Fried Windows Vista while cleaning and can't boot from the DVD.

#1
Hey everyone! New to the forums here (introduced myself a bit over in the Intro thread) but I'm just going to dive right in with the problem at hand.

I recently inherited my old work computer from my job (we got shiny new equipment for everyone!) and have been trying to clean it up at home for the past couple days. I managed to add two other hard disks from an even older computer I had sitting around (ran on XP) and successfully formatted both of them as slaves.

Frankenstein (as I call it now) is running Windows Vista off an Asus P5B Plus motherboard and some form of Intel Core 2 processor (wasn't able to identify which one specifically before the problems arose) and an unknown graphics card.

All seemed to be going well until I downloaded a copy of CCleaner and had it sweep through the master disk after uninstalling a lot of identifiable junk (and, accidentally, Windows Live Installer, but that got easily fixed). I also had it sweep the free space on all three disks but interrupted the process after it had completed the C: drive. Once I'd finished everything it asked to restart the computer... and that's when all hell broke loose. It collapsed into a cycle of BSOD and restarts until I shut it off completely; now when I start it, it loads up to a certain point where I can see the cursor and an otherwise black screen, and then it just sits there. The HD runs occasionally but I get no startup music or Windows logo.

I downloaded the NeoSmart ER onto a DVD but Frankenstein won't boot from the DVD drive even when I press and hold F8 and tell it to from the screen that pops up.

That's where things stand now. Is there anything I can do on my own, or is it time to bring the master HD in to a doctor? (I'm pretty sure it's the HD, as I had no other apparent issues with any other hardware until the collapse.)

Thanks in advance for any help you all could provide!
 

Ex_Brit

If you're going through hell, keep going.
Staff member
#2
BSOD's usually mean something vital is missing or corrupted. Registry cleaners are dangerous to say the least. Does CCleaner have any kind of restore function to undo the damage? That's assuming you can boot up of course.

Do you have the Vista product key at least? It comes with the machine often printed on the back or underside label. If so I can link you to my Cloud storage where I just happen to have ISO images of Vista SP2 installed 32 and 64-bit. You could use those to burn installation media, format and completely reinstall the system, but you'd need your key.
Once you are up and running Belarc Advisor should be able to sort out what's on your computer and what it's made up of. Then you could get the latest drivers from the maker's website.

---------- Post added at 02:29 PM ---------- Previous post was at 02:21 PM ----------

BTW the Neosmart disk is only a boot helper really not meant to replace a system disk. If you can actually get the machine to boot from a disk then a new system disk might help.
 
#3
Hi Peter - thanks for the reply. I understood before purchasing that the software wasn't a system disk, and I was hoping it would be enough to get me going again. I'm not particularly looking for a complete format and reinstall because there are one or two programs on there the IT team was kind enough to leave for me, but if that really is the only way to go I guess I can bite the bullet.

Just took a look at the back and underside, however, and there is no product key sticker, so I'm assuming Frankenstein didn't come with the system factory-installed.

I should think CCleaner would have a restore function, but since I can't even get to the desktop right now it's a moot point.

A side issue: When purchasing the NeoSmart software, I saw an informational link that said I had the possibility of purchasing a "repair install" package via Amazon that could upgrade me to Windows 7 without affecting the software that remains on the master HD. Should I just try for that instead?
 

Ex_Brit

If you're going through hell, keep going.
Staff member
#4
One step at a time, I would ignore the Windows 7 idea for now. Can you boot into Safe Mode at all? Usually it involves hitting F8 constantly while booting up but there are exceptions to that. If that's at all possible then you may be able to initiate a System Restore to before all this started.
By the way, the software developer can help you with Recovery Disk issues if you want to try. You must email easyre@neosmart.net (you can also ask for a refund if the software doesn't work).

---------- Post added at 06:39 AM ---------- Previous post was at 06:12 AM ----------

BTW if you could only get into it then you could use software such as Belarc Advisor to give you all the low-down on the machine's make-up and even that ever important product key.
 
#5
Safe Mode boot doesn't work in any of the three options available (Safe Mode, Safe Mode with network, Safe Mode with command line) - I just end up with a cursor and a black screen. Will contact NeoSmart to see about convincing Frankenstein to boot from the DVD drive, and will keep Belarc Advisor in mind for when I finally get Windows to boot correctly.
 

Ex_Brit

If you're going through hell, keep going.
Staff member
#6
Strange, it seems like it's booting part of the way only
 

Ex_Brit

If you're going through hell, keep going.
Staff member
#8
Just a thought, make sure that all memory sticks are firmly moored in place plus any graphics cards you may have also.
 
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#9
Ah, thanks for that! I remember taking one out to look at it... wait, no, that was when I was putting in the other hard drives and the computer ran fine after that (this was before I ran CCleaner). Could it be just enough out of kilter to run OK for a bit and then cause Frankenstein to crap out?
 

Ex_Brit

If you're going through hell, keep going.
Staff member
#10
It would appear to me that CCleaner cleaned out more than it should. The trouble is there's no way back that I can see. You could ask for help in the Vista forums I frequent: Vista Support Forums
 
#11
I went in and checked the DIMMs, and the one I pulled out to look at actually wasn't sitting right - the holder wasn't snapping back into place correctly. Got that fixed and booted Frankenstein up again, but got no further than usual. I may have a solution anyway, as I've happily inherited another computer from work - this one running Windows 7 and with the all-important product key sticker on the top. I plan to compare hardware between these two computers and throw all the HDs into whichever one appears to have the better overall performance, booting off the Windows 7 HD.

ETA: I'd left Frankenstein running while I'm over here on my laptop writing this, and looked up to see it had gone into screen saver mode. Plugged the mouse in and got back to the black screen plus cursor. Freaking bizarre.
 
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Ex_Brit

If you're going through hell, keep going.
Staff member
#12
Now that sounds like a way out of this predicament if I ever heard on, good luck :wink:
 
#13
Got the other computer home (I've taken to calling it Junior) and got a look under the hood. This one's pretty much a "Joe User" kind of deal; looks like everything's bolted in tightly, I can't easily identify the motherboard, and there are no further SATA ports for additional hard drives. So I don't think I could easily take this one apart and do anything with it, but that's fine by me as it's got about 600 GB of memory so I have plenty of room to play around in.

Frankenstein, on the other hand, appears to be very tinker-friendly so I'm going to keep it around and see if I can't do anything with it in the long run. It's old, but I'm curious to see what I can do to possibly maximize its potential even now.
 

Ex_Brit

If you're going through hell, keep going.
Staff member
#14
Having never built my own I have no idea really what to advise and nobody else seems to be around this last little while, but you never know, someone may chip in with some ideas.