Windows XP - Keeps crashing during startup (alert says something about desktop)

By blinkin13
Aug 9, 2009
  1. My laptop had always had pesky little problems, but at least it was functioning. Now in an attempt to fix these pesky little problems, I did a scan and check for disk C. For whatever reason, it took up about 700 MB of space and I ended up having a really, really low disk space left. After I deleted a few files, I restarted the computer and it started freezing during startup (as stated in the title, the alert said something about the desktop though I can't remember what it was about exactly). So I pressed the power button off and on a few times in hopes that the problem would somehow go away (it didn't), but eventually I reached the point where the laptop could barely turn back on. I have since left the laptop on, in safe mode, and I'm not sure how much longer I could leave it on. I've been told to defragment, but I have only 3% of the required 15% free space. Should I try to defragment anyway? If not, what else could I do?

    My main concern is losing all the files that I have on the computer. I'm not the only one who uses this laptop, so I don't know which files are important and which files are junk - and what particularly important documents anyone has saved in the past 2 days. My CD/DVD burner currently doesn't work, and I probably won't be able to get a USB for another 12 hours. I'm completely lost. Please help!
  2. Kcircyrd

    Kcircyrd TS Rookie Posts: 216

    700 MB is a lot... indicative of something unusual... and perhaps in error.
    You cannot defragment using Windows defragment unless you have 17% free space.
    You will not lose files, but you may be required to remove some to defragment.
    You need a working optical drive to run that computer.
    What do you mean by "... I probably won't be able to get a USB for another 12 hours..."
  3. Bobbye

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

    Have you been doing any maintenance on the system?

    1. Disc Clean-up
    2. Error check
    3. Defrag
    4. Occasional reboot

    You're going to need to go in using Safe Mode:
    Boot into Safe Mode
    [*] Restart your computer and start pressing the F8 key on your keyboard.
    [*] Select the Safe Mode option when the Windows Advanced Options menu appears, and then press ENTER.

    Do #1
    Empty the Recycle Bin

    Reboot back into Safe Mode
    Try #2: Right click on start> Explore> My Computer> Right click on Local Drive-usually C-Properties> Tools tab> Error Check> Check both boxes on the screen that comes up> OK> Close the nag message and Reboot. If this works, the Error checking will start in about 9 seconds. Let it run. It will take a while since it doesn't sound like it's being done. The system will reboot when through.

    Try #3.

    The messages are important. We need to know what they say.

    A reboot is fine. Pushing the power on and off, on and off isn't. IT will make things worse. Drivers start to load and you turn the power off. Drivers are now stuck in cyberspace because you took their home away. You make that home available again (turn power back on) but now the drivers are having a big conference trying to decide what to do, where to go!

    An an Important Reminder: the time to back up files is before problem start! When there are problems, the files can become corrupt and unusable.
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