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SOS: "Windows did not start successfully"


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#1
ComputerMouse

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:help:

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
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. :whistling: ) 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! :blink:

(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!)
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#2
dsenette

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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?

so i take it there's no product key stuck to the side of the computer anywhere?

'We apologize for the inconvenience, but Windows did not start successfully. A recent hardware or software change might have caused this.'

is this the only error you get?
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#3
ComputerMouse

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Thanks for replying so promptly!

so i take it there's no product key stuck to the side of the computer anywhere?


Er ... yes, there is: just didn't see it! :whistling: Does this mean I should be able to use the disc OK now? (Fingers crossed).

Error Message In Full:

We apologize for the inconvenience, but Windows did not start successfully. A recent hardware or software change might have caused this.

If your computer has stopped responding, restarted unexpectedly, or was automatically shutdown to protect your files and folders, choose the Last Known Good Configuration to revert to the most recent known settings that worked.

If a previous startup attempt was interrupted due to a power failure or because the Power or Reset button was pressed, or if you aren't sure what caused the problem, choose Start Windows Normally.

Safe Mode
Safe Mode with Networking
Safe Mode with Command Prompt

Last Known Good Configuration (your most recent settings that worked)

Start Windows Normally

Use the ups + down arrow keys to move the highlight to your choice

Seconds until windows starts: 20


Whatever option I choose, Windows fails to open. Thanks again :blink:
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#4
dsenette

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Er ... yes, there is: just didn't see it! Does this mean I should be able to use the disc OK now? (Fingers crossed).

Error Message In Full:

yes...this means you can use that disk and the COA that's stuck to the side of your computer..

i suggest trying a repair install

Repair the Windows XP installation.

To do this, follow these steps:
  • Make sure that the CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive is the first priority startup device.
    See your computer documentation for information about how to do this.
  • Insert the Windows XP CD into the CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive, and then restart your computer.
  • When the instruction to "Press any key to boot from CD" appears, press a key. Your computer starts from the Windows XP CD.
  • When the computer starts from the CD, the system verifies your hardware, and then prompts you to select one of the following options:

    - To set up Windows XP now, press ENTER
    - To repair a Windows XP installation using Recovery Console, press R.
    - To quit Setup without installing Windows XP, press F3.

  • Press ENTER.
  • Press F8 to accept the Licensing Agreement.
  • A box lists your current Windows XP installation, and then the computer prompts you to select one of the following options:

    - To repair the selected Windows XP installation, press R.
    - To continue installing a fresh copy of Windows XP without repairing, press ESC.

  • Press R.
You'll get to keep your existing apps & settings, but you need to re-install SP2, Windows Updates & any unsigned drivers afterwards.
NOTE: Be aware that you'll lose any protection from Blaster / Sasser type worms. Don't go online without a firewall, whether the built in Windows one or 3rd party.

How to Perform A Re-Install Of XP
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#5
ComputerMouse

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Thanks so much ... I'll try this out and get back to you!
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#6
The Skeptic

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Wouldn't it be advisable to run chkdsk /r and sfc /scannow from the repair console before doing a xp repair? Quite often the repair ends up with many problems added. Just a thought.
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#7
dsenette

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Wouldn't it be advisable to run chkdsk /r and sfc /scannow from the repair console before doing a xp repair? Quite often the repair ends up with many problems added. Just a thought.

the checkdisk couldn't hurt...but an sfc /scannow would be rellatively useless if you're doing a repair install...as the repair install replaces those files (and more) anyway.. plus...i'm not 100% sure...but i don't think you can run sfc from the recovery console

here's how to run chkdsk from the console
  • Insert the Windows XP startup disk into the floppy disk drive, or insert the Windows XP CD-ROM into the CD-ROM drive, and then restart the computer.
    Note:Click to select any options that are required to start the computer from the CD-ROM drive if you are prompted to do so.
  • When the "Welcome to Setup" screen appears, press R to start the Recovery Console.
    Note:If you have a dual-boot or multiple-boot computer, select the installation that you want to access from the Recovery Console.
  • When you are prompted to do so, type the Administrator password. If the administrator password is blank, just press ENTER.
  • At the Recovery Console command prompt, type the following then press Enter:

    chkdsk /r

  • Allow this to run UNDISTURBED until completed (45 min or so)
  • Report any errors

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#8
The Skeptic

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Thanks for your reply, dsenette. I guess you can run sfc /scannow from the recovery console since it can be run from start > cmd. The reason I brought up the repair point is that I found that quite often a repair ends up with programs, other then xp, badly corrupted. For example, I have a very bad experience with xp repair while AVG antivirus (my favorite, usually) installed. Many times it ends up with a corrupted program that cannot be repaired, removed or reinstalled, whatever I do. For this reason I try to avoid repair as a first step and leave it as a last resort.


Kind Regards / The skeptic
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#9
dsenette

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Thanks for your reply, dsenette. I guess you can run sfc /scannow from the recovery console since it can be run from start > cmd.

the vast majority of cmd commands actually can't be run from RC ( read here )

i haven't had any issues with other software being hosed by a repair option...but i can see where it is possible
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#10
ComputerMouse

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Hi everyone,

Thanks for your help. Seems to be working; however, I do have one final worry - apologies for sounding silly, but I am very technophobic (!) so just getting this far is an effort :whistling:

I've been attempting this XP Repair Install:

XP Repair install

Please read carefully and make sure you followed the warning links before initiating the Repair Install. You can print a text version for reference. repair.txt

1. Boot the computer using the XP CD. You may need to change the boot order in the system BIOS so the CD boots before the hard drive. Check your system documentation for steps to access the BIOS and change the boot order.

2. When you see the "Welcome To Setup" screen, you will see the options below

This portion of the Setup program prepares Microsoft Windows XP to run on your computer:

To setup Windows XP now, press ENTER.

To repair a Windows XP installation using Recovery Console, press R.

To quit Setup without installing Windows XP, press F3.

3. Press Enter to start the Windows Setup.

To setup Windows XP now and Repair Install , press ENTER. do not choose "To repair a Windows XP installation using the Recovery Console, press R", (you Do Not want to load Recovery Console). I repeat, do not choose "To repair a Windows XP installation using the Recovery Console, press R".

4. Accept the License Agreement and Windows will search for existing Windows installations.

5. Select the XP installation you want to repair from the list and press R to start the repair. If Repair is not one of the options, END setup. After the reboot read Warning#2!

6. Setup will copy the necessary files to the hard drive and reboot. Do not press any key to boot from CD when the message appears. Setup will continue as if it were doing a clean install, but your applications and settings will remain intact.


Now, I went through all the stages (I think)!

Did all that - even pressed R, but (rather foolishly) don't know what to do next! I know the computer spent some time copying (before that it corrected something to do with the partitions that I didn't really understand - perhaps linked to the original error!) Now when I turn on and don't press any key it enters Setup. Can I be sure this is not a clean install?!

Just want some confirmation that I'm not going to lose everything ... do these steps make sense to you?

Thanks again :blink:
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#11
wannabe1

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If you followed the instructions you quoted, you'll be fine. The Repair looks just like an install...just make sure not to format if you are given the option...which I don't think you will at this point.
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#12
ComputerMouse

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Thanks, wannabe1. I'll try again now ...
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#13
ComputerMouse

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:whistling: Er ... what next?

Setup took 39 minutes.

Have arrived at the Desktop (which makes a change!)

However, all programs/documents seem to have disappeared as if it was a completely new computer. (Trying not to panic ... :help: )

I take it this is normal. (Laughs nervously!) How do I go about retrieving them?

Thanks! :blink:
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