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XP stuck in loop


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#1
ceej

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Last night my pc wouldn't shut down and in the end I resorted to hitting the power switch.

This morning when I switched it on I found myself in a loop of [bleep].

Initially I got the manufacturers screen, followed by a black screen with lots of white writing saying windows could not start successfully and offering a number of options for safe mode, with run command, last known settings etc and a countdown as to when windows will restart...

None of the options work. If I hit any of the options the screen fills with lots of code and and then does the following:
The windows screen comes on (no sound)
the numbers lock light comes on the keyboard and stays jammed on
the screen goes blank and a no signal messages flashing across it
the black screen with the white writing reappears.
and it stays in this continual loop going nowhere.

I performed a full computer scan yesterday afternoon (regular thing)and nothing was detected. I only visited two trusted sites after that and I haven't downloaded anything, installed ot deleted anything or made any changes to settings.

I have checked all power cables and connections and everything appears to beas it should be.

I am completely clueless. My pc knowledge is extremely limited and I have no idea what to do next. I cannot locate the manual for my pc which is an old (but trusty - until today)e-machines 5240.

I have read through the XP thread but frankly it is above my comprehension. I have no idea how I would rule out hardware issues as per step one of XP repair process.

I am completely at your mercy and pray someone can help me please...Following an accident I have anterograde amnesia and my life is in that computer. PLease can you help?????
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#2
Mark D

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Howszit ceej and Welcome to GtoG..

1st, which system is this? Your PC or notebook. Do you have the Windows XP cd? Since the system is trying to start, your data is probably still there and you may only need to run the repair operation booting from the XP cd to get it back to normal. There are some basic maintenance tasks that you should perform, (disk defragmentation is important and can cause Windows XP to stop starting)... (You may want to check the "How to Repair Windows XP" on the top of this forum). If you do not understand it post back and I'll try to explain it a bit simpler..

Good luck...

Edited by Mark D, 28 February 2010 - 10:49 AM.

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#3
ceej

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Thanks for the reply...I'm afraid I am realy dense and have turned the place upside down looking for the disc..without being really sure what I was looking for.

I have an offical 'restore dvd' for the emachines pc - is that what I need? The handbook talks of 2 or 3 discs but there is only one.

Everything came pre installed on the computer so I have never had an XP disc as far as I know. I have other discs for other computers and have a full set of recovery discs for Vista (this notebook uses Vista) but apart form software programmes and printer and camera discs
I have nothing else.

HELP! :)
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#4
Mark D

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Uh-oh, the restore DVD will do just that, (it will re-format the hard drive and reload all its software, all your data will be "toast").

From the 1st post, your system is getting to the Windows XP start up menu. Try starting the system with the mouse and keyboard disconnected, perhaps one of these is throwing a signal into the tower while its starting. (I've had cases where this has happened).

If it does it's reboot loop doing a Safe Mode start, well... you may have to ask a friend for an XP CD. Do you know if you're running XP Home or Professional? You should get the same version of XP to try to fix this with. (The Microsoft label should be on the PC and will state what version of XP that it has).

Again, don't worry too much and stay calm. Your data is still there from what you've been telling me. If you had to, the hard drive could be mounted in an external housing and accessed via an USB connection on your Visita notebook. :)

Hope this helps...

Edited by Mark D, 28 February 2010 - 11:13 PM.

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#5
ceej

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Thanks I will try your suggestions...although I fear I may have to get expert help as most people I know will have bought their pc with everything pre loaded and will be in the same position regarding discs.

I suppose a pc repair place would have what is needed?
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#6
Mark D

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They should. Check with your friends if they know of a reliable store. Down here, we have one I call the "Motherboard shop" cuz whatever is brought in always has a MB problem :)

"emachines" are like Acers, they have preloaded specialized copies of WindowsXP, (or Vista, etc)., but they will boot from a Windows XP CD and can be repaired by the chkdsk /r command. Your symptoms could also be a power supply that's gone bad, but given that the event happened after you cut power, the most likely cause is the hard drive was busy when the power cut off and only needs a repair.

Is the system making a faint clicking noise? If so, I'd try not to use it much, as that's a definite indicator of a drive that maybe starting to fail, but I don't think that's your problem. Hold thumbs and remember, computers are still only devices that can fail without warning. Backup your data on another disk be it flash drive, CD, DVD or even another drive you've networked to. Anyone who has had a hard drive fail knows this and will take steps to make sure it doesn't happen again.

Hope this helps and please don't stress. Your drive is still responsive and your data is still there.
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#7
ceej

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Thank you so much for your support. I took a deep breath, rang a tech and tonight within an hour of getting here he had the system running...currently everything is being backed up.

I should have got him to write down what the problem was because of course I have plain forgotten what he said :) but I am just relieved to have my stuff backing up and to have access to the docs I need right now and to the checklists that I use to run my daily life. I'm going to print a batch of those as future safeguard until I know for sure the issue is resolved.

I was lucky that I didn't need a mortgage to pay the guy who came to fix it.

Once this is all backed up, acn I just check with you (because I forgot what the guy said :) ) if I have to use the restore disc that will delete everything and return the pc to its out of the box state (except it'll be an old pc instead of a new one of course) and I will have to start from scratch with rgeards to my favourites, any software I had installed - like office and my camera & phone software etc.

Sorry to be so dense...my goldfish memory is a real pain :)
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#8
Mark D

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Good to hear that things got sorted out. He probably ran the chkdsk /r command and the hard drive repaired whatever "wrinkle" was stopping it from starting properly. I currently have a Vista notebook in my shop that ran out of power during a Vista update and it too refused to start anymore. Again, client did not back up anything and there was LOTS of stuff that he needed. I had to remove the drive and install it into an external housing and then copy all his data off before running the Restore disk, (luckily, no password protection). It re-formated both the C drive and the second drive as well. I now have to copy all his stuff back in and re-install all programs and settings for internet etc., etc,. So, yes, a System Restore will make it like it was when it just came out of the box, but everything else you've done to the system since will need to be re-established.

Once your backup is finished, check the health of your drive by right mouse clicking on Drive C in your MY Computer, and then left clicking on "Properties". It will start on its general tab where a "Disk Cleanup" button is, (which is handy for removing Temporary files, but do not let it "Compress files"), and the second tab in is "Tools". Left click on that tab and you'll see "Error Checking" and "Disk Defragmenter". Run the defragmenter and do an analysis. It will tell you if the disk needs to be defragmented or not but I usually try to run that tool once every two months or so. The Error Checking tool should also be run every so often, (click both boxes that pop up and when you clcik on OK, it will tell you that it will run the next time you start your system. You can use your system while it defragments but not when it does an error check. Your Vista system does defragments automatically but XP systems do not. It is important that these do get done to keep your XP system happy and you stress free.

Anytime one of your systems gives you a problem, remember this site. I really haven't found one like it anywhere else on the web and its whole approach is friendly and really just wants to help you sort out your problem(s). Do check out some of the topics on the top of the forums if you want to learn more about a particular area. There is lots of good info there, (in all the forums)
Take care.. :)
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#9
ceej

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Thanks so much for your help. It is very much appreciated. I have saved the site and pinned a note of the url and my log in to the board on my home office wall too just in case. A friend in the USA directed me here and I really much thank him too
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