Win XP Pro stuck at loading splash screen

By ThuG_PoeT · 41 replies
Sep 16, 2007
  1. PC gets stuck at the Win XP loading splash screen, it can load for hours but doesn't go to Windows. I can access Safe Mode though.

    I've been through everything from uninstalling drivers to disconnecting unneeded hardware and/or disabling stuff that is loading up in normal mode, even a repair install. still no help.

    PLZZZ help, need the PC for my exams coming on 1st Oct
    Edit/Delete Message
  2. Rik

    Rik Banned Posts: 3,814

    Have you tried scandisk?
  3. ThuG_PoeT

    ThuG_PoeT TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 20

    i tried chkdsk but not scan disk,,,,should i try it now
  4. Tarkus

    Tarkus TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 621

    usually that's a result of a bad driver or blown copy of windows. in safe mode check your device manager for any devices that aren't working right.
  5. ThuG_PoeT

    ThuG_PoeT TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 20

    ok did scan disk & check disk, both didn't help and no there's no problem with any of the devices in device manager!!!
  6. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +184


    It's hard to say where you should start when your post says "I've been through everything" ;)

    But here's some basics:
    1. Microsoft Knowledge Base. There's a number of guides you should look to see if your everything and their everything are the same. Start with Support WebCast: Microsoft Windows XP: Troubleshooting Startup and Shutdown Problems. The doc also refers you to other docs
    2. You said you can start in Safe Mode? Can you start in Safe Mode with Networking?
    3. Once you've started in Safe Mode w/net can you do a restart and normal startup after disabling startup programs while in Safe Mode?
  7. ThuG_PoeT

    ThuG_PoeT TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 20

    lol ok i'm gonna say what's "my everything" means:

    - Tried all the "Startup options" and only two doesn't get stuck: Safe Mode with all it's options (Networking & Command Prompt) & Directory Service Restore Mode.
    - Disconnected all unneeded external hardware (flash drive, printer, sound & CD writer).
    - Disabled all the stuff in (msconfig -->Startup) and even tried "Diagnostic Startup".
    - Tried CHKDSK & CHKDSK /F while in Safe Mode & also CHKDSK /R & CHKDSK /P in the "Recovery Console".
    - Uninstalled my sound & display drivers.

    thats my everything :p
  8. Rik

    Rik Banned Posts: 3,814

    How about memtest, tried that?
  9. ThuG_PoeT

    ThuG_PoeT TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 20

    yes did memtest, ran it for 8 times all paseed
  10. ThuG_PoeT

    ThuG_PoeT TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 20

    LookinAround, thanx for the website...
    I did the "clean boot" step but still nothing changed :-(
  11. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +184

    OK. Try these

    Handy tools to have for battles with XP
    1. Download Event Log Explorer. Freeware tool to help view/ organize XP log files.
    2. Download Serviwin. Freeware tool to display and create reports on XP drivers and services.
    Now some things to try. (And I’d keep unnecessary devices unplugged while testing just to cut down on noise.)
    • Enable boot logging. Start your computer hitting F8 as you do to get into Safe Mode. When you see the menu, select Enable Boot Logging. Now, when Windows boots it creates a boot up log file named ntbootlog.txt in the system root directory listing the sequence of steps it took in loading devices and drivers. Compare the entries for startups that work and those that don’t
    • Check XP Event Log. Check the Event Log but note these may or may not have anything useful. Also note that entries marked ERROR are not necessarily errors. You should be able to look for entries that occurred during a hung startup after you restart in SAFE mode.

      I’d compare log entries to look for variations that occur between good and failed startups. Don’t dig into an entry to figure it out until you find it a variation between the two. (There can be a lot of red herrings in there marked ERROR).
    • Use Serviwin to report on Services and Drivers. A helpful utility to get a much better report on services and drivers then from XP tools. Unfortunately, in your case, you can’t run it in the normal startup case to compare values with the other startup cases. But you can still run it in Safe Mode. The Startup Type always reflects the value used at normal startup. Status gives you a current status of Stopped or Running. So, for example, if an entry has Startup Type = Automatic it is always started during normal startup. But if the current Status = Stopped its startup has been disabled for Safe Mode. I’d look for that combination first to see if any could be candidates for being the cause of your problem. Entries with a Startup Type = Manual are started in a normal startup when needed (which is most always after startup completes and the various application software is running) so it’s unlikely (but not impossible) that those are causing the problem cause they wouldn’t be typically be needed till sometime after a normal startup completes.
  12. ThuG_PoeT

    ThuG_PoeT TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 20

    About the "ntbtlog.txt" since my pc gets stuck at the splash screen when i restart in safe mode the "ntbtlog.txt" gets amended by the new safe mode boot.

    checked XP Event Log, some errors but they don't looks serious.

    about Event Log Explorer and Serviwin i installed them but i dunno exactly how to use them. i mean i open them & then wat?

    Surprisingly, in one of my many restarts, i got in the normal windows startup but after i normal restart (Start--> Turn Off Computer---> Restart) same problem came back....its driving me nutssss ahhhhhh
  13. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +184

    1. Not sure what you mean when you say "it gets amended by the new safe boot" but….. The way it should be working: Each time the system reboots with Boot Logging enabled, the system appends the new boot log data to the existing file. Nothing should be overwritten. On each new boot, a header is written looking like Service Pack 2 9 18 2007 12:08:36.500 which you;ll note includes the date and time of the startup. So
      • Before your next boot: Write down the file size of of the current boot log file on disk.
      • When you start the next boot make sure you enable boot logging on each startup. (This can also be done, maybe easier, using msconfig.
        • Go to the Boot.ini tab.
        • For a safe mode startup: check SAFEBOOT and either minimal (normal safeboot) or network (safe w/networking)
        • For normal startup, nothing should be checked
      • Write down the time and type of startup you’re doing (normal, diagnostic, safe, etc.)
      • When you finally go to see the result in the boot log is the size of the file greater then it was before? (It should be,) Open the file. Go to the end of file. Ctl-F and search backward for Service to find the start of the last boot log
      • Be sure to enter your notes on time & type startup somewhere on the computer so u don’t lose track and forget
      • See if the last entry on a normal boot which hung points to anything of interest. Also, look at the entry which should have followed.
      • Compare bootlogs for what started and what didn’t to help guess problem candidate
    2. Event Log Explorer is just a GUI to make it easier to view and save XP Event Logs. When you start it, click on the second icon from the left to get the logs for your computer (you can use it to manager logs across a network as well). There’s also a Help menu if you need more! :D
      The event logs default to 256 entries (if I remember correct) tho you can change it. It’s a circular file meaning it will reuse and entry eventually after time but you can save the XP log file after you capture it. Compare the log file for a normal startup which hangs and a safe mode startup. What’s extra on the normal startup? What’s occuring just towards the end of the normal startup XP log entries. Those would be of the most interest.
    3. Serviwin Gives full information on the services and drivers on your computer. Click View->Choose columns to make sure they’re all checked. You can use this info to look at suspect drivers/services. If the source is Microsoft you can probably rule it out from the suspect list. And (per my last post) look at Startup Type. If Automatic means its always started during a normal system boot. You’re most interested in entries (they’re suspect candidates) where Startup Type is Automatic and Status is Stopped.
  14. ThuG_PoeT

    ThuG_PoeT TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 20

    ok my PC now somehow started normally. Is there's anything you suggest i can do now??
    I'm not going to restart 'till i get your reply :p
  15. ThuG_PoeT

    ThuG_PoeT TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 20

    Using "Serviwin" now in the normal startup i found 2 "Stopped" services:

    PfModNT - Startup Type = Automatic
    sptd - Startup Type = Boot

    hope this will help
  16. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +184

    don't have time to look through it all now but coupla things

    1. when you say "now in the normal startup i found 2 stopped services". Did you get a normal startup to actually finish? If so, when did you see these and during what type of startup. Pls explain sequence and the what you did in what order when starting up and then getting into the bootlog file will help. In the meantime I'll assume this logged during a normal startup (which hung? and you got to the bootfile after a safe boot?) cause otherwise you would be seeing MANY Automatic / Stopped combinations.
    2. sptd.sys was listed under drivers, right?
    3. Have you ever installed something called "Daemon Tools". Have you ever tried uninstalling it cause seems to be long history of people with similar XP hang on startup problems where sptd.sys and Daemon tools were responsible. Google "xp sptd.sys". i'd try fixing this one first.
    4. Don't have time just now to go through all the google hits to learn more and see if a good solution. if you want to be sure and have an environment (and files) you can still use, suggest you get something like Acronis True Image and backup/clone your hard drive before you start having to try removing drivers to fix things.

    Will look thru more when i can.. i meantime, let me know if find / do anything.

    Adding this to my original post as an Edit
    OH! just saw your previous post about normal startup actually finished! Forget #1 above. BEFORE DOING ANYTHING ELSE I'D BACKUP THAT DRIVE! The problem if you tried using Acronis is it probably requires a reboot after install (not good in your case!). I think you;ll be safe downloading DriveImage XML (you're an XP machine, right?). It's freeware too. i don;t think it needs a reboot before using it but have someone check for sure. You'll also need to borrow or buy an external harddrive you can just plug in (like a USB external) to store things on.
  17. ThuG_PoeT

    ThuG_PoeT TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 20

    This is the sequence:
    I turned off my pc last nite without changing anything. When I woke, switched it on & decided not to go 2 safe mode & see if it will hang. To my surprise it didn't.:confused:

    Thats it...

    I was using "Alcohol 120%". When i started getting the problem i also thought the problem was from it so i deleted "sptd.sys" & "scsiport.sys"

    I'll attach the bootlog file
    it should inculde 3 booting attempts:
    1-Normal with hanging
    3-Normal without hanging
    in that order.
  18. ThuG_PoeT

    ThuG_PoeT TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 20

    Now thats kinda hard to do. I've a 250 GB HDD,I can't just go and buy a new one (i'm a student)
  19. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +184

    As far as your problem goes… I need to tell you I’ve never used either of the tools Alcohol 120% or Daemon Tools. From what i found they seem to cause problems like yours for many people. I can offer my opinion based on the principals behind how I understand XP and its system components work. But it looks like others with experience with these specific tools, drivers, and problem may have a better footing on what might be the best fix.
    1. Backups

      • I certainly understand when the issue comes down to “what can I afford?” but still that’s just one of several questions someone in your spot should be asking themselves. (Remembering, try hard as we may to avoid it some or all the data on the drive may get corrupted.)
      • How much are your disk data files worth to you? It’s value assessed on many variables like: is it imposssible to re-rcreate? Is it possible to re-create but only with extensive labor hours? Any memorabalia? Etc.
      • Note the backup device doesn’t always need be the size of what you’re backing up
      • A 250GB HDD doesn’t mean you must have a 250GB backup device.
      • Note that when looking at a file’s size there’s Size and Size on Disk where size is the actual number of bytes in the file. XP uses fixed size blocks when storing data so files may have some unused data bytes used becuase of the blocking factor. Total bytes when in fixed size blocks is Size On Disk.
        In determing how much space you need for backup always use Size on Disk (the number can be found a few different ways but clicking to see a file or folder’s Properties will tell you both. So, for example, you might need less then 100GB if you use less then 50% of that 250GB (don't forget compression is an option that also reduces total size.)
      • Also, think about files that you really don’t care about as not among the files to get backed up (e.g. have you copied some movies, music and games to the drive and you already have another copy somewhere? Many backup software products let you define exclude and include lists where * wild card can be used to help indicate matching names you are looking for. (NOT FOR YOU NOW BUT MAYBE OTHER TIME: I like to create a backup and non backup partition for my data so my backup software only backups the one and not the other partition. When I download a movie file or similar, or am working with unimportant files they go in the non-backup partition)
      • Or is there bare minimal set of files you want backed up you can think of? (and be assured u'll think of something else once it’s too late). Then do manual copies to a memory stick
      • Bottom line is no guarantee you come out from under this without full or partial loss of data. So just be prepared as best you can afford to be

      Moving on. Here’s a request for additional information. I’m going to ask if you did somethings or I may ask you for more data. Don’t interpret when I ask “if you did something” that it should now become something to run out and do. (Now that the thought is there!)
    2. Serviwin output
      • Run Serviwin after a Safe Boot finishes booting OK. Start Serviwin. Click View->Choose Columns and make sure all column headers are checked. Could you post the Serviwin data for both services and drivers? (After selecting all rows, click File->Save As, enter a filename, and for the filetype option in the pull down list set it for tab delimited .txt output file). You need save twice: one file save for the drivers and another file save for services.
      • Also, would be great, if possible if it happens again, to generate the Serviwin output files after a normal startup actually finishes (if that happened again). But don’t spend lots and lots of time trying to make this happen. I don’t need it that bad.
    3. Daemon Tools and Alcohol.
      • Have you ever installed and / or uninstalled Daemon Tools?
      • What about Alcohol. You must have installed it? Have you tried uninstalling as well? If not, look in ADD/Remove programs. Is Alchohol listed there?
      • What version of Alcohol are you running. (When you click Help->About you get version info.) Do they provide much else info too? Do they offer a Save option, if yes save it all that way. If not, I don’t know what tools you have handy on your PC but you can always (1) Hit Print Screen (upper row, might say Prt Scr or similar) it captures the current image on your monitor and copies it to ClipBoard. (2)you can open Accessories->MS Paint, paste the image into it and save it.
      • Did you only try to delete PfModNT and sptd.sys? (I am assuming all you did was literally just delete that file like using delete key?)
      • Did you you try to Uninstall the driver (vs a delete)
      • Do you recall each of the directories where these both were sitting when u deleted them? Look in C:\Windows\System32\Drivers. Has a copy of sptd.sys reappeared? Also look at the same true for PfModNT?
      • What is the size of each file if they are there? Can you get a version number?

    Bootlogs you sent me
    I only saw two logs (best way is to open in notepad then search for “Service”)
    - One log labeled Service Pack 2 9 18 2007 20:24:39.375 was taken 9/18 at 20:24 looks like a normal startup which ended with hang. The last entry was for FastFat.sys which is the driver for FAT data areas (as would be on FAT formatted disks). I’ll guess the sptd and scsiport drivers have hosed up the FAT data area causing this to hang. There’s also extensive looping in that startup seeming XP had many errors and kept starting over again.
    - The second log labeled Service Pack 2 9 18 2007 20:24:39.375 I would guess is a successful boot. Note: One good reason to write down clock time when rebooting as that’s best way to resolve what type boot started when.

    Still some more to say.. but no more time to say it in… back later.
  20. ThuG_PoeT

    ThuG_PoeT TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 20

    Sorry about the mixed bootlogs.

    I didn't delete PfModNT. I deleted sptd.sys & scsiport.sys bother were in
    I don't know the size of each file or the version number, cuz they are not there anymore. Yeah i just deleted using the delete key then empty recycle bin.

    Going to do the Serviwin & new bootlogs now.
  21. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +184

    ok. but do tell me
    1. had you ever tried installing Daemon Tools?
    2. Is Alcohol still installed?
    3. If yes for Alcohol
      • Can you open it to check version information in Help->About
      • If you go to Control Panel->Add/Remove Programs is Alcohol listed in it?
      • Skim through other entries in add/remove, do you recognize anything else (driver or program) that might be related to Alcohol?
  22. ThuG_PoeT

    ThuG_PoeT TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 20

    Here is the ServiWin, the difference between the 1st & 2nd Normal Startup is that i changed the "Start Type" of "PfModNT" from "Automatic" to "System"..

    I read it somewhere about doing this after i googled "PfModNT"
  23. ThuG_PoeT

    ThuG_PoeT TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 20

    Alcohol is still installed.
    The version is
    It's not listed in Add/Remove Programs.
    No other (driver or program) related to Alcohol in add/remove.
  24. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +184

    (this is #1 of 3 posts)

    I have a variety of info for you and some questions. But rather then have you wait till I can go thru and write it all, I’m giving u some now and try finish the rest later in the day.

    Up front, I’ve included some background relevant to this problem for your fyi (and anyone else who might read the thread) as I think may help some of the decisions sound more logical / give a better understanding before making choice of what to do next.

    Things to know when removing drivers
    When a driver’s installed the driver’s many different components end up being installed in many different places. So, uninstalling a driver is rarely as simple as deleting a .sys file. Here are some things worth knowing.
    1. Windows File Protection
      • Ever want to get rid of a pesky driver by finding the file and just hitting delete? Or maybe just replace the file with your own version? Sound simple? Well, if you do it you may find that approach works for awhile but the next day….. The originals just keep coming back. Again, you change. Again, they’re back. Welcome to Windows File Protections. (WFP)
      • WFP is a Windows feature designed to help protect against malware or other problems, which could corrupt important system files. Refer to see more about it here.
      • System File Checker (SFC) is one of the functions, which support WFP. It scans different types of programs scattered across many places. It will replace missing or changed programs on its watchdog list. This explains more.
    2. Removing a (typical) device driver
      • So, you’re lucky. You deleted xxx.sys from the Windows driver directory and xxx.sys isn’t under the watchful eye of WFP (which would keep bringing it back to life) but, you could well find you’re still having problems. Perhaps smaller problems but still things to do.
      • You really need to uninstall the entire driver to remove the .sys file along with all its bits and pieces still taking up system resources, getting in the way, and possibly slowing things down during run time.
      • To be able to Uninstall it you first need to be able to see it (XP keeps so much HIDDEN from so many people). This guide tells you how to see hidden device drivers and even hidden devices not currently connected. Be cautious and know what you’re doing when uninstalling something you only see in this “full” view of system devices. AND TO BE SAFE, CREATE A RESTORE POINT BEFORE REMOVING ANY OF THEM. Here’s How to see all hidden devices In Device Manager.
      • Sptd.sys – (the not so typical Device Driver when it comes to removing)
        For whatever reason, DuplexSecure has made it very difficult to remove sptd.sys on your own (I don’t know just how difficult. But from all I read, will take their word. But I was willing to accept it ONLY because they offered a script, which, supposedly, does all the work for you. Look here at their FAQ.
    3. Uninstalling Applications
      • Typically, an installation’s install process will build an uninstall script containing all the actions that need be taken to Uninstall the application. This is usually added to the Registry in the UnInstall key.
      • BUT when all installed apps don’t show up in Add/Remove Programs this can be due to
        • The UnInstall data in the registry includes a flag telling Windows to suppress display the App in Add/Remove. (It’s the Apps choice whether to set this flag or not)
        • Apps just screw up they install sometimes
        • If you don’t find your App listed in Add/Remove programs download MyUninstaller. See if your App appears there. Note: MyUninstaller make take 10 – 60 secs or more analyzing your program data depending on your computer and size of hard drive.
        • Note: You may see a number of interesting entries you didn’t see in Add/Remove. I recommend not removing through MyUninstaller unless you know the app well.
  25. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +184

    (this is #2 of 3 posts)

    So here’s somethings to look at
    1. Uninstalling Alchohol and sptd.sys
      • Have you just recently started using Alchohol? Is it an important app for you?
      • I’m thinking the best first approach is removing SPTD and then Alcohol.
      • Does MyUninstaller create an entry for Alcohol? If no stop. Gonna have to think about this uninstall process a bit further through.
      • Follow instructions given above about seeing all hidden devices in Device Manager. Is sptd listed anywhere? (It should be. Remember you only removed the program. All other info is still around on your system which is why Serviwin showed info on it as well)
      • Before uninstalling sptd.sys you might find it helpful to skim through the alchohol support website that discusses others’ experience and ther uninstall
      • Boot into safe mode and run the sptd uninstall script
      • Follow instructions given above about seeing all hidden devices in Device Manager. Is sptd still listed. Hopefully not. If it still is, stop the uninstall process. Don’t uninstall Acholhol.
      • Uninstall Alcohol
      • After uninstalled everything, see how your machine works
      • You can reinstall if you really want to use this app and willing to try again.. But of course, but could be the risk again
    2. For the two normal and one safe mode start for which you sent me Serviwin data, did they all eventually start OK or any hang?
    3. If you’ll recall I noted in one of the earlier normal startups, it appeared FASTFAT was the last driver to load. The hang occured while loading.
      • It’s used for FAT files systems. I was curious (cause I don’t use FAT only NTFS and my bootlog doesn’t show FASTFAT ever being loaded.)
      • Why don’t you go to Disk Manager. Right click My computer , left click Manage. If Storage not expaned, click Storage. Then click Disk Management. Does FAT file system appear? What File Systems do appear? Are any of the alcohol virtual stuff show up here? what file systems are they?

        Here’s an article on FAT vs NTFS. Don’t change anything yet if you’re thinking to change filesystems. Not yet.
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