The system cannot boot. The file is possibly corrupt. The file header checksum does not match the computed checksum

Well, isn’t that special. This error was greeting my wife when she booted up Windows Vista on her Sony Vaio laptop the other day. This error message comes up directly after BIOS POST, within milliseconds. No chance to enter safe mode, no chance to press F10 for system recovery.

Booting from the Windows Vista DVD, I can enter the command prompt and run CHKDSK with no errors. Even CHKDSK /R doesn’t find anything out of the ordinary. The Repair option doesn’t find anything. Booting from the DVD, pressing F9 and selecting the memory diagnostics, it ran for 5 passes without finding anything. Just great…

As it turns out, one of the memory modules was the culprit. The laptop has one 2GB SO-DIMM module and one 1GB. Removing the 1GB module, the laptop boots up happily as if nothing has happened. Hmm…. wondering why the memory diagnostics didn’t find this.

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