PC will not boot - hard drive problems?

  Greengage 08:46 09 May 2006

Yesterday I carried out an updated back up of my hard drive to my external drive using Acronis. During my first few attempts I got the message that Windows had failed to complete the backup and I carried out a chkdsk on each drive, subsequent to which, the backup was successful. Later when I was backing up my laptop to the external drive(via network) I received a message that this had failed. My PC had frozen with the opening screen of a program I had not been using (Big Fix)appearing on the desktop.I had to use the reset button but when the Windows XP Home opening screen came up (using XP Home on both PC & laptop)the screen froze with no evidence of the blue hyphen-type lines running which normally tell you that the system is loading. Tried booting in safe mode but once several lines of DOS had appeared everything stopped. Tried booting to previous working configuration but got to the opening XP screen when everything stopped. Tried carrying out a repair to XP through booting from the CD but having got to the welcome screen after the preliminaries, I was not given the choice to repair only install and the partition showed that my drive was "empty". Then tried restoring from Acronis which I did overnight. The restore was still going this morning - I had to "retry" after it had failed to write some of the sections but with patience and endeavour I finally got the Acronis message that the drive had been restored. I then re-booted but when the XP opening screen appeared everything stopped again. Can anyone come up with any ideas as to what has happened and how to cure - I think the hard drive is at fault although it is only just over a year old. I only hope that if I have to buy a new hard drive that I can get Acronis to restore as this is my only backup.

  Gongoozler 09:38 09 May 2006

Although I don't have any experience of this problem to back up my theory, I suspect that this could be a memory proplem. If your RAM is in more than one stick, try with only one of them.

  Greengage 13:39 09 May 2006

Thanks for your response Gongoozler - I've been out and just returned so apologies in coming back. Before I went, having got to the stage mentioned above I tried again with the XP Home CD and it gave me the option to repair this time, presumably after having restored the drive from Acronis. I appear to be up and running but fail to understand what caused the crash in the first place and then how my hard drive was appently wiped clean.

  Greengage 15:03 09 May 2006

Are these other two problems - click here and
click here related. Could a virus cause the difficulties in all three cases?

  Gongoozler 17:19 09 May 2006

Viruses, trojans and other types of malware can have unpredictable effects, especially if they are badly written. In my experience, a faulty hard drive is more likely to show up as defective sectors or more consistant errors than you are getting. Faulty memory can corrupt files by writing incorrect data to the drive. It's really very difficult to say where the problem is except by elimination, but the lack of any real pattern to your problems leads me to suspect that memory is at fault, but even if I'm right the data on the hard drive might be so corrupted that a reformat and reinstall could be the only solution.

  Greengage 19:42 09 May 2006

Thanks again. I did get it all back - for the present anyhow!

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