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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
(Putting the TL;DR first since...it's really long, sorry)

TL;DR: XP SP3 running unstable. Can't download/install many programs without errors (integrity checks etc.,). Not the power supply, not the hard drive.
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I'm running Windows XP SP3 on an old computer. It was built it 2001, and was built to run XP. It ran fairly well over the years, until about 2 years ago it started to, for lack of a better term, die. Windows kept crashing and I had to keep reinstalling time after time. Finally, this past summer it kicked it for good. The fans would turn once on power up, then nothing. I shelved it for a while, then finally got around to replacing the power supply. Sure enough, it boots right up. I slap the OS on from the old CD, then go through the wonderful process of doing Windows Updates from the time of the install CD (around 2001) until now. It doesn't fight me much, from how many times I've had to do it I know it wasn't any more buggy than usual. So I got it all caught up, and then some old problems started happening again. Programs wouldn't install because of "corrupted downloads". Not just one program...most all of them. AVG, iTunes, Open Office, etc.,. I was able to get Firefox and Windows Live Messenger on before it started tweaking on me though. So I figure, first a bad power supply...now it's the hard drive. So I grab a spare 40 gig I have laying around, slap it in and attempt to install an OS on it. It gets through the setup and everything, and then immediately starts having problems. I get to the SP3 update, and it says that the download was messed up. LUCKY for me it didn't get hung up until it was well past the point of no return. Rebooted, and that whole OS is corrupt. Went back to my main drive/OS, reformatted the 40 gig, and tried again. Same problem. So it's not a hard drive issue. So now I'm completely stuck. I would check if maybe it's an unstable internet connection, but I have 2 other computers in the house running absolutely fine. I also get registry errors saying that Windows had to recovery some part of the registry from time to time. So now this is way beyond me, any help would be great. Sorry for writing a book, but I wanted to make sure you had the whole picture.
 

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How are you certain the problem isn't the hard drive? I'd test it in a different computer with some hard drive diagnostic utilities just to be sure.
http://www.techsupportforum.com/f234/hard-drive-diagnostic-utilities-302602.html
(Do the long test to scan the whole surface)

There's also another possibility, which is likely when a computer is that old. Electronics are starting to fail. Motherboard, chipset, any number of components. Those are extremely difficult to diagnose and it's often more cost-effective to replace the unit.
Corruption could be at any point during the chain. Could be modem/network card during transmission. Could be bad memory (test with memtest86+) or memory controller. Could be bad sectors on hard drive or bad PCB or controller. Could be bad motherboard.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Couple of questions come to mind.
1 Why reinstall the OS because you changed the PSU?
2 When was the last malware scan done?
3 When was your last defrag?
1. I reinstalled the OS because it wasn't booting. I'm pretty sure it gave out on me completely in the middle of a reinstall.

2. The problem can't be software based since the same problems keep popping up on different drives, and on reformatted drives.

3. Same thing, I've reformatted both hard drives I've tried, no real use for a defrag on a fresh computer, unless I'm wrong.


I appreciate the help, but I'm afraid the first response is gonna be the truth, it's a lost cause. Something's going bad, and it's gonna suck trying to fix. I was going to rebuild this thing any way, just thought maybe I could have the old girl running stable for a while til I can pull the funds. Thanks again for the help guys.
 
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