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XP will not boot. Lost on where to go next!


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#1
Panda10

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Hi,

I have been working on my father-in-laws computer and have tried to get it to boot into Windows. He is unsure what happened other then he started it one day last week and it went from the Dell logo to a black screen with a flashing cursor. I have followed the following post XP won't boot. blinking cursor with blank screen and none of the suggestions work. I have done a manual system restore that I found on another site and still it will not boot. He thinks a CD may have been in the drive from his grandson but it was just a CD for one of those plug and play keyboards. I am unsure if it has a virus as I have been unable to run a virus scan. He doesn't have his data backed up and I am at a loss as to what to do other than buy another drive back up the data and wipe the drive and reinstall. I have followed the steps on repairing XP with the Dell Software CD-ROM but it "repairs" windows and then says it will restart to finish and doesn't finish. I am starting to think it has a virus or something. I have run memory and hardware diagnostics as a DOS boot and nothing has come up with any errors. I am currently using my Toshiba laptap to burn boot diagnostic cd's using an ISO burner and am running out of things to try. Please Help! :)
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#2
SRX660

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The last time this happened to me the hard drive had died. I was able to save some software off the drive with some recovery software, but there was not much i could do with the software and had to reinstall the software on a new drive anyway.The problem with the old drive was the sectors where the MBR( master boot record) were bad and windows automatically ignored them on the next boot so i got the blinking cursor.

SRX660
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#3
Panda10

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Would a diagnostic of the drive not show me this? I am able to get into the drive using recovery software and manipulate things. I have run diagnostics on it as well. Nothing is coming up as being bad. Is there a way to test if it is the hard drive sectors that went bad?
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#4
happyrock

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Would a diagnostic of the drive not show me this? I am able to get into the drive using recovery software and manipulate things. I have run diagnostics on it as well. Nothing is coming up as being bad. Is there a way to test if it is the hard drive sectors that went bad?

yep...chkdsk /r
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#5
Panda10

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I have run chkdsk /r numerous times it goes really fast up to 25% then slows til it hits 50% goes really fast till it hits 75% then goes back to 50% and slowly finishes. Sometimes it states it found and fixed errors but almost every time it runs it completes with no error messages. What else can I do.
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#6
happyrock

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it sounds like SRX660 may be right about the master boot record sector being bad...
but lets try this before giving up...
download the following file: rc.iso....from here..
after burning it as a image...
try the steps below one at a time and only try the next step if you still can't boot normally...there is no need to do all the steps...just do them until you can boot up
nojoy...
boot from the cd ...
then type fixmbr press enter...reboot
no joy ....boot from the cd again...
type in fixboot press enter...reboot
nojoy...boot from the cd again...

Type in bootcfg /scan and press Enter

if it says total identified window installs: 1

Type in bootcfg /rebuild and press Enter...

It will identify your XP installation...type Y once you see this prompt.

You will be prompted to enter the load identifier...type in Microsoft XP Home Edition or Microsoft XP Professional depending on whichever version you have...press enter

You will be prompted to enter the load options...type in /fastdetect and press Enter

Type in exit and press Enter

remove the cd and Reboot
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#7
The Skeptic

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Try to reset the BIOS by disconnecting the power cable and taking out the CMOS battery for 10 minutes. Upon restart, if successful, you will have to set time and date.
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#8
Panda10

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Happyrock:
I had already tried that and still it is unable to boot.

The Skeptic:
Is that idea for a desktop? If so, I do not know where the CMOS battery is. Also, it has been unplugged for about 1 hour as I had to transfer it to my place in order to have a working computer near it. It still will not boot.

To all:
I am able to use a recovery cd that came with the computer and am able to see the files. Is there a way to connect the broken desktop to my working laptop to use my laptop to back it up? Would this harm my laptop in anyway? I figure if I can get the desktop backed up then I could reformat the drive and reinstall windows and see if that works. Both the computers have Windows XP Home Edition, however, they are two different companies (Dell and Toshiba). Is there anything else to try.
If it is the master boot record sector would a reformat fix that? I have the ultimate boot cd on a boot disk and it has a way to wipe the 0 sector. Is this safe? If I do this and something goes wrong will it not boot up at all. Is there a backup software that will let me back up the computer whether it is to my drive or another HD.

Thanks in advance for all your help. I'm pulling my hair out!!
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#9
The Skeptic

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To take off the CMOS battery in a desktop you have to unplug the power cord and remove the leftside cover of the box (looking from the front backwards). The battery looks like a silvery disk attached to the motherboard. You can't miss it. Remove it with a thin scredriver (carefuly), for 10 minutes and reinstall.

I understand that you can run Recovery Console. Please go to here and run all the commands.

It is not clear whether the problem is of hardware or software origin. To make sure, we will try to get out of windows environment and run another operating system. The same OS will also enable backuping the data (assuming there is no hardware problem) after which you can reformat. please do the following:

Download Puppy Linux from my list of links below. Download "puppy 2.16.1 seamonkey fulldrivers.ISO". Burn the ISO file to create a bootable CD.

Boot with the new CD. Use the default setting except for choosing screen resolution of 600x800 when given the option to do so. After the program is loaded click the icon that looks like flash disk. This will open the file system and will enable browsing your folders. Find the folders that you want to backup, copy and paste them to another storage device.
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#10
rshaffer61

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CMOS Battery
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#11
Panda10

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Skeptic,

I removed the battery and it still did not boot.

I have loaded and booted puppy linux. I am currently working on backing up data. I will be back on in a few days. Does this mean that the hard drive is not bad? Where do I go after I get everything backed up.

Thanks

Panda
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#12
The Skeptic

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The hard disk must be OK. Next step would be to run the commands in the link I gave you in my previous post, testing the computer after each step.

Now that you backedup your data you can run an extra command: fixmbr. Please run it only after you ran all the previous command and the problem not solved. fixmbr is a command that I run only as a last resort and only after backing up the data.
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#13
Panda10

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I completed each step except fixmbr. I am having trouble connecting the computers. Here's the setup:

I have a secured wireless router that I connect my laptop to the internet. I have connected the desktop to the router via ethernet cable. Is there a way for me to create a LAN so that I can "see" the files from the desktop to back them up to my laptop. If so what are the steps. I can create the LAN but cannot see the desktop. I can connect to the internet via puppy but cannot figure out how to see the laptop. Am I going about this the wrong way? Would a serial connection be easier? Is there a backup utility that is best to use to back up all files (compressed, if possible) to my laptop.

Thank you so much for your help!
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#14
The Skeptic

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I am not sure there is a communication setup that you can make because the desktop is inoperable. Had it been working you couls create a "small network" and recover the data to the laptop. The best way would be to take the hard disk out of the desktop and connect it to the laptop using a USB adapter. There are many products and I am sure you can buy it in any computer store.
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#15
123Runner

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Since you have control of the computer with puppy linux and you can see the files/data, you can use a USB flash drive.
You can also use a external hard drive that connects via USB, or burn them to CD.
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