T Nation

Fixing My Computer


#1

Long story short, my computer is barely functioning right now. It runs too slowly to be of any practical use, it crashes frequently, and I really havent used it as my primary computer since august. All it can do is play music (no videos) and burn cds.

I tried defragging it, nothing. I tried running ad aware and the damn program wouldnt finish running, i even left it overnight and the damn thing just sat there, frozen. I was about to reinstall windows, but I got a message saying something to the effect of "the windows xp version on this cd is an earlier version than the one runnign on this computer" and recommended that i not do it.

Heres my question: I have all files that are important to me backed up on another computer in the house (using the wireless network.) Is there any reason NOT to reformat my computer and start over? I realize thats an extreme measure but as it is its not really doing any good now.


#2

There is no reason not to. format it and try to get some updates from microsoft.com or something,


#3

try running the various utilities in safe mode. restart your computer and before it gets to the windows screen, hit f8 (the actual key varies from brand to brand, but it will be one of the 'f' keys).

It all likelyhood, this will not be enough if you don't know how to thoroughly clean a computer, but start by using ad-aware, spybot s&d, and some anti-virus program (http://housecall.trendmicro.com/ this is a great site to go to, just go to scan now). also, download HijackThis!

(http://www.majorgeeks.com/download3155.html) then post the scan log on here. If i remember to check this post again, I can tell you what to delete.


#4

Sounds like you have a bad sector, or clusters on your hard drive. Use FDISK to reformat your hard drive, re-install Win Xp, install service pack 2 and updates. You can try F8 and select last known config, but most likely you'll have to reformat.


#5

I don't think reformatting is nearly as extreme as you seem to think. True, it does erase everything, but if you're like me, there's not a ton that you need to keep on your computer anyway.

For the record, I reformat my computer every 6-12 months, just to keep things running smoothly.


#6

The windows message is stupid. The reason it is displaying is because the disc you have 'XP service pack 1'. You can reinstall it and then immediately download all of the Microsoft Updates here...

http://update.microsoft.com/

Service Pack 2 will be among the many updates that are listed as "critical". Get all of the critical updates and then make sure all of your spyware programs are loaded before you start surfing.

Also, if you decide to reformat, in the beginning when you get to the point where it gives you the option to do the 'quick' or 'long' format of the hard drive, choose the longer one.


#7

I recently reinstalled XP on one of my machines and used the "Files and Settings transfer wizard" and it worked suprisingly well. Saved it on a network drive and it did a decent job of putting things back where I had them. Just a thought...


#8

OK, so the saga continues...

I tried reformatting my hard drive. I went to the command prompt and typed 'format c:' it warned me that it would erase everything, i said to do it anyway and got this message

Format cannot run because the volume is in use by another process. Format may run is this volume is dismounted first. ALL OPENED HANDLES TO THIS VOLUME WOULD THEN BE INVALID. Would you like to force a dismount on this volume?

I said yes and then got another error message saying the volume was in use. wha? So next I tried using my windows xp reinstall disk. when it came to the part saying it couldnt reinstall because the cd was an earlier version than the one installed on the computer, the only options were 'cancel' and 'details.' 'continue' was grayed out, i couldnt click on it. Clicking on 'details' did nothing. nothing was brought up, nothing changed - nothing. I'm trying system restore now, if that doesnt work i'll try the system settings and file transfer, and i'll try FDISK as the above poster said. Sorry for the retarded question, but is FDISK a program? what folder would it be in?

thanks for everyone's help, i appreciate it


#9

There might be a way to reformat that bad-boy from the BIOS. The bios is the screen that pops ups when you turn your comp on, it might say something like "press f1 for menu" before windows starts... the screen is usually still black or blue or whatever. That is all I really know about BIOS, which is nothing because I am just repeating something I heard. Check your manual or a geek/tech forum.


#10

Instead of running Windows setup from within Windows, boot directly off the Windows CD. Put the CD in and restart the computer. If the machine won't boot from the CD, you will need to go into the BIOS setup of your computer and make the CD-ROM drive the first boot device. In this version of Setup you will be able to remove, recreate and format the hard drive.


#11

I am guessing that you went to the command prompt from within windows, and that's why it won't let you format it.

Try using a boot disk and formatting from there.

A Windows98 boot disk would probably be the easiest. Fdisk is a program which is included on the Win98 boot disk as well.

\|/ 3Toes


#12

You're going to have to boot from your Windows XP CD to reformat. In order to boot from the CD you're going to have to change something in the BIOS.

Depending on the brand of computer you have, getting in to the BIOS could be one of several keys. It could be the F5, F8, F9 or Del keys.

It usually says, as someone above mentioned, "Press xxx key to enter menu" or "Press xxx key to enter setup."
You'll want to press that key and enter the BIOS.

Once you're into the BIOS you're going to want to find the "Boot Menu" to set your "Boot Order". When you find the "Boot Menu" you'll want to make the "Atapi CD-ROM" the first thing to boot up and the Hard Drive second.

Once you've changed that, insert the CD into the CD-ROM drive. Then "Exit and Save" the BIOS.

The computer will begin to boot and a black DOS screen will appear and say, "Press any key to boot from CD..."

Once it says this, press a key. Then follow the on screen instructions to install Windows XP.

It will eventually say something like, "Format the Partition using the NTFS file System," be sure to select the one that does not have the "(Quick)" after it. Selecting the option with "(Quick)" will not solve your problem most likely.

(here's a picture http://www.mysuperpc.com/build/windows_xp_install_6.jpg - choose the one that is highlighted in that picture).

It's going to take a while to format the Hard Drive, so go watch tv or do some deadlifts or something...

After that just follow the on screen instructions.


#13

Problem: I'm trying to get into my computer's setup screen, but whenever I turn on the computer there's no boot screen (if that's what it's called) that gives me an opportunity to press F2 or whatever, it just goes directly to a Windows XP screen with some little blue dots running from one side of the screen to the other. Suggestions?


#14

I prefer shotguns


#15

Try looking up on Google what key will get you into your BIOS. When you find it (if you find it) immediately begin pressing F2 when you turn your computer on. Don't wait for a screen, just keep pressing it.

If you can't find it, try these keys:
F2, F5, F8, F9, F12, DEL.

Let me know if you have any luck.


#16

And remember, when you turn your computer off, give it 30-60 seconds before turning it back on again.

This will give your Hard Drives time to spool down and avoid any possible damage.