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Help me fix my family's computer


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#1
s.elements

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OK, so my step-dad was having problems with the PC(a program locked up the whole thing or something), and rather than simply asking for my help to fix it as as is usually the case, he turned it off by unplugging it(he said he couldn't get the start menu to come up).

Now, whenever I fire up the PC it goes to an error screen stating the computer was improperly shut down blah blah blah, and gives you the options of 'starting windows normally', 'starting from the most recent working settings', and 'booting in safe mode'. With the former two the computer goes to the 'windows loading' screen, then after 20 seconds or so of that, a blue screen with a bunch of text flashes for like a tenth of a second, and the computer reboots back to the original error screen. When selecting the former option, a list of drivers starts scrolling down the screen, but each time freezes at the same spot, and once again the computer reboots to the original error screen.

I tried going into the BIOS, but there doesn't appear to be anything there that can help me(I didn't think there would be). I'd really like to avoid having to reinstall Windows and losing what's on the hard drive(programs, music, etc.). They didn't have Norton Ghost installed or anything similar installed.

The computer is a Compaq running Windows XP. I honestly have no idea if it's SP 1 or 2, though(and they wouldn't either).

Anyone know of a secret button combination that will rectify this(hehe), or any other tips, so I don't have to deal with my brother constantly wanting to use my laptop to check his MySpace page?
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#2
ultimateslacker2

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What does the Blue screen say?
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#3
Commodore64

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If there are two sticks of memory, try removing one then the other, or just reseating them.
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#4
s.elements

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I have no idea, it's only on the screen for like a tenth of a second, maybe less.
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#5
The Skeptic

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If you have the XP installation disk or if you can borrow one insert it into the cd drive and boot the computer. The computer should boot from the disk. if it doesnt, please make it first booting device in the Bios.

After Setup loads drivers and ask for confirmation (press f8), three options will show up. Chose "repair using recovery console". A black dos-like screen will show up. type 1 when asked which installation to repair (assuming you have one xp instalation). Type Enter when asked for password (or your password if you have one). A prompt wil show up. Type chkdsk /r and press enter. The computer will run a check of your disk. It's quite a lengty process, depending on several factors. Let it run thrughout the process. Try to reboot.
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