will be building my first computer so Ill need to buy an operating system anyway, as I do not want to use vista anymore. ANd it sounds like 7 is a pretty good release.

  7. System File Checker is worth a shot. At the Command Prompt and with your Vista DVD in place, type sfc /scannow and hit Enter. The scannow switch will run through the files to see if any are missing or corrupt and expand new copies from the DVD. If they're corrupted you should see a message si it's two birds with one stone.

    I suggest hanging on a few months before buying 7. When 8 comes out in late Autumn, as the only real difference is the touch-screen technology, people with money to burn on new screens will buy it while Windows 7 should go down in price as stores seek to lose their old stocks.

    Never forget, though - Linux OS are free. :D

  8. oh cool Ill wait

    Hey quick question, since I do not know anything about linux.

    does it look and work the same as like apple OS and WIndows OS? I understand look is relative, but...

    damn I dont know anything about linux I always thought it was something for like super computer guys. Do you have anything that you can direct me to to read about?

    thanks for all the help. Ill check the system file stuff when I get home and report back. Thanks again
  9. will all the applications for windows, games, CS 5, painter, wacom tablet work for linux?

  10. The best way to familiarise yourself with Linux is by running one as a LiveCD and just playing with it. They all have GUIs similar to Windows - that's the graphic user interfaces that produce all the whizzy pictures and icons, etc. so it isn't all command line work.

    There's a facility called WINE that deals with the difference between Linux code and Microsoft's own so that many things can be made to work but I know nothing about games so I can't be much help. We have a vibrant Linux sub-Forum here at Tom's so you'll find better help on that than I can give. http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/forum/forum-38.html

  11. thanks!

    I will definitely check it out.
    As for the scan because it was restored to previous working startup all the files were there and none were corrupt.

    I ran windows SP1 again and same thing happens. So for whatever reason SP1 is causing the whole system to crash.

    Went and looked around for any info,

    read somewhere that I should try to apply SP1 while in safe mode, so I will try that next.

    I hate computers, this is, week 2 of technology hell.

    Really appreciate the help
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