I'll try to be as brief as possible but the problems I'm having are so vast and numerous that it's probably going to end up being a very huge post.

Computer Info:
Microsoft Windows XP
Home Edition
Version 2002

AMD Athlon(tm) Processor
995 MHz
512 MB of RAM


The last few programs that I've installed: Basic audio/visual programs like Quicktime, Real Player, DivX, Java...etc.

How I got to my problem: It really started the minute I booted it up for the first time when I received it after it was supposedly "fixed" (more details on this in full description)

Does the problem occur every time? Yes

Well, I got the computer for graduation in 2002. It worked fine for about a year but then it started having problems with spontaneously restarting...etc. I had some pretty awful spyware and adware and even virus problems, mostly from using iMesh and Kazaa. I decided to reformat...didn't work and had to ship it back to the manufacturer. He fixed it but it kept restarting spontaneously. Since then, I've sent it back three more times (four total) to be fixed and this last time, he went ahead and put in a whole new motherboard and processor which he claimed was the main problem with my machine.

He reinstalled Windows XP on my harddrive because I sent it away only half-formatted (because the reformat simply did not work properly and I had no more options left at my level of computer knowledge and left it in limbo). I got it back today after it being gone for about 5 weeks. I found that when it started booting up, it stayed on that "Windows XP Home Edition" startup screen with the little bar that runs across in green before it goes to "welcome" and finally the desktop. I waited for about 15 minutes as it just kept on staying on that screen and finally decided to press the reset button. When I pressed the button it didn't immediately restart (like it always did in the past) but rather it stayed on that same Windows XP screen for about 30 more seconds before the screen went blank. Then, instead of going through the whole restart thing like it used to whenever I pressed the restart button, it just went straight to the welcome screen. After that one episode, things were generally fine and it only happened one other time in about 7 restarts I did because of various programs I was installing that required me to restart the computer...etc.

All was fine until one time when I went to restart it again because it was being especially slow and when it tried to boot up that time, it did that infamous "Windows cannot startup because of the corrupted file \WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM please use the repair option on the startup disk...etc"

So I did that - the startup disk repair thing, searched EVERYWHERE online (on one of the other computers in this house) for what in the world I was supposed to do because I'm clueless when it comes to all that MS-DOS type C:\WINDOWS> stuff. I finally found this option:

When in the repair mode, after typing which Windows installation and the admin password...etc. type this, pressing enter at each new line

md tmp
COPY C:\windows\system32\config\system C:\windows\tmp\system.bak
DELETE C:\windows\system32\config\system
COPY C:\windows\repair\system C:\windows\system32\config\system

So I did that and the only problems I had with that was with the part I put in bold, the C:\windows\tmp\system.bak - it said there was no such filename or something like that, but I was so frustrated that I barrelled through and did it all anyway.

For a second, after I typed "EXIT" I thought it was going to work - it went to the Windows XP Home Edition green bar boot screen but when it went to where the welcome screen should have been, it was blue with no words and the Windows XP log-on screen came up which I'd NEVER seen before where you type in your name and password - so I pressed enter and it worked but just like that very first time I turned it on, I had to press the restart button for it to go to the desktop and even then, I had to shut it down manually, holding the power button until it went off, because it was taking forever for it all to load and there were errors galore. (Don't know why I didn't expect that.) So I decided to go BACK to the repair startup disk thing - did all the copy and delete stuff in case there was a chance it would have accepted the .bak file this time (which it didn't) and this time, the whole startup sequence went slightly better but things were (are) still painfully slow. And, that silly welcome-log on password screen is still there.

Not only that, but I noticed that when it got to the desktop, there was no sound at all - just the beeps coming from the CPU every time there was an error message. I decided to try and re-load the audio with my Mainboard CD that came with all the discs my computer originally came with and that worked - I got my sound working again. But it's still very frustrating. I want it all to be perfectly fixed and this is just too slow and too ghetto for me.

So of course I tried reformatting this harddrive to start fresh but...when I got to the blue installation screen, BEFORE the part where it asks if I want to Repair, Install a new Windows XP, or whatever else, it said there was some file which I wish I had written down - (I'm pretty sure it started with an 'm' and ended in .sys but don't quote me on that) - that prevented me from being able to reformat! So I went back to my previous Windows XP setting - this XP setting I'm using now - and decided to desperately search for help.

I'm almost done.

Not only this, but I decided to try my other harddrive in case the one I'm using right now is just caput. This is what bothered me the most - this alternate harddrive I tried, which had been working just fine for about a week now when I had it in a temporary dinosaur of a computer until this one came back, wasn't working in the computer I'm using right now - it kept going to the "Safe mode/Best last known configuration/Start normally" screen ane each time I chose a mode to start in, it would just restart the whole computer and continue in that vicious cycle.

SO...is my brand new motherboard already screwed up? Was it something I did? Are BOTH my harddrives on the fritz? Do you have any clue what could possibly be wrong? I've written down every single detail I could possibly remember and I could probably give you any other info you need. Despite this novel I've just written for you, I'm really not all that knowledgable about computers at all - I just go looking for info online about how to fix things when mine's acting up.

Thanks very much for reading this.

P.S. Also, every 5 minutes or so, the computer will freeze for about 10 seconds but will then be OK. Dunno if that might mean anything. I just noticed it after writing the last half of this post.

Point one: a hardrive with an existing Windows XP installation on it will NOT work in a different system.

Point two: the procedures for performing a fresh install you've been following are convoluted and unnecessary.

Why not try again, and follow the procedures outlined in the articles linked in this topic:


Well, so far, it seems the way I am trying to reformat is correct and follows the patterns in those other links. My problem is this: Every time I start the reformat, before it even gets to the "delete a partition" point, this comes up:

"mraid35.sys is corrupted, please restart your computer"

What can I do to fix this? Because I can't do anything when it's like this.

Also, what caused my computer to do the \WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM error and what should I have done to prevent and then fix it if I wasn't going to reformat? I.E. What should I have done in the Repair portion of the Windows XP Startup?

What is your motherboard make and model please?

It sounds like there is a possibility the motherboard is incorrectly configured in BIOS Setup, and if the motherboard has RAID capability, then that might be where the problem lies.

I'm a bit wary of what I'm seeing reported about this 'Custom manufacturer' you mention. There's a continual saga of problems not being corrected there, and now this latest motherboard/ drive combination is failing to work as it should.

Hardware details of your system, including make/model numbers of your motherboard, drives and RAM might help us to work out how to sort things out.

I'd say the problem could lie somewhere in this list:

- The Windows CD is scratched, or the optical drive faulty
- The processor may be overheating due to incorrect removal and replacement procedures when the motherboard was changed.
- The motherboard BIOS may be incorrectly configured
- the drives may be incorrectly installed
- the RAM may have stability/compatibility isses, particularly if two 'generic' modules from different manufacturers are installed
- The Power supply unit may be faulty or inadequate
- There may be a damaged cable or connector in the system

But my initial guess would be that it's a motherboard configuration issue, a scratched CD or cheap 'n' nasty RAM. Those would be the most common culprits.

I'm not nearly as knowledgeable about hardware as these guys, but reading all this I had a thought so I thought I might just mention it as a long shot (something to check at least).

I know that when the windows xp installation cd first boots up, there is a command to hit some particular function key to install a raid driver.... is it possible that your keyboard is malfunctioning?