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Cannot install XP or Win 7....

Tags:
  • Computers
  • Boot
  • Windows XP
  • Windows 7
Last response: in Windows 7
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February 24, 2012 6:43:16 AM

I recently acquired an older computer from my parents with XP installed on it. It worked fine for them, no issues. I get it home and the first time I boot it up, it tells me it can't find the video driver. I boot it in VGA mode, upload the driver, and everything seems to work. I start cleaning out their files, uninstalling some programs I don't want, life is good.

The second time I started the computer, I recieved a "Fatal Systems Error" and the computer would no longer boot past the initial splash screen. Web-browsing suggested that I had a corrupted file (possibly due to uninstalling something) and that the only real solution was a fresh install. Their HDD was a mess, so I figured I might as well. I didn't have the XP disk that shipped with their system, but I did have an upgrade disk, so used that. Unfortunately, only *after* formatting the disk did it start to throw errors and say it couldn't find a bunch of files to copy. Needless to say, setup failed and it wouldn't boot. Undaunted, I tried installing again, but of course now there isn't an operating system on the disk, so it won't even run unless I can find an even older system disk.

I then tried to use a Win 7 upgrade disk, remembering that it would allow you to do a fresh install. Unfortunately, after the initial file loading screen, it tells me "Windows failed to start. ... File: \windows\system32\DRIVERS\arc.sys ... Status: 0xc0000098 ... Info: Windows failed to load because a critical system driver is missing, or corrupt."

Now, this is supposedly a freshly-formatted HDD for a fresh install. So what is the problem installing an operating system? Did I damage the HDD transporting it across town in my car? Is there something else I'm missing?

Any help would be greatly appreciated as this computer was for my kids and they're going to be very disappointed in the morning when they find out it doesn't work any more.

More about : install win

February 24, 2012 7:33:34 AM

It's probably hardware, but could be something simple like the HDD cable, a loosened CPU heatsink, or a failing PSU for that matter. Make sure everything is free of dust also.
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a b $ Windows 7
February 24, 2012 7:39:57 AM

HDDs degrade over time. Id bet your HDD is failing and simply replacing it will fix all the issues you have with installing an OS and it running properly.
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February 24, 2012 7:48:17 AM

First run something like SpinRite or HDD Regenerator, either from a CD or a USB stick. It may still be usable.
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February 24, 2012 8:35:53 AM

If it's not an issue for you, why don't you just kill the existing OS. Format the drive run a chkdsk on it and reinstall Winows from scratch! If that pc has been runing the existing OS for years you'll probably be running into all sorts of issues!
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February 24, 2012 12:25:22 PM

ngrego said:
If it's not an issue for you, why don't you just kill the existing OS. Format the drive run a chkdsk on it and reinstall Winows from scratch! If that pc has been runing the existing OS for years you'll probably be running into all sorts of issues!

That's part of the problem ... after the initial Fatal Systems Error, I reformatted the drive and tried installing Windows XP. The fresh install failed due to it not finding the correct files (it was an upgrade disk, but I'd think they'd have included all necessary files for a fresh install). I wasn't able to try a second XP install due to the lack of an OS to upgrade from. The Windows 7 install failed even earlier.

I actually dusted the computer thoroughly with compressed air, though I suppose it's possible that I blew something into the CPU in the process. I did a quick check of all the connections last night and they seemed securely fitted, but I'll try removing and reseating everything to see if that makes a difference.

Are there freeware versions of the HDD checking programs? If I'm going to spend $50 on a program, I might as well just buy a new drive. :??: 
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a b $ Windows 7
February 24, 2012 12:27:45 PM

Im pretty positive your HDD is failing. Should be diagnostic programs on your HDD website that are free for testing purposes.
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February 24, 2012 2:15:19 PM

upgrade cd's do not contain everything. your only bet is a true install disk or an oem cd.
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February 24, 2012 3:44:06 PM

drksilenc said:
upgrade cd's do not contain everything. your only bet is a true install disk or an oem cd.

Not true. Do you think it's reusing parts of the old operating system or something?
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a b $ Windows 7
February 24, 2012 4:16:12 PM

(1) Probably the HDD is starting to fail.
Can go to Drive manufs website and down load a "Bootable" utility program to test the HDD.
(2) You can use the Upgrade XP disk, you just have to select custom install.
.. (A) If this is a copy that YOU own (and not used by another computer) then you can use that Key, or you can use the key that belongs to the Orginal XP installation.
.. (B) You have to do the Windows XP install twice, The first time Using Custom install and do not enter the Key.
.. (C) Once xp is installed (assuming the HDD is not at fault). You then re-install using the Upgrade Method.
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February 24, 2012 4:17:23 PM

drksilenc said:
upgrade cd's do not contain everything. your only bet is a true install disk or an oem cd.


^^^^Totally untrue.

But it sounds like your HDD is toast. Check the connections like someone else said and when you are in there look at the hard disk and write down the manufacturer (e.g. Seagate, Western Digital, Samsung, IBM/Hitachi). Then go to the manufacturer's website and download their HDD checking utility and try that.

If your HDD is toast then buy another one. If the machine had OEM XP on it then it likely has a code sticker somewhere on the case. You can install XP on it with your upgrade disk and use that code to validate the install.
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a b $ Windows 7
February 24, 2012 4:22:34 PM

^ "upgrade disk and use that code to validate the install"
An upgrade Windows XP will Check for a upgradeable OS and bomb out if not found UNLESS you select custom Install. And normally will not except a Key from an OEM version ether - reason the Key has to be entered AFTER installation, not during.

Added: Using Win 7 upgrade disk to do a "Clean" install is the same; However MS Provide a more Eloquent method than having to do a double install.
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February 24, 2012 5:05:34 PM

Run a disk diagnostic and if that goes well get your hands on an install cd.
If you have a Windows XP key that's yours, I'm pretty sure you can use any full install win xp cd. If your key is valid you could always do a phone validation by calling MS. I personally do not recommend upgrade installations.
Another thing you should do before installing is a full format not quick format.
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February 24, 2012 5:17:48 PM

cchadwick said:
I recently acquired an older computer from my parents with XP installed on it. It worked fine for them, no issues. I get it home and the first time I boot it up, it tells me it can't find the video driver. I boot it in VGA mode, upload the driver, and everything seems to work. I start cleaning out their files, uninstalling some programs I don't want, life is good.

The second time I started the computer, I recieved a "Fatal Systems Error" and the computer would no longer boot past the initial splash screen. Web-browsing suggested that I had a corrupted file (possibly due to uninstalling something) and that the only real solution was a fresh install. Their HDD was a mess, so I figured I might as well. I didn't have the XP disk that shipped with their system, but I did have an upgrade disk, so used that. Unfortunately, only *after* formatting the disk did it start to throw errors and say it couldn't find a bunch of files to copy. Needless to say, setup failed and it wouldn't boot. Undaunted, I tried installing again, but of course now there isn't an operating system on the disk, so it won't even run unless I can find an even older system disk.

I then tried to use a Win 7 upgrade disk, remembering that it would allow you to do a fresh install. Unfortunately, after the initial file loading screen, it tells me "Windows failed to start. ... File: \windows\system32\DRIVERS\arc.sys ... Status: 0xc0000098 ... Info: Windows failed to load because a critical system driver is missing, or corrupt."

Now, this is supposedly a freshly-formatted HDD for a fresh install. So what is the problem installing an operating system? Did I damage the HDD transporting it across town in my car? Is there something else I'm missing?

Any help would be greatly appreciated as this computer was for my kids and they're going to be very disappointed in the morning when they find out it doesn't work any more.



sounds like a bad hard drive to me
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February 24, 2012 5:24:21 PM

Run a memory diagnostic-your first clue that it isn't your hard drive is it saying it can't find files to copy when installing Windows-it's not failing to copy them, it's failing to find them from the CD. If you download the "Ultimate Boot CD" it has the memory and hard drive diagnostics you will need on it, but I'd wager money it's your RAM that's bad and not your hard drive.
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Best solution

February 24, 2012 6:02:39 PM

cTs Corvette said:
Run a memory diagnostic-your first clue that it isn't your hard drive is it saying it can't find files to copy when installing Windows-it's not failing to copy them, it's failing to find them from the CD. If you download the "Ultimate Boot CD" it has the memory and hard drive diagnostics you will need on it, but I'd wager money it's your RAM that's bad and not your hard drive.


This.

I admit it's a bit hard to wade through the text, but the failing installation does indicate something else.

If this is an older IDE type system, a bad ribbon cable will account for BOTH the CD and HDD problems. They get old and brittle in my experience.

Likewise, failing RAM will corrupt your I/O and create these issues.

Then there is a failing I/O controller on the board, common with old systems.

Then there's the failing PSU, same thing.

I'm not saying it ISN'T your HDD, but the symptoms, if you have given them accurately, point to a different issue
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February 24, 2012 7:43:39 PM

Best answer selected by cchadwick.
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February 24, 2012 7:50:23 PM

Thanks for all the replies!

I reseated all the parts and then swapped in another hard drive from a computer that we'd ditched some years earlier. Fortunately, that did the trick to at least get to the operating system (also XP). Whether it's stable or not is another question.

I know I can use chdsk for the HDD (since this one is even older than the trashed one) and run memtest for the RAM. I'm assuming HWMonitor will work for checking PSU voltages (at least if they have an XP version). Is there something that will check the CD and the I/O controller?

Thanks again!
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February 24, 2012 7:59:21 PM

No software voltages are accurate enough for PSU checking. You need a multimeter for that.

If your new HDD remains good, then we know it's not the controller.
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