TOTALLY SCREWED!!! Advanced help needed.

Discussion in 'A+ Certification' started by Ghost, Nov 23, 2003.

  1. Ghost

    Ghost Guest


    I have run across someting that absolutely perplexes me (yes even *I* get
    perplexed at times... lol) ...

    I know what I need to do, I just cannot figure out how to do it.

    Customer brings in a PC (WinXP Home). He was using some sort of 3rd party
    registry editor on it. He does not know what he did, but he basically
    hosed the registry.

    The computer boots- but nothing runs. All the shortcut links are cut.
    Worse of all, is none of the .exe or .com will run! The error message
    basically says the PC does not know how to handle .exe fles. Kind of like
    losing the application association for a file extension. Normally, this
    is fixed by reassociating the extension. However, in this case, regdit
    will not run. The control panels will not run. The registry restore
    utility will not run. Nothing will run since nothing is asociated with
    any file extension.

    In safe mode, nothing changes.

    Restore to previous known good configuration changes nothing since this
    registry, although hosed, does boot the computer.

    Clicking on MY COMPUTER brings up the search menu. Right clicking
    anything does not show an OPEN command in the alternate menu. It is very
    difficult to navgate since nothing is working right.

    There are NO viruses.

    So, I need to restore the registry to a previous point. How does one do
    this on a PC that does not know what to do with exe files (or com files).

    I cannot run any kind of a DOS based boot utility since it is NTFS.

    Anyone have any kind of a utility that might help out???

    Ghost, Nov 23, 2003
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  2. Have you checked out Q315341 How to Perform an In-Place Upgrade
    (Reinstallation) of Windows XP?

    I had to do it I recall it worked pretty well...saved
    applications, etc.

    There ARE 3rd party products (ERD Commander is what I use) that will
    allow you to boot to a Windows-like interface, and access System
    Restore points from a bad installation. They're a little pricey
    though - there's an "Emergency Download version" of ERD Commander for
    $199 that I BELIEVE has the System Restore ability. You might drop
    them an email to be sure (

    FWIW, on the system I did the Q315341 reinstall, I tried ERD commander
    first and the restore points were all corrupted too (was a failing
    HD), so I managed to ghost the data to a good HD, then did the
    reinstall, and all was good.

, Nov 23, 2003
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  3. Ghost

    dave Guest

    There probably are, but it also depends on the type of customer
    you have. If he's a repeat that your making money on, you
    should get something like ERD-commander...

    If not, do a complete re-install -
    Save you time, the customer money. Face it, MS does not make a
    lot of recovery tools availble to you if the REGISTRY and
    *.com, *.exe files get hosed.

    Just re-install...
    dave, Nov 23, 2003
  4. Ghost

    Guest Guest

    Ghost, I'm no expert, but it sounds like a system rebuild to me unlees
    he wants to spend some big bucks and theres no guarantee you can fix
    it. I hope this customer has all there data backed up and the restore
    CD. I had a similar situation last week and I had to rebuild the

    Guest, Nov 23, 2003
  5. Ghost

    David Hough Guest

    Using the restore CD will take him back to day one. A fresh install of
    windows will at least preserve his data. You end up with a new
    registry, and you have to rebuild your desktop icons.
    David Hough, Nov 23, 2003
  6. Hi,
    I had a similar problem a few weeks ago--a friend brought in a computer to
    me that he has destroyed the registry on. His was a WinXp Pro machine. He
    could boot, but he had no icons, no start menu, no nothing. The only way I
    could get into the computer was to do a Cntrl-Alt-Del and bring up the Task
    Manager. And run regedit from it. You can actually get into the registry
    like this and import a copy of the registry. It worked for me. I don't
    know if it will work for you in this case or not considering the .exe and files are not associated with anything. but I thought I would suggest
    it. Hope it helps.

    BTW what 3rd party editing software was your customer using?
    Ronnie Broyles, Nov 24, 2003
  7. Ghost

    Ghost Guest

    I forget... sorry
    Ghost, Nov 24, 2003
  8. Ghost

    Ghost Guest

    Ghost, I'm no expert, but it sounds like a system rebuild to me unlees
    he wants to spend some big bucks and theres no guarantee you can fix
    it. I hope this customer has all there data backed up and the restore
    CD. I had a similar situation last week and I had to rebuild the


    The idea is to AVOID a rebuild. He has lots of data and programs insalled.
    Ghost, Nov 24, 2003
  9. Ghost

    Ghost Guest

    A fresh install will NOT save data... he will lose everything unless I
    save his data first.

    I know how to do all that.. lol.. I was hoping someone had an idea to
    prevent using the restore CD.. lol
    Ghost, Nov 24, 2003
  10. Ghost

    Ghost Guest

    I already have this utility- it is a read only NTFS reader...
    Ghost, Nov 24, 2003
  11. Ghost

    RussS Guest

    Hey dood

    Personally I would run the install and use the repair option. Have managed
    to sort a couple very screwed systems doing that.
    RussS, Nov 24, 2003
  12. Ghost

    RussS Guest

    BTW - if he was using Xteq there may be a registry backup located in the
    Xteq folder.
    RussS, Nov 24, 2003
  13. Ghost

    Ghost Guest

    Yeah, but in this case i do not think ti will work- for the same reason
    the last known good configuration worked. The registry is functional-
    just all the settings are pooched... Thats why all the links are broken
    and all the .exes wil not work...
    Ghost, Nov 24, 2003
  14. Ghost

    RussS Guest

    delete the registry totally (rename it actually). That allows the new one
    to install correctly.
    RussS, Nov 24, 2003
  15. Ghost

    David Hough Guest

    I'm not suggesting the use of the restore CD. I'm suggesting
    reinstalling windows from a windowsXP(homeEd.) CD, then charge him for
    the new copy of windows. His documents will still be there. He may
    have to reinstall some software, and like I said, rebuild the desktop.
    This sounds ugly, but there is no clean, easy fix. He may have some
    tough choices.
    David Hough, Nov 24, 2003
  16. Ghost

    Ghost Guest

    I cannot... I tried it already figuring if the registry was missing, I
    might be bale to restore another previously known good configuration...
    The problem is, in all version of Windows, you cannot rename or move
    something that is in use. And, in order to see the directory, it has to
    be booted- unless, I might try moving the HDD to a bench computer and
    using that to rename or move the registry... I might try that...
    Ghost, Nov 24, 2003
  17. Ghost

    Ghost Guest

    No, the documents will not be there. This is XP, not Win9x. In all XP
    versions, a reinstall of the OS (even as an overlay) overwrites all the
    windows directories- including c:\documents and settings\%user%\my

    I could do this if I first save all his data to another drive or to
    another directory, but I am trying to resolve this without a reinstall.
    Ghost, Nov 24, 2003
  18. Ghost

    Ghost Guest

    You cannot... if you run regedit from yoru own computer, it will only
    open the registry on your boot drive...

    Also, I ran ERD, but it did not allow me to recover an older restore point
    or saved registry. I could see what remained of his registry (only two
    keys- the CLSID, and Local user (I think)). I could not even create a new
    key- the option was greyed.

    I just reloaded the OS as an overlay- the cust lost all his programs, but
    I geuss he should not have been screwing around in the registry.
    Ghost, Nov 24, 2003
  19. Ghost

    hootnholler Guest

    Hey ghost,

    Day late and a dollar short, but maybe this may help with booting... You
    can make an ntfs bootdisk will fit on one floppy, if you got a spare machine
    with xp on it laying around...

    To make a XP bootdisk: Need blank formatted floppy, put into drive. Open
    windows explorer, go to C: drive. If you are warned of hidden files, go to
    tools/folder options, click on view tab, make sure 'show hidden files and
    folders' is selected.
    Uncheck 'hide protected operating system files', then yes, then ok.
    Next, copy boot.ini, and ntldr to your floppy. Then you are
    ready to place floppy in drive and reboot.

    Have that in a 'pasty' program that I have. Hope you figure this one out,
    sounds like quite the challenge.

    hootnholler, Nov 24, 2003
  20. Ghost

    Ghost Guest

    No, overlaying XP on itself destroys the old Documents and settings
    folder- so all his data would have been gone- but I renamed the documents
    and settings beforehand so it was not overwritten.

    Now, I need to try to remember how to take ownerhsip of his old My
    Documents folder- it will not open- no access.
    Ghost, Nov 24, 2003
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