Computer Trouble - Will only boot in Safe Mode

By Caren
Oct 9, 2009
  1. I have had issues with my pc since I had it built in January 08 but I've just dealt with them and went on. I should have never went to the local place that I did but you learn from your mistakes.

    Anyway, the main issue I've had with the computer is that every once in a while it would freeze (random times - never doing a specific thing) and the screen would blink on and off. I would have to force it to shut down and restart. It sucked but it still worked very well.

    Wedday night it got worse - the computer is frooze as soon as windows came up. My backgroud appeared, the icons appeared, then shortly after it would freeze. There was a couple of the 20+ times that I restarted that it would boot up completely then as soon as I would click on any program it would freeze.

    I checked the fans, they were working fine. I blew out the dust and I checked the temp which was fine. So last night I started in Safe Mode and ran Error Checking (took about 8 hours or so) This morning - same thing - it froze as soon as windows came up.

    I haven't installed any new programs in quite a while. I haven't changed any drivers that I can recall recently. I am just kind've at a loss and don't know where to look next. Sometimes my bios beeps but it's never consistant patterns. I checked for an update and was told by e-support several weeks ago that my bios was current.

    I have XP, Nvidia GForce 8 series and a Pentium Prcoessor.

    Any suggestions what I might could do next?

  2. Burty117

    Burty117 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,889   +645

    boot into safe mode then take off all drivers then see if it still freezes?
  3. Burty117

    Burty117 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,889   +645

    and once you have taken off the drivers do a ccleaner of all temp files and everything possible to tick (do not do the "wipe drive" option, it'll just take a really long time) then using ccleaner do a registry clean as well and make sure all options are ticked, I have used this registry cleaner for as long as ccleaner has had it and I have never had problems with it. If it then stills happens I reckon it could be a possible hard drive issue? sorry for the generalism, at work =)
  4. Caren

    Caren TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Is there a certain way to 'take off all drivers' or do I just go into the folder and delete?

    Thank you!!!
  5. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 11,462   +1,760

    I am I correct in assuming that the wipe drive option would "wipe" the hard drive, then requiring a complete reinstall of the operating system, and a loss of all the data on the drive? If so, you probably should be more up front about that. Simply saying, "it will take a really long time", doesn't bring the consequences to light.

    There is another possibility that a program conflict could possibly lock you out of the desktop in normal mode. Since not everything runs in safe mode, the problem wouldn't present itself.

    So, it's reasonable to ask, have you changed anything recently?

    Drivers are a possibility, particularly the video driver, since it isn't used in safe mode.

    As was also mentioned, the HDD could be a problem. This can be somewhat ruled out from safe mode by > "start" > "run" > then type in "Chkdsk" and see what happens.
  6. Caren

    Caren TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I haven't added any programs or changed anything in probably two or three months. I rolled back my Nvidia GForce driver thinking it might be that but it still hung up when doing normal startup. I ran the Error Checking Thursday night - is that the same as CHKDSK? I think it is but it might be different.

    I just checked and there is a brand new driver for the GForce 7 series so I may install that and see if that will help anything.
  7. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +183

  8. Caren

    Caren TS Rookie Topic Starter

    OK - so I'm slowly getting somewhere I think. In safe mode I removed the driver the Nvidia Gforce 7 Series then I restarted in Normal mode. In normal mode, even though it looks weird, it didn't hang up at all. I installed the newest driver (Oct 09) from Nvidia and as soon as it got almost through installing it hung up again. So, again I uninstalled the driver in safe mode, restarted in normal mode and it's fine (other than the fact I don't have a video card now).

    Anyway, my question is this. Is it safe to say that the video card needs replaced or is there something else I can do at this point?

    Thanks so much for everyones help
  9. Burty117

    Burty117 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,889   +645


    Sorry lost my internet on the weekend, that wipe drive option doesn't delete any files but instead fills all the freespace with zero's for incase you have deleted some important documents. Anyway I thought it was the graphics driver, I have the same problem but Unfortunately the only way I could resolve it was to re-install the OS and then imediately install the latest driver. The card does not need replacing, This is definately a software issue. I am also happy to say it is not a hard drive issue, as captincranky said, safe mode would freeze as well. just to be sure its the Nvidia driver, us the msconfig box and stop the driver from loading when the computer boots by going on the general tab > selective startup and untick "load startup items" this will stop most drivers starting up except keyboard and mouse. I would recommend uninstalling sound drivers when doing this to make sure it is the Nvidia's driver.
  10. Caren

    Caren TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Currently I have uninstalled the nvidia driver and my sound driver is uninstalled as well. I can operate my computer (like downloading pictures, printing, ect...) with no problems. The difference of course is the graphics are bad and the sceen resolution is different. My online access is via a verizon wireless card but it won't connect at the moment (not sure if thats related to either of those drivers but I can use it on my laptop and it's fine).

    Anyway, since the drivers are not installed then doing msconfig wouldn't work right? Should I reinstall the os? I wasn't given a os disk when I had my pc built and I'm not sure the place would give me one now.

    I really appreciate all of your help. I'm happy to know the card isn't bad but I just don't know the next step to take.
  11. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +183

    I've never tried it myself, but here's how to try and build your own XP install CD. (If and when the reinstall is the path you might choose to take)

    Here's some additional steps i think would help prepare should you need to reinstall
    > Clone your drive before you try the reformat. That way, just in case the rebuilt/install CD fails, you can still get back to where you are now. EASUS has a freeware HD cloning tool

    Here's a checklist to help smooth the reinstall process
    1. Review Add/Remove Programs. Make sure you have activiation codes for any purchased software.
      > You can recover your Windows product IDs from your current installation using Magic Jelly Bean tool
    2. Note programs you need to reinstall. Check if they're available for download online or you still have their download CDs
    3. Backup all your personal files/folders
    4. Use DriverMax to backup all your drivers (so they are available if needed after the reinstall)
    Reformat and reinstall.
  12. Somebody

    Somebody TS Rookie Posts: 16

    Freezing like yours sounds like virus or spyware. First thing you should do while it wasn't freezing,was- ctlr+alt+delete= process tree. you would be able to monitor,which process hangs up your pc by making CPu to ''hang up''. For laptops it's mostly defective motherboard. Try using System restore,maybe it will do the trick.
  13. klepto12

    klepto12 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,115   +9

    have you simply tried a driver cleaner on the GFX drivers and then reinstalled? try this program and pick video drivers and clean them then reinstall.
  14. WinXPert

    WinXPert TS Guru Posts: 445

    This is an exceprt from Bob Cerelli's Windows Page

    Identify Faulty Device Drivers

    If you are having problems with lockups, blue screens, or can only get to safe mode,
    often the problem is due to a faulty device driver.

    One way to help identify them is through the use of the Verfier program

    Start / Run / Verifier
    Keep the default of Create Standard Settings
    Select the type of drivers you want to confirm
    A list of drivers to be verified on the next boot will be shown.
    If your computer stops with a blue screen, you should get an error message with the problem driver
    To turn off the Verifier, run verifier /reset

    Hope this helps
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