I ran into this ridiculous chicken-and-egg scenario while trying to repair my Windows installation.
See, the problem I was having was that the DVD-ROM drives (plural - two different drives) would not read any media. I decided, after jumping through a bunch of hoops, that it was time to run the Windows repair. (I could do system restore until I’m blue in the face; I don’t know when the problem started, so I don’t know how far back I should go, or even if I still have a good restore point. Bah.)
Now, here’s the real killer on the Windows repair: If the problem you’re having is with some sort of registry entry or driver thing, it doesn’t fix it. That is, it doesn’t undo registry entries for you or repair files it didn’t put there in the first place. Normally I’d say that’s fine, but the problem seems to be that some driver(s) that some other program put in there are not communicating nicely with the Windows drivers. That means the registry needs to have entries related to the bad driver(s) removed.
It doesn’t do that.
Instead, it goes about making you think you can repair the install, and when it finally reboots it comes back and says “The file asms on Windows XP Professional CD-ROM is needed.”
That translates to: “I can’t talk to your CD-ROM.”
The Microsoft article on this says that in order to fix it (basically) you either have to edit the registry or you need to install Windows on a different partition, boot from that, and get your data off the disk.
I have issue with this. I can’t edit the registry because it won’t let me get to a spot in the installation where it allows for that. It boots up, goes straight to setup - do not stop at GO, do not collect $200 - and pops up the error. Safe mode doesn’t work - it thinks it’s in setup. Command prompt doesn’t work - it thinks it’s in setup. Recovery console doesn’t work - you can’t edit the registry from there. I don’t have any other partitions to install Windows to, so that’s out.
Basically, I’m screwed.
So I reformatted using the built-in IBM restore function that puts all of the hardware back to factory settings.
Except that they forgot to put in the Intel INF stuff and it gets confused when it loads up and sees all the devices I have (God forbid it just detect and install them all) so it pretty much hosed stuff right from the get-go.
I tried installing a clean version of Windows except I think the version I got from the IBM factory was a volume license version - the sticker on the side of the machine (with the license and serial number and all that) has a Windows XP Pro key… but my Windows XP Pro disc tells me it’s not valid (which is bullshit, otherwise why did I pay for it?).
So I’ve unplugged all of the unnecessary devices (didn’t remove internal stuff) and I’m back to trying the IBM restore route. I’m in the process of downloading all of the drivers they forgot so I can burn them to a disc on my work laptop and get them over to my home machine.
Assuming the DVD drives finally decide to work, that is.
This is exactly what I wanted to be doing this weekend. Reinstalling Windows. Because I don’t get enough of this sort of tedium elsewhere in my life.