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Thread: Corrupt System32 Directory

  1. #1
    Security Intelligence TZ Veteran cash_site's Avatar
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    Corrupt System32 Directory

    Oh guys what a mess in the middle of the night.

    My cousin's computer wouldn't boot up, it would get stuck on the XP loading screen and just freeze. Then trying to boot into safe mode, it would get stuck on mup.sys

    He needed some important files, so i said put HD into another computer and copy across. He does that and so is happy. But now we want to try to fix what the problem (without worry about loosing data)... So i plug the HD back into the computer and start up in safe mode... it takes a bit long on mup.sys, but then loads fine... restart in normal mode and everything is fine! Go figure...

    Anyway, now that the computer is running fine, lets start tweaking... he has trendmicro suite and couldnt get internet access. He installed a new wireless router (he's connect with LAN) and the TMicro firewall wasnt configured for HOME network. SO changed that, all is good, and gets internet and all updates. He has wireless laptop so i configure WEP 128, and all the SPI firewall etc etc... everything is sweet and only took a couple of hours with a delicious home cooked dinner thrown in

    Now, getting too confident, we want to install some new printers (HP a-i-o 2710 with wireless)... try installing the driver, and it fails. It says reboot the computer and try again. Reboot and now Lavasoft Ad-aware is playing up (the ad-watch component is maxing CPU and just lagging).. i check the version and definition date and it is 12mths old... I say its no good, we've got spybot and tmicro etc... so lets un-install. Everything is removed, and reboots.

    On reboot i get black screen saying windows is corrupt, missing HAL.DLL !!! argh!! Was just about to pack up and go home! now, we're in for the long haul.

    I read through some forums, and find that most times its caused by dodgy boot.ini file. So i try to get into recovery console. Tried with xp cd splimstreamed with sp2, no go, as it didnt give the 'R' option. So i found old version 1 XP cd. get into console. Forum said, delete boot.ini, the do bootcfg /rebuild ... this returned an error saying it couldnt find any windows installations!!

    Oh no.. i've deleted boot.ini and cant get it back... i reboot and black screen saying cant find boot.ini... i go back into recovery console, and create a new boot.ini file from scratch. i do the bootcfg /list command, and says cant find windows. even /rebuild didnt work again.

    Still no HAL.DLL file.... another thread said to simply copy and paste a sp2 hal.dll from another computer into the system32 directory. I copy that file onto a usb disk. I start the computer with MiniPE, but it doesnt have USB support!

    Next comes the trusty PCLinuxOS LiveCD! this boots no probs, even configures the network for internet access! I can see the c drive, even the sata raid 0 and even the USB drive. sweet... i navigate to c:\windows.. then try opening system32 and it says 'stalled' ... i try going through the konsole, no luck...

    Frustrated, i shutdown, and remove the HD and put back into an external case. I connect to the laptop, and all the files are visible... sweet, i'll just copy the file directly... when i try to access system32... it errors saying that directory is corrupt and unreadable!!

    In desparation, i try to delete the whole system32 directory, and simply copy/paste my whole directory... no go, directory is not empty... but also, it cant be read ?!?!

    The main question is How do we fix this?? Has anyone experienced this before? Where do we go from here?

    --- 0wN3D by 3gG ---

  2. #2
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    Kinda sounds like you have a bad sector on the HD, or maybe your partition table is corrupted.

  3. #3
    Friendly Neighborhood Super Moderator phishhead's Avatar
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    yup I would try and do a fix on the mbr. then once you can get it to boot up do a sfc /scannow to replace any corrupt system files. or just do a repair install so it will leave everything how it is.



  4. #4
    Old and Cranky Super Moderator rik's Avatar
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    format

  5. #5
    Security Intelligence TZ Veteran cash_site's Avatar
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    Thanks guys, yeah, i thought it might have been a HD error, but the chkdsk came back clean.

    I didnt want to a repair install or put old files back on... too many patches to re-apply

    So besides that, is the installation is toasted??

    LOL... well, that installation had been running for 2 years, so i guess it was time to do a format anyway.

    I've never seen this error before, its just amazing how random certain things are! You must be lucky or Unlucky, to get a combination of hardware that causes problems.

    Cheers.

    --- 0wN3D by 3gG ---

  6. #6
    Succeded in braking Windo TZ Veteran Dehcbad25's Avatar
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    2 tips
    when doing a checkdisk do it also checking for bad sector (I think) anyhow, that will give you 5 stages, and it will take up to twice the time, but it will find errors.
    Also, copying your system 32 probably was more damaging, not to mention that the files won't match up with the ones that file protection has.
    The other tip is that when a system doesn't boot I do this:
    put the hard drive in another pc with antivirus and protection up to date, backup important data, run checkdisk in deep, run antivirus. If after that it still doesn't boot, just used the same installation disk that has been used for the OS installed, and do follow the instalation procedures until it asks to repair instalation (not the repair console). It will come after it does the detection of the OS. You will have to install all updates again, but it is better than not having the system running

  7. #7
    Triple Platinum Member Curio's Avatar
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    Deleting the system32 folder is not a good idea anyway as it contains the config subdirectory which contains the registry and copying a different one accross will not work. There will be many other system specific files in there too.

    It is effectively hosed unless you can recover the data. You can delete directories that aren't empty using "rd /q /s %directory_path%" not that it is gonna help you.
    I'm using Windows 7 - you got a problem with that?

  8. #8
    Security Intelligence TZ Veteran cash_site's Avatar
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    Thanks again... I knew trying to copy the system32 wouldnt be much help, but when you're desparate

    Also, i did try that rd /q/s trick.. but it still wouldnt let me delete (perhaps Windows protection too strong)

    We had a spare HD, so we'll reinstall XP... might keep the other drive as backup until we know everything is running fine

    --- 0wN3D by 3gG ---

  9. #9
    Triple Platinum Member Curio's Avatar
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    If you have access to a copy of Easy Recovery professional from Ontrack you might have some luck with that http://www.ontrack.com/easyrecoveryprofessional/
    I'm using Windows 7 - you got a problem with that?

  10. #10
    Succeded in braking Windo TZ Veteran Dehcbad25's Avatar
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    I don't think he will need ontrack at all. THe HD is not corrupted, just the system32, so he should still be able to read all data from another system running (another HD), and most likely that is how he copied all the system32 files from his PC.
    In another point....I love that software. It had same my life several times (as well as a lot of data from a server, and from my mom's pc) One heck of a program and it only cost 79$ NTFS and FAT version. A highly recomended tool.

  11. #11
    Security Intelligence TZ Veteran cash_site's Avatar
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    No i dont think the HD was corrupted, but the System32 was! Like... i couldnt access that directory, or delete it or copy overwrite.

    But, i could access my documents etc to backup all the important files.. then we formatted

    --- 0wN3D by 3gG ---

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