My computer won't start up even in safe mode, please help

By cattymoo
Oct 16, 2009
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  1. Hi there,

    I have a problem with my computer which is worrying me quite a lot! I was hoping some one might be able to help me!
    Last night I turned my computer off and it did that thing where it says 'do not switch off computer, loading updates, computer will switch of automatically' (I'm a bit of a tech novice by the way - in case you couldn't tell!). So I waited for it to shut down, which took a very long time (it had 17 updates!). This morning I turned on my computer to see the screen with the options of 'start in safe mode; start in safe mode with networking etc etc' but none of these options would work. Everytime I tried to start windows XP in any mode it would come up with lines of text then just reboot again! I am very concerned as I don't have the XP disc any more and there is a lot of data on that computer I really do not want to loose! Can anyone help me??? Please!
  2. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 20,451   +135

    You will have to take the computer in for repair, or to a computer expert friend. You may not loose any files, but because you have no windows disc, there is not much you can do without one, at this point
  3. LookinAround

    LookinAround TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 8,278   +152

  4. cattymoo

    cattymoo Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    Have XP Disc

    Hi again, thanks for your advice. I have been lent a Windows XP disc, however it is not the one I used to set up XP on my computer and I don't have the activation number/code for it. Is there anything I can do with this or is it useless?
    I may be able to get the activation password if I need it. Sorry just trying to avoid dragging PC across the city and paying for repairs!
  5. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 20,451   +135

    The person who lent you an XP disk should have the CD key, if they don't your out of luck
  6. AustinSchnitzel

    AustinSchnitzel Newcomer, in training Posts: 38

    (Reposting this from a similar thread with an identical issue. This is not as refined a solution as LookinAround's, but could be faster and allows you to essentially make your own Windows boot disc)

    Sorry to give you a runaround, but I've managed to find an alternate solution, as I ran into this very problem just today: ERD Commander!

    Short for Emergency Restore Disk and part of the Microsoft Diagnostics and Recovery Toolset, this provides functionality very similar to Safe Mode without requiring the use of your hard drive. Tutorials can be found here and here. If you'd rather use a blank USB drive over a blank CD, this is worth a shot.

    Once you've downloaded the ZIP file, you need to extract the NRG file (similar to an ISO) and burn it onto a blank CD. Mounting an image onto a CD is different from just moving or copying files from your hard drive. I recommend DVD Decrypter, mainly because I used it and it worked. After that, pop the CD in your disk drive and reboot the computer. You may need to enter the Boot Menu (pressing F1 at the initial startup screen) and set the Boot Order so that the CD ROM is tried before the hard drive.

    Once ERD starts loading (it took me a while, probably because my CD drive is ancient and failing me) you should eventually see a large dialogue box asking you to choose a hard drive. There should be two options, your hard drive and (none). Pick the first, obviously. From there, find Hotfix Uninstall in System Tools. Delete the ENTIRE batch of the latest Windows XP security "fixes" (for me they were labeled October 19). Once that is complete, choose Log Off and restart.

    You should be able to boot as normal (choose Last Known Good Configuration otherwise) and clean out the registry or System Restore as you see fit. I'm so glad my desktop is fixed now, and I hope this solution works for you as well!
  7. WinXPert

    WinXPert TechSpot Booster Posts: 525

    ditto here...
  8. LookinAround

    LookinAround TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 8,278   +152

    Hi AustinSchnitzel

    Thanks for reminding me of yet another great tool (ERD).

    But i think my post about Knoppix vs. ERD is apples and oranges. To clarify: my post How to recover your folders/files when Windows won’t boot provides a boot CD to easily backup one's personal data (files/folders) to a USB device and be confident their data is safe before attempting to fix their hard drive when it won;t boot.

    I suggest Knoppix for personal data recovery first. It complements ERD (or any other tool) for Windows system recovery. i.e. Backup your data first
  9. WinXPert

    WinXPert TechSpot Booster Posts: 525

    Yes a backup is in order. Ask assistance from a friend and plug your hdd on his PC. Check for errors first and do your backup there. I hope this could help. Make sure his/her PC is clean of virus/malware.
  10. cattymoo

    cattymoo Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    Thank you

    Thank you all very much for your help here, sorry I've been a bit rubbish at responding, I've had no internet!

    I've been very busy so not had chance to try out your suggestions, I'll give it a go this weekend and let you know how it goes.

    Thank you again,
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