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Windows XP Shuts Down On XP Startup Screen?

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Man have I had bad luck lately. I use to be the "go to" guy when it came to helping people with computers but lately I am a big zero. Let me set the scenerio for this one. A girl I know tells me her 2005 e-machine with windows XP home edition, is taking forever to boot up. I ask her if she has ever done any work to the computer or done a "msconfig" and disabled start up items? I also asked her if she had ever added any RAM to help with things. To both she answered no. So I figured her computer is just clogged with startup crud and other stuff and just needs a good cleaning up. So I figure here is what I will do: I have extra RAM lying around so I will install an extra 512MB stick for her, clean out her box of dust while I am at it and then start her up and go in to msconfig and disable all those nasty program hogs running in the background. Also planned on installing the "Cleanup" program and then last but not least do a defrag. Ok...her computer just worked last night even though it is slow so here goes step by step what I did and what the computer is doing now.

1) Unplugged all external hardware (mouse, keyboard, webcam, speakers, and wireless internet connection) I left the power cord in to have a ground while working on it and touching the chassis

2) Layed computer sideways on a piece of cardboard and open up casing.

3) When I opened it up it looked like 30 years of dust inside. I use the soft brush part of a vacumm and lighlty vacummed out the interior being very careful to not hit or move anything. I removed the modem card with the telephone connectors (which wasn't being used anyhow) because there was a ton of dust I couldn't get to otherwise and I removed the 1 stick of 512RAM because of the same reason...it was snowed in dust. I lightly brushed each off and seated them back in properly.

4) I then added in an EXTRA stick of RAM matched at 512RAM. There are only two slots in this computer for RAM and NOW both are full. I also plugged back in the telephone modem card back to exactly where it was.

5) Put cover back on and hooked everything back up. She told me it would take anywhere between 5-10 miuntes to boot for that has been the normal time lately. It did and this first time it went through it's normal boot procedure according to my friend. Finally it got the the Windows XP splash screen (the one right before it show the user icons to enter the desktop) and then it just shut off???

6) She said it did that once before a long time ago but then loaded just fine on her second attempt, so we hit the power button again but this time it heads to a screen that is offering to "Start Windows Normally" (which is the one highlighted already) or to choose "Last Known Config" or "Safe Mode" and all the other good fun stuff. So we just let it stay highlighted on the "Start Windows Normally" as the timer ticks down from like 45 seconds or so and then it goes back to the Windows Splash screen and we are thinking it might work and then click...it shuts down again???

7) OK, so I figure next time I will choose "Last Known Good Config" but the thing is the up down arrows will not work for some reason even though the keyboard is getting power so I cannot select it!!!! Grrrrrrrr....So I go back to power up again and this time press on "DEL" as the computer just starts to boot and I get into the bios and the keyboard works fine while in bios, so why won't it work in the selection screen to choose how to start windows???? Makes no sence.

8) So now I figure I will remove the RAM stick I put in (maybe it's bad, maybe it was too much for her old computer too handle?)and restart and see what happens, so I do it, restart...and NO change...it shuts off at the XP splash screen about 5-10 seconds into it. So now I tried using the other slot for the RAM and tried again with no luck and the same result so now I am stuck and don't know what to do

9) She lost her disks years ago so that is not an option at this point if that is going to be in any of the suggestions or is there another way?

So there ya go....worked last night until I touched it, and TRIED to make it better today and this is what happens...I feel so bad so I hope there is a glimmer of light that someone can talk me through this nightmare. I brought her box home with me so I have it here and can try any suggestions you might have. All I know at this point is that it is a 2005 E-Machine with Windows XP Home Edition and 512 RAM. Hard drive size doesn't matter because she just used it for pictures and internet. No major programs or HD hogs on her system.

Can anyone help? Please read every step I described as to avoid mis-communication as the thread might progress. The steps above are exactly what I did and in the order I did them. I left NOTHING out.

Thank you folks ;-)

peace, out,

Edited by daddy, 23 May 2011 - 06:47 PM.

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Mark D

Mark D


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Howszit daddy?

Sorry to hear that the e-machine isn't happy. Did you leave the power attached when you changed the chips? That's a bad thing. The MB was still energized when you added your 512 MB chip, but the symptoms do not sound right, (mem chip errors will normally flash a blue screen before the screen goes off). A turn off at the XP logon screen is normally a hard drive error. Since the system starts, try to go into CMOS and check the amount of memory it reports. If it shows both chips are active, leave them be.

The reason the keyboard may not be working is its an USB keyboard and some of the older systems will not recognize it til the system loads. Does the system have a ps/2 keyboard port? If so, try another keyboard using that interface.

Did you try to start in safe mode? Safe mode is a bare operating system with nothing extra loaded, (not even normal video). If that does start ok, you should see an Administrator user, click on that 1st. If it opens great, if it asks for a password, well... use the normal user and curse whoever put the system together. Run the error check routine on the hard drive, (assuming that it does start in Safe Mode). Open My Computer, right click on drive C and go into properties. Click on the Tools tab and error checking should be on top. Put ticks in both check boxes and click on OK, It will tell you that the error check will start the next time you start your system, (just acknowledge and restart). You should see a blue and white screen that will go through 5 stages.

If it DOESN'T start in safe mode, find a Windows XP Home CD and boot from that. Press R to enter the Recovery Module. It will find Windows on the C: drive and ask you do you want to logon, (its normally the number 1), then it will ask you for the Administrator password. You normally just press enter but if this results in an Incorrect password... Double curse whoever setup the emachine, cuz now the fix has gotten a bit more involved. (I just had a notebook with a simple hard drive error which could not be fixed cuz someone put an admin password in which no one remembered. I did recover the drive but data was lost). If you get to a dos like prompt, type chkdsk /r and press enter. Hopefully this will recover the system.

Let me know if this works or not. If you can't get past the Admin password, I can give you the system repair steps, (but you will need to re-activate the system.

Hope this helps...

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