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Tech: System Restore Not Restoring

Barbara Shaw 09 Nov 08 - 08:56 PM
JohnInKansas 09 Nov 08 - 09:51 PM
Barbara Shaw 09 Nov 08 - 11:07 PM
Cluin 09 Nov 08 - 11:23 PM
Bert 09 Nov 08 - 11:28 PM
Acme 09 Nov 08 - 11:53 PM
Cluin 10 Nov 08 - 12:07 AM
JohnInKansas 10 Nov 08 - 02:14 AM
Barbara Shaw 10 Nov 08 - 09:10 AM
Bernard 10 Nov 08 - 09:39 AM
Bernard 10 Nov 08 - 09:54 AM
Barbara Shaw 10 Nov 08 - 11:51 AM
Bernard 10 Nov 08 - 12:33 PM
McGrath of Harlow 10 Nov 08 - 12:34 PM
Cluin 10 Nov 08 - 10:10 PM
Bernard 11 Nov 08 - 11:30 AM
Noreen 11 Nov 08 - 12:42 PM
Noreen 11 Nov 08 - 06:26 PM
The Fooles Troupe 11 Nov 08 - 06:43 PM
JohnInKansas 12 Nov 08 - 11:05 AM
Andrez 13 Nov 08 - 06:30 AM
Noreen 13 Nov 08 - 01:11 PM
Barbara Shaw 13 Nov 08 - 01:41 PM
JohnInKansas 13 Nov 08 - 03:30 PM
McGrath of Harlow 13 Nov 08 - 03:48 PM
Cluin 13 Nov 08 - 06:50 PM
Cluin 13 Nov 08 - 06:53 PM
Noreen 14 Nov 08 - 12:13 PM
Bernard 15 Nov 08 - 07:55 PM
Acme 29 Dec 08 - 01:09 PM
JohnInKansas 29 Dec 08 - 07:53 PM
Acme 29 Dec 08 - 08:03 PM
GUEST,Guest from Sanity 30 Dec 08 - 05:13 AM
Acme 30 Dec 08 - 10:40 AM
JohnInKansas 30 Dec 08 - 01:11 PM
Acme 30 Dec 08 - 01:50 PM
Barbara Shaw 30 Dec 08 - 03:24 PM
JohnInKansas 30 Dec 08 - 06:41 PM
Acme 31 Dec 08 - 01:28 AM
Barbara Shaw 31 Dec 08 - 08:41 AM
Acme 31 Dec 08 - 12:48 PM
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Subject: Tech: System Restore Not Restoring
From: Barbara Shaw
Date: 09 Nov 08 - 08:56 PM

I'm running Windows XP and have my Dell laptop set to do system restores (the box is NOT checked to turn off system restore) but the only restore point is today. It used to work, but I can't figure out what I may have changed. Any ideas?

This was discovered because I have another problem, a program called sprtcmd.exe that is "unresponsive" and has to be manually ended every time I shut the computer down. (I was going to restore to a date in the past...) My Dell support has somehow vanished, yet this program keeps causing a problem at shutdown. Any ideas about this?

Help!! I may have to call the local Effen Computers!! (Real name of a company that makes house calls...)


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Subject: RE: Tech: System Restore Not Restoring
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 09 Nov 08 - 09:51 PM

1. Any time System Restore is turned off, all existing restore points are deleted. If you've turned off System Restore anytime recently you should expect that there would be no restore points earlier than the last time it was turned back on.

2. A new restore point generally is saved only when the computer is shut down, and even then only if "things have changed," so it's not unusual to have few restore points to choose from if you mostly just leave the computer on. If nothing has changed, it may(?) "roll the date" on the older (only) restore point when you reboot, since you're expected to look for a restore point that's the "most recent working" point.

If the only restore point shown is "today," the implication is that System Restore was turned off, and was just turned back on today, unless your system is just "re-dating" the only restore point since the last "significant change."

The real sptcmd.exe file is installed by several different sources, but most notably by Dell where it is part of their system monitoring package, and is used for Dell Support functions. The filename has been used by various trojans/viruses as a "disguise" for their malware. The "real one" should be in C:\Program Files. Phony ones usually(?) appear in other places, such as C:\Windows.

A first step would be to scan with a good AntiVirus program, updated before the scan to make sure you have the latest info for the program to use. If you have a bit of malware "aliased" under this filename, the AV scan should find it. If you don't have a top-grade AV program, you can get a free "remote scan" at most AV sellers' websites.

(Most free remote scans will tell you whether you're infected; but you may have to buy the program to get it to remove the infection. If malware is detected, you may be able to find instructions for how to remove it manually. Once you've detected something with a good AV, you may be able to get a "less good" (or "differently marvelous") program to remove it.)

The reason for scanning first is that if you've been infected, deleting the .exe file may not completely remove all of the associated malware, and may make it more difficult to track down all the bits later. If you're very sure that you've been having only safe surfs, you may feel safe just removing the .exe without scanning first.

If you can confirm that you don't have any malware using that filename, you may still want to get rid of it - especially if it is the version from Dell and you're past the warranty period.

Since the Dell version starts every time you reboot, and you can't remove a program that's running, you'll need to open Task Manager. Ctl-Alt-Del should do this, or you can get to it through the Control Panel.

In Task manager, on the "Processes" tab, find the sprtcmd.exe "process," click on it, and then click "End Process." This shuts it down so that you can go to Control Panel Add/Remove Programs and remove it from the computer. Once you turn it off in Task Manager, DON'T REBOOT until you've finished removing it in Control Panel, since a reboot will just turn it back on and make it impossible to remove.

If your sprtcmd.exe is from Dell, and you still want to use it for whatever their support purposes may be, you probably should hook up to the Dell support website and see if they have an update, or another fix for the shutdown problem.

If you've lost the desktop link to "Dell Support" you may find a "Readme" file somewhere in the "Dell stuff" on your computer that has the link that you can "send to desktop" to put it back there, but Dell support is pretty easy to "Google up."

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: System Restore Not Restoring
From: Barbara Shaw
Date: 09 Nov 08 - 11:07 PM

John, I stopped the process, but which one needs to be removed via control panel? There's Dell Support Center and there's also DellSupport. I think this may have started when I removed the Dell icon from the system tray.

Your explanation of the restore process explains what may have happened, I think. The "trouble shooting wizard" led me to change the startup by doing msconfig and a selective startup without load system services checked, among other things. This probably wiped out my restores?


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Subject: RE: Tech: System Restore Not Restoring
From: Cluin
Date: 09 Nov 08 - 11:23 PM

If you went into msconfig and did a "Selective Startup" by unchecking any services under the Startup tab, and then rebooted, all your restore points up to then are permanently deleted. That's the way she goes, I'm afraid.


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Subject: RE: Tech: System Restore Not Restoring
From: Bert
Date: 09 Nov 08 - 11:28 PM

The rule that I used to teach my students is...

If there is anything that you don't wish to type in again - back it up.


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Subject: RE: Tech: System Restore Not Restoring
From: Acme
Date: 09 Nov 08 - 11:53 PM

Today I stuck this note in the "I read it in the newspaper" thread I have going. I didn't want to start a new thread. I should have realized there was a reason I noticed this--someone was going to need it at mudcat!

You'll have to look up the addresses for any of those sites or programs. Here is the PC World article directly.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Tech: System Restore Not Restoring
From: Cluin
Date: 10 Nov 08 - 12:07 AM

Are you running Norton Antivirus by any chance, Barbara?


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Subject: RE: Tech: System Restore Not Restoring
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 10 Nov 08 - 02:14 AM

Barbara -

You may be able to identify the program that's starting the sptcmd.exe file if you can find the file itself. It's likely to be in a folder with a few other files, usually at least a .dll or two, and the folder name may give a clue to the actual "program name" that appears in Control Panel. Web rumors are that sptcmd.exe should be in the C:\Programs folder, so clicking there in Win Explorer and then putting "sptcmd.exe" in the search box should find it easily. You may have to turn on the "View Hidden and System Files" option if you don't run that way; but this one should show itself in search results without the need to dig too deeply.

Dell - and most other builders - like to bundle a lot of "helper" and "bonus" programs on their computers, but never seem to tell you what they are or what you should do with them. The OEM "helper" files, in my experience, usually are the cause of 99.723% of all "compatibility conflict errors" so I usually just remove them all - eventually. I've never seen any essential functions disappear when they're removed; but of course caution is advised since they might have come up with something that's actually useful since I had my last look at their stuff (although I rather doubt it).

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: System Restore Not Restoring
From: Barbara Shaw
Date: 10 Nov 08 - 09:10 AM

I found the file in the program files folder but was too tired last night to finish working on this. Not sure why this is happening, however and would still like to pursue the hunt for the cause.

It's annoying that the "wizard" didn't warn me that my restore points would all be deleted when I did a selective startup, but NOW I KNOW!

My next step is to do a full scan, although I am running McAfee on that computer. Will let you know what happens. Thanks for the help.


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Subject: RE: Tech: System Restore Not Restoring
From: Bernard
Date: 10 Nov 08 - 09:39 AM

It sounds more like you've been infected with a trojan such as Zlob, which turns off System Restore and often removes icons from your Start Menu. It will also disable 'regedit', reporting that the System Administrator has denied you access, or words to that effect.

Another sign is VIRUS ALERT! appearing in the clock, though this doesn't always happen.

It's fairly easy to remove these things if you have the experience to do it, but starting your PC in Safe Mode and running anti-virus and anti-spyware from there can be a good start.

You'll also need scripts to correct the registry entries that Zlob has either added, removed or modified...

I can help you with this, but later this evening... around 10.00 GMT after I get back from the radio station and and at my home computer.

Alternatively, do web searches - though be careful, because some sites require registration and then tell you nothing. Others merely point you to some software download that won't work unless you pay.

Sorry this is a bit garbled, but I'm supposed to be... erm... working!


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Subject: RE: Tech: System Restore Not Restoring
From: Bernard
Date: 10 Nov 08 - 09:54 AM

Sorry, forgot to mention... John is right about your restore points being gone, even when you get System Restore to work again.

It will take a lot of virus scans to eventually remove the infections, but it can be done.

Micro$haft's 'Windows Defender' is actually pretty good at finding and removing these things, but you need something like AVG version 8 (free edition) as well - installed in Safe Mode so as to avoid being hijacked.


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Subject: RE: Tech: System Restore Not Restoring
From: Barbara Shaw
Date: 10 Nov 08 - 11:51 AM

Me again, problem fixed. I went to the Dell Support Center website and found this: sprtcmd.exe not responding message

It basically said: SPRTCMD.EXE is a file used by Dell Support Center. The error occurs if Microsoft Windows XP does not have the Microsoft .NET Framework Version 2.0 installed. The .NET Framework 2.0 must be installed to prevent the error from reoccurring.

So I installed Microsoft.net Framework Version 2.0, shutdown, restarted, shutdown, problem fixed.

The curious thing is that I do NOT have version 2.0 on my desktop, and do NOT have this problem on my desktop. It only happened on the laptop. Can't remember which is older, but apparently the support software is different on the two.

So it wasn't a virus or trojan and I am now again doing restore points, although I only have yesterday and today so far, having wiped it out during my selective startup last night. Thanks to all for your help, which ended up steering me down the path to a solution.

If Microsoft and Dell both knew about this issue, why wasn't it included in a Microsoft or Dell automatic update... (why ask why).


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Subject: RE: Tech: System Restore Not Restoring
From: Bernard
Date: 10 Nov 08 - 12:33 PM

That's good news.

I reckon the automatic updates aren't working properly on your laptop... and the desktop is using a different version of Dell's thingummibob.

Result!

It's always a good idea to do an internet search for any 'program' name that you can't identify - and look for processes running in Task Manager that are needing a lot of processor power...


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Subject: RE: Tech: System Restore Not Restoring
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 10 Nov 08 - 12:34 PM

Why would anyone turn off System Restore? I didn't know you could do that anyway.


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Subject: RE: Tech: System Restore Not Restoring
From: Cluin
Date: 10 Nov 08 - 10:10 PM

To remove a particularly pesky virus, you night have to disable System Restore.

Or maybe you have a third party program to handle system restores like Norton GoBack or some such app and you don't want to duplicate the same service and/or gain a little of your system resources back.

Personally, I will avoid all Norton/Symantic products from now on. They used to be great, but are now so bloated and intrusive and have a god chance of screwing up your computer. They seem to have forgotten that the purpose of a computer is not to run anti-virus and maintenance software only.


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Subject: RE: Tech: System Restore Not Restoring
From: Bernard
Date: 11 Nov 08 - 11:30 AM

Every process on a PC can be disabled, and sometimes the reason for doing it isn't obvious unless you are a System Administrator who has to do battle with meddlers...

My method for System Restore is to Ghost a backup of a hard drive at the point where it was working properly, then when someone mucks it up I can put it back to the point that I have chosen!

Their desktop settings, documents and email are on a fileserver, so they can't do too much damage... and System Restore can take up valuable disk space, as Cluin mentioned.

The only drawback with such a method is the plethora of updates from Micro$haft... so a Ghost is usually needed around every three months or so to keep on top of things.

Did you know you can use Disk Cleanup (right click on the hard drive icon in 'My Computer' and select Properties) to remove all but the most recent restore point? This relieves drive space, and is perfectly safe if your PC is behaving properly when you do it. I would recommend you do a restart immediately before you run Disk Cleanup, as this almost certainly ensures you have no issues...!


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Subject: RE: Tech: System Restore Not Restoring
From: Noreen
Date: 11 Nov 08 - 12:42 PM

Just seen this thread after wrestling with my computer for most of the afternoon...aaaargh!

Running Vista, person who shall be nameless has installed a display adapter/driver for a game which has changed all the display settings and I am not happy.
I want to restore to before this was installed.

Have lots of restore points saved and have tried restoring to several different points; each time it goes through the process, restarts the computer, says it is re-initialising etc but then puts up a message saying it has been unable to restore settings for unidentified reasons, and I am back where I started.

(I also created a 'Recovery DVD' recently on prompting from the computer, but can't find what to do with this to use it to reset.)

Any ideas, pretty please?


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Subject: RE: Tech: System Restore Not Restoring
From: Noreen
Date: 11 Nov 08 - 06:26 PM

Message actually says:

System Restore did not complete successfully. Your computer's system files and settings were not changed.

Details:
An unspecified error occurred during System Restore.

(Yes, I've tried again, same result. Only thing I can think of next is uninstalling the new graphics driver, but that won't restore the original settings, will it?)


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Subject: RE: Tech: System Restore Not Restoring
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 11 Nov 08 - 06:43 PM

have you still got the new video card plugged in?

Suggest setting the video card settings to a basic generic default, replacing the card, then doing the restore?

Of course, perhaps you should wait till someone who thinks they know more than I do can comment.... :-P


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Subject: RE: Tech: System Restore Not Restoring
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 11:05 AM

Why would anyone turn off System Restore? I didn't know you could do that anyway.

If your computer has made a restore point after a virus got on, System Restore may "reinstall" a virus that you've removed in a later version. That's the main reason why turning off System Restore deletes all old restore points.

You can manually make a "restore point" using Start | Run "regedit."

If you open regedit, and with the "selection point" at the very top, you can use File | Save to make a copy of your Registry (anywhere on your computer). You need to give it a name, preferably including the date as part of the name. The file will automatically have the file extension .reg. (081112RegBackup.reg?) Since this file is in your "own territory" on your computer, it will not be deleted when you turn off System Restore.

Later, if you find the file you made and double click on it, all the contents are automatically written back into your Registry. (So you shouldn't casually double click on .reg files "to see what's in them.")

A "minor weakness" with this form of backup is that an "extraneous key" in the Registry will not be removed. The contents of your backup .reg file are added to what's already there, but if a "key" has a different setting in the backup than its value in the real Registry, it will be reset to the value in the backup by the restore from the backup.

When working in regedit, you can select an individual key or key group and do the same "File | Save" to back up only a single key or a group of keys, so that - in the unlikely event that your edit of that key f***s up your computer - just double-clicking the backup .reg file for that key can restore just the keys that were saved to the value(s) in the backup. (Note though that a key that you added when you edited things won't generally be removed. You may still need to do that manually in regedit.)

Probably of historical interest only, I believe in Win2K and definitely in early WinXP you had both a regedit and a regedt32. Somewhere along in the early Win2K/WinXP era it became possible/necessary to use "key values" that were "double-bytes" (DWORDs). The early versions of regedit could not write or edit DWORD values for the keys, so you had to use regedt32 to edit those keys, but regedt32 had no "search capability" so you still needed regedit to find them.

I haven't found any "official confirmation," but it appears that regedit has been "updated" so that it can both search the Registry and edit DWORD values, and regedt32 has "disappeared" (from WinXP at least?). Since most people shouldn't be editing the Registry without specific instructions, the instructions should make it clear which editor should be used; so it's not something to worry a lot about.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: System Restore Not Restoring
From: Andrez
Date: 13 Nov 08 - 06:30 AM

I was going to make the pint about being careful about using system restore and reinstalling a virus too...... something I managed to inadvertently do recently, learning the hard way.

The thing was that I was sure I had got rid of the virus completely and had to go through the whole process again. So the suggestion is that once the virus scanning in safe mode with sys restore off is successful, reboot into normal mode but don't turn on system restore immediately. Wait a while and use the PC and watch for any continued virus evidence. Once you feel certain that there are no more bugs, create a new restore point to carry you on from that point.

However I just want to say to JIK that the info about the .reg file back up and how it works is pure gold!. Thanks for the info that's a really useful tip.

Cheers,

Andrez


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Subject: RE: Tech: System Restore Not Restoring
From: Noreen
Date: 13 Nov 08 - 01:11 PM

Thanks for the reply, Foolestroupe.

It isn't a physical card that's been added, but a software download.

Any other ideas please?


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Subject: RE: Tech: System Restore Not Restoring
From: Barbara Shaw
Date: 13 Nov 08 - 01:41 PM

I don't know anything about Vista, but I'm fishing to try to give you some ideas to try.

Can you change all the display settings yourself to get them where they were before the game install?
Have you tried uninstalling the new graphics driver?
Have you manually run an anti-virus scan to be sure something isn't active there?
Have you done a disk cleanup to get rid of temporary files and clean out the recycle bin?
Have you tried several restore points, especially the earliest ones available and then initiated the automatic updates to your system (if any)?
Have you contacted Microsoft support to see if they can offer any help? Sometimes support websites have FAQ's which might shed some light on your particular problem.

Wish I could help. I know how frustrating this can be...


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Subject: RE: Tech: System Restore Not Restoring
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 13 Nov 08 - 03:30 PM

Noreen -

Windows, especially in Vista, may prompt you to make a "Recovery DVD" of a couple of different kinds. The most commonly recommended one is for getting back into your computer if you forget a password. It may work in some cases if a password gets "corrupted" and quits working - sometimes - maybe, but it's general use is just for when you "forgot" a password.

This particular Recovery DVD form is an wonderful thing to have if you ever need it; but it only allows you to get on the computer. It's not intended to restore the computer to an earlier setup. This may (or may not) be the form you were prompted to make.

I haven't seen many complaints about System Restore failures, and the likely causes I can guess at don't seem likely for your case.

Most "game setup" gimmicks don't do much other than set a preferred (for the game) monitor resolution, and sometimes kick up the "graphics acceleration" to inappropriate levels. You should be able to reset your screen back to what you prefer in Control Panel (Personalization). If you can't get back there, then uninstalling the added trash1 may be the only option.

Long-term, you may want to set a new password that you don't give to the hoodlum for your User name (and set a password for "Administrator"), and give that person a separate account with no system management privileges.

1 Note that I'm not a "gamer" so my attitude toward those who mess up perfectly good computers may be a bit harsh.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: System Restore Not Restoring
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 13 Nov 08 - 03:48 PM

If you put "System Restore did not complete successfully. Your computer's system files and settings were not changed." into Google, Noreen, you get lots of links which might be useful.   

I generally do this with any messages like that, and you often find a forum where someone has posted with the same problem, and see the helpful advice they get from whiz-kids.


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Subject: RE: Tech: System Restore Not Restoring
From: Cluin
Date: 13 Nov 08 - 06:50 PM

How old is your computer, Noreen? And what brand?

Often, computer manufacturers now include an image of the original configuration of the hard drive (when it was shipped to the customer) to restore back to in case of problems. This image will be located on a hidden partition usually.

Of course, using this option will cause the loss of all settings, data, and installed software made since you got it, but if all that stuff is backed up, made note of or is still available to you, it might be an option.

It will probably mean a couple of days of, re-installing, setting up and tweaking to get back to where you were though.


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Subject: RE: Tech: System Restore Not Restoring
From: Cluin
Date: 13 Nov 08 - 06:53 PM

By the way, these manufacturers do this often in order to avoid shipping the OS reinstall disc with the computer. IMO, it is worth the few extra bucks to have the disc included, if it is an option... and it damn well SHOULD be.

If your hard disc goes for a poop, then you're SOL if you are depending on the backup image on said HD and don't have the reinstall disc.


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Subject: RE: Tech: System Restore Not Restoring
From: Noreen
Date: 14 Nov 08 - 12:13 PM

All sorted, thank you all so much for your support and help.

McGrath's method (why didn't I think of that?!) brought up two useful ideas- turning off Norton, and going into Safe Mode before operating System Restore.

I did both and system Restore then worked (phew) but Norton antivirus was no longer anywhere to be seen.

Have been online with a Symantec chap this afternoon who uninstalled and re-installed the product which now works perfectly.

So, happily back to where I was before the graphics upgrade. I had tried to reset the monitor resolution, John, but it seemed to be more than that- relative proportions seemed to be different somehow.

Anyway, I have learned a lot thanks to this and all of you, thank s again.

Noreen


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Subject: RE: Tech: System Restore Not Restoring
From: Bernard
Date: 15 Nov 08 - 07:55 PM

"relative proportions seemed to be different somehow"

That could be because you have a widescreen display and the graphics settings are the more conventional 4:3 'aspect ratio', or vice-versa.

You can go into the display settings and choose a more screen appropriate resolution...

1024 x 768 pixels is standard 4:3 XGA, but widescreen may come out at 1280 x 720 (16:9) or possibly 1280 x 800 (16:10)...

Think of the difference by comparing the old television standard with the more modern widescreen standard.


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Subject: RE: Tech: After the crash
From: Acme
Date: 29 Dec 08 - 01:09 PM

Last Friday I set up cable Internet access, discarding the old ultra-slow DSL. I had an extra layer of security in my computer from work, Cisco VPN software that allowed me to access secure computers at work. Cisco wasn't playing nicely with the new LAN setup, so to work out the bugs I uninstalled (via Control Panel) the Cisco VPN software.

Perhaps some of you know where this is going. Cisco left quietly, but took may critical DLL files with it. I couldn't even get a blinking cursor on the screen the next morning when I rebooted the computer. No way to reach system restore, and I tried booting with the XP Pro disk and another time with the Symantec Ghost (12) disk.

Cutting past all of the intermediate things I have tried, I have determined that my disk (200GB, original with computer) is just fine, but after running the computer's own recovery program (XP-home) and upgrading to XP-Pro (with my disk) I now have a outer shell operating system and I can SEE all of my program files, but of course, they're not in the registry now. And I can't log onto any of my files to get to my desktop, my favorites, all sorts of stuff. I can run Picassa and it sees gobs of image files but it doesn't reach the most important ones, behind the password, and while I know where the file is where it originates, I haven't got it open yet.

I am planning, since all of this happened, to redo a few things. One must always regard this as an opportunity or one curses the gods that would allow a full 10-days of time off from work to go to computer restoration instead of something useful like finishing the tile on the floor in the hall, or digging next springs veggie garden. Or reading a book. Anyway, I am going to put in a new router and redo some phone lines, now that the DSL is out. And I'm going to order a larger hard drive and put this one in a hard drive enclosure (no expansion room) in the slave position. I had something like this happen before on my son's computer, and I'm sure I spoke about it here, so I'll look it up, but in December of 2008, are the answers still the same? Are there any new programs or practices available to let me reach this access-denied data on my old hard drive?

Oh, also, I'm ordering through NewEgg (wonderful place, I'd forgotten about it until recently, but they give Fry's a nice run for their money on some things). I'm looking at a 660GB hard drive, and am going to go with the larger cache (32 whatever) instead of 8 or 16. I was told by a computer programming instructor years ago that the cache is responsible for much of the speed of a disk. They're all 7200rpm these days. The disk is SATA, and that's what I'll replace it with. I'm also going to get a large hard drive (a terabyte--they're so cheap now!) and run weekly Ghost backups. For all that I was certain I had done a full backup this summer, I could only find one from March 2007, and even then, I couldn't overwrite the hard disk, I could only add it into the new existing OS. But at least I'd have all of the data.

Bill D, John in Kansas, Garg, a few of you other techies out there, any thoughts?   

SRS


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Subject: RE: Tech: System Restore Not Restoring
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 29 Dec 08 - 07:53 PM

SRS -

Just so you'll know you're not being ignored, I'll volunteer that I ain't got the foggiest idea here.

I suspect that you've got an "identity crisis." The VPN quite probably created an "identity" for you, and even if you logged on to your computer and to the VPN with the same username, there may be two (or more) "identities" associated with that name - one for local use and one for the VPN.

There have been a couple of Microsoft KB articles dealing with "re-achieving ownership" of files that deny you access. The more general one is the 801811 mentioned in your "DVD changed" thread, and 309531 deals with accessing System Volume files that are normally "access denied to everybody." One or the other of the methods in those two might let you access your files, assuming you can right click on a folder that contains them - but I can't offer any assurances.

Being locked out of that many things implies that it's something associated with changes that the VPN made to the file ownerships, but that's just a sWAG (note - with a little "s" since I've got no real "science" to apply to this).

Maybe your company whiz kids (who presumedly gave you the VPN setup) could help, or perhaps Cisco has a support page(?). Or maybe someone who's actually used/managed a VPN will be along soon.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: System Restore Not Restoring
From: Acme
Date: 29 Dec 08 - 08:03 PM

The damage is done, the operating system wasn't able to repair itself, it simply installed new and put the old setup in a subservient position. If I'm going to fool with it this much I might as well put in a new hard drive and pull the information off of the existing one (moving it to the slave position, but I don't know if I have room in the box to do that so it will probably go in an external enclosure).

Have you looked at any of those external drive bays, the ones that hold more than one external hard drive? Visit New Egg and see all of the choices. Whew! Some of them don't cost any more than a single-drive enclosure, but what I want is a place to park at least one hard drive, better yet, two, where each has s a letter drive and I can read and write to them. My desk is a mess of components and you should see the wires hanging off of the back of it.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Tech: System Restore Not Restoring
From: GUEST,Guest from Sanity
Date: 30 Dec 08 - 05:13 AM

If you are running a system 'clean-up' program, such as 'Window Washer' among others, you may not be able to restore your system. Check it out.


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Subject: RE: Tech: System Restore Not Restoring
From: Acme
Date: 30 Dec 08 - 10:40 AM

We're so far past a program like that, GFS, it's a different discussion. It may be germane to the original post, though.


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Subject: RE: Tech: System Restore Not Restoring
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 30 Dec 08 - 01:11 PM

Stilly -

Older computers used hard drives with IDE or EIDE controllers. For either of these, the controller can handle a maximum of four drives. The drives connected to the controller often include a floppy drive, ZIP drive, and/or "optical" drives (CD and/or DVD readers or burners). You cannot install more than one EIDE controller in most machines. Often, without removing an existing drive, you can't install more than one, or at most two hard drives directly in the computer.

The simplest workaround that I've found, if you have EIDE hard drives, is to install a hard drive in a "USB box." The box has an EIDE interface inside, facing the hard drive, and a USB interface outside, facing the computer. A separate USB/EIDE interface, and hence a separate box, is generally required for each hard drive, but you can (theoretically) connect up to 8 USB "devices" to a single USB port.

If you have the newer SATA hard drives, it's possible to connect more than four SATA devices, but I can't offer details since I've only seen one computer with SATA hard drives in it, and haven't needed to multiplicate them.

Most of the external USB hard drive boxes previously available can only be used with EIDE hard drives and a different kind of box is needed for use only with SATA hard drives. Of course either kind can be put in an appropriate USB box, and boxes are available for either kind. You have to pick the box to match the kind of hard drive you intend to put in it.

There are a few boxes available that can take either kind of hard drive, using one set of internal connectors for EIDE or a separate set of connectors for SATA drives. leaving the unused set just hanging (actually "stuffed" is a better description) inside the box.

When you connect a USB device to your computer, it will appear with a "drive letter" to identify it.

If you have a network connection to another computer, you can also "Map Network Drive" to any shared drive, or a to any shared folder, on the other computer so that it will appear to be a drive, with individual drive letter, on your own computer. (Windows Explorer, Tools, Map Network Drive.) WinXP and Vista will not willingly let you share the root on the System drive of a computer, and it's not recommended but can be done. A drive that doesn't contain the Windows system stuff can be shared "entire."

About the only problem I've found with Hard Drives in USB boxes is that the boxes "hold the heat" and stacking boxes on top of each other can cause a lot of heat buildup that may be damaging to the drives inside. (A rack with shelves and a cooling fan might be a good idea, but keeping the drive boxes on separate ventilated shelves, or side-by-side with a little space, also works.)

It should be noted that, in my experience, a desktop Hard Drive in a USB box does not make the drive portable. No matter how carefully it's handled, premature failure of a desktop HD is inevitable if it's carried around at all, inside or outside of a box.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: System Restore Not Restoring
From: Acme
Date: 30 Dec 08 - 01:50 PM

John,

You pretty much summed up what I already knew and what I have recently discovered. There are boxes that can be slipped inside the drive space inside the case that can be used any number of ways, easily exchanged (ejecting for hot swap, etc.) and I really don't need that. I have one SATA drive screwed onto the front of this HP (Pavilion a820n) that can be changed out, but the cables to it have the wiring to add a slave drive, there is just no place to put it in a stable setup (there isn't a cage in there). I could get one of these internal 2 drive enclosures and fasten it to where the existing drive is now, or I could look around and see about buying a cage, but I think the best bet is to simply get a new, larger SATA drive to replace the existing drive and get

choice a) a 2 drive external enclosure and move one of my other external drives into it (in an enclosure box already) so I'm using only one USB port for both

choice b) another 1 drive external enclosure and use it on yet another USB port on the computer. One more drive on the computer either way, but this would make three external hard drive boxes (the Western Digital is a freestanding drive, not just a box with a drive in it).

I think I shot myself in the foot with the Western Digital because I apparently partitioned it and when I was trying to find my ghost backup I couldn't find the partition with the most recent backup (July 2008--I knew I wasn't losing my mind!). I think I'll remove that partition, and use that drive for just the backup, do it incrementally every week.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Tech: System Restore Not Restoring
From: Barbara Shaw
Date: 30 Dec 08 - 03:24 PM

Speaking of hard drives (weren't we?) I have a hard drive from my old failed Gateway (which will not start up, no power, no lights, nothing at all) which I want to dump onto a DVD. Don't know what exactly is on it, although I removed almost everything before I packed the Gateway away (which was working in it's own little limited way at the time, btw). So now I want to just dump what's on the drive. Staples says they can do it for a flat fee of $89.

Anyone know of a cheaper alternative?

My son already tried installing this drive into the tower of my current Dell desktop, but this did not work for reasons he knows but could not translate into babytalk for me.

Should I keep the old Gateway tower for any reason? But mostly I'm looking for advice about archiving what's on the old Gateway drive.


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Subject: RE: Tech: System Restore Not Restoring
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 30 Dec 08 - 06:41 PM

It's likely that the quote you got assumes that the drive itself works, and all they're charging for is copying to another drive, or to CDs/DVDs.

For a drive that doesn't run on its own, the fee usually is at least $100 to see whether anything's recoverable, plus whatever they negotiate for actually doing the recovery.

If you think the drive itself is okay, you could get a USB box and put the drive in it, plug into a USB port on your own computer, and copy away.

USB boxes, the last time I looked, were available for around $30 - $40, and probably for quite a bit less if you do some shopping; and having one on hand can be quite handy if you need to transfer stuff to another drive - before or after the drive has been in your computer. Most of the boxes snap together pretty tightly, but if you work at it a bit you can open them back up to put a different HD inside.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: System Restore Not Restoring
From: Acme
Date: 31 Dec 08 - 01:28 AM

I've found Vantec boxes for under $15 at NewEgg, and there are ports (you plug one end of the hard drive into the thing, it isn't enclosed, and isn't meant for continual use, just for occasional use or hot swapping). I've bought a couple in the past for $50 to $60, the one I'm picking up right now is probably going to be about $30. The box is probably the best choice, because you can use it as a backup drive without much noise or fuss, and, as John says, it is a USB plug, you don't have to get under the hood to install it.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Tech: System Restore Not Restoring
From: Barbara Shaw
Date: 31 Dec 08 - 08:41 AM

Thanks for the info! I never knew USB boxes existed. In fact I've discovered that even WalMart has them (online), so I guess I'll figure out which one I need and get one. I was hoping to unload everything on the old Gateway and then give it to a school or something, but I guess the tower is going to the recycling center now and the hard drive can sit on a shelf for awhile.


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Subject: RE: Tech: System Restore Not Restoring
From: Acme
Date: 31 Dec 08 - 12:48 PM

If you look up your computer specs that should tell you the type of drive, or look at the cable and compare it to various drive cables. It sounds like it is an older drive, and there are some very inexpensive boxes to drop them into for one use or to restore access and use it for a while longer.

NewEgg is an interesting place. A lot of things have free shipping, but the higher end enclosures don't. Not sure why, except maybe the sell so many of them that this is one way to recoup the "free shipping" on other items. Anyway, if you find a good price at NewEgg and print it up you might be able to take it into your local retailer to meet the price (a friend tells me that Fry's does this, for one, and I think Office Depot is another that will do it).

SRS


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