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Windows XP will not start up.


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#1
Darius Black

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I have a terrible cold, and I think my desktop PC may have caught it.

This morning I left my room for a few minutes and when I came back Windows had frozen. I restarted and it would not make it past the loading screen. A couple of things first (maybe they're important): Yesterday, I asked my PC to hibernate a few times while I did my daily business around the house, between gaming sessions. The last time I set it to hibernate, it gave me an error saying something along the lines of "insufficient memory to do this." I manually restarted and it was okay. Also, my comupter had been connected to the net when it "died" this morning and I'd noticed that my connection (dial-up) was going even slower than usual. Much slower. I haven't gotten any virus pop-ups and my BitDefender firewall has been on the whole time (I think), so I dunno...

Now, my specs are WinXP Pro, BitDefender Anti-Virus, 2 gb of RAM, 250 gb Maxtor SATA II, Athlon 64 x2 4200+, Radeon x850 Pro.

I've tried:
-re-plugging my HDD and RAM
-going into safe mode (restarts after waiting a while)
-playing with my power settings
-hugging my computer and crying

Nothing has worked so far. :whistling:

My desktop PC is dear to me like nothing else, and I had a lot of stuff on it that I hadn't yet backed up (including gigabytes' and hours' worth of catalogued music and a lot of important text documents). If I have to reformat, then PLEASE tell me how I can back up my files and documents first, if at all possible.

Thank you in advance, Geeks to Go.

-db
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#2
scott452

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can you get into safe mode (press f8 at start up)
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#3
Darius Black

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Safe mode doesn't work either.
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#4
Retired Tech

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Items in blue which are underlined are clickable to give more information about the process

Start the System Restore Utility at a command prompt

1. Restart your computer, and keep tapping F8 during the initial start-up until you get options, select Safe Mode with a Command Prompt then press enter.

2. Log on to your computer with an administrator account or with an account that has administrator credentials.

3. Type the following command at a command prompt, and then press ENTER:

%systemroot%\system32\restore\rstrui.exe

4. Follow the instructions that appear on the screen to restore your computer to an earlier state.

Look for the most recent system checkpoint created before the errors to restore from

For additional information about the Safe mode with a command prompt, click 315222 to see a description of the Safe Mode Boot Options in Windows XP

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#5
Darius Black

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Okay, I'll try that when I get home tomorrow.

In the meantime, I have a confession to make: I got desperate and installed a second copy of WinXP onto the same partition so I could back up my important data. It worked, but now - assuming your method fixes my previous installation - I will have two Windows XP copies on my hard drive. How do I get rid of the second install?
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#6
Retired Tech

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This will remove the bit which asks which version you want to load, it is slightly different if you have two windows folders

Click Start then Run, type msconfig then press enter

Click on the BOOT.INI tab

Click on Check All Boot Paths

If Windows finds a corrupt or additional install of XP, it will ask you if it's okay to delete the entry for the unused/older/corrupt version. Click Yes / OK and then reboot
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#7
Darius Black

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Hmm, safe mode with command prompt doesn't work either. What now? :whistling:
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#8
vertiGo

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Getting a very similar problem, won't load past the Windows screen - it will restart each time presenting the option to open in safe mode, normal etc.

Iv'e tried every option, each one the same. Iv'e also tried it with the XP cd in.

It started when I was getting 1/5 of the fps I get on a game, and the entire pc was running considerably slower. I tried to shutdown but the "Turn OFF, Restart, Hibernate" options never showed. I then turned it off via the power, and still havn't got it working.
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#9
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You can use this guide to repair XP

Possibly, you will need to press the start button and keep tapping the delete key, (possibly F2) until the PC enters set up. Change the boot order to CD ROM Drive then Hard Drive, press F10 then press enter, load the XP CD then type Y then press enter, as it reboots, look for press any key to load from CD, press enter

You will need your XP product key to complete this

The XP Product Key is a 25 character alpha numerical code, which does not include the sequence OEM


If you have audio / video files which are subject to DRM you should check with the provider for known issues with performing an XP repair install

XP Repair Install

Windows XP repair feature won't delete your data, installed programs, personal information, or settings. It just repairs the operating system

The XP repair install will look and run as a normal install, however, you must not see a request to format the drive


After running XP Repair you will need to install all Windows Updates

Microsoft Update
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#10
Darius Black

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The Windows Repair utility did it! It's working just fine, minus a few unrecognized hardware issues that I'll check later (maybe I just need to reinstall some drivers).

Unfortunately, though, the BOOT.INI method couldn't remove the second Windows installation. When I click on "Check All Boot Paths" it doesn't ask me if I want to delete the unused Windows entry. Is there another way to do this, perhaps through the same utility I used to fix the first entry?

Edited by Darius Black, 23 September 2006 - 08:08 AM.

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#11
Retired Tech

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1. Start the Windows operating system that you want to keep.

2. To determine the Windows folder that you want to keep, click Start, click Run, type %windir%, and then click OK. Remember the folder that is opened. For example, the folder may be C:\Windows.

Note This is your "working" Windows folder. Do not delete or remove this folder from the partition.

3. In Windows Explorer, find the Windows folder that you want to remove.

Important Make sure that this folder is not the folder that you identified as your "working" Windows folder in step 2.

4. Right-click the Windows folder that you want to remove, and then click Delete.

5. Click Yes to confirm the deletion of the folder.

6. Click Start, right-click My Computer, and then click Properties.

7. On the Advanced tab, under Startup and Recovery, click Settings. The Startup and Recovery dialog box appears.

8. Under System startup, click Edit to modify the Boot.ini file.

The Boot.ini file opens in Notepad and looks similar to the following:

[boot loader]
timeout=30
default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional"/fastdetect
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS.0="Microsoft Windows XP Home"/fastdetect

9. On the File menu in Notepad, click Save As, and then save a backup copy of the Boot.ini file that is named Boot.old.

10. On the File menu, click Exit to close the backup copy of the Boot.ini file.

11. In the Startup and Recovery dialog box, under System startup, click Edit to reopen the Boot.ini file.

12. In the [boot loader] section of the Boot.ini file, identify and then delete the line of text for the Windows operating system that you want to remove. For example, if the Windows folder that you removed in step 4 was for the Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition operating system, remove the following line of text from the Boot.ini file:

multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS.0="Microsoft Windows XP Home"/fastdetect

13. On the File menu, click Save to save your changes to the Boot.ini file.

14. On the File menu, click Exit to close the Boot.ini file.

15. Click OK to close the Startup and Recovery dialog box.

16. Restart your computer.
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#12
Darius Black

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Oh dear.

I'm sure I did everything step by step, and it seemed to work just as expected. I was right about to post how happy I was.

But then it all went to [bleep].

The computer became very slow, as I became quite worried. I tried to shut down, but even the act of opening the start menu seemed too much a task for the struggling system. I hard-rebooted and got an error saying that it couldn't find a file from the C:\Windows\System directory. It told me to repair Windows again.

Unfortunately, it might take a few days for me to get the WinXP CD again. Also, could this be a sign of hardware corruption or virus infection? It shouldn't be doing this - [bleep], it shouldn't have screwed up on me to begin with...

I'm a very sad panda right now. :whistling:

Edit: Those bleeps are just the H-word. Sorry, didn't think that was so frowned upon.

Edited by Darius Black, 25 September 2006 - 12:07 PM.

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#13
Retired Tech

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An outside chance, but worth a look

Items in blue which are underlined are clickable to give more information about the process

Start the System Restore Utility at a command prompt

1. Restart your computer, and keep tapping F8 during the initial start-up until you get options, select Safe Mode with a Command Prompt then press enter.

2. Log on to your computer with an administrator account or with an account that has administrator credentials.

3. Type the following command at a command prompt, and then press ENTER:

%systemroot%\system32\restore\rstrui.exe

4. Follow the instructions that appear on the screen to restore your computer to an earlier state.

Look for the most recent system checkpoint created before the errors to restore from

For additional information about the Safe mode with a command prompt, click 315222 to see a description of the Safe Mode Boot Options in Windows XP

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#14
Darius Black

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I can't get into safe mode either.

I installed another copy of Windows again and now I can't even get to my old documents because they were password protected. I went into Windows setup and it now doesn't even recognize my first installation - it's not there. What went wrong?
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#15
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If you can see your other folders

How to take ownership of a file or folder in Windows XP

When you access a file or a folder in your system, you may receive an error "Access Denied", which indicates that you don't have permissions to access that folder or the file. The error is seen is after you reinstall Windows XP and try to access your old profile. If you are an Administrator (or Administrator-level User account) and want to access the contents of the folder, you can take ownership of the folder or file.

You must be logged on to the computer with an account which has administrative privileges.

If you use XP Home Edition, start the computer in safe mode and log on with an account that has Administrative rights to have access to the Security tab.

For XP Professional, you need to disable Simple File Sharing in order to see the Security tab.

To disable simple file sharing:

Click Start, click My Computer.

On the Tools menu, click Folder Options, click the View tab.

In the Advanced Settings section, clear the Use simple file sharing (Recommended) check box. Click OK.

To take ownership of a folder:

Right click the folder you want to take ownership of, then click properties.

Click the Security tab and click OK on the security message, (if one appears).

Click Advanced, click the Owner tab.

In the Name list, click your user name, or click Administrator if you are logged in as Administrator, or click the Administrators group.

If you want to take ownership of the contents of that folder, select the Replace owner on sub containers and objects check box.

Click OK, then click Yes when you receive the following message:

You do not have permission to read the contents of directory folder name. Do you want to replace the directory permissions with permissions granting you Full Control?

All permissions will be replaced if you press Yes.

where folder name is the name of the folder that you want to take ownership of.

Click OK then reapply the permissions and security settings that you want for the folder and its contents.

To take ownership of a file:

Right click the file you want to take ownership of, then click Properties.

Click the Security tab, click OK on the Security message (if one appears).

Click Advanced, click the Owner tab.

In the Name list, click Administrator, or click the Administrators group, click OK.

The administrator or the Administrators group now owns the file.
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