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XP Won't start, even in safe mode


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#16
Mark D

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That or the FIXBOOT command, (also available at command prompt on the recovery console), seem to be your only hope now. Safe mode starts normally get kicked off after an unsuccessful boot attempt. If the instructions on your link do enable the normal boot, your repair operation should kick in and finalize. It sounds like someone went into msconfig and ticked Safe Mode start(?) odd..
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#17
Mike T

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Those instructions worked for me. After typing in that command, windows setup resumed and windows opened in normal mode. I was working around on it for a bit, and I have now encountered a new problem. It started with my windows firewall not being able to open, "Due to an unspecified error." So I wanted to try to update my windows as much as possible to see if that would help. I installed a firewall from a software package I had from a company called CA, as a temporary firewall so I could update windows and get the windows firewall working again.

So I went on to the windows update website, and it could not update my computer. There was apparently something wrong with my automatic updates or the way they were configured. It told me to go into some explorer window and change a few options to try to force the automatic updates to take (these were windows' instructions). So I did what it told me to (this was more than a week ago, and I cannot remember what they were telling me to go through and do). I tried to reboot the computer, just to make sure everything took. When it restarted, windows came up but essentially froze. My mouse moved around, but I would get an hourglass when I would roll over the start bar, no programs open, and Ctrl+Alt+Del doesn't bring up the task manager window.

Now, most of the time when I start windows it starts up and appears to function normally, but within 5 seconds the start menu and all my icons disappear. The only way the start menu and icons stay is if some message comes up when I start windows (such as "No internet connection found, would you like to try again or work offline?"), but the start menu gives me the hourglass, navigation windows are nonfunctional, and Ctrl+Alt+Del does nothing. I basically can't do a thing because I can't open a program or even the start menu befor windows stops responding. Any ideas on this one?
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#18
Mark D

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Can it start in safe mode now and stay stable? If it does, click on Start, and then Run. Type in sfc /scannow. It may prompt you for the WindowsXP cd to be available. I wouldn't worry about trying to update the system til it was stable, and then probably install Service Pack 3.

Another thought, the Windows firewall came out with Service Pack2, before that there wasn't a Windows firewall. Perhaps your installation CD is an early XP or Service pack1? If it is stable in safe mode, click on Start, Control Panel, and then the System control panel. The window that pops up will display what version of XP you're running. If it is an early version, you can then install Service Pack2, which will establish the Windows firewall. Lots of programs now require at least XP w/ service pack2 installed.

Hope this helps..
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#19
Mike T

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OK safe mode is a no-go. Same thing happens when I start up; everything disappears after like 3-5 seconds, on both accounts I have on Windows. The tech guy at my work suggested a parallel install of Windows to a new directory. He said to do a fresh install of Windows and edit the directory I'm installing to, just name it something else, and that I wouldn't erase my drive in doing so. Thoughts? Any other ideas?
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#20
Mark D

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Installing Windows into a different directory is the best way to recover your data and test your hardware. Just be sure to tell the installation routine to "Leave the file system intact" when it asks if you'd like to re-format the drive. The new windows will also need device drivers loaded. I will often perform a fresh install to recover data, then re-install again, letting XP re-format the drive the second time. Your new Windows will also need to be activated, (it may ask for this before it even lets you start up, depends on how old your XP CD is). If that's the case, you may have to use the telephone method to activate, as your network adapter may not work without its drivers, (which you cannot install because Windows will not start). Its kinda like a "Catch 22" that you can hit with a Windows XP re-install :) . Be sure not to give the re-install the same profile name that you're using now, (you would not lose data but its easier to keep track of which profile is the active one and which is the old one).

Assuming that you can get a fresh copy of windows loaded and activated, all your data will be under C:\Documents and Settings\(your old profile name). To recover email history and address book info, you also have to enable the viewing of "hidden files & folders". Open my computer, Tools and Folder Options. Click on the "View" tab and click on the "Show Hidden files and folders" choice.

Hope this helps...
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#21
hfcg

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Parallel Installation of Windows XP

Boot to the Windows XP installation cd by pressing a key when the "Press any key to boot from cd" prompt appears at the top of the screen.
  • At the "Welcome to Setup" screen, press Enter to set up Windows XP.
  • Accept the License Agreement by pressing F8
  • With your current installation selected in the box, press Esc
  • Select C: Partition1 [NTFS] in the box and press Enter
  • To continue setup using this partition, press C
  • Now you should see formatting options...choose the last one, Leave the current file system intact (no changes), and press Enter
  • To use a different folder, press Esc
  • Name the folder WINDOWS0 (just type a 0 (zero)) and press Enter
The Windows installation should begin. This will install Windows to a new folder, leaving your data intact. Any programs installed on the old directory will have to be reinstalled to the new one. Device drivers will also have to be installed for all the hardware to work as it should.

The data will be located in the Documents and Settings folder (C:\Documents and Settings) under your old user account name...so when you set up the new installation, give yourself a slightly different user account name
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#22
Mike T

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Hey - I just wanted to let you know that this parallel install of windows was successful. I still have all the documents, and an at least quasi-operating OS. (I still haven't reinstalled the device drivers, so I can't run the internet startup CD I have from Comcast (it doesn't recognize the CD in the drive), which means I haven't been able to do the Windows updates yet) When my girlfriend gives me the discs I need to make the drivers work, I'll get back on there and try that internet startup CD and do the updates, and let you know how it works out. That isn't likely to happen until after the holiday season, though.

But anwyay, thanks for all your help, Mark and everyone else who contributed.
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#23
Mark D

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Check your comcast CD for any smudges or grim on the data surface. If so, clean with water and a smooth cloth. Since your XP CD was able to be read by the CD drive, your Comcast CD should be too.
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#24
Mike T

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Hola! So it wasn't the CD-Rom drivers that needed to be reinstalled. For some reason, the computer wasn't reading the CD right and all it needed was a reboot. I did, however, have to reinstall the modem and network drivers to get my internet back up and running. An important note heere for other readers - HP offers all the drivers for its computers at http://www.hp.com/support, so if you lose your disc with the drivers on it, you can get them from HP (how nice of them!). So finally, the computer is back up and running. I've completely updated back up to XP Service Pack 3, which gave me my security center back and all. My registry is now clean because I did the fresh windows installation, and I've still got all my old files from before the days of the virus. So looks like I'm good to go. Thanks again, everybody. Here's hoping this thread helps someone else out......
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#25
jencwu

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***DISREGARD--problem solved***

I have been having a similar problem with my desktop computer. Hadn't used it much in the last year and a half because it didn't have internet access. Finally got a wireless adapter for it and while I was installing the software & drivers for it, it said there was an error because something else was apparently installing at the same time. I didn't know of anything installing so I exited out of there and restarted the computer. Ever since then it will not boot. It just goes to the screen where it has me select to start in safe mode, last known good config, normally, etc. None of the options work and it always returns to this screen.

We have a guest sleeping in that room right now, so I can't try these steps until tomorrow, but I had a question. I have lost my Windows key and can't use software to recover it because, well, I can't boot the computer! Will the steps outlined in this thread require a product key? If so, what should I do? I don't want to proceed until I know what to do about the missing key. Thanks.

Edited by jencwu, 16 January 2010 - 01:21 AM.

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