I'm helping a friend with his PC. It was running like a sick dog, so I scanned it for viruses - it had 5 different ones! I removed those, booted into XP, then ran Spybot, MalwareBytes & Super Antispyware - deleting a large number of spyware / malware. The PC only had 512MB RAM, so I plonked in another 512MB (good quality Kingston stuff in both slots) for a total of 1GB. I ran a few safe reg cleaners (PC Tools Registry Mechanic, TuneUp Utilities, Glary & TweakNow) - the registry was a total mess, with many hundreds of errors. Next, I did a registry defrag using NTRegOpt (saved 14%), then did a big defrag using Raxco PerfectDisk 10 (7% fragmentation). While the PC was still doggy (it's only a Celeron 2.6 with a 128MB FX5200 AGP graphics card & 80GB IDE drive), it was certainly better. I also updated his AV which had been expired for 2 years!
When I took the PC back to his place and plugged it in, weird stuff happened. 1st, Windows decided that it didn't have a suitable driver to run his Acer TV / Monitor. It didn't have any problem before, but now it does. Further, I can't find anything suitable to use to direct the "found new hardware" process to use. Windows is still able to display stuff on the screen, so I'm not even sure what part of the TV / Monitor is actually requesting the driver. Next, the Acer USB keyboard & mouse also wanted new drivers - I was able to find one using DriverAgent (that I have a subscription to), but it was a bit of mucking about to make them sit right.
The next day, I said to him "your PC is just not right - let's do a repair install to see if we can't iron out the bumps". Famous last words! During the repair install, I lost use of the USB keyboard and mouse - they were there at the start, then they wouldn't work when the regional customisation screen came up. At 1st I thought the repair had crashed, but a restart of the process yielded the same results. So, we plugged in a PS/2 keyboard / mouse and were able to continue the repair install. However, it was unbelievably slow (even for a Celeron 2.6), taking almost an hour to complete - especially the "installing drivers" part which took a good 30 mins by itself.
Eventually, the repair finished and the PC rebooted - however, it wouldn't even get to the logo screen and would reboot. So, I tried a SafeMode boot - sequence would get to mup.sys then reboot. I did some research into this - mup.sys loads in device drivers. So, I took the HDD out of the Acer & put it in 1 of my PCs, navigated to the windows\system32\drivers folder & took out all the Bluetooth drivers I could identify (he doesn't have a Bluetooth card, but some sort of dongle that attaches to a USB cable that allows him to read stuff off his mobile phone) - that didn't help. Next I took out all the Avast AV drivers - still no go. Next I took out all the Conexant modem drivers - still no go. Lastly, I took out anything that was dated 2008 or later & tried the repair install again - this time, the time from start to end of installing devices took almost an hour! Straight after that, the PC locked up on the regional settings screen.
So, where I'm at now is running a MemTest 1.7 scan on the RAM to make sure there are no issues there. It will be another hour or so before I have a result there. If that's clean, I'm going to test the PSU next.
My friend is very keen to avoid a format / install, as he's not sure he's got all his original install CDs / files (he's a shocker for poor organisation...), so I really have to try to find a way to sort this. I've thought about using the backup copy of the Registry, but I'm pretty sure that will "lose" the installation information for too many programs (it did the last time I tried that on a friend's laptop 3 weeks ago - I ended up having to reinstall pretty much all his software).
Thoughts, ideas, suggestions? I really need to have this squared away by tomorrow if at all humanly possible! It's currently 1:30pm in NZ, so I've got less than 12 hours to get it all sorted - including sleep for me! :(