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XP cannot load completely. Computer freezes.

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Hello, I'm new user here and happy to discover this outstanding forum.

On my wife's PC, XP can't boot all the way. This serious problem was caused after a stupid forced "power off"
caused by myself by pushing the front power knob for several seconds.

I have tried many ways to boot XP. I will not describe them all, unless you ask me for more details. The most common method is using the Windows CD. The option "last working" configuration freezes right after the Windows-XP logo, showing a black screen instead of the accounts welcome screen.
The common factor of many various attempts is that the computer freezes as soon as access is made to "something" on the harddisk, which maybe is related to the file system, or maybe is related to one or more corrupted or blocked Windows files.

I a nutshell, I would describe the issue ... as if XP (only !) denies itself any acces to the drive.

Conclusions so far
- None of the Microsoft utilities on diskette or CD's seem able to reach any further as a hangup at some point.
- Using third party CD's or diskettes (Partition Magic, GParted, Ubuntu Live CD) are able to see all the partitions including their properties and browse all the files. The Ubuntu Life CD was able to "erase" one or two not important files (meaning the disk can be written at the right locations)
- Maybe this issue is caused by the filesystem or with Windows-XP files being "locked" or corrupted.

- Copied all the data and the contents of system partition to external disk (using Ubuntu live CD)
- Tested acces for writing on HDD as well (same Life CD)
- Dowloaded the MBR record sector to a file, in case it must be analyzed (using special application).

Next step
What would you suggest ?

Thank you.

Edited by Merel, 10 December 2009 - 01:38 PM.

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Thanks for the overwhelming amount of help received by all.
Like I wrote before ... an outstanding forum
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Sorry, I never saw your thread before.

Typically when you have a power loss situation the problem is a corrupted file system. Running chkdsk from the command prompt od a install CD usually fixed the problem.

You are going to have to get into BIOS Setup on your computer to set the CD/DVD drive as the first bootable device, so you can then boot your XP CD, unless it provides the ability to press a Fn key at boot time to bring up the boot selection menu. If it does, use that.

How you do this varies with each manufacturer. Normally you press F1, F2, F10 or Del when you see the manufacturers logo. Often there is a clue somewhere on the screen when you boot normally telling you what key to press. Some computers (most newer ones) have a key you can press (often F12) to bring up the Boot Menu from where you can select the CD/DVD drive to boot from.

If you don't have an XP CD, download and run ARCDC by Artellos. It will download the required files from the Microsoft Web site and create a .iso file. It will also offer to burn the iso image to a CD for you. If you don't do it then, there is a good freeware burner called ImgBurn which will do it at a later time. If you're unsure how to do this, you can follow the tutorial here: How to Burn an ISO File. This can be done from any computer.
Boot the CD and at the first opportunity, enter R to start the Recovery Console.

Next, choose which XP installation you want to login to. Normally this will be 1.
Lastly you will be asked for the Administrator password. Just press the Enter key as the Administrator does not have a password (unless you gave it one, then you would enter it).

From the command prompt, type: chkdsk /r and press Enter.
Allow it to complete undisturbed. It can take an hour or more depending on the size of the hard drive.

Remove the CD, type exit and the computer will reboot. Hopefully that will have fixed the problem (corrupted file system).
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