Bear with me through a wordy one. Or move on
My main system crashed with a lsass.exe message, something like "end of format is invalid". This is a real tacky crash -- technically it is a reboot cycle in the early stages of booting XP. (I have some some conjectures about possible culprits, later I will try to look at my MJ Registry Watch and event viewer logs.) On the net this problem is pretty frequent .. sometimes folks attach that message to a user account mashup corruption, other times pagefile-related confusions, other times this and that, lsass.exe is fundamental and resists, for some reason, simple replacement .. from what I could tell. This also resists sfc /scannow and registry fixes and deleting the page file and lots of other tries. And often effects safe mode, so that it has a reboot-cycle just like regular mode, you never make it to safe mode, and you can't get to where you could try the "last successful boot" (or whatever that wording is). Even when folks on the Net get this semi-resolved, it seems like it is often a temporary fix and the problem recurs.
Thus .. it is format and reinstall XP time. I like to do that occasionally anyway on a busy system -- well when needed. Granted .. if I had a recent image I could try format and image reinstall, in the future I plan to design my systems for dual restore. This is a Dell system, Precision 380 -- I was able to get into some special tool-testing section that Dell has .. went through their whole "OS not booting" test phase without a difficulty
. And I was able to boot with UBCD4Windows (and Parted Magic if I want) for lots of tools.
And, using the Dell CDs, which I have, I am able to get into "Windows XP Professional Setup" which allows a deletion of a partition followed by an XP restore (all solidly registered with Dell and MS). Even when the support time is officially over Dell is pretty good on answering things like -- what should I do ? -- do you have a CD ? etc).
For backing up the most recent data I simply did an essentially full file-by-file Free Commander (!) backup from UBCD to a removable drive connected by USB that is one of those 150 Gigabyte or more thingies. I got a chuckle seeing that with the dozens of tools that they have there on UBCD, the one that I trusted for simple file backup was copy files in Free Commander ! (Perhaps the DriveImageXML has that as a sub-feature, however it gave me no confidence .. I would use that for images, which you do not create on crippled machines and expect much.)
I also used Double Driver, nicely in UBCD, to be sure the drivers were backed up nicely, although I likely had some backup on the disk already.
Now Dell does not give you an XP CD, they give you a "reinstallation" CD with the service pack, also separate CDs for drivers and an application CD are with this. And the reinstallation CD pretty clearly is not a fresh install .. I'm pretty sure of that.
Important change-note. I may well have been wrong on that. The wording on the CD was unclear, it may well be a fresh install, so that would make the rest of the following moot for my XP. In fact I think I did use it that way once before a year or more ago ! After a Vundo infection and some other difficulties if I remember. Although even if so the questions below may still remain for future reference on other systems.
So I wonder .. should I look for a generic XP-iso on the net to burn (on another puter) ? Should I see what Dell has officially that I may have to purchase ? Or should I try to create a special CD on another puter using some of those strange build-your-XP utilities .. however those I think they want the same hardware. Or maybe at work where they have a dozen Dell XPs there is actually a full XP OS and if so I should get that in the AM and use it ? Or should I bring it over to the techie guy (who just sold me another decent Lenovo XP system for $100) who installs XP in his sleep in 15 minutes and then types it from the numbers of the box-side. He is busy tomorrow -- he picks up the one generation old machines from Port Authority by the dozens which is why I was able to get a decent system cheap and, with patience, watch XP in the making .. watching XP is a bit like sauerkraut or frankfurters or whatever has that adage .. oh yeah .. sausage .. hmmm.. Hebrew National may be better. Well I had to find the Ethernet driver and he ended up giving me two XP-OS in one partition - Windows and Windows.0 -- yet one was trivial to delete, surprisingly. Anyway, he can't help till Tuesday so should I try one of the other methods ? Does an XP-iso work ? Is it doable without going to crackerjacker sites ?
Any thought on the variety pack of choices appreciated.
This system downloads my email, so if it is down for more than a day or two some stuff starts bouncing, or I have to download unto another system, which is awkward with my Eudora filters. Thus I like to get it up fairly quickly even if I have another puter doing all my essential stuff. The system, although a couple of years old, is still very nice, especially after I upgraded the memory. (Oh, yeah, taking out some memory sticks was another try that I found unappetizing.)