I'm running XP with SP2 installed. I won't install SP3 because I've seen it cause too much trouble on other systems and won't subject mine (or myself) to that mess. I'm not a big Windows fan. I learned computers on a CPM system then promptly fell in love with DOS and still prefer it. Oh well.
I developed a freeze problem about a week ago. When it continued on a daily basis, I started uninstalling software, starting with the most-recently installed. The freeze problem worsened. Eventually the system would begin to load XP, but in the process of loading my desktop items, it would reboot. Got caught in a vicious reboot cycle for a bit. Wouldn't even stabilize long enough for me to disable my desktop items.
Eventually, chkdsk would run (on startup) through steps 1 and 2. Step 3 would show "unspecified error", and XP would boot. Unsuccessfully.
Finally, when I turned it on after giving it (and myself) a day's rest, I simply got a black screen for several minutes before the "boot to Safe Mode" menu appeared. The system, at this point, was not even showing the POST screen. When the Safe Mode menu appears, there is a timer (for booting normally) on the bottom which is not running. It simply shows "0". The menu will not respond to keyboard input to allow me to boot to Safe Mode (or anything else). I have a USB/serial cordless keyboard which I have set up as serial since USB won't work in Safe Mode. I tried a "tethered" serial keyboard, but still got no response.
I've tried booting from the XP CD to access Repair Console, but it won't even do that. I don't remember if my BIOS is set up to allow booting from CD, but I can't access the BIOS to find out.
I'm hoping this isn't a hardware problem, but if it is, can someone recommend good data recovery software (if it is a drive problem)? I have 3 HDDs in my system (totaling 400+ GB). The boot drive contains important data. My other 2 drives are nearly full at this time. I really don't want to reinstall XP. After a reinstall, it takes me weeks of 8+ hour days to reinstall my software. At any given time, I have in excess of 4 million files on my system.
Any suggestions would be appreciated. I've borrowed a friend's CPU to allow me to get online and (hopefully) find a solution. I'm an old woman. My nerves don't handle this type of frustration as well as they did decades ago.
Edited by imSophie, 17 August 2009 - 10:36 AM.