How to repair Windows XP/2000 if you are unable to boot into Windows


Posts: 4,512   +66

Is your system unable to boot into Windows XP/2000 or even Safe Mode? Whether you get a blue screen or XP/2000 just hangs, then this information is for you. This will allow you to repair your Windows XP/2000 installation (hopefully) without having to losing your data or settings.

  • May allow Windows to load properly if there are critical driver, software or registry problems which have rendered the system unbootable. (Blue screens, hanging, errors etc..)
  • May repair/reinstall missing Windows components or solve otherwise quirky behavior
  • May allow drive to be installed on another system or motherboard with different chipset
  • May allow you to install new motherboards or make other large hardware changes that XP may not readily accept with PnP.
Note: The system repair function will remove any updates you have previously installed that are not included on the CD. Drivers will also be reverted to their original XP versions, as well as some settings (Including by not limited to network & performance settings). It may be necessary to reactivate your Windows XP as well.

Step 1: Determine the problem
Step 2: Begin the repair process
  • You must boot from your XP or 2000 CD. Please make sure it is the same version of Windows that is currently installed on your computer (ex. XP Home cannot repair XP Professional). Place the CD in your CDROM and start your computer. Newer versions will work as well (ie. Windows XP Pro SP2 CD will work on an older WinXP Pro SP1 installation)

    Before the Windows logo appears, you will be asked to press any key to boot from CD, so do just that.

    If you are unable to boot from the XP/2000 CD, then please check the last step in this short guide.
Step 3: System repair steps
  • A blue screen will appear and will begin loading XP setup from the CD.

    RAID/SCSI/Unsupported UDMA users:
    You will be prompted to "press F6 to install any third party SCSI or RAID drivers". Most users will not have to press F6, but if you are running RAID, SCSI or unsupported ATA controllers, then you need your controller drivers on a floppy disk. If you are unsure whether you have RAID/SCSI, then simply let the CD load without pressing F6.

    Once completed, you will be confronted with "Windows Setup". You will be asked to setup up Windows, or repair Windows with the recovery console. Choose the FIRST option, NOT recovery console.

Choose F8 to continue.


  • Next, Windows Setup will find existing Windows XP/2000 installations. You will be asked to repair an existing XP installation or install a fresh copy of Windows XP/2000.

    If no installations are found, then you will not be given the option to repair. This may happen if the data or partition on your drive is too corrupted.

  • That should be it. Windows XP/2000 will appear to be installing itself for the first time, but it will retain all of your data and settings. Just follow the prompts, have your CD-KEY handy and hope for the best!


Posts: 4,512   +66
CDROM NOT BOOTABLE: If the XP/2000 CD does not boot...
  • Many computers out there are not configured to boot from the CDROM. If you cannot boot from the CDROM, this is probably due to the boot order of your computer being incorrect for CDROM booting.

    You have two options:

    1.) You can change this in the BIOS during POST, which is usually the very first screen displayed by your computer when you turn it on.

    2.) Many newer computers have a selectable boot menu by tapping F8, F10 OR F12 right during/after the first POST screen. This will allow you to temporarily boot from a CDROM.

    To enter your BIOS, most users here will press the DEL key.

    Most users with Dell, Gateway, Sony & HP systems will press F2.

    Many Toshiba laptops are F2 or require you hold the ESC key when you turn the system on. Your notebook will report an error and prompt to press F1 to enter setup. Do exactly that. ;)

    Compaq users will usually have to press F10.

    IBM typically uses F1 or F2.

    Other brands may have different keys to press to enter setup, but F1, F2, Del, Tab and CTRL+S or CTRL + ALT + S are the most common ones I'm familiar with. Often, the BIOS will display what button to press to "enter setup" during POST.

When you enter the BIOS setup, you need to change the boot order. The CDROM should be setup before the Hard Drive. Each BIOS is different, but here is an example:



Posts: 1,519   +1
Don't forget to mention the 87MBs of windows updates (you need to do this several times because there are updates for some of the updates, really!) that will be optionally required after install. I can't wait for winxp sp2 to be released, so that I can slipstream my CD and avoid the large update requirements. Glad I have broadband.


Posts: 23   +0
In a lot of the newer computers with 1 gig of ram fast ram, several drives, tons of lights and big coolers can over tax the power supplys that where working just fine before.

Power supplys problem can cause random reboots if theres not enogh power to run everything. This can also blow voltage control Caps. for the memory or 5 volt side.

If your computer shuts off and won't even post the bios, look at your power supply it my be at it's limit.
i am on the new set up but stuck. it asks for a SISAGP.SYS file to be installed on Silicon Integrated Systems Installation disk. I cannot find what that could be. is it in the Win XP folders somewhere and I cannot find it? Help! Thanks! Meredith


Posts: 4,512   +66
Originally posted by mere24
i am on the new set up but stuck. it asks for a SISAGP.SYS file to be installed on Silicon Integrated Systems Installation disk. I cannot find what that could be. is it in the Win XP folders somewhere and I cannot find it? Help! Thanks! Meredith
If you are repairing your Windows XP installation, then this can happen. You should be able to just simply cancel the message and it will continue installing as normal.

If this is a fresh installation of Windows XP and not an upgrade/repair, then this may mean your Windows CD is damaged.
got it!!!


Thanks a bunch! It worked and all my files are there! When it kept asking me for that SIS file, I went to the SIS site to download it, but they said it was a custom file on the CD that came with my pc. So I found the CD with the file and went on easily. I am so happy I didn't lose anything. Thanks for your help!It was easy with all of the steps to follow. I saved money for a tech to come and visit!

Now I have only 1 minor problem. All files are still there but I cannot connect to the Internet. When I try to manually set up a connection, it won't let me do so. And everytime I restart, a msg tells me to go to the control panel and configure some stuff but I don't know what it wants me to. Any thoughts? Thanks, Meredith
I had a problem with WIN XP and recovered everything but I cannot get onto the Internet. I run the Internet Connection Wizrd and try to install a new connection. Here is what happens: I create a new connection and press NEXT and select Copnnect to the Internet. I choose the set up my connection manually selection. When I get to this next screen the first 2 selections won't allow me to click on them for Connect using a dial-up modem. The only one that it selects is connect using a broadband connection. How do I allow the dial up modem selection to be chosen when it won't let me? Can Anyone help? Thanks
When I get to this next screen the first 2 selections won't allow me to click on them for Connect using a dial-up modem. The only one that it selects is connect using a broadband connection. How do I allow the dial up modem selection to be chosen when it won't let me?

If you repaired Windows XP that had Service Pack 1 installed with a CD without Service Pack, your network connections through your ISP will not function. Only direct connections will still work.

You must install Service Pack 1 to fix this problem.

Hopefully you have it burned on some CD or saved it on your HD.


Posts: 4,512   +66
Originally posted by RyonanGT
one question here....
is it the same as formatting ur pc when using the method u list out here????

No. Although the process is very simliar, there is a major difference - Formatting destroys ALL of your data. This method of reinstalling XP saves most of your settings and files.


Posts: 173   +0
You can also install the recovery console to your PC and have it show up as a boot option.
To install the Recovery Console as a startup option
With Windows running, insert the Setup CD into your CD-ROM drive.
CLick Start and select Run.
Type the following where D: is the CD-ROM drive letter:
D:\i386\winnt32.exe /cmdcons

Probably won't help if you can't boot into windows but it may save you from having to dig out your cd and it should load pretty fast.

Nice work Rick, well done.


Posts: 6   +0
all very nice but backing up data before possibly losing the lot probably a good idea

- however, not easy to burn cds when you're booting from cd eh?

I'm going to try and make a floppy linux distro that can read ntfs and burn cds... gulp!


Posts: 129   +0
hi i installed a new motherboard and now it wont boot windows - all i get is this windows didnt strat properly screen and when it tries to boot all i see is a windows logo with a random blue background for a split second and then it disappears. its a new mobo put into an existing comp. i was told i would have to reinstall windows but i dont want to lose my data cause i love it so (ahem porn ahem). would this work (fixing windows instead of reinstalling) or do i just bite the bullet and redo it . also if i do have to redo it - if i get another hard drive and just install windows on that one is there a way i can get my programs and files transfered over without digging out all the cds and stuff. any help would be greatly appreciated. much thanks.


Posts: 23   +0
When installiing a new mobo into a computer that already has windows installed will always be problem matic.

The drivers for the IDE controler will not work if changing from say a VIA chip set to Nvidia or SIS etc.

XP does a better job that the other OS's but it is still hit and miss.

Install the OS disc and boot from it than run through as if you are doing an install.

But when you get to the last window before formating your drive and starting over windows will offer you a chance to repair.

Do this it will look like its installing a new OS but when done, if it works you will be able to start windows. Even if it works You will probly have to reinstall some of your hardware and drivers. So have them ready.

But there is always the chance that it won't even boot. If not booting you will have to do a new install.

As always it is best to backup everything you want to keep before doing this or a new install.

A new install will clean all the junk out but it will mean redoing all your tweaking again.


Posts: 129   +0
i put in the cd and went through the steps to repair windows. it repaired windows (to my knowledge) since it said it was finished and put on a count down to restart. my comp then restarted and went straight to windows installation screen. i thought it was weird but i let it continue. it was installing pretty quickly when an error came up. it said "unregmp2.exe - entry poinjt not found. procedure entry point GetIUMS could not be located in the dynamic link library MSDART.DLL" i restarted my comp and windows tried to install again and the same error came up. any ideas that might save my data or am i screwed and will have to format. any help will be greatly appreciated. much thanks.


Posts: 23   +0
Artical on this error unregmp2.exe on MS site.;[LN];329771

MSDART.DLL try this or from same recovery console try bootfix.

At c promt type dir it will list programs you can run to recover.

At the Welcome to Setup screen, press R to start the Recovery Console.
Press the number key that corresponds to the installation that you want to repair, and then press ENTER.
Type the Administrator password, and then press ENTER.
With the Windows XP CD-ROM still in the CD-ROM drive or DVD-ROM drive, type the following commands, pressing ENTER after each command:
cd system32
ren msdart.dll msdart.old
cd \i386
expand msdart.dl_ BootDriveLetter:\windows\system32

This error is the type of errors that make repairing a hit and miss.

Even if you do get it to boot your best bet is to back up everything that you want to keep and than do a clean install. Hope you can get in to recover your programs and files.


Posts: 129   +0
thanks grog - i actually got it to install - i just pressed esc + enter and installation moved on and finished. when i boot now tho it seems to take forever. it seems like my comp got slower when it should have gotten faster. ehh. i got the same error in my desktop. but i just pressed ok and it went away. im thinking of just dragging out this problem till im forced to fully reinstall windows. thanks again.


Posts: 23   +0
Check your drivers after a system repair some will have to be reloaded. I had to repair a lap top that had picture that the guy didn't want to lose this way. He had picture of his new baby on it. After the repair it too was very slow but found that keyboard wasn't installed or thouchpad. It also had so dll errors. Norton one button check showed 36 errors and repaired them, had to run it a few times.

Like I said before after you get it up and save all your inportant stuff do a clean install.


Posts: 129   +0
yeah im def backing up all my data as soon as i install this dvd burner. whats weird is that i tried to update my bios and its says something about the chips not being right or matching. will try again thought. thanks again.