Can't boot Windows XP, locks up, can't safe mode

By mc1 · 43 replies
Apr 10, 2008
  1. I have desktop pc with windows xp sp2 and I'm having trouble getting to the login screen. First let me say that I have rudementary knowledge, and by saying that I mean that you will really need to explain things like you are talking to a child. I have just enough tech know-how to really get myself into trouble. :)

    SO I tried to login today and my pc locked up. I did a power down and upon restart it stayed on the Windows XP screen endlessly, so I powered down again. This time I got to the screen where it said that something went wrong and I needed to choose to either enter safe mode, safe mode with networking, safe mode with command prompt, start form last working config or start windows as normal.

    None of these work. If I do as normal, I'm back at the endless Windows XP screen. If I try any of the others I get a full screen of this:

    multi(6)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\windows32\drivers..... After the .... there's many different options on the screen, lots of different things but all have that text proceeding it.

    I can't get to a command prompt to type in some of the things I've seen I need to try from various searches. I can't get to a safe mode to anything that way. I can't get to a login in any way shape or form. next step was booting from the windows disc. I tried this, and nothing happens at all. It's not reading the disc at all, so it's not sending me to a screen where I have a choice to reinstall windows or repair, etc.

    I'm not sure what other info you might need but PLEASE be detailed and handle me with kid gloves. Alot of things you might suggest I might not fully understand so please be plain and specific and give me step by step directions.

    MUCH Appreciated!!!!!
  2. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 5,332   +101

    Enter the BIOS and make sure your optical drive is ahead of your HDD on the boot sequence. Then, run a repair installation of Windows as you were planning to.
  3. tweakboy

    tweakboy TS Guru Posts: 467

    No matter how bad your situation is, booting from CD will always work. You need to clean the CD, make sure the drive is working properly, and once you see it says boot from cd press a key, You must press enter or whatever. Then it will go into OS install blue screen.

    Don't go to recovery console, rather intsall windows and say repair install. In 39 minutes you will be back up and running no problems all settings drivers are there. Your back to your desktop and don't need to do a thing. gl, keep us posted my friend!!!
  4. mc1

    mc1 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 17

    I understand that, but it's not doing so. My guess is the boot order has to be changed but I've no idea how to do that. I loaded the installation cd into the drive but it's not taking met to the screens that it would usually if you booted from the cd.

    I'm sorry if I seem feeble, I've just enough knowledge to understand most of what you want me to do, but in many cases I'm unsure what to do to achieve the results. So, how can I change this to get the cd to boot? The cd is clean! :)

  5. mc1

    mc1 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 17

    Also, how do I ender BIOS to make the changes suggested and where do I find this option?

  6. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 5,332   +101

    If you haven't figured it out yet, you've likely got to hit either F1, F2 or Delete to enter the BIOS. You'll probably see the message flash in front of you briefly when you first turn your PC on that tells you the exact key. You can find out what key it is by checking your PC or motherboard manufacturer's website.

    After you enter the BIOS, just roam around and you'll definitely find what you are looking for with a little common sense. It'll be called Boot Sequence or something comparable to that in the English language :). There will be directions on the bottom or side of the screen on how to alter the settings, and you'll simply set your optical drive ahead of the HDD.
  7. mc1

    mc1 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 17

    I got into the BIOS, changed the order of the boot to optical first instead of HDD, and then tried to do a recovery with the disc. I typed R for repair and it sent me to a the recovery screen but ONLY gave me an option to type exit and restart, at which point I loaded to the screen that had safe mode and last working config options. I tried the config and now I'm on the eternal windows xp screen again. What did I do wrong. ?
  8. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 5,332   +101

  9. mc1

    mc1 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 17

    Ok tried this again and got to the point when I'm supposed to click Repair but instead there's a step ahead of it. It gives me the option to choose between 2 partitions I have. One is very tiny, only 8 mb. The other is huge. The only option from here is the install and I'm worried that this will overwrite and do a real install. I don't get a repair option like the steps suggest. What do do???
  10. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 5,332   +101

    If you don't have a "Repair" option on that screen then your sh*t out of luck. Indeed, choosing the "Install" option will perform a "real" installation. You might want to back your data up and go ahead with this option.
  11. mc1

    mc1 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 17

    Why would it do that though? Also, I have zero idea on what to do to backup the data :( I've read about slaving it to another system (and I do have a near identical system that my wife uses) but I'm simply at a loss on what to do to save the data :(

    Is there ANY way to get back to repair?
  12. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 5,332   +101

    Only save the data you need or want. For instance, music, photos, word documents. You can attach your HDD to another PC, indeed. You will want to attach it as a Slave or Secondary HDD and then, assuming the BIOS and Windows detects the drive, you will be able to browse the drive via My Computer and transfer data from one HDD to the next.

    No, your CD does not support the Repair option.

    You can try completing this guide, but, I can't say whether or not it will do much of anything for you in your situation.
  13. mc1

    mc1 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 17

    can you walk me through the slave situation. I read about jumpers, etc, but again, I'm a relative newbie here :)
  14. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +184

    Here's, i think, an excellent link to walk you through a number of issues/options you are faced with.

    Hold off on any clean install as there maybe some simpler backup options still available for you. As to backup options,
    - what is the make/model of your computer?
    - You have access to another computer with a CD burner?
  15. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 5,332   +101

    The only suggestion I see in that link which refers to someone without the option to perform a repair installation is basically identical to what I provided above.

    Mc1, first you will have to identify whether your drive is of the PATA or SATA interface. Take a look inside your case. Is your HDD attached to the motherboard with a cable that looks like this or like this?
  16. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +184

    i wasn't refering to that link as far as backup/recovery options which i see two possibilities which only involves existing tools and walking mc1 through it.

    Option 1: Acronis True Image Home. Can be downloaded with a 15day free trial (tho recommend they buy a copy anyway to do disk and file backup/recovery) in the future. They can run Build Recovery Media tool (on a different computer, of course) to create a bootable recovery CD which allows them to boot and backup their drive (i think can go to to USB drive or certainly a network drive or other computer setup as an ftp connection)

    Option 2. Download and burn a copy of UBCD4Win (Ultimate Boot CD For Windows). You can boot from that CD along with creating a network connection. (i'd have to verify but i think it allows you to copy the hard drive over the network connection to create a backup. Again, need verify this with the current UBCD4Win disc as has been a long time since i last used it)
  17. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 5,332   +101

    Lol, I suppose it's going to vary with opinion, however, I think those are a bit more difficult than simply attaching the HDD to another PC and using a familiar Windows GUI to drag and drop files.

    Whatever knocks your socks off I suppose...
  18. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +184

    yes.. is a matter of user preference

    but consider the user
    - needs to get good backup/recovery software in any case
    - Is a self-described "newbie" so am just guessing they'd feel more comfortable with software tools rather then hardware jumpers/changes
    - i think easier/safer to describe some commands in existing tools (they just as well learn for future use) and has less chance of screwing anything up by accident

    but i have no vested interest in any method. Just guessing on approaches from a "newbie's" point of view
  19. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 5,332   +101

    Likewise, and for me, attaching and HDD to another PC is significantly easier than playing with unfamiliar software. He might not have to play with jumpers if it's a SATA drive and the other board supports SATA, or, if the HDD is PATA and there is an available PATA host adapter on the motherboard.

    :) Guess he can do whatever he cares to.
  20. mc1

    mc1 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 17

    Here's the specs on my hardware:

    AMD Athlon 64 FX-62 Windsor 2.8GHz Socket AM2 125W Dual-Core Processor Model ADAFX62CSBOX
    ASUS M2N-SLI Deluxe AM2 NVIDIA nForce 570 SLI MCP ATX AMD Motherboard
    SAMSUNG SpinPoint T Series HD400LJ 400GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive
    SONY 16X DVD±R DVD Burner With 5X DVD-RAM Write Black IDE Model DRU120C
    EVGA 640-P2-N821-AR GeForce 8800GTS 640MB 320-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 HDCP
    CORSAIR XMS2 1GB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 675 (PC2 5400) Desktop Memory Model CM2X1024-5400C4

    Also, I'd done some searching, but GOD I'm not understanding most of it. I do read that there seemst be alot of theories on why when I try to go into safe mode I get the data lines that I described above in my OP. That line should read as follows:


    (not the zero instead of the six in parentathis afer the multi - that was my typo)

    That's the last line in a series of others that will come up when I try any safe mode option. It seems to hand on that mup.sys. I don't know what that means, but somehow it's hanging me up on booting.
  21. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 5,332   +101

    Okay, great. You've got a SATA HDD. As long as your other PC's motherboard supports SATA you ought to be able to plug it into the first available host adapter.

    Yes, there is a lot of information about mup.sys around. Personally, I don't have enough first hand experience of those issues to personally suggest something off the top of my head. However, if you have a direct question about something that you're having trouble understanding, I will try and answer it (as well as the rest of the people on this board).
  22. mc1

    mc1 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 17

    Can you give me steps on how to swap this drive into another pc? I'm guessing that the reasoning is to backup important files and I'll stll need to do a full reinstall? :(

    Oh and I did some more reading and it was suggested I go into the recovery console and type bootcfg. I tried that and it gave me more options. This is the link:

    However, I had an access denied on the copy lines suggested. I tried the rebuild and it came back with a fail due to corrupt file system, which could prevent bootcfg from successfully scanning. It then recommended that I do a chkdsk, which I did. It did find one or more errors, but no other information on what to do.

    So where am I know?
  23. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 5,332   +101

    Well, if chkdsk has found errors your HDD might be failing. Test it with one of the utilities here . You're still going to want to back up your data, regardless of your decision to reinstall, repair, or throw that drive away and buy a new one.

    You'll want to shut off both PCs, remove the external power cable from the PSU and remove the side panel of the cases. Unplug the power/SATA cables from your HDD and remove the SATA cable from the system (set it down within reach). Unscrew your HDD from it's housing and remove the drive. Mount the drive into the other PC's HDD housing/cage. Attach the power and SATA cables (plug the SATA cable into the first available port on the motherboard).

    Close the case back up, reattach the external power cable to the PSU and turn the PC on. Let it boot into Windows normally, and check My Computer to see if another drive is listed.
  24. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +184

    As you've seen, there's lots of scattered information as to reasons which could cause your system to "hang after mup.sys". This link explains many things to look at (in a well laid out manner.) In any case, sounds like backing up your hard drive is a good place to start (and am sure Zenosincks can help in getting that drive copied)
  25. mc1

    mc1 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 17

    Just checking back. I will try that, but I gave it another go and i did get to the repair option. It's running now so PRAYING that this works.

    IF it does, do I need to reinstall anything, like SP2? I read that is possible. Can I do it simply thru windows update or is there a place to download it otherwise?

    Will report back...

    Update - hmmm... well it rebooted after the repair cycle and now it's like it's installing windows. 39 min. I don't want to intereupt now, but I've got a bad feeling that I'm doing a full reinstall :( Could I be wrong, does a repair still cycle through the 39 min timeframe?
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