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I have an ACER notebook Aspire 4920 and, I think, because an update I installed (prompted I may add by my laptop!) it is now not working. When I turn it on it goes into Startup Repair mode and then tells me it can't fix the problem automatically. It then gives me the options to either: System Restore (not actually an option as when I go on it it tells me I can't do this!), Windows Complete PC restore (which i can't do as have no Backup), Windows Memory restore, or command prompt. Please help as I really need it working again by monday and don't want to lose my documents!

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  • ctrevien Dec 13, 2008

    Don't know how to do that! Argh!

  • ctrevien Dec 13, 2008

    I don't have the option of opening my laptop into safe mode! Is there something I can type into the command prompt to do that? the update was something already on my computer, in the control panel actually, sitting there as an update.

  • ctrevien Dec 13, 2008

    I tried the F8 trick to put into safe mode but it still brings me unto the same page of startup repair...! I guess I'm just going to have to give up and bring it to a repair shop....

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6 Answers

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If you can indeed boot into a command prompt, type "help" without the quotes and you have a list of all commands you can run from the command console.

I would run this command before anything else:
CHKDSK
You may be familiar with this. To see the options you have type:
CHKDSK /?
You will want to run an integrity scan on your hard drive's boot partition usually c: . What goes wrong with XP very often is a corruption of Security Descriptors. I won't go into what they are and their role is but, CHKDSK /R will repair corrupted descriptor files and this may be all you need.

At this point you may be fixed. Lets hope so. If not proceed further with the instructions below. Be patient and prepared for a long haul.

Reboot to the command console again and see if running commands to repair your Master Boot Record and repair your Boot file are all that is needed.

The commands all start with FIX.

This includes (I'm typing from memory, use the help command for exact command) fixboot and fixmbr.
Run both of these commands.

(The commands you can run from a bootup repair console are very different from what you will see if you access the Run Box in Windows and type command, hit enter and then have a command window. If you type help here, you won't see the same commands as when you boot to a repair console.)

So, if your problem there is still unresolved, run this routine below.

You should know, that we pros do this all the time and we barely think about it or how long it will take, we just know in advance it can be very frustrating, but it is solveable. So, in this respect, don't leave us. If you want more personal attention Customer like you have used the Ask Me button to engage an expert in a more one on one session. Just be prepared for the long haul, it may be needed.

Again, if these suggestions below still do not resolve your problem there is hope. But, it will require some work on your part.

If you do not have a copy of the Windows Install CD (and your maker should send you one on your request. This is the law.)
Your install directory should be on the hard drive in a directory
Either,
c:\windows\i386
or
c:\winnt\i386
To access these files you need to use the change directory command. It is "CD and/or CHDIR", no quotes
So, CD Windows , will take you to the Windows root directory. If that fails you windows directory is probably winnt so type in
CD WINNT
Once you are in the Windows directory you need to get into the 'i386 directory, type:
CD I386 [that's an i in front of 386]

Your machine is likely tobe setup to do an unattended installation. The file you want to access is one of these depending on your make and version of XP

These are for a FAT32 system
I386/WINNT32.MSI
I386/WINNT32.EXE

For an NTFS System
I386/WINNT.EXE

Yours is probably NTFS.

You will find out when you start the process.

What you want, is to start an installation session, that's all, let the script run until you get the Stop Screen that Alerts you to the fact that there is already a Windows System installed. Here, you are offered two options. One is Repair, the other is fresh or new installation. Choose 'Repair' This repair routine is very good at resolving problems.

Now, should all this fail you, you will want to get a copy of Hiren's Boot Disk 9.1 or greater. When you bootup with this CD in your system and the CD drive is listed before your hard drive in the boot order, you will be prompted to bootup Hiren's or Windows. Choose Hirens Boot CD of course. Once this loads, you will have several options of programs that can restore partitions.

Choose Recovery Tools
There are several offered and each has its own benefits.
If you end up at this point and you have a copy of Hiren's post back and let us know, I or another will instruct you on what programs you will want to use.

Many prefer one partition repair tool over another, mostly it is a personal comfort zone thing and so on. What you want to do with these tools is recover, that is fix, your boot partition. These tools on this CD can do this for you.

Posted on Dec 13, 2008

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Try using Safe mode to restar your laptop and she if it lets you restore on this mode, usually when it doesen't let you restore the normal way it's because of a virus on your system, but if you use safe mode it will restore even if it has viruses.

Posted on Dec 13, 2008

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Try to check if you can boot from Safe mode and uninstall the update or do a system restore if it wont boot from safe mode try booting on Last known good configuration, if also failed you need a recovery cd or a windows CD to recover those missing file system.....

Posted on Dec 13, 2008

  • Mark Gil
    Mark Gil Dec 13, 2008

    If that's the case you really need a recovery disk or windows installation to recover those missing files or taking it to the computer repair center will be a best option for now...

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Are you saying you cannot get into safe mode?

Posted on Dec 13, 2008

  • Jay Glendenning
    Jay Glendenning Dec 13, 2008

    So while it is booting up if you keep tapping the F8 key you don't get a windows startup menu??

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The update which u installed can also be a virus running into the system.try opening the pc in safe mode.and then check out.also if major problem comes u can format the pc load the anti virus software and the start loading the required files and folder and then continue.

Posted on Dec 13, 2008

  • tech gurus Dec 13, 2008

    go on pressing f8 when you start your computer.it will automatically go into safe mode.just continuous press F8 

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Hi there
It seems you are in big trouble, there is no way you can recover the system now without a complete system restore, you probably do have the option because you may have a hidden recovery partition to allow a recovery, NOTE: this will wipe all data from the hard drive!!!
If you need the data from the the hard drive you must connect it to another PC as a slave device, then you will be able to recover your documents and data.

kind regards

Posted on Dec 13, 2008

  • 1 more comment 
  • Lee Hodgson
    Lee Hodgson Dec 13, 2008

    hi again
    There is nothing you can do, you cannot perform a system restore or do anything at the moment unless you want to loose your data!!
    This is coming from a PC technician and i have come accross this problem many times


  • Lee Hodgson
    Lee Hodgson Dec 13, 2008

    you don't have to take it to a repair shop at all, remove the hard drive and connect it to another computer.
    The repair shop will charge you a fortune for data recovery and system recovery


  • Lee Hodgson
    Lee Hodgson Dec 13, 2008

    are you in the UK?

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