Windows 2000 Will Not Finish Booting

By boweasel
Feb 23, 2009
  1. Well, maybe it does finish booting, but I get no desktop or taskbar.

    I have Windows 2000 Professional and it won't boot in normal or any of the safe modes available. It gives me the box that says Windows is starting up, then I get the log on screen, and It get to the point where it indicates that it is loading my personal settings. After awhile the message goes away and I get a light turquoise screen that never gets populated with any icons or taskbar.

    Most of the safe mode options get me to the desktop with a black background, and 'safe mode' in each corner and... nothing else. No icons or taskbar here either. Even the 'Last known good configeration' fails to work.

    In both normal and safe mode I can get to the security screen with CTRL-ALT-DEL to display the options to change a password, start task manager, lock the computer , etc. All of these options work, except for the Task Manager. Hitting that button only makes the security screen disappear.

    This PC has no Windows CDs, so I can't access the recovery console. I did use another PC and dowloaded a 4 diskette set of floppies for W2K Pro that I was supposed to be able to boot from, but when I put in floppy one and power up, I get the blue Setup screen, followed by the msg "Ntkrnlmp.exe Could Not Be Loaded. The Error Code Is 7. Press any key to continue".

    This was working fine until just a few days ago when my nephews were playing with it.

    I did reload all the default settings in the BIOS setup, but got nowhere there either.

    Any ideas?
  2. boweasel

    boweasel TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Just noticed that when I access the BIOS Setup (via the Delete key) I'm able to view the DMI Event Log.

    It's LOADED with dozens and dozens of this message:
    Single-Bit ECC Errors in Memory Bank 4

    Could this be the reason for the problems I'm having?

    Should I open the case and check if the memory is seated properly?
  3. boweasel

    boweasel TS Rookie Topic Starter

    What I noticed was that after clearing the event log file, rebooting (or, attempting to re-boot) would not generate any additional msgs into the log. I DID re-seat the RAM anyway, but none of it makes any difference. I'm still in the same boat.

    I was, however able to create another set of floppies that actually got me to a DOS prompt. I get to the Welcome to Setup screen wher I have the options to setup W2K (which will require a CD that I don't have ), or repair a W2K installation. I ran the repair option which took me to that DOD prompt. I then ran chkdsk /r (it took hours... is that normal?), but there was no change in the booting (or lack thereof).

    Is there anything I can do from that DOS prompt to either get W2K running or diagnose the problem?

    Should I be reformatting the drive and trying to reinstall Win98 - the PCs original OS. I do have a disk for that...
  4. boweasel

    boweasel TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Okay, I found an pld Windows 98 Cd from a PC I trashed years ago..

    So, on another PC I created a boot floppy, used it to boot into DOS, did an fdisk, created the DOS partition, formatted the drive, then put in my old Win 98 CD-ROM.

    The install goes so far, then it reboots. When its finished booting I enter the product code and the install continues.

    At some point where it says its loading system files and something about plug and play devices, the install just stops. It's always at about the 14 minutes remaining mark. The little magnifying glass stops circling, and it seems fairly obvious that its not going to start up again.

    There is a message in the lower left hand corner of the screen that says to turn the machine off if the install hangs up, but it gives no indication of what I should do on the subsequent reboot.

    Removing the CD and allowing a normal boot just gets me to a solid blue screen. I can do a Ctrl/Alt/Del to bring up task manager, but that means almost nothing in W98.

    I can boot in safe mode, but that just gives me a solid black screen with 'safe mode' in each corner.

    I really don't know what to try next.

    And since this is the fourth post on this topic, and every post has come from me, I'll wager that nobody else who reads this will know what to do either. Or won't care enough to help.

    Please, somebody make a liar of me...
  5. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,423   +77

    Looks very, very much like faulty memory or faulty hard drive. for you, make a bootable floppy. Also see

    I'll also give you a little more.
    1. It would be extremely unusual to have ECC errors on a basic PC - that is normally a server set of ram chips
    2. Safe mode in W2K is a black screen I think, but you should still have icons and a start button, as far as I remember.
    3. W2K never had a recovery console - that came in with XP
    4. chkdsk /f running time obviously depends on how large the partition is. If there are no errors, something like 1 minute per Gb. if there are errors, you will normally know all about it as it goes on. Didi it ever end? and if it did, what was the result? On the face of it, your hard disk is trying and retrying like crazy. Using the HDD manufacturers test suite for the drive is strongly indicated here.
    5. You dont say what age the PC is, so advice on whether Win98 is worth it (once you sort the hardware out), is just BUT, you will get problems with finding suitable security packages to run on it. Without them, it won't last long on the internet. If the PC had W2K, that would be a much better choice.
    6. Win98 will often simply not install on recent PC's (less than 2 years old), they just have too much kit unknown to Win98
    7. young nephews left to fiddle with a PC are extraordinarily toxic to PC's. And all your symptoms are marginally consistent with the many major malware things so easily caught these days.
    8.Your having FDISKed willl pretty much rule 7 out, although I have read about things infecting the master boot record, I dont really know if there could still be say 1% probability.
  6. boweasel

    boweasel TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Don't know where to go from here

    I really don't know what to download from, and as I said in my post, I've already created a bootable floppy. Exactly what should I download onto a new floppy from memtest?

    Chkdsk did end normally, as did scandisk. On the XP machine I do not have CD burning capability, so I don't know what I could get from Maxtor in the way of utilities

    The PC is about 10 years old. As I said it originally had Win98, then it was upgraded to W2K. I did work fine running bothe of these OS's until the nephews...
  7. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,423   +77 and download the floppy disk installation. Boot off it and run all tests at least 7 times - this takes all night. The exception would be if it shows problems early on, in which case you know the memory is faulty and needs to be replaced.

    On maxtor site, you might find a similar download for creating a bootable test on a floppy. Again this might need to run for hours.

    You might need to replace the motherboard battery (usually a CR2032). After replacing it you will probably also need to reset the bios to sensible values, so it is a good idea to check what the values are now - ohhhh, you already lost the best settings.....

    If you open the case, clean out the dust very thoroughly - you may get a nasty surprise, the gunge could be causing overheating and consequent shutdown. If you use compressed air, hold the fans still with a pencil. If they rotate, they generate a current that can destroy motherboard or CPU.

    At ten years old, the PC might be toast, but really a reinstall with either Win98se or Win2K for preference would probably be ok. Hopefully you can still find drivers....more likely with Win2K. I think your solid halt at 14 minutes to go would be faulty (dirty) CD, or overheat, or hard drive fault or memory fault. You need to eliminate each one by one.
  8. boweasel

    boweasel TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Somehow I thought copying all the files from the CD's Win98 directory to the hard drive and then running Setup from the HD would eliminate any problems associated with the CD.

    Am currently running some tests on the hard drive downloaded from Maxtor. So far everything seems okay...,
  9. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,423   +77

    I do think hard drive problems fit the case most. A drive that old (assuming it is still original) will have drifted way off tolerance by now, and would require a low-level format. That might be available via maxtor utilities.

    But to be honest I would simply put a new (small) hard drive in if you can find one.

    Remember the size limits on a machine that old. Anything over 80Gb or even 32Gb might be a no-no. One other possibility - I mentioned in passing the battery. Now batteries are capable of lasting let us say 6-10 years, and it is possible that the battery is low enough such that the bios has become partially corrupt or unreadable. If you possibly can, replace the battery, and find and download the appropriate bios flash from the motherboard site. Reflash the bios. Batteries are available from supermarkets these days, they also fit many mobile phones etc.

    Lets think about why would nephews wreck the PC? Maybe downloading huge music or video files, they were using parts of the hard drive never before accessed (and faulty), or caused so much defragmentation that the PC will not boot. That was quite well known at one time. So you have a possible reason why it failed (that's assuming no malware). It is possible, I should add, that malware can write to the MBR (master boot record). I am not familiar with what happens then, but inability to even reinstall would not surprise me overmuch. That's really why I suggested a new drive above.
  10. boweasel

    boweasel TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Yes, there is a utility on Maxtor for a low-level format, but I don't know the difference between that and what I did:
    Used a bootable floppy
    ran fdisk
    enabled large disk support
    Created DOS partition or Logical DOS Drive.
    Created Primary DOS Partition.
    exit fdisk
    restarted the computer w/ the bootable floppy .
    At the A:>, type "format C:" and press Enter.

    Then I did the CD to HD copy and ran Setup.
  11. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,423   +77 tells you what the difference is between low and normal formatting. One thing that is not stressed is the fact that a low level format also restores the Master boot record to empty, which will clearly destroy an nasties storing themselves there. Fdisk alone might, but probably does not do that, although later Fdisks DO offer the capability of rewriting the MBR.

    Note that low-level formatting was something one might find useful on really old hard drives, and if you tried to do it, you would have to be certain the hard drive supported it, in which case it could be beneficial (read the reasons), but if it is not supported, you must not do it. You can however, reinintialise any drive, and it will indeed help failing drives - for a while.

    These reasons are why I originally suggested if you have hard drive problems, most likely a new drive is the best approach.

    Can I also mention that although it is perfectly sensible to copy the install CD to the hard disk and run it from there, your system will (certainly Win 98 will) ask for that again whenever installing new peripherals. So it makes great sense to create two partitions, (maybe nearly equal in size), the second of which becomes D:. On D: is the place to put the install CD copy, and also use D: to store drive images and any other backups you like. A drive image is a backup of huge importance - when your system goes belly-up for whatever reason, you can use it to restore to spanking new in just a few minutes. Provided you take a new drive image like, monthly.
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