Hello. I am new here and have been having trouble since yesterday, when my computer froze for the first time while attempting to load Windows XP. Since then I have not been able to get into Windows at all despite trying numerous times and have gathered from other messages that this problem is not uncommon. Apologies, therefore for the sense of déjà vu (!), but I am concerned that with the original Windows XP disc & product key currently unavailable (lost) this spells disaster.
Whenever I attempt to load, I am met with the same depressing words: 'We apologize for the inconvenience, but Windows did not start successfully. A recent hardware or software change might have caused this.' I can't work out what these changes might have been: the computer has been working fine for a fortnight – albeit a little slow – since it was attached to the Internet via a wired rooter and new anti-virus software (Norton 2005) was installed. The possibility of an improper shutdown is the only immediate cause I can suggest.
None of the on-screen options work:
Safe Mode with Networking
Safe Mode with Command Prompt
Last Known Good Configuration
Start Windows Normally
In each case, the computer attempts to load Windows but then promptly freezes.
I have tried the 'F8' menu options but they don't work either.
Obviously, I should be extremely grateful to anyone who could reassure me that all is not lost & provide some practical advice about what to do next! (Afraid I am a complete novice when it comes to computers. ) I need to get this machine working again ASAP but DON'T want to lose all my files & folders.
I do have access to another XP disc for the same edition (Windows XP Home Edition OEM) but without the product key. Is this worth a try?
Thank you so much for your help!
(N.B. I'm afraid I cannot give you more details about the make of computer etc., since the machine was put together from various sources!)