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Stability ... Windows "rot" or hardware problem?

Posted: Mon Sep 24, 2007 6:09 pm
by wsc
It seems like every 3-4 months, my main rig (running XP) decides to hose a critical system file and I have to rescue it with Linux. The last time it was C:\Windows\System32\Config\System that just couldn't go on living. With every crash, it's a different file though.

Could this be Windows rot? Driver conflict? Bad hardware? I'd like to build a new machine, but I want to run into the same problem over again. Thanks for any thoughts or ideas!

Posted: Mon Sep 24, 2007 6:54 pm
by aaa
I'd scan my drive for bad sectors (ie hw prob that'll go away with the new rig). You are shutting down properly, right?

Driver conflict shouldn't cause this.

Posted: Mon Sep 24, 2007 8:36 pm
by Max Slowik

Bad sector'll do that in a pinch, though.

Posted: Mon Sep 24, 2007 11:29 pm
by Slaugh
This could be a faulty RAM or a defective HDD... Start to test your hard drive with the tool provided by its manufacturer, then test your RAM with memtest86. C:\Windows\System32\Config\System is part of the registry and deals with hardware settings. An error occurred while the system attempted to write that file and the registry was corrupted. It's normally an hardware issue.

The Ultimate Boot CD and Hiren's Boot CD both contain memtest86 and all HDD diagnostic tools.

Posted: Tue Sep 25, 2007 1:02 am
by andyb
None of the really good (bad) viruses are popular anymore, and XP doesnt "rot" that quickly unless you are doing something very wrong, so its going to be hardware.

HDD most likely, otherwise, CPU, RAM, MOBO.

Possible but not likely thats its IDE/SATA data cable either damaged, not in correctly, the wrong way round etc, or flaky molex connector, lots of people have loads of these spare and they are easy to check.

Backup your stuff, and do what Slaugh suggests.


Posted: Wed Sep 26, 2007 1:00 am
by JimX
Does Windows rot really exist?

My main system has been running for two and a half years now on the same XP installation. No deterioration whatsoever, speedy as the first day, except longer load times, after dozens of in/uninstalls of programs and many changes in hardware.

I did a few System Restores though...

Posted: Wed Sep 26, 2007 2:27 am
by nick705
JimX wrote:Does Windows rot really exist?
I think Winrot really exists, it's just that modern fast computers do a much better job of hiding it than in times of yore.

I used to be in the habit of formatting & reinstalling every few weeks, but my current installation has lasted for several months and I'm not itching to blow it away, as I would be if I were still running a PIII or a Duron or whatever...

Posted: Wed Sep 26, 2007 2:50 am
by andyb
"Windows Rot"TM has existed for as long as Windows has.

With W2K SP3, finally robust drivers and full software support this was the first M$ platform that did NOT have a huge amount of "Windows Rot"TM.

Things got even better with the release of XP SP1, as the code base and driver support barely changed from W2K to XP there was already a very solid platform to build on and everything was happy for once in the land of Windows.

My rule of thumb is quite different from many peoples and is as follows.

Install XP SP2, dont do any updates at all, turn of automatic updating, turn of system restore, install drivers, of you go.

Never had any problems that was a fault of windows, or a lack of updates, unlike many people who have had windows destroyed by a rogue update etc etc.

The way I look at it is if its good when you install it, dont screw with it and it will be good for a ling time. This has worked very well for me for years on many systems.