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HELP: Dell Computer with registry issue?

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February 26, 2012 4:03:17 PM

Hi, I am trying to help my dad out and wanted to get some feedback as I am not a computer guru. He has a dell machine which appears to have a registry issue. When you can get the computer to boot up it has a message that says one of the system32 is missing or something along those lines. When it does not boot, the power button usually just blinks yellow instead of solid green as it normally would. I am not sure if that could also be a hardware issue?

Scenario: Data that he has on the machine is not backed up, so data integrity for what is on the machine is critical. First question: If the computer does not boot is there a way to repair the registry, assuming that is the problem? Second: Can I hook his hard drive up to a system that I built as a slave drive and access the files that he needs to preserve?

Thank you very much in advance
a c 311 G Storage
February 26, 2012 4:18:02 PM

Do either a system repair or system re-install (over the existing Win install) -- it will repair the registry issues but leave your programs and data intact. You will have to reinstall all Windows updates though. Do not do a custom installation and delete the OS partition, as that will wipe all information on the drive.

I can give you more specific instructions if I know what OS he runs (XP, Vista, or 7).

You should be able to attach his drive to your machine assuming you have an open port of the correct type (sata or ide) and a power connector available. If sata, there is no master/slave; in ide it would be a master on a secondary ide controller that is not currently used or a slave on one that already has a device attached as a master.

After you fix this issue, urge him to start backing up key stuff so that he doesn't lose it if the HDD totally dies on him.
February 26, 2012 6:37:23 PM

Hi, thanks for the response! The machine in question is a XP pro.

My machine has a power supply and sata cable available to connect. If I am not mistaken, I believe I can flip a switch on the back of the hard drive or choose a different configuration to not have it boot from that drive?
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a c 311 G Storage
February 26, 2012 8:10:55 PM

You set the boot drive in the bios, unless it changes yours should remain the boot drive.

None of the jumpers on a sata drive have anything to do with any master/slave arrangement and none of them should be set unless you need to force the drive to sata 1.5gbps, which is unlikely unless your computer is quite old.

Once you retrieve his files do a repair installation on his computer like this: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/978788

But be aware that if he uses Internet Explorer, there is an issue that you need to address first, like this: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/917964
February 26, 2012 9:51:27 PM

Get a live CD such as ubuntu, and boot your dads pc with the CD, dont install ubuntu just run it from CD, backup the important stuff then do a reformat.
February 27, 2012 4:18:53 AM

RealBeast said:
You set the boot drive in the bios, unless it changes yours should remain the boot drive.

None of the jumpers on a sata drive have anything to do with any master/slave arrangement and none of them should be set unless you need to force the drive to sata 1.5gbps, which is unlikely unless your computer is quite old.

Once you retrieve his files do a repair installation on his computer like this: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/978788

But be aware that if he uses Internet Explorer, there is an issue that you need to address first, like this: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/917964


I am unable to boot my dad's computer with his hard drive installed in his machine. Computer just sits idle with yellow blinking light. The computer doesn't even allow the monitor to turn on.

Since I was not able to boot his machine at all, I did install his hard drive into may machine. I was able to access the drive no problem. This issue that I am having now is, my machine is saying that I do not have permission to access information on his drive for the "desktop" and "my documents" folders. In order for me to access the files, I had to change the assigned owner of the data which I am hoping was not a mistake?? Will this cause the information to not be available to him once I get his machine up and running again? Realbeast any thoughts on that?

Is there any way to do a Win install on when on my machine, or repair his registry from my machine, or manually fix or replace the registry on my machine? Then reinstall his drive into his computer with the registry hopefully repaired enough to boot?

Thanks!
a c 311 G Storage
February 27, 2012 8:45:44 PM

Yes, taking ownership of the files is necessary for you to access them, he can always take back ownership.

If the problem is only his HDD, your should be able to get into his bios, that is the machine should post, although not boot into Windows -- if you cannot, there may be more wrong. You can't do a Windows install on your machine to a drive for his machine. I would still try to do a repair installation once you retrieve his files and put the drive back into his machine.
!