Can't start up my computer; the boot sequence just loops again & again (XP Pro SP2)

By TDominici
Sep 27, 2009
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  1. TDominici

    TDominici Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 36

    I borrowed a friend's laptop (also Windows XP) and used the same Knoppix CD in his laptop as I did in mine and when I turned his on it booted into Knoppix without a hitch. I then ejected the very same CD, put it into my laptop and turned it on and nothing at all. Just the looping boot sequence as usual.

    I did hit Esc and it gave me four options, one of which was something about ATAPI CD-ROM. I selected that option and hit enter but all it did was bring me back to the Windows XP loading screen, which then in turn looped me back to the HP screen and so on...it wasn't any different than if I had done nothing at all. For good measure I tried the other 3 options it gave me after hitting the Esc key as well, but all to the same result.

    So the Knoppix CD itself works, I know that much...but getting it to work in my laptop is another story.
  2. LookinAround

    LookinAround TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 8,358   +167

    When you hit ESC and get the boot menu, does your computer give the option to boot from USB?

    If you boot into Knoppix on friend's PC, run it. You'll find an option on the Knoppix menu to create a bootable USB flash drive. Then try booting from the USB flash drive on your PC

    /* edit */
    btw.. ATAPI CD-ROM would be your CD drive. Sounds like the drive or cable has failed (if you're lucky, you can try cleaning the lense)
  3. LookinAround

    LookinAround TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 8,358   +167

    Wow. Again. As you've really been through the grinder with this problem.

    I saw some old info you had sent me (sorry, sometimes i forget all the details for all the specific threads/posts i've read/skimmed through on these forums). And it seems booting from USB isn't an option on your laptop

    So try unlatching and sliding out/ removing the CD player from the laptop. Then firmly slide it back in (with one finger on each side of the faceplate to apply even pressure.) If lucky, it might just need to be reseated to establish good contact. Also try cleaning the lens.

    If this still fails, let me know. we can talk about trying the external enclosure again. (It's probably not worth buying a new CD drive to try unless you can find one for cheap or you can return it and get your $$ refunded if it doesn't help.)
  4. TDominici

    TDominici Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 36

    I tried unlatching and sliding out the CD player, taking the Knoppix CD out, cleaning the lens and then putting the Knoppix CD back in and sliding the CD player firmly back in but unfortunately this didn't seem to do anything. Just more of the same looping the boot sequence and no apparent recognition of the CD at all.

    So what's the next step?
  5. LookinAround

    LookinAround TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 8,358   +167

    Slide the drive out of your computer again. What make/model drive is it?

    Look at the drive pins. I'm guessing no pins are jumpered? (if any pins are jumpered with a plastic cover, remove it and expose all pins)

    Slide it into your USB enclosure. When you plug the USB drive into the computer do you at least hear the USB "ding-dong" sound when you connect?
  6. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 13,285   +281

    under Safe Mode, did you try using MSCONFIG to disable as much as possible of the Startups?
  7. TDominici

    TDominici Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 36

    I unscrewed and removed the HD from the laptop once more and put it into the enclosure to see if it would make the ding-dong noise when I plugged it into the working computer and miraculously when I plugged it in the machine recognized it; a separate drive came up and inside were all my folders and files from the old laptop. I have no idea what was different this time that caused it to work when it never would before, but I guess something finally just clicked into place so that it was recognized.

    I'm now in the process of moving all the contents of the drive (100GB+ worth) onto an external before the old HD decides to die on me again. Let's hope it successfully finishes backing everything up, and afterward who knows, maybe if I put the HD back into the old laptop again it'll work and start-up since something apparently changed for it to be recognized with the enclosure when it didn't used to be.

    I'll post back with updates/results!
  8. LookinAround

    LookinAround TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 8,358   +167

    YYYYYEEEEEAAAAAA!!! :grinthumb

    But given all the problems you've had up to now with your laptop hardware: problems whether boot from HD or CD. And HD not working in the enclosure before, i'd be wary. So be sure to run diagnostics on the drive if not replace it. And find out what's wrong with that CD drive as well. Or just use the laptop for web browsing etc. (i.e. don't rely on it again).

    In any event, am very glad to hear you could finally recover all your data :)
  9. TDominici

    TDominici Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 36

    I got around to putting the HD back into the laptop and starting up the laptop again but unfortunately it's back to the looping boot sequence as usual.

    At least now I have everything backed up on an external drive, though.

    However, it's pretty time consuming to sort through over 100 gigs of files from a span of 5 years in a computer folder, file by file, deciding which are important and which can be deleted, so if anyone has any ideas about how I can get the laptop to get past that looping boot sequence and successfully boot up to the desktop again I'd love to hear them!
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