Win XP Error while booting up - winserv.dll

By NC10992 ยท 15 replies
Aug 5, 2009
  1. I've searched these forums for a cause and solution to my situation, and while I've found a 3 yr-old thread with the same error message, there was no applicable solution. So I'm hoping you folks that are here today can help me.

    I've got an IBM Thinkpad G40 with XP Pro SP 3. It ws running a bit slow yesterday, so I ran Window's defrag. The analysis showed the drive (40 gb) had 27% space available. I started the defrag and walked away.

    This morning I was faced with the blue screen with the following message:

    Stop: C00007b {Bad Image}
    The application or DLL \???\C:\WindowsSystem32\winsrv.dll is not a valid windows image. Please check this against your installation diskette.

    The system kept rebooting, which of course brought it to the same message.

    I tried booting into Safe Mode, but while I was able to get to the screen to select Safe Mode, the machine starts to boot, but stops when it runs into whatever step is causing this error. Actually, as I write this, I realize I should to the line-by-line boot. ;) I will go back to try this and post the results. In the meantime, maybe someone has some sugguesstions.

    Now I have the IBM diagnositcs running on the hard drive; so far so good with that.

    I do not have a win xp bootable cd nor do I have an xp installation cd. The machine came with Win XP SP 1 preinstalled. I do have a complete backup of the hard drive on an external drive (albeit a month or so old). And I do have another Thinkpad (T41) with XP Pro SP 3 installed.

    I've done some reading about making a bootable cd, but I don't know if I make one from the T41 if it will really help on my G40.

    My virus software (Norton) is up-to-date and runs a full system scan nightly - though - obviously - I didn't see any scran results from last night.

    I suspect that my beloved G40 picked up something (big, virus, whatever) which is what was causing it to run slowly yesterday.

    I've had the machine for years and it's been a reliable workhorse. I use it everyday for work so I really need it to be operational.

    Any and all thoughts, ideas, suggestions are welcome! Thanks!
  2. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,244   +234

    You will need to restore the Operating System... The hard drive may also be bad
  3. NC10992

    NC10992 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Tmagic -- Do you have any idea why this problem occurred?

    I was hoping that I'd be able to get into Safe Mode and then remove the offending file - if that is what is causing the problem.

    I wasn't able to get it to boot step-by-step -- I must be remembering an older system where you could do that and then press Y or N for each step.

    The bootup fails when it's loading drivers at Windows\System32\Drivers -- it gets to agpCPQ.sys, then fails.

    Thanks for your reply!
  4. Bobbye

    Bobbye Helper on the Fringe Posts: 16,334   +36

    Hold off on restoring the OS. Let's try to do some troubleshooting first:

    Problem 1: running slow
    Problem 2: Stop: C00007b {Bad Image}
    The application or DLL \???\C:\WindowsSystem32\winsrv.dll is not a valid windows image. Please check this against your installation diskette.
    Problem 3: possible malware.

    Question 1: you specifically mention 'yesterday' with the running slow. Was everything slow-load, surf and shutdown? Were you slow accessing web sites? What did you do the day before yesterday?

    Question 2. have you investigated the error code? NT status code 0xc000007B stands for Invalid Image Format. Probably your installation CD is faulty. It would suggest corruption of the file either due to damaged installation media or bad hardware such as the disk drive being copied to.

    Question 3. have you checked out 'agpcpq.sys'?
    Problems when Windows XP tries to load the Agp440.sys service
    Cause: This issue may occur if Windows XP tries to use an incompatible motherboard chipset video driver during startup.
    Resolution: per Microsoft> boot from the Recovery Console using the CD:;en-us;324764

    The problem is with the default video driver.

    Is it possible for you to load the Recovery Console on to a flash drive and use that to boot? I am not a hardware person so I don't know if this is even a possibility.
  5. NC10992

    NC10992 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Bobbye -- Thank you so much for your reply. You've given me great food for thought in your Q.3!

    I had not thought about researching AGPCPQ.SYS as I figured that if the statement appeared on the screen while booting in safe mode, the driver loaded correctly, but the next one in the sequence (whatever it is) would be the real problem.

    Also, I was focusing on the error message that was displayed on the blue screen.

    However, I did as you suggested and researched agpcpq.sys and found a thread on this board "XP locks up when loading AGPCPQ.SYS" which has lots of info (and encouraging info at that).

    I, too, think reinstalling an OS is a very dramatic event. (Additionally, I've read that others have done this and still have the problem.)

    I've made a bootable cd using BartsPE, and am going to give it a try - hoping I can get to the Recovery Console and run CHKDSK /r.

    As to your other troubleshooting questions:

    Q1 - The system did not dramatically and all-of-a-sudden slow down. Rather, it was doing what I think of as the typical Windows s-l-o-w down over a period of time. Typically, I move several large Access databases on and off the drive and lots of general document work, as well has have several RDC connections going along with several web pages open. From time to time, I reach the point of annoyance with the speed and reaction time of the drive and the web, so I run a defrag and/or System Mechanic, and/or delete some files (as well as exit out of things). The system only has RAM of 256mb. (Funny enough, earlier in the week I ordered more RAM, on which I'm waiting delivery.)

    Q2. I don't have a Win XP Installation cd, but took the error message to mean that the Win image on the hard drive is bad. Why, all of a sudden - who knows.

    I'm going to try to use the BartsPE boot disk and see what happends. I'll let you know! Thanks again. ~ Nancy
  6. Bobbye

    Bobbye Helper on the Fringe Posts: 16,334   +36

    Nancy, here is a big source of problems:
    'Normal' running of Windows XP needs a minimum of 512MB. The system is going to crash when this gets 'used up'. Then you reboot and free the RAM up and the cycle begins again.

    And even a 40GB hard drive is small by today's standards. So you're running a system low on RAM with a small hard drive. What do you do?
    1. Of course, the obvious- increase the RAM. Glad to hear it's on order. The system will say 'thank you' because it won't have to go through all those crashes and reboots!
    2. Large databases and RDC functions are going to add to the system stress. It's going to feel 'squeezed'- looking for RAM to use and space on the hard drive for what you keep.
    3. Take everything off of Startup except the antivirus (by the way, Norton is known for it's bulk!) a third party firewall if you have one and process of touchpad if on a laptop-

    Nothing else. Nothing else needs to start on boot then run in the background!

    Try the boot disc and recovery console and see if that handles the current error. Then be kind to your system- don't make it work so hard without resources! I'll be you have an old guy like I do> Windows XP> 7 years old> even with 512GB RAM, slow as molasses!
  7. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,244   +234

    Yes Bobbye,
    with the addition of XP SP3, 1GB is preferred, although many OEM 5+ years old can only accomodate 512MB max. A 160GB or better hard drive is good for these old systems now. Symantec Norton antivirus is bulk and it WILL slow down these systems. AVAST, ADVIR or even AVG are good. A 3rd party firewall is not needed for XP above SP1
  8. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    NC10992, your hard drive is failing
    Your Thinkpad G40, whether it is type 2384, 2387, 2388, or 2389, can use 1 GB or memory. It requires two 512 MB of DDR PC2700, and will likely work fine when those two slots are filled.
    However, it is getting long in the tooth, and many of the G40's have a very failure prone Hitachi 40 GB hard drive. Replace That Drive! Get a Toshiba, Fujitsu, Seagate, or Western Digital. Do not get a Hitachi or Samsung. You can get replacement drives at,,, or many others.
    An 80 GB drive is $49.99, a 100 GB is $51, 120 GB is 60, 160 GB is $64, and 250 GB is $92.
    But if you don't have the restore disk with Service Pack 2, you will only be able to format to 128 GB. You can get a replacement upgrade restore disk from Lenovo in Atlanta for $52 including Fed Ex shipping... or free if still under warranty.
    It will take you hours to restore the drive. If you need to rescue your old data, buy an EIDE external enclosure and rescue the data using the USB cable. Then drag and drop.
    We have seen a lot of these failures because we service huge numbers of sales organizations whose field reps use them. The Hitachi drive is the only week link, if you also upgrade the memory to the two 512MB modules of DDR PC2700... also cheapest at
    Good luck.
  9. Bobbye

    Bobbye Helper on the Fringe Posts: 16,334   +36

    I increased Windows XP Home to 512MB right after the first SP. I don't think 1GB is needed with SP3.

    As far as needing a third party firewall with Windows XP> if you want a bi-directional firewall, you have to get a third party firewall. And we use to recommend a firewall for broadband users. Now it's recommended no matter what type of connection there is

    I also suggest using a router for security- whether or not you have more than one computer.
  10. NC10992

    NC10992 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Raybay -- I think your right about the driving failing. My G40 is Type 2384 and it does have an Hitachi drive. I've used the machine almost daily since Feb 04, so perhaps it's time for a the drive to go.

    Just to dive an update on the status -- I was able to boot to a cd which has BartPE recovery. And was able to run CHKDSK of C:\ with the repair switch (/r). This found numerous disk errors and repaired them.

    After exiting the cd, I changed the BIOS back to boot from the hard drive and ultimately got the same blue screen. Ugh!

    One cavet - I didn't not slipstream SP2 into the BartPE cd I made. I don't know if this would make a difference or not. I've read tons of info about making this cd and adding drivers, etc. But I figured I'd give it a try with the most basic of info.

    At this point, I'd be happy just to have the drive read one more time so that files can be copied from it. Somewhere in my office, I have an IBM ultrabay for a T41 Thinkpad. I'd like to try putting the G40's drive in there to see if the files can be read and copied. ;-) (I do have a copy of the entire drive from mid-June, but would really like my files for the last six week as well as my Outlook data.)

    While the machine is old and I'd really like one with a wider screen (or at least with a video card that will display to a wider dimension on an external screen), I was planning on using this G40 until Windows 7 has been out for a while and proven to be stable. (I'd like to skip the Vista edition. While I have to work in the Vista environment from time to time and train users, I don't want to adopt it for my own use at this point.)

    Yes - I'm a conservative / late adopter of hardware and software changes. And I have an IBM graveyard -- anyone interested in a PS/2 (55sx) or a ThinkPad 755? LOL. (The 755 came set up at a dual-boot to OS/2 or Win 3.11, though I moved it to Win95.)

    Some other background in answer to points raised in earlier posts --

    Start up - I am the queen of minimal start up. I've got truly just the basics starting when the system boots and regularly check to be sure nothing has slipped in there.

    Antivirus - I'm running Norton's corporate edition which does not hog the system the way the retail version does. It gets Live Updates daily and runs a full system scan daily.

    Firewall, etc -- I do use a router (with security) and a lot of my time is spent on a VPN.

    Raybay -- You mentioned: "You can get a replacement upgrade restore disk from Lenovo in Atlanta for $52 including Fed Ex shipping." I've looked around Lenovo's site and haven't yet found this info. Do you have a link you can post? Or should I just call them.

    Thanks, everyone, for your input. It's truly appreciated. Feel free to share any other thoughts of wisdom. :) ~ Nancy
  11. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    The ultrabay should work fine.

    But please be aware that when your Hitachi drive gets to this point, it can fail completely at any time... One of the next times you boot up, it won't boot, and one of the next times you access is as a slave or second drive, it won't work. You have better luck if you never turn it off.

    You would be wise to treat it like a rare treasure, if you have valuable data, and install a new drive right away...

    We like the externa USB drive enclosures, because they work more gently, and you can leave them on for days at USB power...

    I may be slow, but it takes me anywhere from 11 to 19 hours to totally transfer all files from a damaged Hitachi drive to one other drive that works properly... It does not always work as quickly as you like once it has started to fail.

    Also, we find we are able to access most installs and files, even though the Windows files are too badly damage...

    Often times, the drive is failing because the magnetic media is bubbling up and flaking off. When the bubbling starts, any centrifical force will throw more magnetic media off of those whirling plates... You never know when one flaking bubble will pull a strip of media off that destroys access to files you need.
  12. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    RE: the Recovery-Restore disks, I go to the Lenovo website, then follow their instructions to get to the Atlanta support site... I don't think the number is published on site, and you have to jump through some hoops.

    I have it someplace, and when I find it, I will post a place where you can contact me to get it.
  13. NC10992

    NC10992 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks, Raybay. I have to say that once I read the first sentence of your post yesterday about the driving dying, my intuition told me you are right. And that's why I've stopped trying other measures that would cause it to attempt to reboot.

    I'm still on the hunt for the ultrabay (Where is that little black case!). My Plan B is to take the drive to my local tech shop, which is owned by a former IBMer, for the files to be copied. He does great work.

    With the new RAM (which should be received today) and the new drive I'm going to order, it will be like having a new machine. ;-)

    I did take a look at new ThinkPads on Lenovo's site --- love the W series with the expanded screen.
  14. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    With your install of a Fujitsu, Seagate, or Western Digital drive, your Thinkpad will last a long time.
    The next thing to do is the inverter card at the bottom of the screen. A cheap part, but expensive to fix if you do not do it yourself. Then maybe the audio.
    other than those, you may be stuck with your Thinkpad for generations... making Sony, Compaq, and HP owners jealous.
  15. NC10992

    NC10992 TS Rookie Topic Starter


    Raybay (and others) -- I thought I'd post an update to my story.

    I was successful in obtaining from IBM/Lenovo's website a toll-free number from which I was able to squence through to Atlanta. They were most helpful. Today, received the recovery cd set, which were about $50, as you had said.

    I ordered a Western Digital 80gb drive from another vendor, also for about $50 as IBM's was over $200.

    Admittedly, I've been delayed in ordering the items as I've been able to use someone's T41 and work projects have taken priority over the restoration of my beloved G40.

    Thanks, again, for all of your information and encouragement in getting the G40 operational. Hopefully, next week it will be better than new!

    ~ Nancy
  16. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    Thank you for taking the time to update us. We are happy it is working out.
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