Windows XP stuck in continual reboot, can't even get into safe mode

By iainso ยท 7 replies
Mar 21, 2008
  1. Argghh,
    Had a power cut yesterday while my PC was switched on, and now it won't boot. It gets to the point where the XP (Pro) logo appears (on black background with green progress bar below), then suddenly the screen flashes blue, and it reboots again.
    The blue screen is up for only a spilt second, so I couldn't read what was on it, so I cleverly filmed it with a camcorder, and playing it back on the tv and freezing the frame I can see that it says:
    "A problem has been detected and windows...." It ends by suggesting I run CHKDSK /F. There is no hex error code that it gives me on on this screen.

    Now, before I get the the XP logo screen I do get a screen saying that a problem had occured previously, and offering me to start windows in various different modes (including safe mode). I've tried all these modes and get the same problem on each of them.

    I've also tried doing F8, but can't see anything in these config screens that could help me. The problem is that I can't run CHKDSK if I can't boot it up in Safe mode, I can't even get a dos prompt.

    Annoyingly this is a PC I purchased on ebay, and big surprise it didn't come with the XP install CD (so I can't do a repair this way).

    Is there anyway to recover from this? Are there any utilities available that I could burn to a CD, and boot my computer from, that would allow me to at least salvage my important files from the disk?

    Many thanks,

  2. jonisaksson

    jonisaksson TS Enthusiast Posts: 83

    What's your file system? if it is fat32 it will be a lot easier to resolve.

    Anyway, you need to get some good boot disks so you have something that you can boot from. There are loads around, personally I use From one of those boot disk you should be able run checkdisk and figure out what happened or copy the files you need to save

    But if windows is screwed you will need to a Windows CD to be able to resolve the Windows issue but you should still be able to recover any files.

    For future reference,
  3. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    First, press the on/off button for 12 seconds. That will reset the system.

    Then try the SAFE MODE AGain.. Then double check your BIOS settings.

    But you may need the Windows disk you do not have

    We might be more helpful if you posted the computer brand and model, or the motherboard brand or part number.
  4. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 5,332   +101

    If you want to rescue your data before making any moves, attach the HDD as a Slave or Secondary HDD to another PC or use a Linux LiveCD such as Knoppix to access the data and move it to another storage device.
  5. Starcruiser322

    Starcruiser322 TS Rookie

    Do you have any peripherals in a USB port? that could be why it says chkdsk F, not C. If you do, REMOVE IT! if you don't, try stripping the CP to nothing but power and keyboard and take out any mods you or whoever had it last may have put in.
  6. garreg_ddu

    garreg_ddu TS Member Posts: 19

    CHKDSK /F doesn't mean check F:, the /F is a command parameter to instruct CHKDSK to fix any problems it finds, as opposed to just reporting them to screen. To check F: you would need to CHKDSK F: /F

    My best guess on this is either a corrupt OS loader program or initialisation file(s). Are any files mentioned in your camcorder screen? If you have another machine with a spare slot I would try to put the disk in it and run CHKDSK on it as a slave.
  7. Aolish

    Aolish TS Enthusiast Posts: 171

    if i were in your shoes i would most likely just buy another hd from newegg and put your old hd as a slave, format the slave... and use it as a slave backup and use the new one as the main. After that consider yourself getting a psu unit to prevent similar problems happening in the future. PSU units are cheap nowadays, granted they only give you a few mins of power, thats more then enough to shut ur system down properly or more then enough from brown outs. newegg has some excellent priced psu units, check them out after you resolve ur problem.

    Now to your problem, just like joni says there are LOTS of boot disk programs out there to use from. See if you can use one of those to get to a dos prompt where you'll be able to do a lot more stuff.
  8. CCT

    CCT TS Evangelist Posts: 2,653   +6

    I believe N!Sung means a UPS unit but his advice is sound.

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