PC is messed up

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Well, essentially, my PC has taken a turn for the worst. I've got no idea what exactly is wrong with it though, so I'd appreciate it if someone could give me a hand in deciding what the problem is.

So, I was doing usual PC things ie - browsing the internet, talking on MSN etc, when all of a sudden my internet cuts out. Now, because I use a wireless connection, my internet occasionally does this, so I thought nothing of it. Rebooted, my net was fine and everything was working normally. About an hour later, my net cuts off again. I reboot, but this time, before it gets to the desktop, I get some message about windows checking disk for consistency. Now, this is something I've never seen before, and I've got absoloutely no idea why it appeared. Anyway, after that was done, my PC loaded up normally. I tried a system restore, and despite it saying it was done successfully, the consistency check still happened before the desktop loaded up. That made me assume it was likely a hardware problem.

So, a friend of mine told me to download a program to check the temperature of my comp. I download it, try to install it, but when it gets to installing the start menu > programs icons and stuff, it tells me that there's an error with start menu > programs and it can't install to it. Then a little exclamation mark icon appeared in my programs tray telling me that Start Menu\Programs is corrupt and unreadable. Also, I've found that nothing is listed in Device Manager. It's just an emptry white box where the list should be. That's pretty much the point I'm at now.

Now, I'm thinking it could be a problem with my hard drive, but I'd appreciate some input, as I'd be pissed if I bought a new HD and it didn't fix my problem.
 
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Yeah, thats what it sounds like. How old is your hard drive?
 
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I think about three years old now, at least. I guess I'd better start backing up my stuff then :D
 
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Could always do a reformat if worse comes to worst.
 
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Saiyan_Overlord said:
Could always do a reformat if worse comes to worst.
If it's a software problem, yeah. But if his HDD is dying, he's having a hardware problem. I'm not convinced that's his real problem, though.

I don't understand why the first thing your friend told you was to check your PC's internal temperature. You should worry yourself about overheating if your PC automatically reboots/shuts itself down, but should direct your attention elsewhere if you're just getting a dropped wireless signal.

Don't trust System Restore to get you out of a problem. In fact, disable it. It's never saved me nor anyone I've known from pulling a single hair out of their head, while still consuming a healthy amount of memory to run.

Three years old isn't that old for a HDD. As I type this, I'm using a 7 year-old machine with an equally old HDD. Never replaced, just taken good care of.

Try booting Windows into safe mode, if you haven't already, and take a look at your device manager. Does anything show up then?

I've never had the "empty device manager" problem before, but it looks like other people have. Look around on Google if your computer is operational enough to do so: http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&q=windows+xp+empty+device+manager+&btnG=Search
 
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Hard Drives are tricky, atleast to me they are. It sounds like a hardware problem but It could be a software problem also. I really dont know what your problem is man, wish I could help. I guess Its a matter of time until Smith or Cuc saves the day for you.
 
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I'll probably try a reformat before buying a new hard drive. The thing is, I don't really want to try anything at the moment, until I'm able to back stuff up, which won't be until next week. The weird thing is that apart from what I mentioned above, my PC seems to be functioning just fine. So far I've not noticed anything else wrong with my PC at all. Still, I'm getting the "checking disc" thing before Windows boots up properly.
 
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Run a virus scan if you can, check the drive for errors.
 
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Are you using a . . . less than legal copy of XP. I have seen that problem before, where the Start Menu is treated as a regular file and won't actually launch programs, but only from copied XP disks. If that's the case, I can't really help you due to the anti-warez rules on this forum.

If it's not, then you have one hell of an odd problem. Have you done any recent driver updates? Schedule your HDD for a Surface Scan by right clicking on it in explorer and choosing Properties -> Tools -> Error Checking -> Check Now -> Reboot

You may want to do this when you have lots of time to kill, let the surface scan complete in its entirety and post your results here.

Another possible route concerns your wireless connection itself. How does your wireless connection work? Is it an addon card in the main peripheral bus? Is it an external WAP Router bridging to another router connected via Cat 5e? Is it a USB connected device?
 
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My copy of XP is legal as far as I know, but I wasn't the one who set Windows up after my last reformat, so I'll keep it in mind. Also, my wireless connection uses USB. I don't think it's anything to do with my wireless connection anymore though, as I've had no problems with it at all since. It seems to have been coincidence that these problems started after my connection was messing up. I'll give the error checking a go either tonight, or tommorow, then I'll be sure to post the results. Thanks for the help :)
 
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Did u overclock your pc? cuz if u did then that may be a problem to. If u overclock to much then its gonna corrupt your windows. Messing with alot of programs, crashing them etc..happened to me o_O
 
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Over-overclocking can corrupt your copy of XP and all of your files? Where did you learn this?
 
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happened several times to me -.-' overclocked to much..and it well ended with formating my comp -.-
 

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Yugi_Yami said:
Did u overclock your pc? cuz if u did then that may be a problem to. If u overclock to much then its gonna corrupt your windows. Messing with alot of programs, crashing them etc..happened to me o_O
NONONONONONO, overclocking has NOTHING to do with your window's files.

Something else on your pc was messed up.
 
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actually no..my windows got messed up because i overclocked to much.. my cpu or something couldnt handle it. windows got corrupted and i had to reinstall..
 
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Have you tried de-fragging? This happened to me a few months ago until i de-fragged.
 
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itr said:
NONONONONONO, overclocking has NOTHING to do with your window's files.

Something else on your pc was messed up.
That is incorrect. Overclocking can actually screw your system up sometimes, especialy if you mess with ram frequency & timings, & in some cases your cpu. Windows does become unstable on higher clocks with some cpu cores.
 
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An improper overclock doesn't distabilize windows per se, instead, it distabilizes the hardware you run. If you've overclocked your machine, try toning it down a little and see if the problems abate. Overclocking too high may actually cause phsyical harm in two fasions, heat damage which we all know and love, and electron migration, which is an electro magnetic effect not unlike an atomic scale EMP dropped on specific traces wihin dies. This is especially true of todays truly small processes. Once electron migration occurs, that circuit is ruined permanently. Essentially, the electrons are motivated to motion through the air, and arc to the next trace, this forms a magnetic tunnel through which other electrons will follow. It may sound fanastic, but remember how thin those traces really are, and how far out you can see a static shock from.

Naturally, either type of damage, or even phase variations in the clock spectrum (from overclocking) can corrupt data at the bit level within the registers themselves.

Any of these things could cause a file to load improperly, for instance your ATA drivers. Which, as you can imagine, cause immesurable damage.
 

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