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Author Topic: Using XP System Restore Offline  (Read 5536 times)

MerleOne

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Using XP System Restore Offline
« on: March 12, 2010, 06:24:08 AM »
Hi,

I am trying to repair the XP machine of a friend : it boots OK but hangs at the moment where the user selection is supposed to appear.  Same thing in safe mode or when trying to restore the last working config.  I have checked with UBCD4Win that the filesystem is OK and the H/W seems functional.

Looking around, I found there is a Microsoft tool, formerly developed by Sysinternals, called ERD, that makes it possible, using a WIN PE boot CD, to restore previous configs saved with "XP System Restore".  I have an eval copy of version 5.0.  It boots OK, but refuses to go further since it detects XP Pro SP3, which is not supported in this version.  My friend is certain his PC is running XP Home SP3 and not Pro.

I have thus 2 questions :
- Is there a way to "trick" ERD 5.0 to make him see XP Home instead of XP Pro (since it is most probably a XP Home - my friend has the reinstallation CD provided with his Fujitsu Siemens tower, they are indeed XP Home)
- Do you know an equivalent tool, not Microsoft made, which would not have such limitations ?

Thanks !
.merle1.

4wd

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Re: Using XP System Restore Offline
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2010, 03:45:31 PM »
You mention that you can't boot to Safe Mode or Last Good Config but not whether you can boot to CLI or not.

If you can boot to CLI then you can use System Restore as given here.

Bamse

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Re: Using XP System Restore Offline
« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2010, 04:51:42 PM »
I ran into ERD here http://www.winhelpon...ootable-xp-computer/ where it also says it works on SP3. How big is the iso? Should be 152.805.376 I hope. There are quite a few not so legal copies available. Difference between home vs. pro seems weird. Can you find anyone with that problem on Google?

Good for corrupted registry but if infection is problem may be better to use a bootable scanner.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2010, 05:03:03 PM by Bamse »

MerleOne

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Re: Using XP System Restore Offline
« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2010, 03:07:10 AM »
Thanks all for your answers.  CLI is definitely something I must try.  I haven't thought before about it.  Regarding ERD, it's the legitimate one, freshly downloaded from MSFT by one of our sysadmin.

I omitted something : before trying ERD, I started to used UBCD4win and EZPCFix but this somehow corrupted the NTFS filesystem because at reboot, chkdsk was launched and spent quite some time correcting many errors, while before UBCD4win, chkdsk returned no error whatsoever.  Maybe the system has gone corrupt so that ERD cannot recognize it.

I'll try CLI next monday and will let you know.
.merle1.

4wd

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Re: Using XP System Restore Offline
« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2010, 04:28:58 AM »
Given the extra info the method I would use to restore the system, (which, personally, I never had any luck with on XP so I removed it from all subsequent installs), would be:

1) Boot from a BartPE/WinPE based CD/drive and copy any important data to another external/internal HDD.
2) Download an XP Home ISO, (supposedly legal if you have a license), and perform an 'Install/Repair in place'.

The XP installer should pick up the existing installation, unless it is severely munged, and give you the option to repair it.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2010, 05:33:07 AM by 4wd »

tomos

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Re: Using XP System Restore Offline
« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2010, 09:10:44 AM »
Given the extra info the method I would use to restore the system, (which, personally, I never had any luck with on XP so I removed it from all subsequent installs), would be:

1) Boot from a BartPE/WinPE based CD/drive and copy any important data to another external/internal HDD.
2) Download an XP Home ISO, (supposedly legal if you have a license), and perform an 'Install/Repair in place'.

The XP installer should pick up the existing installation, unless it is severely munged, and give you the option to repair it.

I thought 'repair' didnt work with XP home (well I read that somewhere - after an unsuccessful repair attempt)
Tom

4wd

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Re: Using XP System Restore Offline
« Reply #6 on: March 13, 2010, 12:35:00 PM »
I thought 'repair' didnt work with XP home (well I read that somewhere - after an unsuccessful repair attempt)

AFAIK, it will work for both Home and Pro - admittedly I've only ever done it with Pro and it's always worked.

Just to make it clear, this is the second 'Repair' option you're offered, (the first takes you to CLI based command repair), once it's detected there's a previous XP installation on the HDD.

You do have to make sure you're using the same version, (Pro/Home), SP revision and distribution, Retail/OEM.

ie. The install CD you're using to repair has to exactly match what's already installed.

More info here for XP in-place Upgrade as MS call it.

Or the main page for all their versions.

Given the extra info the method I would use to restore the system, (which, personally, I never had any luck with on XP so I removed it from all subsequent installs), would be:

It meant to read that I never had any success with XP's System Restore so that is what I removed from subsequent installs.

My tenuous grasp of English grammar deserted me at that point.   :-[

'Install in place' has always worked for me except where I had severely nobbled the existing installation.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2010, 12:41:28 PM by 4wd »

MerleOne

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Re: Using XP System Restore Offline
« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2010, 05:55:15 AM »
Thanks all,

The PC to repair is equipped with a set of recovery CDs.  A 1st one proposes a XP home installation, together with access to the recovery console, the 2nd one just installs a copy of Windows in another folder, c:\windows.0\.

If I want to perform an "installation in place", I guess I should use the 1st one.
.merle1.

MerleOne

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Re: Using XP System Restore Offline
« Reply #8 on: March 15, 2010, 04:26:18 AM »
You mention that you can't boot to Safe Mode or Last Good Config but not whether you can boot to CLI or not.

If you can boot to CLI then you can use System Restore as given here.

I just tried to boot to CLI mode : "no go".  It freezes at the moment where the XP safe mode is displayed (white text on back screen) at the four corners of the screen, the pointer appears and it won't go further.
.merle1.

4wd

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Re: Using XP System Restore Offline
« Reply #9 on: March 15, 2010, 04:45:33 AM »
It sounds like some of the base system files have been munged beyond repair so an Install in Place might be the only way to go if you really want to recover the existing system.

However, if some or parts of the registry were affected, (or installed program dependencies have also been affected), it may not be possible to recover to the point where all the previously installed programs will work correctly.

In that case a full reinstall might be the only option after recovering any important data via BartPE/WinPE.

It should also be noted that an Install in Place will also wipe any Service Packs or Hotfixes that were done after the initial system installation - at least, it always has here.

MerleOne

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Re: Using XP System Restore Offline
« Reply #10 on: March 15, 2010, 07:39:01 AM »
Thanks, 4wd, I tend to believe so.  I have found something I'd like to try: exploring the C: disk, I found a \Recover folder that seems to contain a full windows as it was after factory installation, probably a Fujitsu Siemens procedure.  I have renamed the actual \windows\system32 folder and copied \recover\windows\system32 folder to the actual location (before it was renamed).

I have restarted ERD, and this time it accepts to see the recovery points.

I will try to launch one of the many recovery points available, and see what happens.  But before going any further, I'll try to make a full image, just to be on the safe side.
.merle1.

4wd

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Re: Using XP System Restore Offline
« Reply #11 on: March 15, 2010, 08:33:08 AM »
I didn't know how far you were willing to delve into the directories in the system but here's a link that might help.

How to fix corrupt Windows XP systems


Note: Where he mentions booting to Safe Mode, you could boot to Recovery Console using a CD or boot a PE environment instead to copy/move files around.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2010, 09:07:23 AM by 4wd »

MerleOne

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Re: Using XP System Restore Offline
« Reply #12 on: March 18, 2010, 07:45:27 AM »
Just an update (not solved yet) :
When I looked at the windows\system32 folder, I found that ntoskrnl.exe was missing.
I also restored the machine registry files from one of the restoration point snapshots.

Now it's even stranger :
If I copy a ntoskrnl.exe file (from dll cache) in system32, the PC just loads the OS special start menu (the one one get with F8) and whatever the option, it resets and goes back to this menu.  But at the same time, ERD5 now recognize the system as OK and accepts to work on it.

If I remove the ntoskrnl.exe file, the PC almost starts OK : I get the user selection page. It's "just" that the mouse & keyboards are not working.

I have almost finished an image backup of the PC as it is now, I'll start some ERD50 tools to see if it improves.  If not, Windows install in place or full new install are just the options left I guess.
.merle1.

MerleOne

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Re: Using XP System Restore Offline
« Reply #13 on: March 20, 2010, 04:52:10 PM »
The end of the story : the system was too damaged apparently, I am going for a restoration from a XP recovery CD provided with the PC.  Neither ERD50 nor any other tools have been able to repair it.
.merle1.