Help? Boot Up Problems...

By seraphina
Aug 9, 2004
  1. Hello

    I’m having boot-up problems with my new PC. It’s Windows XP Home Edition, and fair spec. Last week when I went to turn the machine on the boot-up process proceeded as normal until the Windows XP start-up page (the one with the little empty bar with the smaller green bar cycling back and forth inside like a Cylon’s eye! Basically the equivalent of the egg-timer, I assume).

    There it just stuck, with the timer bar flashing back and forth. It wouldn’t finish off and go to my desk top however long I waited. Finally, I turned the machine off at the wall, left it a few minutes, tried again. After the initial boot-up pages I got the Windows XP improper shut-down screen, with various options. I chose “start computer normally”, but the same thing happened. Grrr.

    I repeated the manual shut-down and when I got to the improper shut-down screen I chose the “Use last good configuration” option instead. This did work, but took a lot longer than normal to finish. I had a few good days after that, but now the same problem has recurred. I haven’t installed any programs, or dicked around with any configurations, so I’m at a loss as to what changes could have caused this.

    Any help or thoughts at all gratefully appreciated (though solutions need to be novice/*****-proof for me, ta!).

    Many thanks
  2. iss

    iss TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,994

    I had the same problem some months ago the problem was a corrupted MBR one solution is to boot from your XP CD and enter recovery console at the command prompt type

    Fixboot C:

    if C is your hardrive if it isnt then this letter should be whatever your hardrive letter is.

    once you boot into windows I would suggest two things. one run system file checker. place your XP Cd in the cd rom drive and.

    open a command prompt and type

    sfc /scannow

    this will have Windows check its critical files to see fi any are damaged if they are SFC will replace them.

    2. run scan disk
  3. seraphina

    seraphina TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 29

    Thanks for that iss.

    Unfortunately, its one of those pc deals where the software was preloaded when I got the machine, so I don't have the XP disks- only a "Restore" disk to return it to out-of-box status, which I want to avoid if at all possible.

    I'm assuming I can use System File Checker without the XP disks, though, yes? Do you know how I'd go about that?

    Also, the boot hang-ups seem strangely random: sometimes "last good config" option will get it going again, sometimes not, and when I try safe mode, or debug, I just get a nonsense stream of code and no cursor.

    The one thing I HAVE noticed is that whenever it does hang up during the boot one of my two DVD drives seems to be working (green light on the front of machine flashes), and there is an audible clicking as if the computer was repeatedly trying to access the drive (this is the bog standard DVD drive, I've also got a DVD-RW drive which is the one I normally use).

    When the "last good configuration" option finally decides to work, though, that DVD drive didn't flash its green working light OR click. So perhaps that's what's causing the problem. Dunno. This is way outside my (very meagre) expertise. Does that description ring any bells with you?
  4. iss

    iss TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,994

    SFC cannot repair any corrupted files without access to windows .dll cache from the XP disk.

    the drive flashing is caused by the PC searching for the Master Boot record after not finding it on the hard drive. mine did the same thing. unfortunatly in my case the ultimate problemm was the hard drive itself which kept getting corrupted and had to be replaced.

    I dont know if you can use the recovery disk for SFC but I would try it.

    finally I would make an XP Disk from your recovery disk they come in handy. here is a lik on how to do this.
  5. bing

    bing TS Rookie

    Any help will be greatly appriciated! Systerm restore in my machine won't work and. even safe mode cant open it. when i boot the machine just keep flashing the welcom to window xp and giving me the option to start in safe mode, good known configuration but when i tried to start these option does'nt work at all! the Safe mode just hang up..Last good known configuration just keep on starting over and over again..Please help ..any ideas and suggestion please..

  6. seraphina

    seraphina TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 29

    Hey Bing

    This isn't really a tech fix, as such, and might not be applicable in your case, but as I described above when I suffered the problem it seemed like the boot was hanging up when it tried to access one of my DVD drives (the little green light on the front was intermitently flashing and it, durr, kept clicking). This didn't happen all the time, but whe it did was terribly annoying, soooo one time I just tried sticking any old cd in the drive and, presto, it booted up fine. I assume it checked the disk, saw it wasn't what it needed, then booted from the C drive as it ought to.

    ok, this hasn't resolved the underlying problem- but, hey, it works.

    Hope this has been of some help.
  7. Goalie

    Goalie TS Booster Posts: 616


    It sounds like you need to get your XP disk out, use a recovery console, and run sfc /checknow... If it won't boot at all, you're left with not many options. However, that really belongs in a different thread.

    Seraphina: boot your computer with your fix. When it loads, take the CD out, close ALL WINDOWS and ALL PROGRAMS that you can. Then shut the machine down.

    Try booting again, see what happens. Is it still attempting to access the drive?
  8. bing

    bing TS Rookie

    hi! guys,
    thanks for all your suggestion.. I dont know really what is going on with my pc. It seems that all your suggestions are all right but it doesnt work in my machine. Ayn idea supposing i well reinstall my operatins system without erasing all my files and folder. JUst wondering if i can format only my c drive which i install the OS and i can restore all my files and folder in my d and e drive.. duno really if it works .. my mean concern is how i can keep my filies and folder if i install fresh copy of operating system...thanks a lot for all your suggestion...

  9. StreetBiker

    StreetBiker TS Rookie


    WHen i boot up my computer it gets stuck on the screen where it shows "pentium 4 processor" and wont go any further. It then goes to a blue creen that has things like "advanced bios" "save and quit" "something obout cmos" and im stuck and scared my comps broken!!!!! it is a mendium 3.6 ghz and 512 ram so a good spec o ye its windows xp home. PLEASE HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  10. wlknaack

    wlknaack TS Rookie Posts: 143

    1) If you only have a restore CD the chances are the manufacturer installed the system files on a hidden partition on the HDD, or they are in the restore CD. Suggest you boot and go to START/RUN/type "sfc /scannow" (without the quotations)/OK. If the system check progress bar keeps going, the files are on your HDD. If not, the system check will ask you to insert your CD. Put in your restore CD and hit OK. See what happens.

    2) Something seems to be accessing your CD. Boot up, and at the Bios screen repeatedly tap F8 and go into setup and check your boot menu and make sure the HDD is in first position, ahead of the CD. This may eliminate the current effect on your boot up until you find out the source of the problem.

    3) Can you boot to your restore CD and see if you can get to a command prompt where you can "DIR" to see what functions you can perform? If yes, run the command "fixmbr" (without the quotations). This will rebuild your mbr.
    (NOTE: I assume you are not in a dual boot environment).

    Good Luck!
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