View Full Version : Do XP Repair Install, or What Else?

04-24-2007, 12:20 AM
It started so innocently.:rolleyes: I ran chkdsk from My Computer w/ both "Fix Problems" & "Scan Bad Sectors" checked. It prompted to restart - I did - & it ran. Quite a while on c:\ that has ~ 4.75 GB data.

It never showed any messages during or after running. Not found a log file, if it exists.

Not content, I ran sfc /scannow. I put in the XP CD (w/ SP-2) when prompted. It ran a long time - probably > 1 hr. Again, no messages during or after it ran. Haven't found log file.

Now, in addition to my orig problem of Explorer not displaying quite right, when I click on MS System Information (MSinfo32.exe), it launches the Help & Support Ctr (helpctr.exe & helpsvc.exe). Unless I've lost my mind (no comments), the MS System Information main screen looks nothing like XP Help & Support Ctr.

I'm thinking sfc messed up? the msinfo32.exe file(s), or something else I can't imagine. I tried starting msinfo32.exe manually (two ver on the disk - one is a back up in Win\system32\dllcache\). I also typed it into Run, and it still launches Help & Support.:confused:

Inside msinfo32.exe, I see references to that name, so it doesn't look like the Help Center file was just renamed.

XP boots normally & seems to be running OK. I'm not sure what's the best step to take now. I could restore, but that won't necessarily replace all damaged files, depending on how many / which ones.


Paul Komski
04-24-2007, 05:39 AM
You could try the DougKnox fix (http://dougknox.com/xp/scripts_desc/fixwinxphelp.htm).

04-24-2007, 11:28 AM
i don't think that CCleaner is the problem

He specifically stated that Opening MSinfo32.exe opened Help&Support, not that help and support was not opening
(which is what the DougKnox Fix fixes if i read it corectely)

looks like a problem with the registry-
Does clicking on help&suppport open MSinfo.exe?

find the MSinfo32.exe file and click properties
Give all the information about it

Paul Komski
04-24-2007, 12:26 PM
The script corrects some of the registry and will at least do no harm. The following four keys are respectively reinstated with the four following correct string values.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\CLASSES\TypeLib\{FC7D9 E00-3F9E-11D3-93C0-00C04F72DAF7}\1.0\0\win32\
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\CLASSES\TypeLib\{FC7D9 E00-3F9E-11D3-93C0-00C04F72DAF7}\1.0\HELPDIR\
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\CLASSES\TypeLib\{FC7D9 000-3F9E-11D3-93C0-00C04F72DAF7}\1.0\0\win32\
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\CLASSES\TypeLib\{FC7D9 000-3F9E-11D3-93C0-00C04F72DAF7}\1.0\HELPDIR\


It is certainly strange that one executable (and with no switch appended) opens another one. MSinfo32 can open Help&Support from its Tools >> Net Diagnostics Menu. My own MSinfo32.exe file is 39,936 bytes if that is of any help. There are two copies one at C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\MSInfo\msinfo32.exe and the other at C:\WINDOWS\system32\dllcache\msinfo32.exe

BTW: What does help and support display when it opens. Anything like the result of entering hcp://system/sysinfo/msinfo.htm into the Address bar of Internet Explorer?

And in case you are feeling lonely you are not alone with this problem: http://www.castlecops.com/t187063-Click_System_Information_and_I_get_Help_and_Suppor t_Center.html though the only suggested fix was sfc /scannow which you have tried.

04-24-2007, 10:58 PM
Thanks Paul,

Just got through typing (and checking on all you asked) for ~ 20 min. Power blinked, and lost it all. I'll give the short version.

BTW, just saw this http://www.techspot.com/vb/topic35007.html on another forum - sounds like my problem. Take a look - where would I get a copy of the index.dat from the referenced path in the post? This guy mentions CCleaner as the culprit, but in my case I think it was Spider. I unintentionally ran SpiderBITE, and I see that was one of the entries!

My problems have none of the symptoms described in Doug Knox's fix.

Clicking on Help & Supp doesn't start MS Info (Sys. Information). It starts Help & Supp main search page.

Either trying to start msinfo32.exe by shortcut in Progms > Accessories, or a desktop shortcut, or clicking (both vers) of the exe, or typing it in 'Run', all launch the main Help Ctr screen.

But typing " msinfo32 %1 " in 'Run', gives exactly same scrn as you mentioned "hcp://system/sysinfo/msinfo.htm" gives. The Help & Supp window w/ the System Info page inside it.

I can't start at the main Help & Supp scrn, and get to Sys. Info by following links. I just get another main Help search page when click on " View Advanced System Information (msinfo32.exe). "

This is what the link from Help & Supp, that's supposed to start Sys Info (but doesn't) looks like:

Maybe that's a clue? What is that command actually saying, and where would it be found? Maybe that is also used by the msinfo32.exe file. If they're both using the same command, and if it's messed up, would explain why both (the link inside Help & Supp, and the msinfo32.exe) don't work as expected? Just guessing.

Thanks for the castlecops link. When I ran sfc /scannow, it gave NO messages or reports during or after. Neither did chkdsk. That makes me suspicious if it was valid - what about you? Isn't it supposed to give a report at end, and maybe create a log? Can't find a log for sfc or chkdsk. I did insert the XP CD w/ SP-2, and it ground away on that periodically for a good while.

My msinfo32.exe(s) are exactly same size as yours.

04-25-2007, 12:05 AM
Chdisk is not supposed to leave log files, unless it finds something; in your case, it is finding nothing because Nothing is wrong with the HD- it is some major problem with the registry-- (at least that is what it sounds to me as)
none of these "scans" are going to find anything wrong if it is the registry

although i tend to shy away from the registry- altering that can destroy a computer easily....(or at least make it fail to start up)

That being said:

can u post a picture of the registry? (to see if anything is wrong)

Also, it might be helpful to run a HJT and post a log file here... it usually gives a good picture of the computer and the state it is in- (although i don't understand it, others here do)

04-25-2007, 12:21 AM

Hmmm...seems like anytime I ran chkdsk or sfc in past (mostly in W 98) it at least gave opportunity to see a results report, even if that report said no probs.

don't think my prob is in Registry. Look at the link in my last reply. I need that index.dat from Windows\ pchealth\ helpctr\ offline cache\.

Paul Komski
04-25-2007, 02:42 AM
chkdsk /L seems it should make a logfile with NTFS volumes and chkdsk /V (verbose switch):-
On FAT/FAT32: Displays the full path and name of every file on the disk.
On NTFS: Displays cleanup messages if any.

Full description of switches:

CHKDSK filename]]] [/F] [/R] [/X] [/I] [/C] [/L[:size]]

volume Specifies the drive letter (followed by a colon),
mount point, or volume name.
filename FAT/FAT32 only: Specifies the files to check for fragmentation
/F Fixes errors on the disk.
/V On FAT/FAT32: Displays the full path and name of every file
on the disk.
On NTFS: Displays cleanup messages if any.
/R Locates bad sectors and recovers readable information
(implies /F).
/L:size NTFS only: Changes the log file size to the specified number
of kilobytes. If size is not specified, displays current
/X Forces the volume to dismount first if necessary.
All opened handles to the volume would then be invalid
(implies /F).
/I NTFS only: Performs a less vigorous check of index entries.
/C NTFS only: Skips checking of cycles within the folder

The /I or /C switch reduces the amount of time required to run Chkdsk by
skipping certain checks of the volume.

I don't think sfc produces any log but there is a registry hack to make it show its progress. http://www.lockergnome.com/nexus/it/2004/11/04/xps-windows-file-protection/

I am attaching my own zipped index.dat from that location which you can try at your own discretion.

can u post a picture of the registry?
?? The registry is huge, which part did you have in mind?

04-25-2007, 03:04 PM
Thanks for the info Paul,

I read the article on Lockergnome. Much I'd seen, but some was new.

I ran chkdsk from the My Computer shortcut. Both options were checked, but no idea what switches that translates to internally.

SFC took quite a long while - much longer than under W 98 se. I was surprised that neither gave any indication of result at end. But sfc did show the progress window, which was at times, like watching grass grow.

Thanks for chkdsk switches descrip. *** How'd you post that screen w/ vertical & horiz. sliders? You gurus! Seriously, HOW?

*** Thanks for the file! Was it from XP hm ed or Pro? I've got home. After I scan it, and soak it in the bath tub, I'll try it out (just kidding, of course). No...yes...I mean, No - I'm definitely kidding. Wait, that doesn't sound right...

Minor point: I didn't ask about posting a "picture of the registry." That was Ajmukon. The whole Registry? Now there'd be some bedtime reading! ZZZZzzzzzz.

Paul Komski
04-25-2007, 03:57 PM
It's from Pro if that matters. The one from Home has a different date and MD5 and is now attached.

Scan them for sure - trust nothing on the net.

The text area boxes are surrounded by code tags to prevent the original lines from wrapping.

04-25-2007, 04:53 PM
It's (index.dat) from Pro if that matters.
I'm thinking it might - they are very different sizes, and the one from XP Pro specifically references 'Pro' inside the file.

The one from Home has a different date and MD5 and is now attached.
Thanks again. What_ a_ guy!

The text area boxes are surrounded by code tags to prevent the original lines from wrapping.
Hmmm...could you share a little, or hava link to some examples? I'm not that much of a coder.:(

Paul Komski
04-25-2007, 05:11 PM
When writing posts use the "Go Advanced" option. Highlight the area you want formatted in a particular way and for code use the javascipt button with the # symbol or just put code and /code (both inside square brackets) around the relevant text in a quick reply.

04-25-2007, 09:48 PM
Well, replacing the index.dat in <c:\windows \pchealth \helpctr \offline cache> cured the prob of Help & Supp. screen starting instead of MS Info, when running msinfo32.exe.

But now, if I try to start Help & Supp., the Barbie & Ken's Virtual Dream Home prgm starts instead!:confused:

Nah, just kiddin.' He-he. It seems to work great. Thanks again!

Paul Komski
04-26-2007, 02:25 AM
Nice result! I always distrust those "cleaning programs". Not every index.dat file contain the superhidden logs of visited web-pages - though it must have been programmed to remove any index.dat files that it found.