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When error messages don’t mean what they say (I’m looking at you 0×80070070)

I had one of our VPs stop by to chat with me today and he mentioned that a laptop that his division uses for presentations has been ‘messing up’ again. I say ‘again’ because a few months ago it would sporadically get caught in perpetual reboots (although I couldn’t reproduce it). That time I ended up running a chkdsk /R and giving it back; after it apparently did it again I ended up just wiping/reloading it – that was several months ago.

Sometimes Windows' error messages are like reading a different language

Sometimes Windows' error messages are like reading a different language

Back to the story …. So I get the laptop turn it on, and see that it spends about a minute at the Windows XP splash screen and then BSODs (too quick for me to see what it actually says). ‘Hmmm’ I say to myself – do I spend the time to actually try and figure out what is going on, or do I take 15 minutes to re-image the laptop. Seeing as how time is a precious commodity at work these days, I opted for the re-imaging approach (of course I confirmed that there was no data needed off of the drive).

So thanks to my handy-dandy Windows Deployment Services setup that I have, I am able to reload fully patched Windows XP SP3 images in minutes; did I mention that these images also include all of our standard corporate software (e.g. Cisco VPN client, Office, etc)?

So I start going along my merry way with a PXE boot and choose my images, watch them copy files/expand, and then *BAM* good old 0×80070070. My first thought was that maybe it was the wrong image file …. Although that shouldn’t matter at this stage. So I rebooted, tried another image file and the same thing … 0×80070070.

A quick Google brings up a lot of Vista install problems with this particular error message, but not a whole lot relating to Windows Deployment Services. Since WDS uses the same environment as Vista to deploy itself I figured that there was a good chance that there would be some overlap. So apparently 0×80070070 means low disk space – however the laptop I was trying to image had 18GB free …. Even though that should really matter as the partition should be formatted anyways.

The fix turned out to be delete the partitions (C: and D: ), create a new partition and voila – WDS imaging in all its goodness. I ended up just booting off a Windows XP disk, deleting/creating the partition and the rebooting.

So long story short, 0×80070070 may not be quite as it states but at least it seems to be in the general area.

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