Repeated BSODs, Windows XP Pro help requested

Hello all, 2 days ago I started to have repeated issues with BSOD's, including 4 or 5 different types such as IRQL_LESS_OR_EQUAL, PAGE_FAULT_IN_NON-PAGED_AREA, PFN_LIST_CORRUPT, etc. I either would randomly BSOD after a few minutes or crash upon trying to enter Windows past the login screen through various problems including one where the logon system would fail and BSOD.

After perhaps 75-100 BSODs in the past few days, when I try and launch Windows now it tells me the system file is corrupt and to try and use the repair installation to fix it. I made a bootdisk on this PC and after booting up, whenever I attempt to access the d:\i386 directory now of my Windows XP CD, it says "Invalid directory." The directory is obviously there and is accessible in this computer and all other directories are accesible on the computer that is in need of repair except for that one in particular. I am totally at a loss, does anyone have an idea of how I can get into the i386 directory to attempt to repair my Windows? Thanks!

I'd rather not have to reformat but if I have no other choice I will of course, however with the fact the installation is not going as planned I am even more reluctant than I normally would be.
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  1. Have you tried booting with the WinXP CD and running the repair after going through setup?

    <A HREF="" target="_new">Repair XP</A>

    Be aware that you might have to manually change the boot order of the devices in the BIOS in order to start the system with the CD-ROM.

    I've seen this kind of thing occur on different installations for various reasons. The most common:

    1.) Mismatched or bad memory
    2.) BIOS incompatibilities because of problems supporting ACPI power management with WinXP installed, which generally requires a BIOS flash.
    3.) Difficulities with Windows assigning and sharing IRQ's with the newer APIC Interrupt Controller enabled in the BIOS, which allows 24 addresses instead of the standard 16.
    4.) A virus or worm that has damaged or overwritten key protected system files, which may include the Master Boot Record.
    5.) A device driver that is either incompatible with the operating system, or is conflicting with another device.

    Test your memory with this free utility:

    <A HREF="" target="_new">Memtest86</A>

    If the memory turns out to be okay, then I'd flash the BIOS, turn off the APIC controller (if you can locate this setting) and select the older PIC controller. Then I'd format the system partition, and reinstall the operating system.

    After the OS is reinstalled, update your device drivers to the latest versions (without using beta versions); starting with the mainboard chipset drivers, and ending with the video card drivers, which will give the best chance of avoiding conflicts during the new installation.

    You might also wish to create rescue disks with an anti-virus program on another computer, boot with them, and scan the system from a DOS prompt.


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  2. I have an ASUS VIA KT266 mobo (model A7V266), 1.4 ghz AMD Athlon Thunderbird, 512 megs of Crucial PC2100 DDRRAM. It has all run fine for over a year until just the other day so I would presume the memory is not mis-matched although I suppose it could have gone bad. I am considering buying another 256 meg stick and trying to swap in and out to see if one is bad although I would imagine most of the other problems would not be related (BIOS incompatibilities, device drivers, etc. since again nothing has been altered in over a year) I will try out that memtest86 though in a moment, thanks for the suggestion.

    As for booting off the cd, for some reason my BIOS does not allow for that even I select my DVD-ROM or CD-RW drives as first in the order under the 'Boot' area, instead it just skips directly over them. The only choices it responds to are a floppy disk or HDD being selected first. I am using the ASUS provided BIOS, I believe it is called Rev 120B or something along those lines. A virus is a possibility although I do have Norton Systemworks installed and always have my Anti-virus running.

    I am most concerned though about the fact that for some reason it will not access the i386 folder on my XP cd therefore not even allowing me to try and use the Winnt.exe file there for an attempted repair re-install.
  3. You shouldn't have any problem booting from the Windows XP CD... as long as your drives are IDE. For some odd reason, I could NOT boot from SCSI CD-ROMs. As soon as I installed an IDE CD-ROM and stuck the CD in there, it booted just fine.

    The board you have is almost identical to mine: I have an A7V266-E. I would check to make sure your disc isn't damaged... also might want to give the drives a quick cleaning. Also try flashing the BIOS to the newest version.

    <font color=red> If you design software that is fool-proof, only a fool will want to use it. </font color=red>
  4. After testing my RAM with Memtest86 I got literally hundreds of thousands of errors, so it was apparent one of the sticks had gone bad. I attempted to follow the stops on Repair XP for doing a repair installation but for some reason they did not apply to me (it went to a DOS style interface and asked which I wanted to repair and after that simply left me with little to no help in a C:\Windows directory). I decided to reformat and try to re-install Windows but I kept getting BSOD's still, so I knew it was must be faulty RAM. Memtest86 was correct and it was indeed a stick of bad memory, so I isolated the faulty stick and am going to call up Crucial to get a replacement. Hopefully that is all it will turn out to be. I am still unsure why I could not access that particular folder, but I did get a new CD for XP and it is working fine.

    Thanks again for the help, will post if I have any other problems.
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