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Hey everyone,
I am running XP SP1 & have the valid installation disc. When I upgrade to SP2 I either hang at the windows splash screen or the bar goes through twice then goes off to a black screen.I have done 2 clean installs of SP1 and have removed & then added SP3 twice either from windows update or from the download on Microsoft's site. I have since installed SP3 to see if this works & it does not. However, both SP2 &3 boot fine in Safe Mode. Any Suggestions??
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Did you disable real-time antivirus scanning before starting SP installations? That's an essential pre-cursor for service pack installs.

If you already did that, it may be a driver problem

When safe mode starts but normal mode does not, it's usually an indication that one or more third-party device drivers are either corrupt, or not compatible. Third-party drivers are not used in safe mode (not loaded by Windows), hence the logic that a driver is preventing Windows from starting in normal mode. Unusual, but it seems you may have a driver installed which isn't compatible with neither SP2 nor SP3.

Bear in mind that third-party firewalls, antivirus applications, & cd-burning applications install drivers too (virtual drivers), they aren't always related to a hardware device but they can still cause incompatibility issues just like a device driver.

Finding the offending driver is a mission in itself & can only be accomplished by trial-and error, one driver at a time. Normally that would be no big deal, but since you've got to re-install a service-pack after every driver removal till you hit the jackpot, that's just ridiculously long-winded.
My approach would be to start with a "vanilla" Windows XP (no third-party drivers installed, just drivers installed by Windows Setup) then try installing the service-packs.

You may not relish installing XP from scratch but that's what I would do. But first, try removing any third-party firewall, antivirus, & cd-burning applications. Then see if a service pack will install.

Edited by phillipcorcoran, 06 January 2011 - 08:30 AM.

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Hi Phillip,
I have tried installing SP2 after doing a clean install of SP1 without installing any additional drivers besides the windows-based ones & mouse & keyboard. I have upgraded my BIOS from Dell & that has not fixed the problem either. Can't figure this out it's frustrating
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Bad RAM can cause install problems. Google memtest 86. You will need to burn a cd (bootable) and run the test for quite a while.
The other thing is MAYBE you have a scratched install cd?
Fill us in with the computer brand and model please.
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Run hard drive diagnostics: http://www.tacktech....ay.cfm?ttid=287
Make sure, you select tool, which is appropriate for the brand of your hard drive.
Depending on the program, it'll create bootable floppy, or bootable CD.
If downloaded file is of .iso type, use ImgBurn: http://www.imgburn.com/ to burn .iso file to a CD (select "Write image file to disc" option), and make the CD bootable.

NOTE. If your hard drive is made by Toshiba, try the Hitachi DFT CD Image version of the software

Thanks to Broni for the instructions

If you have more than one RAM module installed, try starting computer with one RAM stick at a time.

NOTE Keep in mind, the manual check listed above is always superior to the software check, listed below. DO NOT proceed with memtest, if you can go with option A

B. If you have only one RAM stick installed...
...run memtest...

1. Download - Pre-Compiled Bootable ISO (.zip)
2. Unzip downloaded memtest86+-2.11.iso.zip file.
3. Inside, you'll find memtest86+-2.11.iso file.
4. Download, and install ImgBurn: http://www.imgburn.com/
5. Insert blank CD into your CD drive.
6. Open ImgBurn, and click on Write image file to disc
7. Click on Browse for a file... icon:

Posted Image

8. Locate memtest86+-2.11.iso file, and click Open button.
9. Click on ImgBurn green arrow to start burning bootable memtest86 CD:

Posted Image

10. Once the CD is created, boot from it, and memtest will automatically start to run. You may have to change the boot sequence in your BIOS to make it work right.

To change Boot Sequence in your BIOS

Reboot the system and at the first post screen (where it is counting up memory) start tapping the DEL button
This will enter you into the Bios\Cmos area.
Find the Advanced area and click Enter
Look for Boot Sequence or Boot Options and highlight that click Enter
Now highlight the first drive and follow the directions on the bottom of the screen on how to modify it and change it to CDrom.
Change the second drive to the C or Main Drive
Once that is done then click F10 to Save and Exit
You will prompted to enter Y to verify Save and Exit. Click Y and the system will now reboot with the new settings.

The running program will look something like this depending on the size and number of ram modules installed:

Posted Image

It's recommended to run 5-6 passes. Each pass contains very same 8 tests.

This will show the progress of the test. It can take a while. Be patient, or leave it running overnight.

Posted Image

The following image is the test results area:

Posted Image

The most important item here is the “errors” line. If you see ANY errors, even one, most likely, you have bad RAM.
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