Why can't my wife's Toshiba Vista laptop startup normally any more?
Help! Something abdominable has happened to my wife's Toshiba A200 Satellite laptop (model PSAFCL-00R00G, preinstalled OEM Vista Home Premium, not under the worranty anymore). Before going to the full story I'd like to mention that after my unsuccessful repair attempts the laptop is now partially functional in Save Mode, and (if you'll take me on board) the copies of its current System Infos, Administrative Events Reports, Windows Logs etc. can be sent to you.
During few last weeks either the unability to startup normally or BlueScreen crashes ("Unrecoverable hardware problems" mostly immediate after startup) made the laptop being completely unstable and unworkable. After many useless attempts I managed to boot from Paragon Partition Manager 9.0 Bootable CD. This has revealed the bad sectors on the HD's active partition, and I've reformatted it with the maximal precautions provided by Paragon application. Then I've used DriveClone 3.1 bootable CD to recover HDD from USB external drive. Unfortunately the only available DriveClone recovery image was made in December 2007.
According to all tests and repair operations available to me (including Windows chkdsk) both HD and WindowsOS are now OK but in the Normal Mode laptop still either refuses to startup or goes to BlueSceen crash during typing BIOS password. It however boots and is stable in Save Mode (but refuses to establish the internet connection in Save Mode with networking).
The partional functionality of Save Mode allowed me to find out the several current problems. According to Service Control Manager (event ID 7026) the boot-start/system-start drivers AFD, DCDisk, DfsC, eeCtrl, NetBIOS, netbt failed to start. In addition, (the event ID 5038) the image hash of the file \Device\HarddiskVolume2\Windows\System32\drivers\flbrc.sys is corrupted. The latter bothers me a lot as according to my knowledge the flbrc.sys driver provides difference between NTFS functionality in XP & Vista. At the same time, I'm unable to update those drivers in Save Mode.
There are also awful problems related to Norton Internet Security that has been installed on December 2007 Recovery Image. Firstly, any attempt to perform NIS Ful System Scan in Save Mode makes laptop crash leaving unsolved my suspicious about the current presence of malware or viruses although Windows Defender Full System Scan with December 2007 definitions did not find any malware. Secondly, NIS can be disabled or uninstalled (I'd be pleased to do the latter if you'd reanimate the beast) only in the unaccessible Normal Mode making impossible to apply another antivirus or antimalware application can be installed and used (like Combofix) in Save Mode.
This is the last point where I've given up and decided to ask for your help! Help!
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Quite a challenge you face and I fear that what you're seeing is a cascading sequence of problems: it sounds like something bad happened to your hard drive which caused some sort of write failure. That then corrupted the operating system in subtle and unrecoverable ways.
It seems like you've done everything I would recommend, including trying to make a backup image of the hard drive and running external diagnostic software to see what's going on. Unfortunately, what they're reporting isn't actually that useful because much of it (esp. the problems with the OS image) are likely caused by hardware problems rather than the problem itself.
My first suggestion since you have made a backup of the drive (albeit an old one) is to try reinstalling Vista, then going to Toshiba to grab any special or custom drivers they're using, then try to make a more recent backup. I have a sense that won't work, however, so I'll also suggest that you consider doing a complete, clean install of Vista on the computer (or, if you have access to it, just step backwards one rev and install Windows XP instead)
The challenge is to try and recover some of the data that was written to the disk between 2007 and today, and I'm betting that's quite a bit! There are certainly computer shops in your home town: can you call a couple and see what kind of data recovery options they have? They should be able to pull your drive out of the laptop and hook it up directly to another computer, then extract as much as possible, burning it to DVDs or similar media. I'm surprised that the company where your wife works doesn't have an IT staff or a contract with a local company to help with just this sort of problem.
Then you might consider whether you need a replacement hard drive in the A200 too, and there are many options at a reasonable price. If it's the controller, the motherboard or other circuitry in the computer this will also fail, of course, but if your drive's just gone bad - which can happen - this could be a fairly straightforward solution that'll let you work with the unit for another few years. Again, consider XP rather than Vista if there's no compelling reason to use the newer OS as XP puts less demands on the hardware.
Wish I had a better solution, a suggestion that was the digital equivalent of a magic wand you could just wave over it and make it work, but, alas, computer hardware doesn't work that way!
Let us know how things unfold.
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