Windows non-reinstall

  guesswho2 17:51 12 Aug 2009

Windows XP Home, SP3 1.1Ghz, 1GB RAM.
A couple of days ago, my computer failed to boot up completely. It appeared to be behaving normally until it reached the stage of placing icons in the "System tray", then it hung. The taskbar was unavailable since the cursor arrow became the hourglass icon. Ctrl+Alt+Del brought up Task manager which showed no Applications running and less than the usual number of processes. When I clicked on Shut Down, it appeared that Windows Explorer was still running although CPU usage was intermittently zero.
It would start in Safe Mode but Last Good Config and Restore could not get it to boot properly.
I left it for many hours and then later it booted up normally. "Normally" meaning that when I first try to load (1) Firefox and (2) My Documents, there seems to be excessive hard drive activity for too long (up to 30/50 secs).
In other words, lately it has seemed very sluggish so I jumped to the conclusion that a new hard drive and a Windows reinstall was called for. (It's a 5 year old Evesham).
Today I slotted in a new hard drive in place of the original but could not load Windows using the Evesham recovery disc. Nothing I tried could persuade it to get past Format stage. The new drive is a 160GB Western Digital, the same as the original.
I assume that there must be an underlying hardware fault but does anyone have any idea what might be the problem?
Obviously, it's working OK just now with the original drive replaced but how long it will last - - - .

  mfletch 17:59 12 Aug 2009

Well first I would run MBAM and check for any nasties {there may be no need to reinstall}

MBAM/ Malwarebytes/ Antimalware click here

If clean check what is starting at start-up and stop all unnecessary programs from starting from start-up,

Let us know how you get on.

  Diemmess 18:00 12 Aug 2009

May not be hardware at all.

If for whatever reason Windows has a corrupt line, then the need is to repair the OS.

I am guessing that your Evesham recovery disk is only capable on scanning for and making corrections to certain pieces of code.

The recovery disks or partitions that come with most computers are not thenselves capable of installing a complete operating system to a new HD

  guesswho2 18:17 12 Aug 2009

To mfletch.
I regularly run Spybot and AdAware. I have AVG running and also SpywareBlaster, so I'm really confident that there are no nasties. In any case, as an old codger, I'm careful about which sites I visit - not really very many.
I run CCleaner and Auslogics regularly and have only 5 processes running which have icons in the System tray.
To Diemmess.
Well, if you're correct about recovery discs it's a pity I can't drop an H bomb on the Evesham site!
You've cheered me up not at all!

  Diemmess 21:44 12 Aug 2009

I'm still guessing you understand ....

If you still have the original drive connected and haven't attempted a repair using the Evesham disc, try using it now.

The expected/hoped for result should turn back the clock to the factory defaults and almost certainly not affect any data though some configurations may change and need a spot of post-op restoration from you.

  woodchip 22:38 12 Aug 2009

Don't think a Restore CD will work with a new Drive. You need to Clone or Make a Image of the old drive using Acronis True Image To set the new drive up.

Me thinks the MBR index on the old drive may be corrupt, or some windows files are.

If you could get it far enough to get to Disc Scan You may be able to correct it

  Strawballs 22:55 12 Aug 2009

If MBR is corrupt then a clone from Acronis will not work. Guesswho2 could try running diagnostic software from hard drive maker to see if there are any bad sectors.

I only hope it is not a Toshiba drive as they have not produced any diagnostic software for their drives.

  woodchip 23:03 12 Aug 2009

That's why I posted the second part above

  woodchip 23:05 12 Aug 2009

Seagate Tools, Seatools, will Do a Generic scan of t a Toshiba drive

  Strawballs 00:10 13 Aug 2009

That's useful info woody

  guesswho2 09:13 13 Aug 2009

Thanks all.
Further info. An old friend somehow has a "spare" computer and he managed to install XP on my new drive using my Evesham recovery disc! But when I put it into my computer it wouldn't boot and gave notes about hardware faults or whatever.
However, I've booted up again OK this morning with the original disk so I think I'll just keep my fingers crossed and save up my pension till I can get another one - or persuade him to let me have his spare!
Diemmess, I don't have the confidence to run the recovery disc on the existing drive in case I'm not able to do a proper job and so lose everything. If it will keep going in the meantime I'll get by.
Many thanks to you all.

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