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My mother's Dell XPS system has been running fine and dandy for the past two or three years now, and just yesterday I was called in for an emergency situation. Turns out her operating system was corrupted unintentionally and out of nowhere. I was able to salvage data and run a virus scan on the hard drive and nothing seemed out of the ordinary. chkdsk did nothing for the disk and it would start up but networking, start menu, and other basic functions refused to work and doing anything in Windows Explorer would lock up the machine entirely.

How can an operating system become corrupt with no user malpractice and no signs of a virus?

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closed as not constructive by Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007, Nifle, random Oct 26 '11 at 23:14

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"Turns out her operating system was corrupted"... Define "corrupted". Provide evidence that bolsters this conclusion. There are other problems that can cause problems besides viruses. @LarsTech's answer regarding flaky hardware, for example –  JDS Oct 26 '11 at 2:10

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It could be a sign that hardware is getting flaky. A loose connection inside the computer that might be disconnecting with vibrations, or sodering joints on the motherboard. Electricity spike, etc.

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The problem is definitely with the hard drive and more specifically, the operating system. A different hard drive runs fine and I can pull all the files off of the drive when booted from a separate drive. Definitely not a hardware problem. –  esqew Oct 26 '11 at 1:48
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@esqew - You don't consider a hdd hardware? –  Nifle Oct 26 '11 at 6:47

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