WXPSP3 hangs at startup - Can I repair using SP2?

By Spaghetto · 21 replies
Aug 5, 2010
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  1. Hi everybody,

    My new Windows XP SP3 installation hangs at boot time, when the Windows logo appears.
    It doesn’t always do: If I keep turning the pc off and on, it eventually fires up all right, and then everything runs smoothly.
    This is apparently not due to an outside program, since the problem started right during the installation. (Unfortunately, at the time I thought I was having hardware problems, so I misdiagnosed. It turns out everything is fine with the hardware.)

    This leaves a faulty XP installation. Unfortunately, it appears that it comes from my installation CD : a copy in which I slipstreamed SP3 and SATA drivers. I’m guessing it's this because problems appeared during 3 different installation attempts.

    I’m also in possession of a copy in which I slipstreamed SP2. That’s the version I used to run on my previous system, and with which I never experienced any problems.

    I’d really like to avoid having to reinstall everything again. So I’m wondering what I can try in order to repair.

    Would it be smart to repair the SP3 installation using the SP2 CD ?
    If not, what else can I try ?

    Any input will be greatly appreciated.

  2. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +184

    As i recall (90% sure, not 100% certain tho), you can't repair XP SP3 with an SP2 disk. Also, Windows will give you an error message telling you as much if you try to do the repair with your SP2 CD.

    ALSO: fyi: be sure and see this MS KB as if even when do an SP3 repair with an SP3 could cause IE problems if not careful

    Of course, none of the above helps solve your problem :(

    But you might
    1) Google to learn how to turn on boot logging during XP bootup might help you identify where the boot is failing

    2) Have you tried booting into Safe Mode?

    3) If you think it's due to SATA drivers, have you checked your BIOS as often it allows you to run disk in IDE simulation mode
  3. Sharam

    Sharam TS Rookie Posts: 509

    It is possible to use an XP Sp2 to do a repair install even if you have SP3 installed; you have to do all the updates including SP3, IE8 WMP and the rest over again.

    As LookingAround states, the possibility of things going wrong is there but one thing for sure, there will be lots of leftover, if at all possible, a fresh install is recommended, else, you should remove IE8, WMP and .NET Framework before the Repair Install, there are commands to do this from the Run dialog if they refuse to go away from the Add/ Remove programs! As long as you have your data backed up, I guess there is nothing to lose other than time if you are forced to do a fresh install!

    The 3 attempts were made on the same hardware, correct?
    You are certain the hardware, including the Hard Drive, Optical Drive, RAM and the Power Supply (many problems in the Summer time) are OK?
  4. ruready2

    ruready2 TS Enthusiast Posts: 202

    1. Insert the Windows XP CD into your CD drive and restart your computer. If you are prompted, select any options required to start (boot) from the CD.

    2. At the Welcome to Setup screen, press R to repair using Recovery Console;

    3. When you are prompted, select the operating system you wish to repair then type the Administrator password at the next prompt. If you have not set a password for the admin account simply press enter;

    4. At the command prompt type chkdsk /r (Note there is a space between the letter k and the forward slash). Press enter.

    Are you seeing three different windows installations to boot from when you start your computer?

    You can not use an sp2 disc to repair sp3 installation. You will receive an error that the installation you are trying to repair is newer than the one on the disc.
  5. Spaghetto

    Spaghetto TS Rookie Topic Starter


    I did safe boot a few times without problems.
    2nd, when I first got this machine, I installed W7 and ran it for a few days : everything ran smoothly. (But I hated that OS, and that's why I decided to install XP instead.)

    As for the hardware, I haven't tested everything thoroughly -- except for a memtest --, but the fact that I didn't encounter any problem when running W7 would seem to indicate no hardware problem.
    -I've installed all the proper drivers for the motherboard, graphics, etc.
    -There are no error marks in device manager or anything else.

    I guess I'll simply install again.
    I'm just friggin' tired of installing/reinstalling stuff... That's all I've been doing all week...

    I'll see about boot logging first though.

  6. Spaghetto

    Spaghetto TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I formatted the disk prior to every installation. So no.
  7. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +184

    As ruready mentions, I also remember a message to the affect "Setup cannot continue because the version of Windows on your computer is newer than the version on the CD if trying SP3 repair with SP2

    Anyway, is my best recollection as well
  8. ruready2

    ruready2 TS Enthusiast Posts: 202

    You either have malware, which would explain why you are able to boot in safe mode with no problem, or your file system needs repairing. Perhaps even your master boot record. If it were me I would run chkdsk /r from recovery console as I previously instructed you. If that did not solve the issue I would begin looking for malware..possibly even a rootkit. Rootkits attach to drivers which would explain the hang-ups. There is no reason to do a fresh install. Not at this point atleast. I believe this is completely fixable without any negative after effects.
  9. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +184

    We share your pain :(

    It can be hard to figure out which is less painful: Figuring out certain Windows problems (especially system hangs) vs. a reinstall

    BUT one more thought: Be sure to disconnect ALL uneeded hardware. Turn off everything you can in BIOS. especially cautious of any internal card readers. The fact you boot OK in safe mode not normally could be a clue
  10. Spaghetto

    Spaghetto TS Rookie Topic Starter

    As I specified, the hangups appeared during installations -- when XP first restarts the system.
    That pretty much eliminates malware.

    And if the file system is the cause (like MBR), and problems start during installation, then that indicates a corrupt CD, doesn't it ?
  11. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +184

    Looks like ruready and i posted the same time... So take my post as thoughts "in addition to" (not in place of) what ruready suggests :)
  12. Sharam

    Sharam TS Rookie Posts: 509

    There must be a newer build of SP3 since, as I have performed this repair and simply re-installed SP3 afterwards provided the original XP CDs were identical flavour and build before the SP2 and SP3 slipstream on each copy!!!
  13. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +184

    Certainly try the chkdsk /r has been know to resolve odd problems

    Has been a long time since i tried using boot logging (if i recall it correctly) you might try looking at the boot log for both a safe mode and normal mode startup

    You may need to do some Googling to interpret the output. I'd have to do the same if you post. I forget if the log entry is made when simply attempting to load the driver OR after the driver is actually loaded

    /* edit */
    Mean to say "if log entry is after drive loaded AND device started successfully
  14. ruready2

    ruready2 TS Enthusiast Posts: 202

    With all due respect, this does not tell me that the hang-ups occur during installation.

    A new installation does not always preclude file system errors. The error could have been with the hdd, the cd rom the windows disc or a number of other things. If you are able to boot in safe mode that is enough to tell me it can be repaired without a whole lot of trouble.

    I did not see your post and certainly did not mean to dispute you. Perhaps you know something more than I which is very possible.
  15. Sharam

    Sharam TS Rookie Posts: 509


    It is OK with me, I never take things the "wrong" way, we are here to help one another and at the same time learn from each other, no need to explain or anything with me :)

    I do remember performing this repair, as a matter of fact I have a system here with XP Pro Corporate SP3 (return customer) since I make CDs with updates weekly or even daily at times and mark them, it would be easy for me to locate the CD I used for this install. I am to upgrade the HDD, RAM and install a fresh copy of Win7, just to check my memory, going to attempt a repair install using an XP Pro Corp SP2 of same build, I mark build numbers on the CDs I make as well, so we will have some solid information here.
  16. ruready2

    ruready2 TS Enthusiast Posts: 202

    Thanks I appreciate your attitude. As I said nothing harmful nor undermining was intended, and I look forward to seeing the information you post regarding the results.
  17. Spaghetto

    Spaghetto TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Well, I've quit...

    Now, evertime I try to boot with the XP CD, I get a blue screen.
    I even mounted a brand new SP3 CD with my SATA drivers slipstreamed... to no avail.

    Apparently, there is something in my hardware that XP really doesn't get.

    So my choices were :
    1- Keep the XP installation, which worked fine, but struggle with it everytrime I boot/reboot, or
    2- Install W7, which I really don't like.

    I'm about to reinstall 7.

    Thanks for all the advice guys.

    PS- Here are my specs, if ever that can help someone see the problem :

    cpu : Phenom 2 555 x2 3.2Ghz 7MB Black
    Motherboard : GIGABYTE GA-890GPA-UD3H
    ram : Kingston KHX1600C9D3K2/4GX Hyper X
    Graphics : SAPPHIRE HD5770 1GIG
  18. ruready2

    ruready2 TS Enthusiast Posts: 202

    Can you tell us what the stop code is on the bsod?
  19. Spaghetto

    Spaghetto TS Rookie Topic Starter

    The bsod gives a message usually related to RAM problems (from what I gather) :

    It says « PAGE_FAULT_IN_NONPAGED_AREA ». (I'm quoting from memory).

    The RAM was thoroughly tested (8hrs memtest, 10 passes).
    So it's something else.

    This said, I'm writing this from the W7 installation. It works perfectly.
    So it definitely means a problem between XP and the hardware.
  20. ruready2

    ruready2 TS Enthusiast Posts: 202

    The page fault error is most often associated with Stop code 0x50. Although this error can be the result of bad ram it not necessarily always the cause.

    The Stop 0x50 message can be related to incompatible software. This is especially true for anti-virus software and faulty drivers. I would suspect a driver is the actual cause and would explain the system hanging at the Windows logo screen. It is at that point the system is attempting to load the driver but, is unable and therefore hangs. This would also explain why you are able to boot in safe mode with no problems since the system only loads basic drivers in safe mode. This tells me it is an aftermarket (if you will) software driver and not a core Windows component. Follow the steps below to perform a system restore from safe mode with command prompt choose the furthermost date back possible. I truly believe this will solve your issue.

    To start System Restore using the Command prompt, follow these steps:

    1. Restart your computer, and then press and hold F8 during the initial startup to start your computer in safe mode with a Command prompt.

    2. Use the arrow keys to select the Safe mode with a Command prompt option.

    3. If you are prompted to select an operating system, use the arrow keys to select the appropriate operating system for your computer, and then press ENTER.

    4. Log on as an administrator or with an account that has administrator credentials.

    5. At the command prompt, type %systemroot%\system32\restore\rstrui.exe, and then press ENTER.

    6. Follow the instructions that appear on the screen to restore your computer to a functional state.

  21. Spaghetto

    Spaghetto TS Rookie Topic Starter


    Thanks a lot. This said, I'll just keep going with W7.

    -Everything I've tried with the XP CD (install, repair, command prompts, just booting...) ended up with a blue screen.

    I've given up.

    Thanks anyway.
  22. Sharam

    Sharam TS Rookie Posts: 509

    Thanks to LookinAround for finding this thread for me.


    I just performed a Repair Install on a HP/ Compaq nc6000 Notebook, it had XP Pro Sp2 installed a few years ago and I don't know by whom or what media was used. The hard drive had no Recovery Partition and I was not given any XP CD.

    I fixed the problem (virus removal and cleaning) but decided to install a fresh copy of XP Pro SP3 using the HP OEM COA on the Notebook. This is when I remembered this thread and my promise to report back.

    I installed SP3 and did all post SP3 updates then used my XP Pro OEM with SP2 and performed a Repair Install with no issues at all, I did have to re-activate and once in Windows, Computer properties showed XP Pro SP2 and the SP3 line was removed from the Add/ Remove Programs and IE8 was set back to IE6, I would have had to re-install SP3 and all other updates but since I did this test just for this thread, I then re installed XP Pro again using my self made OEM SP3 copy.

    So, you can, do a Repair Install on XP with SP3 using a media with SP2, the media has to have the same flavor of XP, as in, you can not use XP Corporate to Repair XP OEM or Retail.

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