In-place repair of Vista Home Premium

#1
My Dell XPS 720 is having a major meltdown with its O.S
I can boot fine, startup is good but if I try to launch anything that requires Windows explorer it crashes all the time and I get the following:


Problem Event Name: APPCRASH
Application Name: Explorer.exe
Application Version: 6.0.6001.18164
Application Timestamp: 4907e242
Fault Module Name: StackHash_826c
Fault Module Version: 0.0.0.0
Fault Module Timestamp: 00000000
Exception Code: 80000004
Exception Offset: 0298ca28
OS Version: 6.0.6001.2.1.0.768.3
Locale ID: 5129
Additional Information 1: 826c
Additional Information 2: 5df1c727be0759ded484db263554c595
Additional Information 3: 78b6
Additional Information 4: 7967e76b09642d7cae04dec9ee4f5c20
OR
Problem signature
Problem Event Name: BEX
Application Name: Explorer.EXE
Application Version: 6.0.6001.18164
Application Timestamp: 4907e242
Fault Module Name: rtl70.bpl_unloaded
Fault Module Version: 0.0.0.0
Fault Module Timestamp: 2a425e19
Exception Offset: 4003d0a8
Exception Code: c0000005
Exception Data: 00000008
OS Version: 6.0.6001.2.1.0.768.3
Locale ID: 5129
Additional Information 1: fd00
Additional Information 2: ea6f5fe8924aaa756324d57f87834160
Additional Information 3: fd000
Additional Information 4: ea6f5fe8924aaa756324d57f87834160
Extra information about the problem
Bucket ID: 406302952
OR

Problem Event Name: BEX
Application Name: Explorer.EXE
Application Version: 6.0.6001.18164
Application Timestamp: 4907e242
Fault Module Name: StackHash_fd00
Fault Module Version: 0.0.0.0
Fault Module Timestamp: 00000000
Exception Offset: 4003d0a8
Exception Code: c0000005
Exception Data: 00000008
OS Version: 6.0.6001.2.1.0.768.3
Locale ID: 5129
Additional Information 1: fd00
Additional Information 2: ea6f5fe8924aaa756324d57f87834160
Additional Information 3: fd00
Additional Information 4: ea6f5fe8924aaa756324d57f87834160

Extra information about the problem
Bucket ID: 407444148
I can't access Control Panel (because it launches in W.E) and when I try to navigate to another harddrive nothing happens.
I tried to use Microsoft Management Console but it says it can't collect any information because the MMC software files are missing or moved.
I tried to turn of DEP but can't access it because explorer crashes as soon as I try to open it.
I ran sfc/scannow and it said corrupt files found but couldn't repair them.
I ran chkdsk and when it completed it booted to windows immediately so I couldn't see if there was a problem.
I downloaded shellexView and disabled all non windows extensions.
I downloaded and ran Malwarebytes Anti-malware and I can run a quick scan but when I try to run the full scan the program crashes after about two hours of scanning.

None of these things helped at all.


I really want to avoid having to do a clean install. I use my computer for work and it would cost me thousands in lost revenue and new software as I don't have all the disks for some of my installed programs.


I want to do an in-place vista repair but to do that I need to uninstall sp1. I can't access the control panel or run appwiz.exe because they both launch in explorer so I can either use cmd to uninstall it (I need help doing that) or I thought if I downloaded and installed an alternative to windows explorer then I might be able to get functionality of the control panel.


I could try to make a slipstreamed vista/sp1 installation dvd to save the hassle of uninstalling sp1 but creating a slipstream vista with sp1 repair disc will require a 500mb download of standalone sp1 and 3-4 hours.


I need advice as to which are the better options or are there other options I'm not aware of. I am liking the idea of downloading a w.e alternative but will the faulting windows explorer prove to be troublesome to override?


Thanks in advance for any help or suggestions


Rogue
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#2
There is no repair install function since XP. The "repair your computer" option on the Installation DVD will fix your boot process, but no more.
There's no inplace-upgrade option with Vista, just a straight reinstall, and you already seem to have tried all the normal available repair options (chkdsk/ FSC).
Can you mount your HDD on a working Windows and use the Malicious Software Removal Tool and an MSE scan ?
 

JustinW

Super Moderator
Staff member
#3
You should be able to run a check for viruses in safe mode. Press F8 as you boot the computer to access safe mode. Service Pack 1? Vista SP2 has been out for months now. You could try updating the service pack. SFC may be able to fix corrupted system files. To use open a command prompt:

sfc /scannow

Go into MSConfig > Startup tab and make sure there's nothing but your most essential applications set to auto-start, such as whatever antivirus solution you may be using. Update all the software you're using, as updates may fix the problem.
 
#4
There is no repair install function since XP. The "repair your computer" option on the Installation DVD will fix your boot process, but no more.
There's no inplace-upgrade option with Vista, just a straight reinstall, and you already seem to have tried all the normal available repair options (chkdsk/ FSC).
Can you mount your HDD on a working Windows and use the Malicious Software Removal Tool and an MSE scan ?
I'm actually looking at doing this:
http://www.vistax64.com/tutorials/88236-repair-install-vista.html
using this:
http://www.vistax64.com/tutorials/151606-vista-sp1-slipstream-installation-dvd.html

I probably could mount the HDD on another machine but I'm a single mother of five, two of whom are special needs so coordinating that sort of thing would be a nightmare not to mention that once I get the HDD's (there are two of them) out I can almost guarantee that they will get juice spilt on them, knocked over or used for a frisbee, no matter how careful I am. If I can keep it in the box then that would be preferable.

Do you know if a Windows explorer alternative is a viable option?

Addendum:

You should be able to run a check for viruses in safe mode. Press F8 as you boot the computer to access safe mode. Service Pack 1? Vista SP2 has been out for months now. You could try updating the service pack. SFC may be able to fix corrupted system files. To use open a command prompt:

sfc /scannow

Go into MSConfig > Startup tab and make sure there's nothing but your most essential applications set to auto-start, such as whatever antivirus solution you may be using. Update all the software you're using, as updates may fix the problem.
I only ever have the essentials start up. I hate cluttered start ups.

I don't know why I don't have sp2, I have automatic updates running but set to ask before installing in case I am in the middle of a large graphics project. Up until three weeks ago I was completely up to date but it seems my updates haven't been installing properly.

I can't update my pc because it opens in windows explorer which then crashes.

I have run sfc/scannow and there are corrupted files that it cant repair but they only relate to the sidebar.

I'm using Trend micro as well as malwarebytes anti malware.

Can I change the settings for auto updates in cmd?
 
Last edited:

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#6
Unfortunately, you can't circumvent Explorer.
As well as the familiar file manager you see when you click on explorer in the start menu or desktop, it's actually a split-personality program which IS both the desktop and the start menu itself.
There are alternatives to the file management window, but you can't avoid the Windows Shell (except by using OSX or Linux instead of course, which is not a solution to your problem)
When you ran chkdsk, did you use the /r parameter ? It will have taken ages to complete if you did. (It's ticking all the boxes in the UI to fix errors, if you used that route)
 
#7
Unfortunately, you can't circumvent Explorer.
As well as the familiar file manager you see when you click on explorer in the start menu or desktop, it's actually a split-personality program which IS both the desktop and the start menu itself.
There are alternatives to the file management window, but you can't avoid the Windows Shell (except by using OSX or Linux instead of course, which is not a solution to your problem)
When you ran chkdsk, did you use the /r parameter ? It will have taken ages to complete if you did. (It's ticking all the boxes in the UI to fix errors, if you used that route)
No I didn't. Should I have? I'm fairly computer illiterate. I just read advice given to others and try the suggestions.

I ran Belarc advisor and it says I only have five updates missing. I think the reason my pc says sp1 instead of 2 is because I only install updates I need. I never use windows media player so I don't utilize the updates.
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#8
Yes, try the chkdsk with all options ticked ( chkdsk /r as a command line).
If you've got HDD problems, it should try to fix them for you.
Run it more than once, until it reports that it found nothing more to fix, then if your problems persist try the scannow again.
After that, if a reinstall is really such a problem for you, then I'd try the slipstreaming route.
Your data, if that's what you're mainly concerned for, can be rescued like this, but missing installation disks for your apps might be more of a problem unless they are apps which don't make extensive use of the registry, in which case using Ubuntu to back up their installation folders and files might help.
I still have the installation disks (optical and floppy) for W95 apps that came bundled but I never even used, and all the drivers for redundant hardware that's boxed-up in the attic, so I find it hard to imagine how you've lost yours for apps you use all the time. (No I don't - my sister is just like you too. Never can find any installation media)
 
#9
Yes, try the chkdsk with all options ticked ( chkdsk /r as a command line).
If you've got HDD problems, it should try to fix them for you.
Run it more than once, until it reports that it found nothing more to fix, then if your problems persist try the scannow again.
After that, if a reinstall is really such a problem for you, then I'd try the slipstreaming route.
Your data, if that's what you're mainly concerned for, can be rescued like this, but missing installation disks for your apps might be more of a problem unless they are apps which don't make extensive use of the registry, in which case using Ubuntu to back up their installation folders and files might help.
I still have the installation disks (optical and floppy) for W95 apps that came bundled but I never even used, and all the drivers for redundant hardware that's boxed-up in the attic, so I find it hard to imagine how you've lost yours for apps you use all the time. (No I don't - my sister is just like you too. Never can find any installation media)
Okay, I'll get on to the chkdsk now.

Point of interest - When I boot in safe mode explorer works fine, I can access the control panel and I have uninstalled everything from the last four weeks. It didn't fix the problem though. I went through and disabled everything that didn't come with the pc and rebooted but the problem persisted. I can't figure out why the problem goes away in safe mode unless the problem is related to a windows update.
As far as installation disks...well they are here somewhere...I have ADD so I am hopelessly disorganized. I find it hard to imagine why you would need to keep ancient disks unless they act as insulation in the attic.:grinning:

Oh, btw, is there a way of getting windows update to run in safe mode? cmd perhaps? I need to change the settings to install automatically until I can sort this out.
 

JustinW

Super Moderator
Staff member
#10
WU may be able to run in "Safe Mode w/ Networking" but I wouldn't try it. Its meant for diagnosing problems and uninstalling stuff, not installing software.

Did you happen to give Fix WU a try?

Since we can confirm explorer works perfectly fine in safe mode its really likely that something is starting up thats causing these problems. Open msconfig from the run option in the start menu and go to the Startup tab. Start by disabling everything and than re-enable stuff one by one (stuff that you need starting up anyway - like your antivirus) until the problem occurs again. This way you can pin point which application may be causing the problem and update it if its something important to you.
 
#11
WU may be able to run in "Safe Mode w/ Networking" but I wouldn't try it. Its meant for diagnosing problems and uninstalling stuff, not installing software.

Did you happen to give Fix WU a try?

Since we can confirm explorer works perfectly fine in safe mode its really likely that something is starting up thats causing these problems. Open msconfig from the run option in the start menu and go to the Startup tab. Start by disabling everything and than re-enable stuff one by one (stuff that you need starting up anyway - like your antivirus) until the problem occurs again. This way you can pin point which application may be causing the problem and update it if its something important to you.
So I ran chkdsk /r and there were no issues.

Used msconfig.exe and disabled EVERYTHING in the startup tab AND all the services as well and rebooted. Explorer still failed.

It's got me stumped.
 
#13
You don't want to disable all the services, just stuff not needed on the startup tab.
I backed everything up first and created a restore point. Once I had ruled them out as being responsible I enabled them again.

Do you know if I can identify the function that's calling explorer into a pothole through the stackhash handle? It's always 826c. If I could locate the process that function belongs to then I might be able to figure this out.
 

Ex_Brit

If you're going through hell, keep going.
Staff member
#15
If I may jump in here. I'm afraid I don't have any advice on what to do for your current situation but this caught my attention....
I think the reason my pc says sp1 instead of 2 is because I only install updates I need. I never use windows media player so I don't utilize the updates.
Whether or not you use things is irrelevant. Out of date - anything can introduce "holes" in the system that nasties can exploit, so always keep everything up to date. Obviously that would have to wait until the current mess is sorted out.

A recent example I came across in my travels was someone having major browsing & other problems and I kept asking what version of Internet Explorer was installed and they kept saying "I use Firefox". I finally extracted from them that I.E. was actually the beta IE7. No wonder they were having issues.

Good luck.
 
Last edited:

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#17
It does.
It keeps as many as it has space allocated for, then deletes the oldest each time a new one is saved.
XP and W7 make it easy to increase the space which SR can use, but with Vista it's a bit of a performance to keep older points.
Read this if you want to allocate more space in Vista, for details of the VSSAdmin command.
 

JustinW

Super Moderator
Staff member
#18
Ok, well you've got only one more option before having to resort to a clean install of Windows than. Booted into safe mode so you can get to control panel and what have you start uninstalling all non-essentail applications.
 
#19
Ok, well you've got only one more option before having to resort to a clean install of Windows than. Booted into safe mode so you can get to control panel and what have you start uninstalling all non-essentail applications.
Oh crap, that's a nightmare! Isn't there some way I can start the computer in a sort of safe mode that allows me to add peripheral programs one at a time?
When I had the pc in safe mode I disabled all non essential services and programs, rebooted in full mode and the problem was still there. So doesn't that mean that maybe the fault could be a currupt file in one of the explorers call up modules like searchindexer, which doesn't get loaded in safe mode?
 

JustinW

Super Moderator
Staff member
#20
Safe mode is it. Uninstall one at a time, from most recent backwards until the problem goes away. Otherwise a re-installs looking likely. I think you'd rather uninstall a few applications rather than re-install the whole OS and applications if it would fix it, right?