I have been busy with Alex
and job hunting, but I did try fixing my father in-laws windows XP machine.
First off it would only boot one in five tries, usually hanging at the POST. the Knoppix live CD gave me the memtest86 option so I ran it for a few hours and one of the DIMMs was faulty, so I replaced it.
Machine still had POST hanging problems but they were more consistent, in the end I shorted the CMOS and everything seemed much better, but windows hung on starting, even safe mode hung when selecting the user. But Admin in safe mode worked, tried defrag and it said to run scan disk, scan disk said to restart with the windows CD and run scandisk. Scandisk hung, so I downloaded a live CD with Maxtor's/Seagate's hard drive checker.
The initial screen told me the hard drive had exceeded its heat tolerance at 236 degrees, which is odd cos the other hard drive in the machine said its max temperature was 40 degrees.
The test rand for a while and told me there were 99 errors so I backed up everything from the drive using Knoppix live CD and a USB external hard drive. All went well until I tried to copy the 50gb backup file off the second hard drive.
After 3 days I canceled the copy, it appears that the USB hard drive was NTFS and the source drive was NTFS and large files are not a good way to go with NTFS-3g which is odd cos it had copied a total of 50gb in individual files no problem off the NTFS bad drive to the same USB drive.
Still I bought a new hard drive 350gb for£50 from PC World (very good price for SATA) and whacked it in, now I thought the fun was to begin.
But my father inlaw had Norton Ghost 10 installed so I tried the recovery live CD.
It took along time to boot but after a while it had a basic version of windows running (or it looked like it did) and I just choose find restore points/restore and after about an hour (I had it do a system check) I rebooted and everything was as it was before the original problems, very impressive.