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Unable to start in safe mode

By WarriorMP · 33 replies
Jan 6, 2010
  1. Hi all, I was looking for information on why windows won't start in safe mode and happend on a post from this site (thread closed though). After reading it, I attempted to follow the instrutions givin about using recovery console. After entering "fixmbr" I recieved a caution message that this could potentually damage the partion and render all partitions inaccessable. "fixboot says it will rewrite a new boot sector. My question is should I continue with "fixmbr" and 'fixboot"? and will this reformat the HDD?
    I'm trying despratly NOT to reformat and lose all my info on this HDD.

    (long story as to how and why I'm at the point I am)

    can anyone help???
  2. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,430   +186

    First, see [post=720762]Troubleshoot: Windows Won't Recognize Your USB Hard Drive[/post]

    As to fixing your hard drive... when you say it won't boot into safe mode are you saying the computer fails to boot? or just where during the boot into safe mode process does it fail?

    As fixmbr only makes sense if disk failing on bootup.

    Fixmbr only rewrites the Master Boot Record. (Corrupt MBRs are often the reason a disk won't boot up). Rewriting the MBR doesn't overwrite your data. (but is still wise to back it all up first)
  3. WarriorMP

    WarriorMP TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 23

    well, each time it reboots it goes to the "start last known..." start in safe..." etc...
    when I do, XP begins to load then the "blue screen" flashes and the process starts all over again. I've tried booting in safe mode under recovery and I get an error of "NTLDR Compressed" "Press Ctrl+Alt+Del to restart".

    Once again at restart I hit F12 and go through "boot from CD". Incidentlly that's the only way I can access recovery. After running "fixmbr" and fixboot" it still won't boot in safe mode nor will it boot in last known good or normal mode.

    I'm stumped... :eek:(
  4. HellfireXD

    HellfireXD TS Rookie Posts: 27

    on the boot screen where it asks if you want to boot in safe mode select advanced options and then "disable automatic restart on system failure" this should allow you to read and write down the information contained on the blue screen. Post the error code when you get a chance.
  5. Kevork

    Kevork TS Rookie Posts: 73


    My suggestion would be to run chkdsk /r from the recovery console. Before continuing.

    P.S you are going to need the Admininstrator password.
  6. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,430   +186

    1) Agree. chkdsk /r is good to do
    2) My bad. In my first post i somehow copy/ pasted the wrong link. (you don't need info on external USB drives!) See [post=766270]How to recover your folders/files when Windows won’t boot[/post]
    > This might at least let you be sure you can back up your files if needed.
    > If it comes to it, do you have your XP install CDs. you can also try a repair install if need be
  7. WarriorMP

    WarriorMP TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 23

    I am able to load from F12 Boot menu and boot from the CD (Windows install CD) and I've tried the chkdsk /r and the chkdsk /p (chkdsk /f doesn't recognize). Didn't need administrator password. I've also ran fixmbr and fixboot. Safe mode will launch i.e. the files flow across the screen but then it reverts back to start up.
    the "Blue Screen" error is :
    ***Stop: 0x0000007E (0x0000005, 0xB7F217C0, 0xB84C3528, 0xB84C3224)

    ATAP.Sys - Address B7F217C0 base at B7F0B000 DateSTamp 4802539d

    On Start up the windows logo appears and it attempts to load but then blue screen etc... At the top it asks "Microsoft Windows Recovery Console". When I select that it tells me "NTLDR Compressed press CTL+ALT+DEL to restart".

    After using "fixmbr" and fixboot" though I was able to get as far as running script in safe mode before it reverts back to re-start.

    I can access through F12 Boot menu and load CD but don't know where to go from there. I've also tried loading through Directory Services Restore Mode (Windows domain controllers only) This also attempts to load followed by my drive info processor and memory but and states "windows is loading from Directory..." but then it reverts back to restart.

    Side note: This HDD was in my other comp running XP, it is now temporarily in a dell inspiron (just to make sure it was still accessable) as the other system is down from what ever failed this HDD. the graphics controller is different but the processor is the same AMD but the speed is a bit slower. It's just in the dell for diagnostics, and to try to regain the information without having to reformat :-(
    (hope you all can make sense of that...)
  8. HellfireXD

    HellfireXD TS Rookie Posts: 27

    the blue screen error is a result of a conflict with or a corrupt ATAP.sys driver. try booting into safe mode and move to a safe place like the desktop and rename the ATAP.sys file. after that try booting into windows.
  9. WarriorMP

    WarriorMP TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 23

    oops, think I goofed...
    while looking for "NTLD Compressed" ect I happend on a site that gave instructions on how to uncompress... so I followed them and on reboot I get "NTLD Missing Press CTL+ALT+DEL to restart". How do I get NTLD back or undo what I've done. I can still get into recovery through F12 but now windows xp will not even load.
  10. WarriorMP

    WarriorMP TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 23

    thanks for your reply HellfireXD, problem with booting into a safe mode is I can't... Windows would not boot into safe mode at all. and now I think I went and did somethin I shouldn't have and lost the NTLDR.
  11. WarriorMP

    WarriorMP TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 23

    This is the site and these were the instructions. Hope I didn't foul things up to badly before we have a chance to repair my drive... sorry for my impatience.


    1. Start the Recovery Console. If you do not have the Recovery Console installed, start it from the Windows XP compact disc (CD). To do this, follow these steps:

    a. Insert the Windows XP CD and restart the computer. If prompted, select any options required to boot from the CD.

    b. When the text-based part of Setup begins, follow the prompts; choose the repair or recover option by pressing R.

    c. If you have a dual-boot or multiple-boot system, choose the installation that you need to access from the recovery console.

    d. When prompted, type the Administrator password.

    2. At the command prompt, type "cd \" (without the quotation marks), and then press ENTER.

    3. Type "ren ntldr ntldr.old" (without the quotation marks), and then press ENTER.

    4. Type "map" (without the quotation marks), and then press ENTER.

    5. Note the drive letter assigned to the CD-ROM drive that contains the Windows XP CD. It is displayed in a format similar to the following: D: \Device\CdRom0

    6. Type "expand <drive>\i386\ntldr._" (without the quotation marks) (where <drive> is the drive letter of the CD-ROM drive that contains the Windows XP CD), and then press ENTER. For example: Expand d:\i386\ntldr._ <ENTER>Note the underscore character after the "." The following message appears: ntldr, 1 file(s) expanded.

    7. Type "exit" (without the quotation marks). The computer restarts.8. Remove the Windows

    XP CD and start the computer normally.
  12. WarriorMP

    WarriorMP TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 23

    Whew! ok, I was able to reverse the previous "NTLDR Missing" and now am back to "start windows in last known good, start from recovery console etc". so, Please disregard the previous NTLDR posts. (Think I'll leave well enough alone till I get a reply on how to fix this HDD).
  13. HellfireXD

    HellfireXD TS Rookie Posts: 27

    Use one of the following methods to start the computer so that you can access the file system of the boot partition:
    Start from the Windows XP CD-ROM, and then at the Windows Setup screen, press "R" to use the Recovery Console to repair the Windows installation.
    If your boot partition is a basic disk that is formatted with the FAT file system, use an MS-DOS boot disk.
    Copy the Ntldr file from the I386 folder on the Windows XP CD-ROM to the root folder of your boot drive. The boot drive is typically drive C.

    If you are using MS-DOS to perform this file replacement, you may have to remove the System attribute, the Read-only attribute, and the Hidden attribute from the files by using the attrib command. To do this, type the following lines at the MS-DOS command prompt, and then press ENTER after each line:
    attrib ntldr -r -s -h

    hope this helps
  14. HellfireXD

    HellfireXD TS Rookie Posts: 27

    well since you managed to fix the ntldr error try booting into safe mode and if it hangs/reboots see if you can tell me what the last thing windows tried to load was. most likely it will be the ATAP.sys file as was in the bluescreen error. if this is the case try to move the file from the windows directory onto a floppy or flash drive using the system recovery console. the file should be located in the C:\windows\system32 directory (Replace C: with the windows installation drive letter). once you have done that and the file is no longer in the windows directory try booting windows again.
  15. WarriorMP

    WarriorMP TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 23

    The file system is NTFS and I'm not using MS-DOS prompts (don't know enough about them) I don't have a windows start up disc or floppy (no floopy availible on this machine) but I DO have the Windows XP CD-ROM installation cd which I can use to
    access Recovery. Can't access the Windows recovery through normal means though as the NTLDR is Compressed. I have to go through F12 Boot Menu and boot from CD. I no longer have a missing NTLDR as I was able to reverse the steps and regain the correct path(I copied the NTLDR from D to C).
    It's now back to where it was at the beginning of this post, I'm sincerely sorry for any confusion caused by the "NTLDR" posts.
    The original situation still remains "Unalbe to start in safe mode" and "Blue Screen" error message in the above post.
    ***Stop: 0x0000007E (0x0000005, 0xB7F217C0, 0xB84C3528, 0xB84C3224)

    ATAPI.Sys - Address B7F217C0 base at B7F0B000 DateSTamp 4802539d

    Each time I try to start in safe mode though, there is script that flows on the screen followed by a pause at which time I can see the ATAPI.Sys line. But then it just goes blank and the start up process begins all over again.
    Q: Is there a way to install Windows over Windows with out overwritting all my user files? i.e. photos music and important docs?
    Q: From the Recovery console C:/Windows> Help, What steps do I perform to repair the error.

    I'm not fluent with all the code and script, I'm just your average user that knows enough to fix it till it's broke...

    I DO though Really appreciate all the help and input, Thanks in advance
  16. WarriorMP

    WarriorMP TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 23

    If by the last thing Windows tried to load you're refering to the lines of script flowing on the screen during boot up, the ATAPI.Sys line is about the middle of the screen, I'll have to run the reboot again and see if I can catch the last line before it "re-starts"

  17. WarriorMP

    WarriorMP TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 23

    By the way HellFireXD, Your Icon suggests Signal Corp is that correct?
  18. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,430   +186

    1) When you're in the Advanced Startup Options screen (e.g. where you see Safe Mode as an option) you should also see Disable automatic restart on system failure. Select it. should prevent the auto restarts so you can read the screen

    2) If misery loves company you can google something like Stop: 0x0000007E atapi.sys and you'll find you have LOTS of people with what sounds like the identical problem

    3) Have you backed up all your files. If so and since you have your XP install CDs your next best step is probably doing an XP repair install. This will attempt to repair all the windows and startup files (without over-writing your data - but still good to have the data backed up to be sure)
  19. HellfireXD

    HellfireXD TS Rookie Posts: 27

    Its not a problem,
    The ATAPI.sys is the driver for the EIDE Interface on the motherboard that the HDD plugs into so without that driver working correctly there is no way to boot into windows however, you can move the file to another location say on your D: drive and then you can repair windows using the installation disk.
    the command to move the file in the recovery console is:
    "move C:\WINDOWS\system32\drivers\atapi.sys D:\atapi.sys" (without the quotation marks)
    Make sure that what is capitalized above is capitalized when you type the command or it will not work!

    next you repair windows:

    NOTE: before you begin make sure your windows CD is not to scratched up or the repair will fail and you will have to start with a clean install from another disk. Also You should also locate the Windows XP product key to your copy of Windows XP. This should be done before you do the repair installation. (you shouldn't need the product key to do a repair installation but it's good to have it just in case you find yourself needing to do a Clean Installation of Windows XP later).

    Even though a repair installation does not alter any programs or data, other than Windows XP itself, on your hard drive, I highly advise that you take precautions in the rare event that something will go wrong and you lose data. That means that if there's anything you want to keep you should back it up to a CD or another drive prior to beginning this process.

    Some things to consider backing up that usually reside on the same drive as Windows XP include a number of folders located under C:\Documents and Settings\{YOUR NAME} such as Desktop, Favorites and My Documents. Also check these folders under other user's accounts if more than one person logs onto your PC.

    1 boot from the XP disk and hit enter at this screen (not R even though it says repair)

    2 hit F8 to agree to Microsoft's terms and conditions for using windows.

    3 at this screen hit R to repair your windows installation.

    4 Windows XP Setup will now delete the necessary system files from the Windows XP installation that is currently on your hard drive. This step usually only takes a few seconds and no user intervention is necessary.


    Note: No data files like word processor files, spreadsheet files, music files, photos, etc. should be deleted during this process. Only system files that Windows XP is able to restore are being deleted.

    Windows will replace missing and corrupted files at this point

    when this is completed you will need to go through windows onscreen prompts.

    I would be surprised if this does not fix the problem.
    Good luck.
  20. WarriorMP

    WarriorMP TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 23

    WOW! HellFire, Thanks A bunch! Really appreciate you taking the time to include pics of the process, I'll try that as my next step.

    But first, How do I go about backing up my sensitive data? i.e. C:\Documents and Settings\{YOUR NAME} such as Desktop, Favorites and My Documents.
    Is there a command prompt in the C:Windows> Recovery?
    and what about Program files and such?
    I mean at this point I'm bording on reformatting as nothing else seems to be effective.

    I know it's a good practice to back up all your files for just such situation and I'd been hearing all about "carbonite" and other products not to mention I had another HDD from a previous machine that went bad that I was going to reformat and use as a back up drive just prior to this one failling... Boy, timing is EVERYTHING.
    (Problem with that one though is it's an IDE controlled HDD and my board is SATA. there's only one IDE on the board and that's being used for the D: drive.) Again, a story for another time.
  21. WarriorMP

    WarriorMP TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 23

    By the way I have the CD KEY so that's not a problem.
    Question though:
    (this may sound stupid but) what will moving the ATAPI file do over all???
  22. HellfireXD

    HellfireXD TS Rookie Posts: 27

    Thats exactly what i was talking about :grinthumb

    Hooah, yes it is. my MOS is 25B.:approve:

    you can use the copy command in the system recovery console using the same format as the move command i showed you earlier. just copy your documents to the D: drive.
    (copy C:\Documents and Settings\"YOURNAME" D:\"YOURNAME")
    that command will copy your entire documents folder including my documents, my pictures, my video, my music, desktop and more.

    if you have another working system you could use, you could put the HDD into that system and copy the files that way. or you could use a friends computer who would be willing to let you use it. also you could do the same thing to move the ATAPI.sys file as long as it no longer resides in the WINDOWS\system32\drivers directory.

    you could use the copy command to get any documents saved under program files but as far as the programs go they would still need to be reinstalled so theres no point in copying the actual program.

    moving the ATAPI.sys file ensures that when you repair windows it will be replaced with a fresh file from the XP CD. sometimes files that are present are just left there instead of being replaced with a new file.
  23. WarriorMP

    WarriorMP TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 23

    Hooah! OutStanding!

    As you may have gussed by my tag; I'm Military Police, Mos 31B

    I do have another working system and that's where the HDD is currently.

    When copying though, obviously I'll have to have blank cd's to copy to? Since I can't copy to the Windows XP Pro CD. and the existing HDD is no longer connected as I'm using those connections to power up the problem HDD.
    P.S. Both HDD's have different op systems, one's Vista and the problem one is XP so I don't think they'll be compatable.
  24. WarriorMP

    WarriorMP TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 23

    Hooah! OutStanding!

    As you may have guess by my tag, I'm Military Police Mos 31B
  25. WarriorMP

    WarriorMP TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 23

    Don't know what happend but your last post seems to have disappeared on my end...
    anyway, tried copying as instructed and I got:
    The parameter is not valid. Try /? for help.
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