Help solve a mystery: cause of drive errors / corrupt system files


  1. Posts : 2
    Windows 10 Home 1709
       #1

    Help solve a mystery: cause of drive errors / corrupt system files


    Happy to start of this post by saying, I performed a factory reset on my machine and it is up and running. Though my computer is thankfully functional again, I'm not sure what went wrong in the first place... so I'm posting generally, soliciting advice from anyone who feels like telling me what not to do with this fresh start. The description is quite long... but the week of trying to fix this on my own has been longer. I have a few questions that I haven't found answers for online, and a bit of mystery where I don't even know where to start with questions.

    The machine came to me a month ago, new.. the person who brought it had installed Office on it, even though Office was already on it.. so I had two copies of things, signed into two Microsoft accounts. I set up my Google accounts, private and for work, and got right back to work using Google Drive for creation/collaboration and Webex or Zoom for meetings, with a Webex extension on Chrome and "work offline" enabled for Drive. There was sometimes high disk-usage from Windows services, as has been an issue with previous computers, and I would go and do things like disabling Superfetch or Windows Search, following advice from various forums. I wonder if that is a mistake, disabling things... will disk usage automatically stabilize if I just wait a bit?

    After a month, the pre-loaded McAfee free trial was ready to expire.. I didn't purchase McAfee on other computers, and had wondered if I was being irresponsible. So I went ahead and purchased, downloaded, and used McAfee to clean the machine, including my temporary files. I don't know if it was completely unrelated, or due to the presence of the new McAfee install, or due to whatever I cleaned out... but pretty quickly my disk-use was spiking like mad whenever I woke the computer up or opened Chrome, or whenever McAfee decided to do something. The most demanding items were now things like Service Host Local System, Windows Update, McAfee, and Chrome. (Sidenote: Around that time I also tried to open Skype for the first time, but the program had no icon and didn’t give any response to attempts to open or uninstall, as was recommended in online searches.)

    Following advice for fixes of Windows Update disk usage, I saw Security and Maintenance had reported drive errors and suggested restart... so i restarted. Repair hung at 10% for hours, so I researched what to do. Restarted again and skipped repairs, as suggested. Attempted to restore health from command prompt. Command prompt cited error 1392, saying the directory in the temporary folder "C:\Users\(name)\Appdata\Local Temp" could not be created. I tried to check and see if the file was there and if I had access but it was just too much I was unfamiliar with... I wonder if it was an administrator access thing, as I had changed the login password. Do I need to go and change the admin password too if I change the user password? Was that keeping my system from self-repairing?

    I researched what to do from there. Attempted to perform a scan from safeboot, and safeboot failed, saying “file or directory is corrupted and unreadable.” I researched what to do from there. Tried creating a new user account, it said “The user profile service failed the login, User profile cannot be loaded.” Researched what to do and started seeing the suggestions about system recovery and reset.

    I had task manager open constantly through all of this, monitoring how it changed according to what I was doing. I wonder if that was harmful.

    Tried just restarting it, it said Task Manager was preventing shutdown, though I was sure I had closed everything. I clicked cancel but it restarted anyway, said it had a problem and had to restart, referred to NTFS File System, said to go to windows.com/stopcode, which wasn’t informative at all. The computer went into preparing automatic repair, hung there an hour.

    I researched what to do from there- forced reboot, hit Escape to do a system recovery, but since I didn’t set it up beforehand it didn’t work… found out that past 2018 Windows10 doesn’t come automatically with system recovery. Tried troubleshooting startup problems, it said it’s repairing errors… then restarted, went just to the spinning dots without words, and then nothing, just a black lit screen and a gentle vibration. Let it sit an hour, nothing changed. I shut it off. Researched what to do... Turned it on, went into system recovery, and did a system reset, keeping my files.

    After reinstalling, it came to the login screen with tons of dots on the admin password for a split second, didn't wait for me to do anything, and told me the administrator’s password was incorrect. While I Googled what to do, the login for the administrator disappeared and I just used the usual user to login. I logged in. It hung at login for awhile, then screen went black with the circling dots.

    At this point I started imagining giving up online work and becoming a rice farmer with my mother-in-law.

    I googled what to do for the computer and found nothing. Gave it an hour, shut it down, turned it on, went into recovery and did a complete wipe-clean reset like people do before selling their machine. After that it went all the way to requesting location and language info, before giving me the screen that says “Why did my PC restart? There’s a problem that’s keeping us from getting your PC ready to use, but we think an update will help get things working again.” I connected to the internet, hit next to install update, and it went to a blue screen for a long time saying “Just a moment” with the spinning dots... it blinked once, came back on.. And eventually restarted again, and did all of that again, minus connecting to WiFi… tried it again, and was back with the “Why did my PC restart?” screen… hitting next… back to "Just a Moment".. I tried changing wifi devices and it was the same. I researched what to do for the update-restart loop, it recommended changing boot sequence settings in UEFI, or something like that.

    Uncomfortable with that, I snooped around more in the recovery section... took this path: ESC, F11, Troubleshoot, recovery manager, system recovery for original factory condition. Somehow that was different from the system resets I had done. I looked it up, it looked okay, and I did it. It worked, thank goodness. I don't know why it worked when nothing else did, but I'm thankful.

    So here I am, starting again.

    As soon as I got it set up I created a recovery point. I noticed while exploring that section that it doesn't see my account as the administrator.. I guess it's like an elevated account I can get to through my own, I don't know why it was saying the administrator password was incorrect after that first "keep my files" reset. I wonder if that has something to do with anything, and if there's anything I can do to make sure access exists where it should.

    I went ahead and downloaded McAfee from the license I paid for... the opinions online are conflicting but McAfee and Microsoft seem pretty confident in their capability. I noticed after buying it previously that it had automatically turned off Windows Defender, so I don't think they were getting in each other's way. Something notable is that this time there was a process for removing the trial version of McAfee and restarting the computer.. That might have been part of the installation last week but I have forgotten.

    I still have the 100% disk usage from system, audioswitch, mcafee scanner service, superfetch, delivery optimization... other service hosts. Haven't downloaded Chrome yet. Most of the time disk use spikes it's right after McAfee gets up to something. Idk if I need to take off McAfee and burn what I paid for it, or if it's worth it for the protection.

    I am lost as to what I did to the poor thing, and I don't want to do it again. I used to ask my friends for help but am now working very remotely in a place where I have yet to meet a computer repair person I would trust with my machine. I've got to get to where I can care for my devices on my own. Any advice from anyone who read this - if you have any ideas where I went wrong, besides getting married in the rainforest, please share.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  2.    #2

    disabling Superfetch or Windows Search
    There is no advantage in disabling Windows search on a good disk: it only runs when indexing or finding things. Once the indexing is complete, there is (should be) no CPU use. When indexing, it stops as soon as you start using the PC.

    Superfetch - probably only worth considering bothering to try disabling if you are actually experiencing high CPU or disk use related to it.


    At this point I started imagining giving up online work and becoming a rice farmer with my mother-in-law.
    Whilst good for fresh air and a sun tan compared to sitting in front of a PC, you'd probably get severe backache rather than a headache...

    Factory reset- uses a special partition created by the manufacturer restore the PC to 'as bought'. So your system partition is completely replaced. That means you also get all the trialware back too (you mention some instances of that).

    The various options for reset/refresh leave you with a 'cleaned up' Win 10 based on what was installed.

    These are two entirely different procedures.

    Where should you go from here?
    As you recently did a factory reset, and so have nothing of significance on your system partition, I suggest you do a clean install of Win 10 - that will give you Win 10 without any of the trialware or manufacturer's utilities. (If you want any of those later you could most likely download them from the manufacturer's site).

    What is your current Windows build? (Just to confirm).
    Windows key + R, winver

    Why is that significant? Some possible reasons:

    If the machine came with build 1709, which you indicate it is, then you could install 1709, but note that the current build is 1803. Build 1803 presents some users with considerable problems. However, installing 1709 would mean you would, without special action, probably find you are upgraded to 1803 fairly quickly.

    If you install 1803, taking the risk of possible problems, and find it works, then you save time. So I'd doing suggest that.

    Download Windows 10 ISO File | Windows 10 Tutorials
    Create Bootable USB Flash Drive to Install Windows 10 | Windows 10 Tutorials
    Clean Install Windows 10 | Windows 10 Tutorials

    Check this is running ok and do not make any changes to it yet - the absolute minimum needed to check it.

    Then create your first disk image (we recommend Macrium Reflect (free) + large external storage to hold disk image files (= compressed versions of what's on the disk(s) or partition(s) imaged.

    Having disk images means you can restore your PC to as was even if your disk fails and you need a new one. They also act as a full backup from which you can copy files.

    As you configure your PC, keep a list of changes, and periodically 'update' your disk image (create a differential image). You can restore your imaged disk/partitions using
    - the first image alone
    - the first image + any differential image

    (I just had to do that this morning whilst trying to fix something as my PC would boot after uninstalling an update yesterday).
    Last edited by dalchina; 04 Aug 2018 at 08:42.
      My ComputersSystem Spec

  3.    #3

    Sonji said: View Post
    Happy to start of this post by saying, I performed a factory reset on my machine and it is up and running. Though my computer is thankfully functional again, I'm not sure what went wrong in the first place... so I'm posting generally, soliciting advice from anyone who feels like telling me what not to do with this fresh start. The description is quite long... but the week of trying to fix this on my own has been longer. I have a few questions that I haven't found answers for online, and a bit of mystery where I don't even know where to start with questions.

    The machine came to me a month ago, new.. the person who brought it had installed Office on it, even though Office was already on it.. so I had two copies of things, signed into two Microsoft accounts. I set up my Google accounts, private and for work, and got right back to work using Google Drive for creation/collaboration and Webex or Zoom for meetings, with a Webex extension on Chrome and "work offline" enabled for Drive. There was sometimes high disk-usage from Windows services, as has been an issue with previous computers, and I would go and do things like disabling Superfetch or Windows Search, following advice from various forums. I wonder if that is a mistake, disabling things... will disk usage automatically stabilize if I just wait a bit?

    After a month, the pre-loaded McAfee free trial was ready to expire.. I didn't purchase McAfee on other computers, and had wondered if I was being irresponsible. So I went ahead and purchased, downloaded, and used McAfee to clean the machine, including my temporary files. I don't know if it was completely unrelated, or due to the presence of the new McAfee install, or due to whatever I cleaned out... but pretty quickly my disk-use was spiking like mad whenever I woke the computer up or opened Chrome, or whenever McAfee decided to do something. The most demanding items were now things like Service Host Local System, Windows Update, McAfee, and Chrome. (Sidenote: Around that time I also tried to open Skype for the first time, but the program had no icon and didn’t give any response to attempts to open or uninstall, as was recommended in online searches.)

    Following advice for fixes of Windows Update disk usage, I saw Security and Maintenance had reported drive errors and suggested restart... so i restarted. Repair hung at 10% for hours, so I researched what to do. Restarted again and skipped repairs, as suggested. Attempted to restore health from command prompt. Command prompt cited error 1392, saying the directory in the temporary folder "C:\Users\(name)\Appdata\Local Temp" could not be created. I tried to check and see if the file was there and if I had access but it was just too much I was unfamiliar with... I wonder if it was an administrator access thing, as I had changed the login password. Do I need to go and change the admin password too if I change the user password? Was that keeping my system from self-repairing?

    I researched what to do from there. Attempted to perform a scan from safeboot, and safeboot failed, saying “file or directory is corrupted and unreadable.” I researched what to do from there. Tried creating a new user account, it said “The user profile service failed the login, User profile cannot be loaded.” Researched what to do and started seeing the suggestions about system recovery and reset.

    I had task manager open constantly through all of this, monitoring how it changed according to what I was doing. I wonder if that was harmful.

    Tried just restarting it, it said Task Manager was preventing shutdown, though I was sure I had closed everything. I clicked cancel but it restarted anyway, said it had a problem and had to restart, referred to NTFS File System, said to go to windows.com/stopcode, which wasn’t informative at all. The computer went into preparing automatic repair, hung there an hour.

    I researched what to do from there- forced reboot, hit Escape to do a system recovery, but since I didn’t set it up beforehand it didn’t work… found out that past 2018 Windows10 doesn’t come automatically with system recovery. Tried troubleshooting startup problems, it said it’s repairing errors… then restarted, went just to the spinning dots without words, and then nothing, just a black lit screen and a gentle vibration. Let it sit an hour, nothing changed. I shut it off. Researched what to do... Turned it on, went into system recovery, and did a system reset, keeping my files.

    After reinstalling, it came to the login screen with tons of dots on the admin password for a split second, didn't wait for me to do anything, and told me the administrator’s password was incorrect. While I Googled what to do, the login for the administrator disappeared and I just used the usual user to login. I logged in. It hung at login for awhile, then screen went black with the circling dots.

    At this point I started imagining giving up online work and becoming a rice farmer with my mother-in-law.

    I googled what to do for the computer and found nothing. Gave it an hour, shut it down, turned it on, went into recovery and did a complete wipe-clean reset like people do before selling their machine. After that it went all the way to requesting location and language info, before giving me the screen that says “Why did my PC restart? There’s a problem that’s keeping us from getting your PC ready to use, but we think an update will help get things working again.” I connected to the internet, hit next to install update, and it went to a blue screen for a long time saying “Just a moment” with the spinning dots... it blinked once, came back on.. And eventually restarted again, and did all of that again, minus connecting to WiFi… tried it again, and was back with the “Why did my PC restart?” screen… hitting next… back to "Just a Moment".. I tried changing wifi devices and it was the same. I researched what to do for the update-restart loop, it recommended changing boot sequence settings in UEFI, or something like that.

    Uncomfortable with that, I snooped around more in the recovery section... took this path: ESC, F11, Troubleshoot, recovery manager, system recovery for original factory condition. Somehow that was different from the system resets I had done. I looked it up, it looked okay, and I did it. It worked, thank goodness. I don't know why it worked when nothing else did, but I'm thankful.

    So here I am, starting again.

    As soon as I got it set up I created a recovery point. I noticed while exploring that section that it doesn't see my account as the administrator.. I guess it's like an elevated account I can get to through my own, I don't know why it was saying the administrator password was incorrect after that first "keep my files" reset. I wonder if that has something to do with anything, and if there's anything I can do to make sure access exists where it should.

    I went ahead and downloaded McAfee from the license I paid for... the opinions online are conflicting but McAfee and Microsoft seem pretty confident in their capability. I noticed after buying it previously that it had automatically turned off Windows Defender, so I don't think they were getting in each other's way. Something notable is that this time there was a process for removing the trial version of McAfee and restarting the computer.. That might have been part of the installation last week but I have forgotten.

    I still have the 100% disk usage from system, audioswitch, mcafee scanner service, superfetch, delivery optimization... other service hosts. Haven't downloaded Chrome yet. Most of the time disk use spikes it's right after McAfee gets up to something. Idk if I need to take off McAfee and burn what I paid for it, or if it's worth it for the protection.

    I am lost as to what I did to the poor thing, and I don't want to do it again. I used to ask my friends for help but am now working very remotely in a place where I have yet to meet a computer repair person I would trust with my machine. I've got to get to where I can care for my devices on my own. Any advice from anyone who read this - if you have any ideas where I went wrong, besides getting married in the rainforest, please share.

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      My ComputersSystem Spec


  4. Posts : 2
    Windows 10 Home 1709
    Thread Starter
       #4

    dalchina said: View Post

    "Where should you go from here?
    As you recently did a factory reset, and so have nothing of significance on your system partition, I suggest you do a clean install of Win 10 - that will give you Win 10 without any of the trialware or manufacturer's utilities. (If you want any of those later you could most likely download them from the manufacturer's site).

    [/I]What is your current Windows build? (Just to confirm).
    Windows key + R, winver

    Why is that significant? Some possible reasons:

    If the machine came with build 1709, which you indicate it is, then you could install 1709, but note that the current build is 1803. Build 1803 presents some users with considerable problems. However, installing 1709 would mean you would, without special action, probably find you are upgraded to 1803 fairly quickly.

    If you install 1803, taking the risk of possible problems, and find it works, then you save time. So I'd doing suggest that.

    Download Windows 10 ISO File | Windows 10 Tutorials
    Create Bootable USB Flash Drive to Install Windows 10 | Windows 10 Tutorials
    Clean Install Windows 10 | Windows 10 Tutorials

    Check this is running ok and do not make any changes to it yet - the absolute minimum needed to check it.

    Then create your first disk image (we recommend Macrium Reflect (free) + large external storage to hold disk image files (= compressed versions of what's on the disk(s) or partition(s) imaged."
    My current build is 1709, even though it was built post-April 2018 update. IDK why it hasn't moved to 1803.... I'll look more into reinstalling using version 1803. Do you have any recommendations for how I can check that it's running okay before creating a disk image?

    I really appreciate the advice of using Macrium Reflect and creating a disk image on an external device... There are 32G USBs in town that should work. Thank you for your advice!
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  5.    #5

    1803: mm, I won't recall or know of all the problems people have encountered with that- there are lists on the internet, and I did start collecting a few points.

    However it's a moving target- MS has released patches quite rapidly since the first release tring to deal with some of the reports.

    So make sure it's fully updated, then watch out for driver-related issues, and anything in normal use.

    If everything seems to work superficially, remember to create an image before changing anything.

    Examples:
    - slow boot
    - lag/stutter when watching video/playing audio

    Windows 10 April 2018 Update biggest problems and complaints | Windows Central


      My ComputersSystem Spec


 

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