Computer (Windows XP) Problem

Hello all, hoping the strategy of combined knowledge and experience can yield some answers here.

The Problem: Windows XP will not start, I receive an error saying there is a “Bad Image Checksum” or something…related to the file secur32.dll

This resulted from the windows update from SP2 to SP3, which caused some crazy conflicts with Threatfire, AVG Free, and Firefox…basically firefox wouldnt start after the update because apparently Firefox 3 and Threatfire arent compatible…and in deleting Firefox to attempt a reinstall…somehow said file was lost or corrupted.

What I have tried: I attempted to boot windows off of a windows boot/update disk to recover the lost file through the recovery console HOWEVER…prior to the screen giving the option to select recovery console I receive an error claiming that my drive may be infected and that I need to run the CHKDSK function.

The error code is as follows STOP: 0x0000007b(0xF78D2524, 0x00000034, 0x00000000, 0x00000000)

From what i understand…CHKDSK cannot be run until the recovery console is reached…

I read somewhere that to do this would require transplanting the drive into another computer as a secondary HD to run CHKDSK…at which time I would likely throw in the towel and take it to a professional

Comments? Questions? HELP?

Thanks in advance for anything…Larson

This might be useful:

The first thing you should do is move the drive into an external enclosure, not internal so there is no chance of booting from it, and backup everything you care about.

A quick search doesn’t show that this issue is known to be related to SP3, so we’ll assume its unrelated to what you were doing.

It is very likely this is physical HDD damage. If the machine is >3 or 4 years old this is not uncommon.

The easiest way to rule out this option is to run a HDD diagnotic tool. I use SeaTools which is free from Seagate, but works on almost any drive. There is a Windows version if you move the drive to another machine, and there is a bootable DOS version which can be run from a CD or floppy. You should run this to determine if the drive if physically healthy.

From SeaTools you should run the following tests (Depending on the size of the drive this could take over a hour.)
Run the short test, if that fails buy a new drive. If the itsucceeds then run the long test.
If the long test fails buy a new drive.
If the long test succeeds after repair run the test again, if it finds more errors buy a new drive.
If the long test succeeds you can be fairly sure its a software issue.

If this is a software issue you may be able to recover your machine, but you probably won’t be able to get the machine very stable. My recommendation is run fixmbr from recovery console, delete ALL partitions on the drive, recreate and format any partitions, then reinstall Windows. However if you don’t want to do that there are two things you can try.

Either of these options may cause data loss/corruption, so make sure you’ve backup up your data!

  1. It could just be a MBR corruption issue, this could be due to a virus, HDD damage, or something else. Assuming the HDD is still functional this can be corrected from Recovery Console if you can get it to load, by using the fixmbr command.

  2. You can try doing an over-the-top installation of XP. This would replace the system file with original ones. This could save files, but application installs and system configuration would be lost.

Your issue sounds moderate serious.

I think you will either need to reinstall windows, or try and use a windows recover disk to “repair” (it will actually replace) the broken files.

If it were me, i would use a Linux Live-CD to access the drive and copy my valuable data off first. Or mount the drive as a SLAVE HD in another windows machine and copy data off that way.

In either case i think you will want to back up data, and then either attempt to repair or reinstall.

I will go along with Eric on this one. It sounds coincidental that a hard drive failure occured at the same time you were performing an update but it happens. Have you tried to use the manual boot sequence to go back to the last known good bootup?

From Microsoft help…
To start the computer using the last known good configuration
Print these instructions before continuing. They will not be available after you shut down your computer in step 2.
Click Start, click Shut Down, and then, in the drop-down list, click Shut down.
In the Shut Down Windows dialog box, click Restart, and then click OK.
When you see the message Please select the operating system to start, press F8.
Use the arrow keys to highlight Last Known Good Configuration, and then press ENTER.
If you have a dual-boot or multiple-boot system, choose the installation that you need to access using the arrow keys, and then press ENTER.

Choosing Last Known Good Configuration provides a way to recover from problems such as a newly added driver that may be incorrect for your hardware. It does not solve problems caused by corrupted or missing drivers or files.
When you choose Last Known Good Configuration, only the information in registry key HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet is restored. Any changes you have made in other registry keys remain.
NUM LOCK must be off before the arrow keys on the numeric keypad will function.

Alright…yes, ive tried to boot from the last known good configuration and that didnt work. I’ve also run Dell’s full HD Diagnostic which took ~4-5 hours and it came out clean.

If i could just get to recovery console Id be golden b/c then i can just repair that .dll and everything should be hunky dory but i cant get to recovery console b/c it tells me that there is some sort of error and i need to run CHKDSK before i get there…that is the error code i originally listed

i mean…i cant even get into windows period so…

i guess my biggest question is can you run CHKDSK prior to the recovery console?

what would i do to save the files i have on it? Move the HD to another machine and drag and drop off of it?

i would just delete everything, repartition the disk(s) and reinstall a fresh copy. If you need your software, you could always just reinstall it- most companies understand if you need a new serial # or activation code, just give them a call.

That’s how I usually do it.

First off, I have an aversion to wiping a previously working copy of anything to fix an unknown problem. If you can’t get to a safe mode it is possible you have contracted a virus. If so, the virus is producing the error message or it has damaged needed boot files or the boot sector of the drive in the process. You just don’t know at this point. I would check the virus sites and see if any of the newer viruses have this signature and what it would take to fix it.
I am guessing that you have tried the F8 during the boot sequence to get to the “choose operating system” text screen and that is not working, correct?

yes when attempting to boot safemode i get the same secur32.dll is corrupt Bad Image Checksum message.

When booting from CD i get the run CHKDSK message which doesnt make sense to me b/c im…booting from the CD…so why should my HD matter…and it seems to me the only way to run CHKDSK on it is to transplant the HD to another computer…at which point I would likely just transfer all my files to a safe location and start over…i dunno…

I have had this problem with one of my computers every time I try to upgrade to SP2 or SP3. Finally gave up. I get into safemode and do a system restore. Works every time. There are no lost files.

If you can boot from the Windows CD, you can do a “repair install”. after you boot, DO NOT GO TO THE REPAIR CONSOLE, go ahead And tell it to install windows. It will then do a disk check and tell you that windows already exists on this partition and ask if you want to repair. Say yes. It looks like it is reinstalling windows, but it’s not. It will replace all system files. I think it will return you to the service pack level of the install CD, not sure on that. If you google “repair install XP” you should find lots of info.

Good luck.

Here is a useful link:

In doing some research there is a variety of known virus problems that disguise themselves as this Windows security file. If you can get the options screen and can select DOS instead of Windows or Safe mode. The file should be in the C:\Windows\System32 folder. Check the date and size of this file and any other file os a similar name and/or size with a date about the time of your problem. It is possible that the virus has renamed your origianl file and substituted it’s own. Simply deleting the file will not fix the problem as so many Windows processes use this file.

now there’s an idea!

Try to replace the file with a known good one from a working windows machine.

If it were me it would take about 2 min’s with a Linux Live-CD, but i assume you either know nothing about Linux or really prefer windows.

If that’s your case you could hook it up to another windows system, and try to copy it over, but considering it’s a critical system file it might be in use and unable to copy over.

Thanks for all your help guys, im gonna make one last phone call tommorrow and just take it in…this is where the wonder of our country comes into play because i can pay somebody to do something i dont wanna! lol

when my 4 year old laptop did something similar it did in fact turn out to be physical drive failure, I just couldn’t get into anything for more than a couple of seconds and crash! it was the drive, I installed new drive and all was good so yup they sure do fail that way. Kinda surprised me because it gave no warning, no troubles at all until maybe one or two troubled starts and then that was it…blue screen and no start and done!.


Personally, I would third the Linux LiveCD. If you don’t know how to use Linux, I suggest learning at least enough to get around the graphical environment of Knoppix to be able to access your hard drive in case this kind of thing happens again. It is a very useful tool that can save you a HUGE amount of pain. Also good for accessing files on really old machines to which you don’t remember the password!:smiley: And if you have a hard drive that is physically damaged and the computer repair place can’t get any data off of it, often times, Knoppix can! I had a dead 40 GB a few years ago, and the place couldn’t copy the drive with their machine because it registered the drive as broken, so I took it home with a new drive and did it all on my computer without a single lost bit! Maybe something to do with the fact that I was only accessing a KB at a time (took about 12 hours for 15 gigs of data), but still.

Few comments on the issue

Be wary of AVG as it seems to have a lot of false positives (I haven’t experienced them but I have read about them) for example read the following as it is very recent

Second, having linux live cds can be a life saver, even when I don’t need them I use them to back up my harddrive, windows constantly creates errors when I back up my drives before reformatting because a file is currently being read, especially in the my documents folder, however in linux, you can just drag and drop the whole folder and sort out the mess of which files you need and don’t need after you reformat.

Best of luck as windows installs gone wrong can be a complete and utter pain to fix.


I agree with them. Get the latest copy of Knoppix and a flash drive. You can transfer all your files off that way. Knoppix was designed to be Windows-user friendly. (In fact, it got me to make the permant switch). There is also some software out there called mlewarebytes that is supposed to get rid of just about any virus and is bootable (I’ve never tried it, only heard about it from my teacher). If neither one of those work, look into superGrub. It is the linux bootloader on a CD. I used it this morning to get my machine back in bootable state. It seems to work well. If nothing else, it might get you to the point you can force it to boot in safe mode. There are also a few tools (DSL) which you can install on a flash dive and boot if your BIOS supports it.