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Windows XP Will Not Boot - Viscious Circle

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I am trying to help my mother long distance. She has a Dell 4700 running Windows XP Professional that will not boot. She gets this message:

If your computer stopped responding, restarted unexpectedly or was automatically shut down to protect your files and folders, choose last known good confirmaiton, to revert to the most recent settings that worked.

If a previous startup attempt was interrupted due to a power failure or because the power or reset button was pressed or if you aren't sure what caused the problem choose start windows normally.

You can try to start it normally or safe mode or safemode with command prompt,or last know good configuration and it just keeps going back to that same error page. It counts down so many seconds and then keep restarting. when you try safemode it goes right to the screen with all the drivers and stuff like it is going to go but then just restarts and back to the same message.

No matter which option she tries (and she's tried them all), it just keeps returning to this message.

Any suggestions?

Thanks much!
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Hello bongybo

Couple of questions if I may, does your Mother have an XP or system restore disk/s that may have been provided with the computer and is there any data on the HDD that needs to be retrieved if possible.

Worse case scenario;

Depending on the age of the Dell and whether or not it is the original HDD which has not been formatted there may be a Recovery Partition on it, to check if there is ask your Mother to try pressing the Ctrl-F11 keys while the computer is booting up, see the guidance below;


Restoring the original factory image erases ALL existing data. This includes files, folders, programs, drivers, E-mails, photos. Before performing a PC Restore, back up all personal files. If you do not back up your personal files, the data will be lost.

1 Turn on the computer.
2 When the Dell splash screen appears during the computer startup process, press and hold <Ctrl> and then press <F11>. Then, release both keys at the same time.
3 In the Dell PC Restore by Symantec window, click Restore. Alternatively, press <Tab> to highlight Restore, and then press <Enter>.
4 When a warning message appears stating that all data will be lost, click Confirm, or press <Tab> to highlight Confirm and then press <Enter>.
The Progress window will appear. Once the restore process starts, Dell PC Restore by Symantec usually takes about 8 to 10 minutes to finish.

When the restore process is complete, the following message will appear:
The system recovery process was successful.

5 Click Finish or press <Tab> to highlight Finish and then press <Enter> to restart the computer.
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