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Windows XP Wont Boot; Blinking Cursor

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Today I had XP "shut down" on me while I was backing up some files. I got the BSOD that said 'Windows has detected a problem with your computer and has quit the application. Please restart your computer if this is the first time youve seen this message. If you have seen it before, please follow the steps below:" and so on. I restarted my computer, it went through the screen where it says press Del for setup F11 for settings and other stuff. Then it goes straight to a flashing cursor and just stays there. I'm hoping that I dont have to re-format my HDD, but if thats what It takes, I am willing to do that.

Im using XP Home edition.
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Firstly, one main reason it may not boot is you have an external harddrive plugged in, so if there is anything like a flash drive or external harddrive plugged in remove it.

Have you installed anything recently (Hardware or software) that could have caused the problem?

Next thing i would suggest to do is boot the computer in safe mode (Repeatedly hit F8 at boot up)
If this works, then do a system restore and finish backing up your files if you wish.

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I'm hoping that I don't have to re-format my HDD, but if that's what It takes, I am willing to do that.

If what SPUD suggest doesn't work then there is always a Linux Live cd to gain access to your data for backup.
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