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Windows XP SP3 will not boot AT ALL


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#1
BlazeJester

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My Dell Dimension 4700 desktop crashed and burned about a month and a half ago and I'm trying to figure out what the problem is. It started with the screen freezing up such that I had to manually power down and reboot. About 2 weeks later it started shutting off at random, and now it will not boot Windows at all. When I noticed the problem I ran Dell diagnostics for it, and it doesn't seem to think it has any issues (HA).

At this point, the computer itself seems to be working fine (diagnostic lights ABCD on the back are all solid green, HD diagnostics from Boot Menu passes) but will not boot past the Dell startup screen. I can get into Setup (F2) and the Boot Menu (F12).

I JUST turned it on and got the error: "Drive 3 not found: Parallel ATA, PATA-1 (PRI IDE Slave)". Previously it was returning "Loading PBR for description 2... done" immediately before the screen blacked out. On the "Drive 3 not found" page, I have a blinking cursor and the option of F1 to continue or F2 to run setup utility.

I saw several threads similar to this one but none with my particular issue... I'm suspecting this is XP crapping out on me (SH!!!!!T...) but if there are any suggestions I'm eager to hear them.

I still have the "Drive 3 not found" screen (haven't seen this before and afraid to touch it now) and am hoping it'll stay up for a bit...

I *believe* I still have the XP CD to boot from if needed, but it's not here at work with me so I'd have to try that tomorrow.

Edited by BlazeJester, 10 May 2011 - 02:12 PM.

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#2
rosiesdad

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If you have not had to reload windows in some time or never have, it may be time to either do a complete New install of XP or a repair install.
If doing a complete new install, to save your files, pics and Docs you may have to slave the Hard Drive to another computer and copy them to a DVD, or usb thumb drive.
However a repair install may repair the windows issue, its supposed to leave your docs and pics (music and all).
I am doing a repair install for a friend as I type, it happens to be on a Dell 4700. He got some malware and eventually it hosed the boot sector up and I couldnt fix it with the repair console.

When you finally get this going, be sure to do a hard drive test, do some googling and you will get help on that.
Also google the repair install, even though its a repair install you will have all the updates to do, (about a days worth) so unless you fix it some other way, be prepared to spend some time with your computer on MS updates.

Another note, be sure to upgrade your RAM on the 4700, they run xp pretty nice on 2gig or more of RAM.
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#3
BlazeJester

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Excellent, thank you. I have never reinstalled or repaired Windows on this computer aside from SPs and MS updates. I also have nothing on this computer in urgent need of retrieval, so thankfully I haven't lost much. It's not my primary computer, just a convenience so I don't have to lug my laptop around all the time.

My Windows CD is in Atlanta and I'm not, so it's going to be a couple days at least before I can work on this.

I read a few threads from Googling that mentioned some serious problems with defrag completely crippling XP, and I defragged shortly before the serious issues started (though it was already slowing down and having some issues), so that may have something to do with it.

It was about time for a memory upgrade anyway so I'll get on that while I'm at it.
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#4
rosiesdad

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Good luck, I would stay with xp, and be sure to run HD diagnostics.
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#5
rshaffer61

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I read a few threads from Googling that mentioned some serious problems with defrag completely crippling XP, and I defragged shortly before the serious issues started (though it was already slowing down and having some issues), so that may have something to do with it.


I'm not sure where you read this and I would be interested in reading from the sites you visited.
Defrag has been a essential part of windows forever. It is used in routine maintenance to keep the system running smoothly and faster.
Though not used or needed as much in a NTFS formatted hd it is still widely used by techs to help clean up some confusion when adding or uninstalling programs and data.
It would seem your issue is more related to a corrupted hal, bootini or boot mgr then a OS related issue caused by the use of defrag.
Can you try to reboot your system and get to the Advanced Boot Options where you would choose Safe Mode.
DUring the loading in Safe Mode you will see line after line of driver files being loaded. Can you tell me what file it stops on and then reboots. :)
I am suspecting either Hal or Mup.sys.
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#6
BlazeJester

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They were all threads on sites similar to this (but perhaps less legit)... Naturally, I didn't save the keywords of my Google search and now can't find them :)

I will have to try again tomorrow as I've left work (where the defunct computer is) and will try again tomorrow. When I tried to reboot in safe mode, it did stop about halfway down the screen, but I didn't take note of which file it stopped on.

Will be back with this response tomorrow. Thanks!
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#7
rshaffer61

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Ok thanks. I would be interested in knowing exactly which file it reboots on as this may give us a great indication of where the root of the issue is.
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#8
rshaffer61

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Are you still having problems with your issue?
It has been 24 days since your last response and I was wondering if the issue has been resolved?
If so can you explain how it was resolved so others may be able to fix it if they have the same issue.
If not please let us know and we can continue with helping you to resolve the issue.
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