XP Logs out instantly after logon

By lalaji
Jun 26, 2004
  1. Im hoping you guys can help me out here. A friend just dropped of his PC with an interesting problem. He has an Athlon XP 2100+ with an Abit board, 768mb of Ram, Maxtor 60GB hdd and hes running XP Pro with SP1. When the machine loads up to the welcome screen i hit OK (there is no password for the machine) and it loads the wallpaper as if its going to load properly, but then just instantly logs out again and brings up the PW box again. Ive tried hitting ctrl+alt+del but nothing seems to go through. The Hdd is partitioned into 2 partitions but when we try to repair it it sees the hard drive as one large partition and its the wrong letter so i do not want to try to format and reinstall yet. We also tried using Norton GoBack but it seems all the logged savepoints have been wiped out ie there are no dates to choose from. Please tell me one of you have seen this and knows a fix. Thanks. Any help or ideas would be greatly appreciated.
  2. LNCPapa

    LNCPapa TS Special Forces Posts: 4,202   +422

    I have a strange feeling that it may be due to that drive letter issue. He probably has his only pagefile located on the drive whose letter has changed. I had this problem once when I put my pagefile on a seperate partition and then formated that partition. Try somehow getting that drive letter back as it's supposed to be - or if you can get into safemode see if you can check the pagefile location.
  3. lalaji

    lalaji TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 136

    I dont know if with regards to windows the letter has changed.... i just noticed that when trying to reinstall windows it does not recognize the partitions properly as in it sees the drive as one full drive and as the wrong letter. But i am going to try booting into safe mode and see what happens. Ill let you know what happened shortly.
  4. lalaji

    lalaji TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 136

    So i tried booting into safe mode and it still logs you out instantly. Cant do anything. I also tried reverting back with norton goback again since some logs magically appeared again and it still does the same thing. Any other ideas? Please help.
  5. poertner_1274

    poertner_1274 secroF laicepS topShceT Posts: 4,172

    You could always try to do a repair of XP, as shown in this article.
  6. davel23

    davel23 TS Rookie

    Have you tried logging in as anyone else? There should at least be an adminstrator account in addition to the default user account.
  7. lalaji

    lalaji TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 136

    Admin account does the same thing and when we tried to repair the install the recovery console just goes into the command prompt and sits at C:\Windows> and i have no idea what to do there. I also tried hooking up the HDD to My machine and just use it as a data drive so i can copy all the data off but for some reason my machine wont recognize the drive. No matter what the jumpers are. I hope this sparks an idea. Thanks again for the help fellas and more ideas are extremely appreciated.
  8. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,573   +65

    When you say your other computer doesn't recognize the drive, would it be fair to say that your computer or Windows doesn't recognize it?

    If the partition is damaged on the drive, sometimes Windows can still boot itself. But if you place the drive into another computer, Windows may not know what to do with it and recognizes it as a "unformatted" or "raw".

    If the computer does not recognize it at all (such as in the BIOS setup), then triple check your jumper settings. Some drives don't even need jumpers to be slave. If you are uncertain what the jumpers are, give us the size, brand and/or model of the hard drive then we can look it up for you.

    What I might do is use a drive diagnostic utility. You can find more information here:

    The first thing you should do is verify the drive is good before you try a repair or anything like that. Also, if you have a damaged partition, a repair will likely not be possible since the Windows CD will probably not be able to read the partition.
  9. lalaji

    lalaji TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 136

    OK the scenario has changed a bit... I got my friend a new HDD and isntalled windows on it... and it was working.. then a restart or 2 in it gave us the error that a windows file is missing or corrupt. So i tried reinstalling windows and it went through and installed. But now when it boots, the windows xp loading screen goes away and before it loads the welcome screen, it blue screens really fast and reboots. I quickly saw a flash of the word memory so its a memory error. I dont think its the hard drive since its brand spankin new, so i went to the ram. i took out his ram and stuck in a stick from my machine and the same problem occurred. I think it may be the mobo. Any ideas on this? I really cant do anything since this hapens before windows loads completely. Also to answer your question rick, when i had windows on his new drive, disk management saw the other hard drive and said it was healthy and active, but it did not show up in my computer. I do not know how to make it accessible in my computer because until now... everytime i plugged in a hard drive it showed up. So theres another thing to think about. Please let me know your thoughts on both of these issues. Thanks again.
  10. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,573   +65

    I might venture a guess at the board or CPU from the trouble shooting you have performed.
  11. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +7

    Oh, I think you have a faulty DIMM.
  12. lalaji

    lalaji TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 136

    ok i did some more troubleshooting... I took all 3 sticks of his ram and put it in my machine. It booted and worked fine. It stated the correct amount of ram and i had no problems. This makes me think that the problem is most likely the mobo causing the memory error blue screen. Im thinking a ram slot has died or something and its just worthless now.

    The other problem is with the hard drive. Rick you were right about the windows setup not being able to recognize the partition. now all i am trying to do with that hard drive is salvage the important data thats on it. The problem is i think since the partition is messed up... windows wont recognize the drive in My Computer but i can see it in disk management although it does not show the correct partition setup. Do you guys know of any way to fix this so i can get the data off? I read the thread you posted rick, Do you think Active Partition Recovery will be able to recognize the drive since i cant see it in My Comp? Any ideas will be appreciated greatly. Thanks again guys!
  13. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,573   +65

    Yes, I think Active@Partition will work for you.

    But it is imperitive you do this on another system or get your system fixed. Most likely what has happened is your bad memory, memory DIMM (or related error) has corrupted your data.

    Memory and data are integrated very tightly in modern computers. Something as simple as a chkdsk with bad memory may completely wipe out partitions or thousands of files at a blink of an eye.
  14. lalaji

    lalaji TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 136

    I have the hard drive plugged into my system. The system im fixing is my friends... so i will try using Active Partition bright and early tomorrow morning and see if it works. I will post the results afterwards. Thanks again.
  15. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,689   +395

    Don't know if I missed it but you might want to run something like memtest86 on those 3 sticks that you were able to boot your system with. I don't think just that you were able to boot and run windows for a bit with them is quite enough to completely rule them out of this situation.
  16. lalaji

    lalaji TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 136

    So i Downloaded the CD image of Active Partition and booted from it. It loads to the A:\> prompt after sayin bad command or file name PR.EXE. I dont know why it would go to the A: prompt since i do not have a floppy drive. I then booted into windows and checked the files on the CD and PR.EXE is there. This is getting extremely frustrating. I guess now the only thing i can do is try SNGs suggestion and try testing his ram in my PC with memtest86. Lets just hope their Boot CD Image actually works. If anyone has an idea of why the active partition iso didnt work please let me know. If i get relevant results from the memtest ill post them. Thanks again.
  17. lalaji

    lalaji TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 136

    Ok. So alot has happened now. I tested one stick of ram in my friends PC and after 3 passes it had like 55 errors. Then i thought "Wait. If the slot is bad, thats gonna give me errors even if the ram is good. So i tested the same stick in my PC where i previously checked my ram (0 errors) and i got 0 errors on the stick that got 55 errors in his machine. So i tested all three sticks in my machine where i know the mobo is fine. So after testing them i found 1 stick is bad and the other 2 gave 0 errors. All had at least 3 passes in memtest86. So then i took one of the good sticks and put it in his machine and tested the remaining 3 slots. All 3 gave errors. Based on this i believe that his motherboard ram slots are bad so i recommended that he buy a new one. Do you guys agree?

    On another note i found a program that was able to let me get to the hard drive with the messed up partitions while still in windows. So i was able to get all the data he needed off. So let me know what you guys think in regards to his motherboard. Thanks again guys.
  18. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,689   +395

    Yes, I tend to agree with your assessment that he's got a bad mobo.
    The reason I suggested to test them on your machine to be SURE the RAM was good is because I had a faulty RAM module once and had all sorts of problems. I could install a 9x OS just fine, but coudln't install an NT based one, would get different errors each time. But after the 9x was installed I'd get registry errors before I really had a chance to install anything.
    I found out I had bad RAM the hard way, I didn't have anyone to hint that could be it to me at that time, so since then I've been very cautious ruling out RAM as a catalyst for odd problems.
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