Run a disk check from Recovery Console – Windows XP chkdsk

Instructions how to run check disk from Windows recovery console (Windows xp).

  • If your PC is a laptop, ensure that your charger remains plugged in for the duration of this process
  • With your PC powered up, insert the Windows XP installation or recovery CD-ROM into the drive, and then restart the computer.
    Note: Cancel any messages or boxes that come up in Windows when the CD is inserted.
  • When you see “Welcome to Setup”, press R to start the Recovery Console.
  • Type in your administrator password and press Enter when prompted. If the administrator password is blank (many are) then just press ENTER.
  • At the recovery console command prompt type in:
    chkdsk /r
  • Press Enter
  • Do not interrupt this process and allow up to 2 hours for it to complete (although most PCs will be quicker than this)


Windows XP Recovery Console chkdsk command explained

So what does chkdsk actually do?  Well it checks your internal hard drive for errors.  These errors can stop your operating system (Windows) from starting or allow it to start but then crash shortly afterwards when it hits a bad area of the drive.

Here are a few of the ‘switches’ that can be used with chkdsk

   /F         Automatically fixes file system errors

   /X         Fixes file system errors on the disk but dismounts the volume first

   /R         Looks for and attempts to recover bad sectors

   /V         Displays the name and path every file on the disk 

   /L:size    FOR NTFS ONLY - Changes the log file size to a specified number of kb

   /C         Skips directory corruption checks 

   /I         Skips any corruption checks which compare directory entries to the
              FRS (file record segment) in the volume's MFT (master file table)

This is a verbose explanation but generally, in my experience, it is sufficient for most PC drive problems to run a chkdsk /r and this can be easily done from the recovery console if you have the XP CD ROM.

Dell Inspiron and Dimension – access the recovery partition

Many emails about how to access the recovery partition on Dell Inspiron and Dimension PCs.  I have noticed that Dell don’t give this information unless you pay for their premium tech support so here we go, hope this helps a few people…..

Most PCs I have tested can do this method providing the hard drive has not been changed and the original recovery image – hidden by default – is intact. I have used this method on PCs as old as 2003 but older ones may work too.

Note: This process is destructive to your data. Ensure you have all you need backed up like serial numbers for software (Office etc), address books, emails, photos and documents.

  • Power the computer on
  • When the Dell logo appears, press and hold the left <Ctrl> key then press the <F11> key
  • Release them both at the same time
  • The Dell Restore by Symantec window should now appear. If you get a keyboard error then restart the PC and try again. Note, if the PC is in the process of booting it is important that you wait for the boot to finish before shutting down or you risk adding corruption onto the hard disk drive.
  • Click the Restore button or use the <Tab> key to highlight the button and press the enter key.
  • A caution message appears advising that all data will be lost. It will be!
  • Click the Confirm button or press the <Tab> key to highlight the button and press the enter key.
  • The Progress window appears.  This can take up to 40 minutes to complete.
  • After a successful restore,  a message stating The system recovery process was successful appears.
  • Click on the Finish button or press the <Tab> key to highlight the button, then press the <Enter> key.

The computer restarts and your software should be as it was when you first received your computer.  Spend a bit of time uninstalling all of the 30-day trial rubbish and uninstall any security suite that was offered at the time as it will be old and superceded. Make sure you update the system to the latest service packs and security updates using Windows Update.  Install a decent antivirus and the best antispyware and your system will be as good as new. Or better!


Restore Acer laptops and desktops from the recovery partition

acer-laptop-discount-prices-onlineThe following is my procedure for restoring Acer laptops and desktops to factory settings. You will need to ensure that laptops are plugged in at the mains charger as this is critical.

  1. First off, locate the Alt key to the left of the space bar, and the F10 key on the top row of keys.
  2. Power the computer on and wait for the Acer logo to appear (the splash screen).
  3. Hold the  Alt and F10 keys down together when you see the logo.
    It should load the Windows logo then state “Please wait a moment…..” with the Acer logo showing.
  4. At the “eRecovery Management” menu it will ask you how you wish to restore.
  5. Click on the restore option you would like to use, bearing in mind that restoring the C partition means you will lose all files not backed up.
  6. When prompted for the password use one you created. If you didn’t create one then use 1234
  7. Allow the recovery to finish and it will automatically restart the computer

How to Recover your Acer system from within Windows

  1. Click on Start, All Programs, Acer Empowering Technology.
  2. Click on Acer eRecovery Management.
  3. If prompted to create a password, create the password and set your password hint
    Don’t lose this password!
  4. When the Acer eRecovery Management loads click the button labeled “Restore”.
  5. Click on “Restore system to factory default”.
  6. The unit will restart and start the restore.
    It should state “Please wait a moment…” with the Acer logo in the upper left hand corner.
  7. At the eRecovery Management menu it will ask you how you wish to restore.
    Click on the restore option you would like to use.

How to Make Recovery DVDs

These are really useful if ever your hard drive dies. The reason is that the recovery image is stored on the hard drive itself and as such will “die” with it. Replacing your hard drive means that you will need to get an image from somewhere if you don’t have these discs, eg reinstall using a fresh copy of Windows and then install and update all the drivers on your pc, not easy for beginners

  1. Click on Start, All Programs, Acer Empowering Technology.
  2. Click on Acer eRecovery Management.
  3. If prompted, create a password and password hint.
    Don’t lose this password!.
  4. When the Acer eRecovery Management loads, click the button labeled “Burn Disc”.
  5. Click “Create Factory default disc”.
  6. Follow the instructions and put in the required Blank DVD or Blank CD media to make a set of Recovery Media Discs. Bear in mind that you will need about 3 DVDs but more like 17 CDs!

Starting a Windows PC in Safe Mode

How to start a Windows PC in Safe Mode

You should print these instructions if you need to access the same PC in safe mode.

If your computer is turned on, click start and then click shut down wait for 20 seconds and turn your PC back on using the power button.

As the computer starts up you will first see the BIOS screen which contains information about your computer. Shortly afterwards you need to press F8. The method I use and teach to others is to simply tap the F8 key approximately every quarter of a second. This will bring up a selection menu of white writing on a black screen.

Should you miss this selection menu then you will need to wait until Windows finishes loading, shutdown, then retry the startup procedure again.

Freecom DVB-T installation on Windows 7

This is a little difficult to get working so here is the fix.  After this you can use it in Media Center without problems.

Download the Vista driver for the DVB-T from Freecom’s website. Currently the link is this:

  • Unzip the driver to a folder on your hard drive
  • Go to Control Panel,  Device manager and choose the USB stick, this will probably have an exclamation mark next to it.
  • Right click and select “Update driver”Select “Browse”
  • Choose “Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer”
  • Choose “Sound, Video Gamecontrollers” and click on “Have Disk”
  • Navigate to the unzipped driver and install.

Fire up the Windows Media Center to setup the stick there and watch TV!

Works on Freecom DVB-T Tuner,  model 2451 (Art no 2451)

What is jucheck.exe and should I allow it?

You have probably got a pop up box saying that jucheck.exe is trying to connect to the internet. This file checks for Java updates and is perfectly safe (jucheck = JavaUpdateCheck – get it?). Because of vulnerabilities in older versions of Java, you should install the updates whenever prompted.

It will be a pretty seamless installation. When asked if you wish to install the Yahoo toolbar I would suggest you untick the box, it’s yet another toolbar that adds into your Internet Explorer or Firefox browser.

Otherwise, once installed (and it only takes a few minutes) you will have a better, safer version of Java on your PC. If you want to get the latest version for other computers and don’t want to wait until prompted, visit this official link:

Windows cannot load the locally stored profile

This can be a tricky one.  You get this error message on startup:

Windows cannot load the locally stored profile: Insufficient security rights or a corrupted local file. Windows has logged you in with a temporary profile any setting you make will not be saved.

Basically, Windows has corrupted the profile for a particular user.  This could be down to a registry fault or a problem with the hard disk drive where that registry entry or files are located. It can also be caused by a user moving or deleting the user folder (the one with the user’s name) from the Documents and Settings folder.

My method would be to boot the computer from UBCD4Win.  This allows you to view and manipulate the contents of the corrupt Windows identity.  If you allow the error message to stay on the screen, Windows creates a new profile and does not give you any options to import your data, it is effectively invisible.  If you have gone into Windows already and seen that there is nothing there, don’t worry.  It should be visible through the boot disk method.

Very strange behaviour!

Anyway, once in UBCD4Win, the first thing I do is to run a disk check, this is very important as it is a common cause of failure by corruption.  Bad sectors on a disk do bad things to the registry.  Start, Programs, Disk Tools, Diagnostic, Check Disk.  Tell it your local disk (usually “c:”) and select option 3 where it checks with chkdsk /r which recovers data on the bad sector before repairing it.  A 5-stage scan will follow, allow from 10 minutes to a few hours depending on the size of the disk and data stored on it.

More than likely, the results will show a corrupt registry file such as this:


If not, still proceed as follows.  Once the drive scan is finished you can look at your data via a file manager such as MS Explorer or A43.  I recommend copying the complete user profile to an external drive or if this is not available onto the root of the local disk.  Do this by dragging the folder from documents and settings onto the C:\ and holding down CTRL so that you are copying, not moving.

Now you are ready to reboot.  Try a reboot and if you get the same issue, shutdown, load UBCD4Win again and roll back the registry to a point where all was working well before the corrupt user profile.  Do this from Start, Programs, Registry Tools, Registry Restore Wizard.

If the reboot allows you to login to your old user profile then it’s job done.  Check you have all your documents, pics etc and you can now delete the ‘backup’ copy we made on the root of the local disk.

Client service for Netware has disabled the welcome screen

Novell Netware ErrorHad this one today on a Windows XP PC, a pretty easy fix but had been annoying the customer for months before he mentioned it to me:

Client Service for Netware has disabled the Welcome Screen and Fast User Switching. To restore these features, you must uninstall Client Service for Netware

This happened when he tried to access the User Accounts tool in Control Panel. It is often realised when trying to enable the Welcome Screen or Fast User Switching.

Importantly, bear in mind that if you need to access a Novell network you can’t use the Welcome Screen or the Fast User Switching features of Windows XP.

If you are using Classic view in Control Panel, double-click Network Connections. If you are using Category view, click Network and Internet Connections, and then click on Network Connections.

  • Right-click on each connection that you have, and then click Properties
  • On the General tab of each Local Area connection, highlight Client Service for Netware, and then click Uninstall
  • In the Dial-up Connection Properties dialog box, click the Networking tab, highlight Client Service for Netware, and then click Uninstall
  • Restart the PC

Now to set the user accounts, open Control Panel and then double-click User Accounts.  Pick a task then click Change the way users log on or off and you should find that you can now use the Welcome Screen or Fast User Switching.

Time for this fix: 10 minutes

Applies to: Windows XP all versions