Today I was scheduled to repair Toshiba Satellite Pro M10-S405 laptop with a “software problem”. The customer complained that he is getting the following error right after he turns on his laptop.
Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt:
I started the laptop and got the above mentioned error right away. Restarted it again and on startup a different file was missing:
If you search on the internet for these errors you will find a lot of tips how to fix it. Unfortunately, on most websites this error is mentioned only as a software problem. They say that you can fix it if you replace corrupted files from a Windows CD using a recovery console. I guess in some cases you can fix the problem by replacing corrupted files, but from my experience I know that these kinds of errors are very often caused by a faulty memory module.
I started testing the memory on the laptop with Memtest 86+ utility and the memory failed right away. The laptop had 2 memory sticks installed. I tried to eliminate a bad stick by removing and installing modules one by one into different slots on the system board. The same pattern occurred on startup:
- the laptop booted to Windows fine when only slot 1 was populated (tried both memory sticks)
- the laptop wouldn’t boot at all (there were no video) when only slot 2 was populated
- the laptop booted with a missing file error when both memory slots were populated
Unfortunately, it this case the error was caused by a defective memory slot on the system board, not just a bad memory stick. To fix the problem I had to replace the entire system board.
Conclusion: if you get a missing file error on startup and replacing the corrupted file doesn’t help, check the memory sticks on your laptop.
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