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PC won't finish bootup


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#1
djuarez

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Hi All ~ I'm hoping you can help me because I am truely baffled! :tazz:

My system was running great last week and then I tried to boot it up and log on last night. It goes through all of the normal bootup procedures that it always has and then goes to the WinXP logo with the bar under it...then it stops...the screen goes black and nothing else happens. We had some storms over the weekend and I think the computer was off but with a 12 year old and a 42 year old (who's worse at turning off the system!) I can't be sure. The electric went off quite a few times and then came back on anywhere from 5 minutes to 1 hour later. I'm just afraid that something blew in all the chaos. This is what I know for sure about my system:

WinXP os
Pentium 4
128 mb ram

Is there some way that I can enter the bios and get more specs on my system for you?

Any help you can give me would be appreciated! :)

Thanks~
Dana
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#2
austin_o

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Hi and welcome go Geeks to Go. Are you able to boot into safe mode? Do you have a Windows install (bootable) cd? First, I suggest trying a system restore. Here is info from windows help, starting in safe mode and system restore in insafe mode:

To start the computer in safe mode
You should print these instructions before continuing. They will not be available after you shut your computer down in step 2.
Click Start, click Shut Down, and then, in the drop-down list, click Shut down.
In the Shut Down Windows dialog box, click Restart, and then click OK.
When you see the message Please select the operating system to start, press F8.
Use the arrow keys to highlight the appropriate safe mode option, and then press ENTER.
If you have a dual-boot or multiple-boot system, choose the installation that you need to access using the arrow keys, and then press ENTER.
Notes

In safe mode, you have access to only basic files and drivers (mouse, monitor, keyboard, mass storage, base video, default system services, and no network connections). You can choose the Safe Mode with Networking option, which loads all of the above files and drivers and the essential services and drivers to start networking, or you can choose the Safe Mode with Command Prompt option, which is exactly the same as safe mode except that a command prompt is started instead of the graphical user interface. You can also choose Last Known Good Configuration, which starts your computer using the registry information that was saved at the last shutdown.
Safe mode helps you diagnose problems. If a symptom does not reappear when you start in safe mode, you can eliminate the default settings and minimum device drivers as possible causes. If a newly added device or a changed driver is causing problems, you can use safe mode to remove the device or reverse the change.
There are circumstances where safe mode will not be able to help you, such as when Windows system files that are required to start the system are corrupted or damaged. In this case, the Recovery Console may help you.
NUM LOCK must be off before the arrow keys on the numeric keypad will function.



To run System Restore in safe mode
Access System Restore through Help and Support.
Follow the instructions on your screen.
Notes

To access the System Restore Wizard, click Start, and then click Help and Support. Click Performance and Maintenance, click Using System Restore to undo changes, and then click Run the System Restore Wizard.
While the computer is in safe mode, System Restore does not create any restore points. Therefore, you cannot undo a restoration that you performed when the computer was in safe mode.
You can use System Restore to restore your computer to any restore point while in safe mode. If you cannot start the computer in standard mode, you can use System Restore to restore to a time when you could start the computer without errors.
To restore to a time when your computer started without errors, select a restore point as close to the time you remember it last started without errors.
If System Restore is suspended because of insufficient disk space, you cannot enable it by making more disk space available while in safe mode. You must restart the computer in standard mode and make more disk space available.


If this doesn't get you going again, you can try booting to the windows install cd and doing a repair install
Here is a guide for that: http://www.geekstogo...ws-XP-t138.html :tazz:
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#3
djuarez

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Thanks for the welcome, Austin! Sorry it has taken me so long to reply, I'm borrowing my daughters laptop when she comes home from work and I finally make it over to her apartment!

When I try to start from safe mode it runs through on what looks to me like a dos screen and then freezes. When I try to boot to repair mode from the cdrom, it asks me to choose what windows installation I want to repair and lists ~ 1. Windows ~ so I type in 1 and then it freezes there.

I'm not sure what else I should try... :tazz:
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#4
austin_o

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Do you hear any beep codes from the system computer while it tries to boot? If so, keep track and cound them. This could give a clue as to what is happening (or isn't happening).
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#5
djuarez

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Well Austin, it beeps only once when it tries to boot up. The same way it always has... :tazz:
Any ideas? I really appreciate the help! I know it's taking me forever to reply to your messages but I'm at the DD's mercy! But thank you so much! :)

Dana
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#6
SlackerX

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From what you said, I don't think the electricity going off harmed the electrical system on your machine, otherwise the machine would likely not boot at all. I am wondering if maybe your hard drive has given up the ghost and gone bad. Is there any chance you can either boot the machine with something like a live linux CD to see if the machine works at all? Short of that there just is not much of a way to tell long distance what is going on. You could also (possibly) remove the hard drive and try putting it in another machine, but considering that you are running windows, that may not be viable as the mother board, video and other drivers needed to boot would probably not be the same on the machine you install the HD in to test it out and would keep it from booting. Depending on the manufacturer of the HD you might be able to locate their web site and download something that you could install to a floppy to try to boot the machine from and test the hd that way.
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#7
djuarez

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Well, I don't have access to a linux cd. What kind of testing are we talking about here? Are we talking about a startup disk? I would have to find my system specs sheet and see who the manufacturer is... :tazz: ... in the mean time, can anyone think of anything else?

Thanks,
Dana
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#8
austin_o

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Can you access the bios during boot up? One common method of access to the bios is to press the del key as the system starts to boot. Check your system documentation for specifics on your system. I know you said it won't boot to the cd. Maybe you can get into the bios and try restoring defaults, save changes and try rebooting. Another quick and dirty test to see if the motherboard died is to remove all of the ram, and the try to boot. If you don't get beep codes on this test, the moterboard has died. Since you said you hear one beep on your boot up attempt, this sould test ok. Still may be worth a try if restoring bios defaults does not work.
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#9
djuarez

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Well, I tried restoring the bios defaults but no luck...so then I removed the ram and it just kept beeping at me. Then I removed the cable to the hard drive and I cleaned out the cable and terminals with compressed air...I let it sit for a few minutes (about 10) and hooked it back up again and now I get an error message that there was a system boot failure, please insert startup disk. It won't read the hard drive at all. When I type in the c prompt, it says it's not there. Is my hard drive dead or have I completely screwed everything up on my system?

Thanks,
Dana
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#10
SlackerX

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It sounds like to me the hard drive might just be dead. I can't imagine that anything you did hurt your machine. Compressed air is fairly safe, and by it beeping at you when you removed the RAM tells me the motherboard and bios are working alright. Sounds like it is time for a new HD.
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