Windows won't start up, help

By seraphina ยท 4 replies
May 12, 2008
  1. Hi

    I'm not very tech savvy so apologies in advance. I'll try to describe the issues as well as I can but I may lack the right vocab in places. Pls bear with me.

    Using windows XP home edition on a 4 year old machine. Not been experiencing any issues recently, but when I came to boot the pc up today I encountered a loop of problems.

    The machine boots up to the first windows screen (mostly black screen with the windows logo and an indicator like a cylons eye with cycling blue colour inside it), but then the pc clicks and returns to the very top of the boot process (manufacturer's name etc)

    Following this I get an error message saying that windows failed to start properly and offering me various manual boot options ("Safe mode"; "safe mode with networking"; "Last known configurations which worked").

    Whatever option I choose just as the machine starts to work BELOW all this text at the top of the display an interrupted white line - like a zebra or a fence - begins to extend across the screen from the right side to the left. As the pc continues to work (I can hear the hard drive operating) that zebra line gradually fills up solid white.

    Once that line is finished the first windows screen flashes up again (windows logo, cylon eye), but only for a couple of seconds THEN we just click back right back to the very top of the boot process AGAIN and shortly I'm offered the manual boot options list ("safe mode" etc) AGAIN.

    Whichever boot option I choose I can't get Windows to start. It's the same loop.

    Any suggestions as to other options I can try before I get someone to look at it, or thoughts as to whether it might be a hardware or software problem would be really helpful.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    Either your hard drive or video graphics card has failed. My guess is the hard drive is dead or dying.
    Usually, if it is the video graphics card, you will get a good but low resolution image on the screen.
    Past time for another hard drive on a four year old machine anyway. About 60 percent of the time, you can install a new drive with Windows, then use an external USB enclosure to rescue the old drive's data using drag and drop, and recovery programs.
  3. seraphina

    seraphina TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 29

    Thanks, Raybay. Yes, I was worried it might be something like that. You mean, physically remove the old duff HD and install a spanking new one, then use a piece of USB kit to get at the old files?...

    I've just done a websearch and found a usb enclosure on amazon... but it only works with drive sizes up to 137gb. Mines 250gb. Will I struggle to get a complatible enclosure?
  4. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    I am guessing on the hard drive, of course, but that is the likely cause.
    USB enclosures are cheap. You can find them at NewEgg, Directron, ZipZoomFly, Outpost, Frys, Tech Depot and so on. I recommend you spend the extra money for one with a power adapter so it doesn't have to run just on USB power.
    Addonics, Next Star, EZ-Swap, ThermalTake, and many others. As cheap as $11 and as expensive as $50... But most work the same. The cheap ones have enclosures and screws that fall apart... It becomes a difference between a Yugo and a Mercedes.
    The difficult part is recoverying Quicken or Quckbooks files, and email, but there are recovery programs at and that are cheap are free.
  5. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    Also, I recommend Seagate for the average user because they come with a five-year warranty.... again, the same stores... run from $40 to $110, depending on size.
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