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[SOLVED] Win XP SP3 "Windows cannot access specified device..."

This is a discussion on [SOLVED] Win XP SP3 "Windows cannot access specified device..." within the Windows XP Support forums, part of the Tech Support Forum category. Please help! I bought my first new PC 4 years ago (Win XP Pro SP3) which gave no problem until


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Old 04-01-2012, 09:43 AM   #1
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Cry

Please help! I bought my first new PC 4 years ago (Win XP Pro SP3) which gave no problem until Christmas Eve. I downloaded the latest version of Firefox (as recommended by Secunia PSI) and the latest version of IrfanView. I always keep previous versions of s/w, so I renamed iviewsetup.exe to iview432_setup.exe, ran my standard virus checks on it and ran it. My firewall (up to date version of Comodo) didn't recognise the program (quite correctly) and requested confirmation to continue. I duly confirmed it was ok and then the roof fell in. Since then there is only one program which will run in normal mode (the Task Manager). Nothing else works at all, and I mean, nothing. Symptoms are either no response to mouse clicks or the following error message "Windows cannot access the specified device, path or file. You may not have the appropriate permissions to access the item."

I've been forced to use Safe Mode for the first time but my machine is crippled when doing so (no printer, no sound, nasty screen display, no broadband etc.). I have resurrected an ancient s/h slow Compaq running Win ME and can access the Internet via (pricey) dial-up at 48kbs (ouch).

Please note that XP PC is used only for technical stuff (no games, no social networking). I used a b/band modem (not a router) so I could switch it off whenever I'd finished connection. I've run AVG Antivirus resident at all times, along with the Comodo firewall. I scanned my system earlier on the day of the crash, full scans using AVG, Malwarebytes, AdAware, Secunia PSI, IObit Malware Fighter, and SUPER AntiSpyware. Apart from the odd tracking cookie, none showed anything dodgy. I received regular updates of XP from Microsoft, including the Malicious S/W Removal Tool. I also downloaded and ran a manual version of this and finished with the MS Offline Defender s/w, which only flagged one program (an old downloaded utility setup program which I had never used (I deleted it)).

I tried accessing System Restore but my restore points have disappeared (which might have been my fault - I'm not sure). I'm reluctant to do anything more because I don't know what to do. (I'm on my own and don't know anyone who is clued up with XP). If I had any hair left, I'd be still tearing it out! If anyone can help, please advise. I'll follow any reasonable suggestion and supply more info if requested (but bear in mind I can only use Safe Mode). One last point - I do possess the MS XP Pro SP3 CD as originally supplied but have not done anything with it (again through ignorance).

All assistance gratefully received.

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Old 04-01-2012, 09:50 AM   #2
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Hello welcome to TSF! Can you post the make and model of your machine?

If it is a custom build, please post the brand and model of your motherboard, CPU, PSU wattage brand and model, RAM installed, Graphics card brand and model, if onboard graphics or card.

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Old 04-01-2012, 10:21 AM   #3
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Hi, Jack... Thanks for lightning fast response! I'll provide such info as I've access to.

PC custom built by PCSPECIALIST (website is PCSPECIALIST - Custom PCs, Custom Computers, Custom PC, Desktop PC, Custom Built Computers, Gaming PC).
Motherboard is an Asus P5Q De Luxe.
CPU is Intel Core2 Duo E8400 3.0GHz
RAM is 2GB
Graphics NVIDIA Quaddro FX370 (ram not known). I presume it's a card.
PSU (power supply unit?) unknown but I think it's circa 400W.

Hope this helps. Please note I'll be away from my old steam Compaq until tomorrow. Thanks again.
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Old 04-01-2012, 10:44 AM   #4
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Go here ASUS - Motherboards- ASUS P5Q Deluxe Download the Chipset drivers latest reboot.





Go back to the link and download the bios update 2009.10.27 update follow all instructions to the letter
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Old 04-01-2012, 01:54 PM   #5
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In Safe Mode do a System Restore to a time before this happened. In the future, do not rename new download files, just rename the old ones
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Old 04-01-2012, 06:18 PM   #6
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For Jack Bauer. I've found the download link ok, but as it's 2:08am here in the UK, I'll do the exercise tomorrow when I'm awake and I'll report back. Thanks.

For 'spunk.funk'. In Safe Mode I tried right clicking 'My Computer' for Properties, then tab System Restore. This showed the tick box for "Turn off System Restore" was ticked (I don't know why it has been turned off). I've been told recently that turning off System Restore loses all restore points (rather worrying if true). Attempting to untick the box produces gives the error message "System Restore cannot be enabled in Safe Mode. Please restart your machine in normal mode and try again."

This is Catch 22 - I can't run anything in normal mode! Not that running System Restore would help if the restore points have been erased. (I used to set a restore point every month.) Is what I've been told correct? Thanks.
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Old 04-02-2012, 07:30 AM   #7
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For Jack Bauer.

Hi Jack. Following your (dare I say it) rather cryptic post (please allow for my ignorance, I'm a complete novice for this sort of exercise), I concluded that you wished me to update the Intel Chipset s/w prior to updating the motherboard BIOS. Given my current 48kbs download speed, I went to the Asus link and have ended up eventually with the following files.

(1) e3913_P5Q-Deluxe_manual.zip
(2) AsusUpdt_V71601_XPVista.zip (update program? 2009.05.26 update)
(3) IntelP45ICH10R_Chipset_V9001009_XPVista.zip (is this reqd.? 2008.07.11 update)
(4) Intel_ChipsetInf_V9001009.zip (2009.07.24 update)
(5) P5Q-ASUS-DELUXE-2301.zip (Bios 2009.10.27 update)

I'm wary of making a pig's ear of this so I'd be grateful if you could confirm all the files are required and the order is correct. (The two Intel files contain circa 300 files and seem similar, although the online description is worded differently). Thanks.
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Old 04-02-2012, 01:39 PM   #8
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Well,
1. this is the manual, you don't need this unless you want to read it.
The only update you need is #4.
In Safe Mode go to Start/Run and type chkdsk C: /R and press enter. A black Command Prompt window pops up. Now type a Y for Yes to run Check Disk at next boot up and manually boot the computer.
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Old 04-03-2012, 04:38 AM   #9
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Hello 'spunk.funk'. I performed the chkdsk action as you requested. Eventually after 5 stages it returned the message that the NTFS file system was clean.

Please advise on how to use the Intel_ChipsetInf_V9001009.zip file to update the Chipset (I'm in totally unknown territory). Thanks for your continuing help.
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Old 04-03-2012, 12:00 PM   #10
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If you can boot into Windows Normally, then download the Intel Chipset Zip file. Open the Zip file and Extract the files to your desktop. Double click Setup.exe.
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Old 04-03-2012, 02:13 PM   #11
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Hello 'spunk.funk'. I've downloaded and unzipped the V9001009 file into a temp folder. Normal Mode is still in the same crippled state - I've just tried it. The only thing that will run is the Task Manager, only I'm not very familiar with this program. But I've just realized that the File menu has the New Task (Run..) option, which I found and needed to use to run msconfig to get into Safe Mode (the Asus P5Q traps f8 for its own menu during boot sequence). I guess that I've got three options:-

(1) In Normal Mode. Use Task Mgr -> New Task and type in the name/path of the Setup.exe program (and stand back and cross my fingers and hope...)

(2) Try running Setup.exe in Safe Mode.

(3) Go back to the drawing board...

Your guess is bound to be better than mine so I've not tried (1) or (2), I'll await your response. Ta.
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Old 04-03-2012, 03:01 PM   #12
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boot into Normal Mode, start the Task Manager/File/New Task, and Browse to the place with you downloaded the driver file. Unzip it and run Setup.exe.
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Old 04-03-2012, 05:10 PM   #13
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Hello again. The good news is that I followed your advice and appeared to have successfully installed the Chipset vsn (no error messages) and I requested the reboot at the finish. I checked the quoted registry key afterwards(nervously) and the install value said 'success'.

The bad news is that normal mode is still crippled, although the following desktop icons now work:- 'My Computer','My docs...', 'My Netwk Plces' and 'Recycle Bin'. All other programs still give the error message. I can now browse via 'My Docs' but an attempt to send a .txt file to Notebook gives the error message, flagging the .txt file, not Notebook. Submenus now display, although no icons will actually launch when clicked. It's 1:00am UK time so I'll get some shuteye now and await any further posts tomorrow. Ta again.
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Old 04-03-2012, 07:59 PM   #14
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If you have an XP Disc, go to Start/Run and type SFC /scannow. Put the XP CD in and it will replace any missing files from the CD.
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Old 04-04-2012, 05:32 AM   #15
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Quick Reply

Hello there. I have the official MS XP Pro SP3 CD supplied by the vendor. Tried SFC /scannow in Safe Mode - instant exit. Tried it again in Normal Mode via Tsk Mgr->New Task and it ran for a long time, hitting the hard disk and CD throughout. It exited without indicating any problems. Alas, Normal Mode remains on life support. I'll await any further meditations. Continued thanks.
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Old 04-04-2012, 03:35 PM   #16
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SFC running a long time means you had a lot of missing files. Next step, Try a Repair Install
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Old 04-04-2012, 06:17 PM   #17
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Hi there. Repair Install looks pretty daunting but I'll give it a whirl. This will take a while...
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Old 04-04-2012, 06:35 PM   #18
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Repair Install is pretty smooth. The only rub would be if your XP disc doesn't offer the option, it only allows you to reinstall Windows. But if you have the option of a Repair Install it usually fixes everything.
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Old 04-07-2012, 04:18 AM   #19
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Hello once more. Your encouragement is appreciated! I've been checking all the online info relating to Repair Install and attempted to do a complete system backup (.bkf style) in Safe Mode. This failed producing the message 'Catastrophic Failure' but following the style of your suggestions, I tried 'ntbackup /?' via Tsk Mgr in Normal Mode and not only got the DOS style info but the the normal backup window as well. The full backup & verify to an external HD went well but took ages. I'm still reading the Repair Install info and will hopefully attempt the exercise this w/e. I'll inform you of the results as and when. Have a pleasant w/e.
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Old 04-09-2012, 09:08 AM   #20
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Hi... Please say it can't get worse! I'm now in a re-boot loop despite having followed every instruction to the letter. Since I last posted, I have:- (0) Established my CD did offer the Repair option (1) Tracked down my MS Product Key (2) Found the ASUS/Intel RAID diskette (3) Found it had corrupted files (4) Discovered it was due to bad diskette drive (5) Eventually found what seemed the right set of files on the hard disk (6) Bought new diskette drive (7) Couldn't extract old d/d despite taking the system unit apart (it's now jammed) (8) Copied files to new d/d diskette (which now reads ok) using dangling cables (9) Found my MS XP SP3 CD and booted with it (ASUS m/b uses F8 for boot swapping) (10) Started Setup, making sure NOT to use the Recovery console (as advised by site you supplied) (11) Used F6 to force read of my RAID diskette (which now read ok) (12) Chose the Repair option as advised (13) Startup followed doing its file operations... (14) Then Startup said it would restart to install (15) It rebooted (I'd removed diskette as requested but left CD in the drive), giving the message "setup is being restarted........." (16) It then entered Safe Mode (**!!) and then gave the error message "Windows XP Setup cannot run under Safemode. Setup will restart now" and so back to (15) !!! (17) Deciding not to kill myself at this point, I tried trapping the normal Windows F8 (see (9)) and eventually managed it. I elected for the 'Start Windows normally' option and to my intense frustration, watched the machine go to (16). I now have an expensive machine whose sole ability is to reboot itself into a totally irrelevant Safe Mode. Is there any way I can preserve my sanity and persuade to continue the Repair Install that it was halfway through? Please advise...

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