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  1. #1
    Lounger
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    Corrupted User settings

    ARGH!!! I swear-everytime things seems like they are settled and finally working...something gets killed! My son came in this eve. and was copying a CD on my CD burner-and my system blue-screened 20% into the burn. So you grumble about *another coaster* and reboot...the computer decides it must check files and file structures on G, just a drive, and H-where the XP system is installed. When it gets to the startup screen-my personal login ID is corrupted and can't be loaded. (I have Administrator, Lori-an Administrator acct, and guest on the login screen) It then loads a temp user setting (that it warns you will not be able to save any changes you make). I went and looked at files-nothing struck my eye as amiss. I tried to reboot, same inability to log in as Lori. So then I tried the Administrator acct-and tried some restores-none could be loaded! I then copied the doc and settings Lori folder to a safe place, renamed the existing one, made a new user with administrator rights, deleted Lori then rebooted and logged into the new Lori. Then copied all the doc/settings files and folders into the new-Lori folder except the NTUSER.dat and the USER.dat files. I *think* all is mostly OK now...
    So why doesn't a restore do any good? Why bother making nice restore points when they won't even restore?!
    What file got corrupted, do you suppose? Any idea as to what file(s) hold your personal settings?
    There are days when I miss the bad old days of DOS (or worse-CP/M) and simple files and directories that you backed up to a floppy and you were good to go! At this point I find that preserving some sort of restorable system is beyond me!
    Argh!
    Thanks for allowing a bit of grumbling-and any comments and enlightenment always gladly appreciated! <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15>
    Lori

  2. #2
    Silver Lounger
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    Re: Corrupted User settings

    I'll try to answer your questions. But some suggestions first.
    First of all, it seems you have WinXP on partition formatted in FAT32. I strongly recommend convert it to NTFS partition. NTFS partitions can not be corrupted so easy as FAT.
    Second, BACKUP! You have CD-RW drive - use Windows Backup to backup your personal files to CD-RW. Try it - it is easy! Do it once a week and overwrite your old backups; it will save your data.

    Now answers. Restore points aren't backups - they are rather instructions what has to be changed. If critical files are corrupted (that's happen in your case), they are unusable.
    What was corrupted: I think one or two clusters on your hard drive. Unfortunately, a critical file (part of your Registry) was written on that cluster. The Registry holds your personal settings (most of them), and it consists of several files. One of them is your user.dat; that's why you can't logon to your user profile.

    Remember bad old days when you can backup all your installation to a floppy? Now you also can backup all your installation as it is (using Norton Ghost, for example) - but it will fit on 5 to 7 CDs...

  3. #3
    Lounger
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    Re: Corrupted User settings

    When I had Win2000, I had put it onto an NTFS partition...and when it then bluescreened at one point and said it couldn't find ntuser or the kernel (I forget which file it was) I went into the 98 dual boot and found that NTFS partitions are invisible to other OSes...and not being familiar with the allowable commands from the recovery console-I was pretty screwed! So I have avoided the NTFS even though it gets rave reviews... maybe i ought to be more daring.

    As for backups-I DO backup my documents etc-but the prospect of sitting around while 5-7 CDs get written to-and having to babysit the CD swaps results in lots of procrastination. :-( Is there a list of files and or directories that constitue the WindowsXP *system*, complete with all settings that might make for a backup that fit onto a single CD? maybe that's a dumb question-but i can't find such a list anywhere...

    thanks in advance,
    Lori

  4. #4
    Silver Lounger
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    Re: Corrupted User settings

    You already have it - it is your WinXP Setup CD.
    And believe me, WinXP on NTFS is very stable configuration, is has backup of all critical system files and registry, and is very secure. And if you have two administrator accounts you have nothing to be afraid of.
    And think about it - after a crash you restored everything in a couple of hours or less; in case of Windows NT you would probably forced to reinstall everything from scratches...
    By the way - typical WinXP installation is about 1.2 GB; plus Office installation plus other programs... it will fit single DVD (4.2 GB capacity).

  5. #5
    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: Corrupted User settings

    Lori,

    There is no "list" per se of files that you need to back up. For one, it would number into the thousands. What you may find easier as a stopgap measure is to use the (brain <img src=/S/newbrain.gif border=0 alt=newbrain width=21 height=22> dead) Microsoft Backup and back up your System State. The resulting file should be somewhere around 250MB in size. This will restore XP to the condition it was in at the time of backup - for exmaple, I create an image of this immediately after a new, clean installation so that I don't need to format to get that "just like new" feeling.

    With CDs being so cheap these days you could afford to do this once every two weeks or so and keep a permanent copy, or do it on rewriteable media and cycle the CDs.
    -Mark

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