One helluva laptop mess

  MattPhillips 17:30 19 Nov 2009

Hi all. I'm having great problems with my laptop which has years of work on it which stupidly I haven't entirely backed up.

I'd be very grateful if anyone can advise/assist me in resolving the problems.

It first went wrong about a week ago when restarting immediately after having uninstalled about 10 programs using "add/remove

programs". I got the error message on start up saying "file not found: hal.dll", and it would just go into a restart loop if

I pressed anything. Adding to the problem, i'd been using the laptop with a monitor as the lcd screen was cracked, but the

first few characters of whatever the laptop was saying were cut off because the lcd screen is a widescreen one (this only

happens on startup).

I looked on the net and this forum and found that a windows xp disc is required in order to use a recovery console to sort it

out. I've now got a dell windows xp reinstallation disk, but this doesnt seem to be what I need. What's now made this problem

a nightmare is that in order to see the first characters etc (ie the left hand side) of the screen I managed to get into the

bios setup and switch to lcd screen as the diagonal crack meant i'd be able to see the top and left half which is what i

wawnted to see. However what I didnt realise is that the screen has now completely gone, leaving me totally blind to

whatevers going on on the laptop.

Ideally I want to be able to use the laptop again rather than just recover the files (though that would be a bonus in

itself). I have access to another laptop and was wondering if a usb hard drive docking station would allow me to resolve the

problem if i plug the problem hard drive into it and connect it to another laptop. I'm on a very tight budget but could

afford one of those (£17), but will it help, I really don't know if i'm looking at the right thing, and if not then how do i

go about restoring the laptop, or at least my files?

Seriously if you can help then you would be doing me a huge favour.

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 18:02 19 Nov 2009

1. Remove drive put in USB eternal caddy (click here) the one shown is for a sata drive check if your drive is sata a or ide click here
you can get ones that do both.

2. Back up all the data from the drive BEFORE you mess any further.

3. When data recovered
Assumming X is the drive letter of the drive in the caddy
open a command prompt
Now enter the following commands:

CD X:\
CD "system volume information\_resto~1"

You'll see a list of restore point folders with names such as RP1, RP2 and so on. Pick the restore point you wish to use, using the folder date stamps to guide you. Enter the commands:

CD RPx (the restore point you chose)

This takes you into the folder containing the restore point snapshot files. Copy the Registry backups so that they overwrite the existing Registry files.

COPY _Registry_machine_system X:\Windows\System32\Config\System
COPY _Registry_machine_software X:\Windows\System32\Config\Software
COPY _Registry_machine_sam X:\Windows\System32\Config\Sam
COPY _Registry_machine_security X:\Windows\System32\Config\Security
COPY _Registry_user_.default X:\Windows\System32\Config\Default

Close the command prompt and remove the usb drive

put the drive back into the old laptop and see if it will boot.

  MattPhillips 18:13 19 Nov 2009

Thank you so much for the quick, helpful response. Can i ask - how do i back up the files as mentioned in step 2 please?

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 18:27 19 Nov 2009

Just drag and drop to a folder on the machine you plugged into.

Access Files
If you get Access Denied in WinXP Pro. Try “taking ownership” of the file/folder before it can be accessed. First of all go to Folder Options, View Tab and in the Advanced Settings at the end, untick “Use simple file sharing”, which will allow the Security Tab to be shown in the file’s properties. Also, in Folder options, make sure hidden and system files can be viewed.
To take ownership of the file (it’s best done at the folder level), right-click it, Properties, Security Tab, add your user name, fill in all the permissions and Apply. You can now access it.
click here

Access Files XP Home
Simple file sharing is enabled by default in XP Home
Note You must be logged on to the computer with an account that has administrative credentials. If you are running Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition, you must start the computer in safe mode, and then log on with an account that has Administrative rights to have access to the Security tab.
click here
click here and click on the link at part one and download the required program.
Follow the instructions and the security tab will be enabled. PLEASE READ CAREFULLY OR YOU COULD DENY ACCESS TO ALL YOUR FILES.

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