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Computer won't boot and don't have Windows key


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#1
jencwu

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We haven't used our desktop computer in over a year because there is no internet access in our office other than wireless. We finally bought a wireless adapter and when I was installing it, there was some sort of an error message saying it couldn't install because there was something else being installed at the same time. I didn't know of anything else being installed, so I restarted the computer. Ever since then it won't boot, even from safe mode. It just keeps going back to the screen where it says Windows was unable to start and asks me how I want to start it--safe mode, last known good config, normally, etc., none of which work.

I have read the information about running the repair from the XP disc, but I saw you need to have the product key in order to do so. I can't find my key anywhere, and I can't boot the computer to run the keyfinder program. I tried the CHKDSK command in the recovery console but it didn't come up with anything.

Edited by jencwu, 15 January 2010 - 12:26 PM.

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#2
phillipcorcoran

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Welcome to Geeks to Go!

You do not need the CD-Key (product key) to perform a "repair install" from an XP disc.
Only if you have 'wiped' the partition and you are doing a 'clean install' from scratch do you need the key.

There's a good tutorial here on doing a repair install:
http://pcsupport.abo...stxprepair1.htm

Once you (hopefully) have XP working again, you may want to retrieve and save it's product key in case you need it in future (eg if you have to re-install XP from scratch). These perfectly legal utilities will reveal the key for you from the Registry of your Windows XP installation:

http://pcsupport.abo...opkeyfinder.htm
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#3
jencwu

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Thank you so much for your response. Quick question though--on step 6 of that tutorial link you posted, it says to select which one to repair and press R. My screen looks a little different there, however (this is after agreeing to the EULA). It lists H: Partition2 [FAT32] 3146 MB, C: Partition1 [Unknown] 149472 MB (I'm assuming this is the one I want to select), and Unpartitioned space 8 MB. There is no R=Repair option though, it only will let me press ENTER=Install, D=Delete Partition, or F3=Quit. Should I press ENTER? Or will this accomplish something different than the repair install?
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#4
jencwu

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Ok, interesting thing. I opened the Recovery Console again and noticed the only installation available for me to select is H:\MiniNT. I didn't pay attention to that when I was in the Recovery Console before, but since attempting to do the repair install and noticing there were two partitions--H: and C:--I noticed it this time. So at the H:\MiniNT> prompt in Recovery Console I entered C:. That brought up the C:\> prompt, to which I thought I'd try the CHKDSK /P there. This took much longer than the original CHKDSK I ran for H:\MiniNT and it said it found one or more errors on the volume, told me about the allocation, then went back to a C:\ prompt.

I then exited and rebooted, and the computer still would not boot normally. I attempted a safe mode boot. It did boot from safe mode this time, but very slowly and said several files were corrupt and unreadable. I was able to run System Restore from there, and it is now booting normally. After I click my name to log in, it is extremely slow, but it is working.

Edited by jencwu, 15 January 2010 - 07:14 PM.

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#5
rshaffer61

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Go to
Start and then to Run
Type in Chkdsk /r Note the space between k and /
Click Enter ...It will probably ask if you want to do this on the next reboot...click Y
If the window doesn't shutdown on its own then reboot the system manually. On reboot the system will start the chkdsk operation
This one will take longer then chkdsk /f

Note... there are 5 stages...
It may appear to hang at a certain percent for a hour or more or even back up and go over the same area...this is normal...
DO NOT SHUT YOUR COMPUTER DOWN WHILE CHKDSK IS RUNNING OR YOU CAN HAVE SEVERE PROBLEMS
This can take several hours to complete.
When completed it will boot the system back into windows.

Let us know if this fixes the problem
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#6
jencwu

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Thank you, everything appears to be running normally now :)
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#7
rshaffer61

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Great so the chkdsk /r did fix everything?
Did it find and fix issues?
If so you might run it again to make sure it got everything.
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#8
jencwu

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To be perfectly honest, I wasn't paying close attention while chkdsk was running because it was taking awhile. I stepped away from the computer while it was running, and when I came back it was finished and Windows was starting up. It does seem to be working just fine now. We have company staying with us for a few days so I haven't had a ton of time to spend on it, but I've restarted it several times and it continues to start up normally. I also installed and ran the keyfinder program, my new wireless adapter, and an antivirus program. I will run it again just to make sure it got everything though. Thanks again.
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#9
rshaffer61

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Not a problem as this can wait till your company has gone.
Please try it out for a few days and then let us know how everything is working. We do not close topics in this forum so you have no fear of that.
I will wait for your results.
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#10
jencwu

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While installing AVG, the program froze so I decided to run chkdsk /r again before trying to restart the AVG installation. After completion, it gave a lot of information about allocation, and the only sketchy thing I saw was something about there being 40kb in bad sectors. After rebooting itself, it said "the disk is clean" before logging into Windows. The computer is still running very slow. I'm trying to reinstall AVG, so far so good but it's still installing. Since the computer hasn't been used in so long, I know there will be lots of updates I'll need to run, but I want to get AVG working first. I will also defrag, so I'm hoping between the updates and defrag it will start to run faster again. I'll let you know if there are any more problems with it.
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#11
rshaffer61

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The computer is still running very slow.

I thought this was resolved according to post 6
Before defragging there are a couple of steps we should do to make sure the defrag does it's job to best of it's ability.
Do your updates and then let me know and we will run through a few things and then run defrag at the very end. I'm worried that it is running slow and that should be taken care of with the steps I will suggest.
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#12
123Runner

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I'm trying to reinstall AVG

Bad move. After version 7.5 the AVG virus program became a resource hog.

Rshaffer61 likes avast and I prefer avira. Both are excellent programs and do equally as well. They are both recommended on this forum. They use very few resources that will not slow the system down.

123runner
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#13
rshaffer61

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Both are great programs. Free and a lot less stressful on the system resources which means they will not slow your system down while running.
Now I can't speak for Avira but I'm sure 123Runner can. Avast updates usually twice a day with it's virus definitions. This means you have some of the most up to date protection there is out there.
Avira also updates regularly but I'm not sure how often.
I would recommend either for you instead of using AVG.
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#14
jencwu

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The computer is still running very slow.

I thought this was resolved according to post 6

I thought it was also, but after using the computer more, I've found it to be running very slowly. I'm still not finished with the updates (there were a couple hiccups yesterday while I was trying to do this, and I still have company so probably won't get to it until tomorrow) yet, so I will let you know when I finish that.


I'm trying to reinstall AVG

Bad move. After version 7.5 the AVG virus program became a resource hog.

Rshaffer61 likes avast and I prefer avira. Both are excellent programs and do equally as well. They are both recommended on this forum. They use very few resources that will not slow the system down.

123runner

Thanks, wish I would have known that before installing it. I guess I will uninstall AVG and download one of those programs. With the computer already running slow, I don't need anything else to bog it down.
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#15
rshaffer61

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Not a problem and we will continue to monitor for your response. No problem if it takes a few days to finish as we don't close topics in this forum so you work at your pace and we will wait. Real life takes priority over this anytime. :) :)
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