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

By Rick ยท 374 replies
Oct 20, 2003
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  1. Parossi

    Parossi TS Rookie

    No way to log in to XP

    Good day,

    I'm having trouble loggin into windows XP Home Edition. Safe mode does the same like all the other options and the pc automaticly reboots before the logon screen appears. It ends with some 3 or 4 lines of white text on a bleu background but these are only visable for not even a sec, so impossible to read even one letter written.

    I now am trying to work my way through the repair method but running into troubble as I don't get the screens you are mentionning

    After booting from CD : I press enter as indicated (to setup)
    Then: I can press F8 as indicated
    BUT : Then I don't get the screen with option to press R, instead I get a screen with following options :
    press enter to install XP on the selected partition
    or press C if you want to make a partition in the non-partitionned section
    or press D if you want to delete the selected partition
    or press F3 to quit

    So, here I quitted because of not sure which option to choose without doing any further damage.

    Then I rebooted the pc and tried to press the R button instead of Enter (to setup), which brought me to a dos-like screen on which I didn't know again what to do...

    I hope somebody can put me on the right track
    Many thanks ahead!!
  2. HopiTac

    HopiTac TS Rookie

    Rick,thank you very much.
  3. HoopaJoop

    HoopaJoop TS Rookie Posts: 90

    The blue screen you see is most likely a general protection fault. It's also called the blue screen of death. If you could get into windows you could change the system settings to not automatically reboot when an error occurs. This is helpfull in that you can actually see the error that comes up, and that is sometimes troubleshootable.

    On to more useful information.

    Some pre-built machines have special recovery disks. The manufacturer actually modifies the install disk to remove certain options such as repair, and of course add their splash logos everywhere possible. They would, in this instance, provide you with a recovery cd. Dell did this for a short while, and I think gateway may have as well. Are you using a regular store bought Windows disk?

    Sorry if i'm being redundant here but:

    Another option, if you can afford it, is to perform a fresh install of windows on a new hard drive. You can use your previous drive as a secondary and get all the files off of it you need. Then if necessary you can do the reverse if you want your previous drive back as primary.

    This is obviously only an option if you only need individual files from your original HDD. One can't normally easily copy installed applications.

    Normally my issue with repair operations is that by the time one of my machines needs a repair, it is more than likely to need a clean install. A repair can often get your machine running, but it doesn't always completely remove the problem that caused the crash in the first place. There's no guarantee that once you repair, and you open a few programs that Window's all-too-precious memory space will be intruded upon and some system files will get corrupted during reboot.
  4. treefrog

    treefrog TS Rookie


    I am having a similiar problem, but with yet another twist. I have an Asus P5P800 Motherboard w/ 3.4 Ghz P4 processor, and a GB of Kingston PC 3200. I have a 60 GB hard drive that is now formatted thanks to the XP Installation CD, but here is where the twist kicks in. The install appears to be going along smoothly, but after setting up files on the hard drive, the install states that it needs to reboot before it can continue. Upon rebooting, the install begins all over again. This happens regardless of having the CD ROM set as the primary boot device, or the hard drive set as primary. It is stuck in an endless install/boot cycle.

    I have tried everything, and I am at my wits end. This forum is my last hope.

  5. poertner_1274

    poertner_1274 secroF laicepS topShceT Posts: 4,172

    Have you simply taken the CD out of the drive? It should correctly boot from HDD if you have switched it, but just take the CD out and it should be ok.

    :wave:Welcome to TechSpot:wave:
  6. treefrog

    treefrog TS Rookie

    Yes, I've tried every combination of possibilities that I can think of. If I remove the CD I get this message on a black screen.

    Reboot and Select propre Boot device
    or Insert Boot Media in selected Boot device and press a key

    I've tried changing boot priority from hard drive, to cd drive w/ no change.

    I've tried it with quick boot enabled and disabled.

    I've tried it with Plug and Play OS on and off.

    So frustrating.
  7. dci9497

    dci9497 TS Rookie

    Please help me... someone...Please? :(


    I am new to this forum and would like to say that all the information i've read on this thread thus far has been a huge help!

    I have a Dell Inspirion 1100 Laptop and I am running WinXP Home SP1. I bought a photo printer from HP and couldn't install any of the software that came with it. Well i went to their home page and had to install a patch for it to work. After I installed the patch things started to go crazy on the desktop. Folders started appearing along with other icons randomly on the desktop. I tried the reboot and the OS got stuck at the logo screen. I can't even reboot in safe mode.

    I called HP and Dell and they didn't do anything. I read Rick's article, which i might add was done very well, and it offered hope. One of my concerns is if I proceed with everything that Rick has mentioned, is there chance of losing data? I have a lot of information that I cannot possibly lose. I know there is nothing wrong with the hardware because the computer is less than a year old and didn't go awry until I installed that patch from HP.

    Please if anyone can offer any support on this, it would be greatly appreciated.

    P.S. If all goes well after everything is said and done, is there any way of knowing or pin-pointing what caused this?

    Thanks again.
  8. Dr Rosenrosen

    Dr Rosenrosen TS Rookie Posts: 37

    Here's my predicament...I tried to re-image my laptop with the system recovery disks and it keeps getting fried halfway through. Always shoots back a Critical error. Someone told me it had something to do with the holding onto a partition image (1 vs 2) when it got reimaged a while back becasue of a virus. Now, I have to figure out how to run a disk check to free this up (was going to use delpart.exe). BUT I don't have a floppy drive. How can I boot this withOUT a floppy using only a CD given to me by the hardware manufacturer?
  9. Mictlantecuhtli

    Mictlantecuhtli TS Evangelist Posts: 4,345   +11

    Sounds to me like a problem with Windows Explorer, maybe the patch installed a context menu that isn't compatible with that version of Windows Explorer?
    I've done this kind of repairs sometimes and never lost data, only some operating system settings were set to default and service packs had to be installed again.
  10. Dr Rosenrosen

    Dr Rosenrosen TS Rookie Posts: 37

    So what do I do? Again, it gets stuck and kicks back a Critical error...abort retry fail or ignore. No matter whaat I pick it just says "This process has been terminated". Also, sometimes it says please enter a command (ie. C:\Command.Com). All I have is the manufacturer (SONY) recovery disks
  11. dci9497

    dci9497 TS Rookie

    Another Problem


    Thank you very much for your input Mictlantecuhtli. I don't know too much about what the patch actually was so i don't know if what you suggested could be the problem.

    I actually have another problem I went ahead and proceeded with the repair and everything goes fine until I get an error that reads "Setup.exe Application error" and the a subtext that reads "The instruction at '0x75d1a23e' referenced memory at '0x06310ed0'. The memory could not be 'read'. This error pops up after going through the installation and I click "next" after keeping the language settings.

    I heard from a friend that I might be able to save most of my data through a parallel installation. I don't want to lose any data but i guess only some is better than all. Is there anything else i can do to get to Windows AND keep my data?

    I should mention that i went through Recovery Console and try to run chkdsk /p and /r, nothing happened. It came up with results saying that it founds errors and fixed them but it still doesn't let me go back to windows. Now when ever I start my computer no matter if the WinXP disc is in the drive or not I get the start of setup for installation. Can I bypass this in any way?

    I apologize for the long reply and so many questions but I am freakin out about this whole thing, so any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you guys so much for what you do.

  12. rkscmhoh

    rkscmhoh TS Rookie

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

    Rick , is there a WPA required after successful completion of the steps you have detailed in your discussion of "How to: Repair Windows XP/2000 if you are unable to boot into Windows" ?

    I have been reading that such a thing would be needed and there's a problem with this activation - the same product key will not allow activation of the repaired XP installation ?

    Any suggestions how one may overcome this ?
  13. poertner_1274

    poertner_1274 secroF laicepS topShceT Posts: 4,172

    You don't need to input any information as far as a serial number or activation key when repairing your OS. It is already on the disc, and you are just reloading the default files.
  14. Mictlantecuhtli

    Mictlantecuhtli TS Evangelist Posts: 4,345   +11

    Try this: Ultimate Boot CD
  15. puge henis

    puge henis TS Rookie

    oh snap

    Hey what happend to me is pretty odd.. I went on a 5 day trip and forgot to turn off my computer.. After about 3 days my mom got tired of the noise from it and turned it off. When i got home i booted up and got to the Windows load screen and then it just hung there afterwards with a black screen and no response. Of course i was like wtf and restarted which lead to the same thing. I figured i would see if i could run in Safe mode and thankfully it would run.. (which i am still in right now).. I found my windows CD and reinstalled with an update which doesnt delete any files. It started up in windows and i was like thank god. I installed a couple programs and restarted.. Unfortunately right after the XP load screen it went right back to a black screen i was like you have got to be kidding me. So I ended up doing a full reinstall of windows which took everything off and i figured this would fix the problem. I did a windows update and installed some drivers and once again i restarted and the same problem.. I figured what ever the problem was couldnt be fixed with my knowledge of computers.. any suggestions, this huge resolution is about to make my eyes fall out :suspiciou
  16. dicks390

    dicks390 TS Rookie

    Problems with windows repair process

    Thank you. However, when this process gets to the point asking me if I
    accept the license agreement, I hit F8 and nothing happens. I am using an
    XP home edition disk in the process, and I have XP SP 2 on my machine after
    downloading the SP2 upgrade. Do I need to use an original XP home SP2 disk?
  17. whsballin

    whsballin TS Rookie

    I'm a technology *****

    But i seem to be having the same problem as everyone else in this thread and wondered if there was anyone patient enough to try and help me out. I did everything up until it got to the repair screen after loading all of the windows files from the cd. However, once there it just had the command prompt and I had no idea what to type. So I just tried resetting, but was still presented with Windows not fully loading, a blue screen flashing, and then my computer restarting. Can anyone please help?

    Thank you!
  18. dicks390

    dicks390 TS Rookie

    Read the first message in this thread. It says to skip the repair option the first time it appears after the CD loads. If you don't, ;) you get that prompt, and at that screen, you have to type in tons of different commands to fix it.
  19. whsballin

    whsballin TS Rookie

    Follow up

    I have tried all of this and it went through repairing the existing windows on my computer, but during the installation and setup part, I have only gotten as far as 16 minutes remaining before the computer shuts down. I have no idea why this occurs, and if anyone could help me out it would be greatly apprciated.
  20. Bati

    Bati TS Rookie

    Similar Windows hang - but many doubts!

    Hi all,
    I am new to this forum and not so experienced in this field, so I really need your help!

    My problem is similar to the so many posted here, however I will briefly describe it:

    I have an old notebook IBM Thinkpad 770ED, where I tried to install a program (PCAnywhere). The installation wizard asked me to reboot, and I did it. After this, Windows XP Prof. hung and did not start. Tried many times; the logo appears and disappears as usually, but then the black screen remains forever. HD stops after +/- 3 minutes and that's it.

    1- I will try to boot from the XP CD, however, I do not have it. One question is if I can borrow any XP CD??

    2- I am confused after reading all the thread: Is the XP CD the normal installation CD, or is it a special recovery CD which I do not have??

    3- Rick, in his explanation how to repair XP, mentioned a CD-KEY. Whta's this??

    4- I would like to try the safe mode, however I do not have the chance to choose this mode, and Windows always tries to start normally. How can I force the screen where to choose Safe Mode??

    I trust to count with your support, since I have no Backup and my wife will kill me if I do not fix this!!

    Thank you all from Switzerland.
  21. Mictlantecuhtli

    Mictlantecuhtli TS Evangelist Posts: 4,345   +11

    Welcome to TechSpot

    It's the normal one.
    Press F8 when booting, right after hardware check is done (although I'm not sure how your laptop does it), before XP's loading screen appears.
  22. jmsokol

    jmsokol TS Rookie

    Howto boot/repair XP Home that was upgraded to SP2

    I'm trying to recover from a crash where c:/windows/system32/config/system was corrupted. This computer had the original XP Home installed and was then upgraded to SP2 from the Microsoft site a while back. I was able to do a low-level repair of the HDD using HDD Regenerator, which then allowed me to do a chkdsk/r and finally boot from the original Windows XP disc and try to do an R reinstall. However, when the installer runs, the system begins to gather all the info and says there's 39 minutes for the install, but then just sits there scrolling windows adverts across the screen and never goes into install.

    I found on an XP help page that you can copy windows/repair/system over the original windows/system32/config/system file (aftern renaming the original system file) and when I do that the screen just blinks on and off at me while on the reinstall page.

    I don't want to do a fresh install since there's a bunch of new programs that would need to be reinstalled, and some of their security/setup info is on the main disc itself. Talk about being between the devil and the deep blue sea. All my data is safe on the separate D drive, but I don't want to go through the pain of re-intalling dozens of programs again, many of which have upgrades from the factory discs.

    Do you think the hangup is due to booting from the SP1 disc, even though the OS had been upgraded to SP2? If so, how do I make/get an XP SP2 disc for reinstallion of Windows?

    What exactly should copying the /windows/repair/system file do for me. It just makes the computer lockup or flash the screen.

    If I bail out and do a fresh windows install, can I copy all the application files to the D drive first and then copy them back down onto the C: drive. Is XP smart enough to reinstall these applications automatially after a fresh copy of XP has had its way with the disc, or has that bird already flown the nest?

    Any other suggestions?
  23. Mictlantecuhtli

    Mictlantecuhtli TS Evangelist Posts: 4,345   +11

    Could be. Search for "slipstream XP SP2", it should answer the second question.
  24. sagaboy

    sagaboy TS Rookie

    crossing fingers

    i'm trying to repair windows from a stop error 0x6b i hpoe the repair works. thanks for the info. :knock: :grinthumb
  25. patio

    patio TS Guru Posts: 482

    I am also having trouble doing a repair install of XP Pro.
    Full version of XP Pro, only used on initial install.
    All updates current including SP2, last updates were about a week ago.
    After the repair install seems to finish and before the system re-boots the following is the error message i get...
    Setup had problems registering the following OLE control DLL:


    Contact your system administrator, who may provide assistance in diagnosing this problem.

    Setup failed to remove the product catalog SP2.CAT.


    The signature for Windows XP Professional Upgrade is invalid. The error code is 426.

    The service has not been started.

    Fatal Error:

    Setup failed to install the product catalogs. This is a fatal error. The setup log files should contain more information.

    Is this because of SP2 being installed ? ?
    And is there a workaround for it. I'd rather not do a clean install at this point if i can help it.
    Thanx in advance...
    patio. :cool:

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