Skip to comments.Emergency Windows XP Computer Help Needed
Posted on 07/21/2006 7:30:18 AM PDT by savedbygrace
I need help.
Windows XP SP2 on my computer will not start. Earlier this morning, everything was going great, then Firefox locked up while doing a Google search. Locked up tight, and I had to press and hold the power button for several seconds to shut down.
Now, when I power up, everything goes well through POST until Windows tries to start up, then the screen goes black and all disk activity ceases. After waiting several minutes with nothing happening, pressing the power button for a fraction of a second shuts the computer down.
I've tried booting to Last Known Good Configuration - same result.
I've tried booting into Safe Mode - same results. When I boot so I can see each startup event happening, the last event that prints to the screen is:
Then, all disk activity ceases and nothing else happens.
I built this computer myself - it's a P4 2.4GHz with 1GB RAM on an Asus mobo.
I do not want to lose all the data on the boot drive. Some of it is not backed up since two days ago, including Quicken and QuickBooks.
One big obstacle is that I originally installed this from an early WinXP full install CD, before SP1, and I've updated through SP1 to SP2. So, booting from the install disc won't help. I do have an SP2 disc from Microsoft, but I doubt that is bootable.
Kind of a strange place to post this. Why not go to Microsoft instead, or a tech site. If your really stuck, try a system restore.
I can't help...but here's a
bump for publicity
You can do a system restore from safe mode. That will get you back to the point before you installed SP2.
Wish I had some advice, but I'm a bit computer illiterate. Money says you will have plenty of advice very, very soon.
Boot from the XP disc and selct the repair option.
Spotty hard drive? Try slaving the HD on another machine.
ritewingwarrior has a point...
As you obviously are getting on the net...use Google as your friend.
I usually can find needed info at MSWindows site (as convoluted as
their texts may be) or get solutions from tech blogs (while keeping up
my radar for bogus/malicious offers of assistance).
If yoru disk activity ceases you may actually have a hardware problem rather than an OS problem.
I'm pretty sure you can get to safe mode by tapping F8 during bootup. Then you might actually be able to restore successfully.
You'll get your best support in a newsgroup. That's where all the real geeks are.
How? Safe Mode has the same result - black screen, no further disk activity. Game over.
No, I'm not a real Geek. But, I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.........
Which XP install disc? Will the original disc, pre-SP1, repair the SP2 system?
If it's a HDD issue, you'll have to slave it on another machine and extract the data you need. If it's a Windows issue, your best bet is to boot from the XP OS CD and use the repair option. When you get to the DOS screen, run a chkdsk /f and see what you get.
I've had machines blow up and a simple chkdsk with the /f switch will make it all better.
After you get into the GUI, run scandisk and defrag and scan the hell out of the HDD with a virus scanner (I still use AVG http://free.grisoft.com). Then go out to http://www.sysinternals.com and download the TCPView and Autoruns programs. Check for open ports (indicate a possible trojan) with the TCPView program and use the Autoruns program to find the stuff that starts on boot. That'll get you started.
I goog;ed for a number of search terms for at least 30 minutes without success before posting this thread.
Yes, I can, but it ends with the same result. Black screen, no disk activity.
If there is nothing else wrong with your system you should be able to boot with the original CD and run the second repair option. If this works you can then update using the SP2 CD. You will have to update everything added to XP since SP2 but MS will take care of that for you.
I just finished spending over a week fighting a set of problems including what you describe. I could get up and running doing what I described above but that didn't cure the overall problem. The final solution was when I destroyed my operating system partition. I did something stupid to cause that but it worked out well in the end.
I should have done this a lot earlier but I was too stubborn. I reformatted my operating system partition and made a fresh XP installation. I'm still catching up on adding all of my programs.
The repair process is easier if you have a bootable CD with SP2 slipstreamed. That's not any help now though.
Will the original XP install disc repair the SP2 system?
Yes, I might be forced to do that, but I'm hoping someone has another idea I haven't considered first.
NO. But it will make a usable "original" XP system which can be updated to SP2. That's if nothing else is wrong with your computer.
Yes, because the repair isn't specific to the OS. It's only a way to access a utility that'll give you options with the OS. Running a chkdsk will ensure the major OS components are in line with the standard Windoze setup. /f will repair anything that's gone wonky.
Try the Windows install disk and try using the recovery option.
If that doesn't work, you could try the following:
If you have another machine available to you, download a Knoppix Linux Live CD image and use it to boot the sick machine. Then you will be able to (hopefully) see the contents of the drive and copy the vital contents accross the network to another machine, where they can be burned to a CD/DVD. Then you can diagnose the suspect HD without concern for the data on it. You could check and see what types of errors the drive is throwing with SMART HD drive monitoring software.
If the HD is mechanically failing, replace the drive. If it's a corrupted file system, reformat and re-install the OS. YOU WILL LOSE ALL DATA be performing this step, so again, backup the data.
You could also remove the drive, put the jumpers in slave mode, and install a new drive as master. install windows on the new master, re-stall the faulty drive as the slave, and see if you data appears.
Run virus scanning on your old data.
Corrupted boot sector. Buy a new HDD, install XP SP2 and set it to Master. Then take your bad HDD and set it to slave. Then you can copy all of your data back to your new HDD. It is your only chance.
My familiarity with XP limits any help I might provide, but you can be sure some a$$wipe will be along shortly to tell you to switch to Linux.
Good luck in any event!
Well, this is only good for next time, but when it comes back up make a "Bart PC" boot disk.
On Informationweek.com Fred Langa posted an "XP noreformat recovery option."
You're running QBPro, did you know Intuit has a KB article telling everyone how to run it in Limited User Mode? Please don't run XP as admin, you may as well have Win ME. XP as LUA is pretty sturdy.
Use the Google, Luke.
OK, now I'm feeling some encouragement.
Also, I can buy a full SP2 install disc at Staples, but I'm thinking that because the serial number won't match my original SN, it might complain. But I might be misunderstanding that issue.
If I did buy a full WinXP SP2 install disc from Staples, and booted from it, from your experience with your recent problems, would that stand a decent chance of repairing my SP system, to at least get it to start up?
If not, then I'll try your suggestion of repairing from the original pre-SP1 install disc and then update again to SP2 with the SP2 CD.
You might be able to do a complete reload of XP. I switched a drive to a new system, motherboard and all. It would not boot. So, believing all was lost I reloaded XP and much to my surprise, my old data was still there. The fresh install inherited the old programs and registry info. I just had to reload all the updates again. Sp1&Sp2. One note though, you still might have a damaged hard drive. Sometimes drives will loose sectors and you'll have boot problems. In fact I'm having that problem now with a backup drive I'm trying to create for my laptop. Good luck
Then go to the DOS prompt a copy what you can to the Master.
Or, it might just be a corrupted Boot sector. Run Norton Disk Doctor and repair it.
If you have Norton Systemworks, boot from the CD and if you can run the Disk and Win doctor utilities to take a look at your hard drive, do that.
When that fails, and you realize that Windows is fubared and you're going to have to reinstall, consider this a learning opportunity.
Take your hard disk out of the system, put it in an external USB enclosure. Buy a Mac. Attach the enclosure and retrive your files.
Breath easy knowing that this is the last time you'll ever have to do something like this.
There are some linux tools that can help you. You can download a copy of Knoppix at http://www.knopper.net/knoppix-info/index-en.html and boot it from your CD or DVD drive. This will run linux from the CD and won't do a thing to your windows system. If you can see your hard disk drive as an icon on the desktop and can view your files by clicking on it, then the files can be retrieved.
Knoppix is not only a good rescue disk; it is a fun way to try out a different operating system.
Save yourself the eternal problems and buy an Apple.
Do you have more than one hard drive installed? If you have a master file table that got wiped (likely with a power interruption shutdown), it could take XP up to 20 minutes to boot while it tries to read what it thinks is a raw drive. This doesn't apply if your boot drive MFT got wiped, in which case the only recovery is to take the boot drive to another machine, install it as a secondary drive and recover the data.
I will periodically 'start over' by putting a new (usually larger) hard drive into my system and doing a 'fresh' install of the operating system and applications BUT I will ALSO put the 'old' drive into that system for a few months until I'm sure I've put everything I need from it onto the new drive.
Something else I'm doing now is I have a second drive in my system and use "FolderClone" to keep "My Documents" backed up onto it. Nothing fancy but it is a form a backup that I don't have to think about.
The bad electrolytic capacitors, if you have them, look like this:
If they're flat on top, then they're probably fine. If they're bulging or split open and leaking, then you'll need a new motherboard.
No it is not. Venerable tradition to get computer help here, noob. I have received it myself. There are some very sharp folks here; and if you have ever tried phone support - it's hit and miss
I'm always amused when the Linux and Apple fiends come out to play. Windoze is cludgy when trying to repair it, but it can generally be resurrected with some technical elbow grease.
The quickest way to take care of this is to slave the disk and start from scratch, pulling the data you need from the old disk, but if you want to recover what you have, it can be done, neighsayers be damned.
I'm beginning to suspect you are correct.
This will be the third time I've had to take the same action in the past year or two. I'm glad I have this MacBook Pro running Mac OS X v10.4.7 to use while the PC is down.
The WinXP PC is my main computer for business use, and the Mac is for video editing and such.
I'd like to help but my laptop did the same thing last weekend. I spent several hours of effort trying to repair or reinstall Windows and nothing worked.
I'd say your HD fried.
Up to 20 minutes? That might be a great tip for me in this case. I'm going to try starting up again, and let it sit there for at least 20 minutes, just to see if this is the case.
See post # 27. Looks like I was close enough.
> If you have another machine available to you, download a Knoppix Linux Live CD image and use it to boot the sick machine. Then you will be able to (hopefully) see the contents of the drive and copy the vital contents accross the network to another machine, where they can be burned to a CD/DVD.
That is a really great idea! No reason why it wouldn't work, except...he's got to get into the BIOS and set the machine to boot from CD rather than HD or floppy.
And as an aside, I can attest that any Windoze installation can be resurrected to some form of functionality. I've brought completely hosed ProLiant servers and their damaged SCSI disks back to life to get customer-related data off before the disks ate their heads. Unless you have hardware-related damage (dismounted platter or disk controller failure), you're not completely toast (yet).
Do you have a second computer or access to one? If so take out your hard drive
install it in computer#2 as slave
copy all important files to hard drive of computer#2
remove hard drive from computer#1
reformat and reinstall windows on your computer#1
create an ultimate boot CD. I realize this is a pain in the butt. You will see all of your files when you boot from ultimate boot CD
Good hint on the capacitors, although I seem to recall that problem was mostly confined to MSI mobos, and not ASUS.
I might be mistaken, but I think the majority of bad capacitors ended up with MSI and they actually settled out of court in a class action suit brought against them.
You're screwed. Pull your primary drive, buy another hard drive, install your OS, set the old drive up as a slave drive and then scavenge what data you need off it.
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