XP can only boot into safe mode (Is my hard drive dying?)

By jcm ยท 4 replies
Jun 2, 2006
  1. Hi all! Tonight when I turned on my PC Windows would not boot. The XP logo screen would only be followed by a black screen and that would be it. It could boot into safe mode, though. Feeling lazy and brave (or just foolish) I decided to run the recovery console and run fixboot, fixmbr and bootcfg /rebuild. Now, instead of a black screen I just get a chkdsk screen (which I scheduled before in safe mode) the chkdsk runs (there are some errors/bad sectors), then it restarts the computer. then when it restarts it just says something like 'the drive has been checked' and then it just stops there. This computer was working 'fine' last night. (By 'fine' I mean it boots up, but BSoD's a lot in games which is another issue to be resolved) No recent hardware additions, last software addition was stuff iTunes.
    Did I make a mistake and how do I correct it? Is my hard drive dying? Any suggestions? Thanks!

    CPU: Athlon XP 1900 (1.6 GHz)
    Motherboard: ASUS A7S333
    Memory: 256MB PC2100 x2 sticks
    GPU: Geforce FX 5200
    PSU: generic
    OS: Windows XP Professional SP2
  2. iss

    iss TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,994

    it definitely sounds like hardware problem. the question is which hardware. if you were having BSOD's in games before this, then it is likely it is either the Power supply or the ram.
  3. jcm

    jcm TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks for the response. I've been having doubts about the memory (two sticks of 256MB PC2100). I ran memtest86+ with mixed results. Sometimes it finds errors and sometimes it doesn't. Always at the same places though, around 76 and 92.6 MB. The Windows Memory Diagnostic extended tests, however, consistently finds errors in the same address (0ca7a20). Is it possible that it's video memory?
    Also, after running fixboot etc. I thought I totally broke the system because it wouldn't boot even into safe mode. After a few tries, it did. Another symptom of failing hardware?
    How do I test the power supply?
    Edit: I checked the event viewer and it says a bunch of drivers failed to load: (probably when I was trying to boot normally)
  4. WinDoWsMoNoPoLy

    WinDoWsMoNoPoLy TS Rookie Posts: 252

    On memtest are you running it with only one stick in at a time? Your suppose to test the sticks seperately. Most likely i think your going to have to reformat. If you do and the format takes a very long time, it was caused by your disk being way to fragmented.

    Before reformatting though, open the cause and check all cables and everything for damage. Unplug and replug everything and see if it will boot.
  5. jcm

    jcm TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I managed to make things worse last night. I tried doing a repair install and now it gets stuck in an infinite reboot loop (safe mode or normal mode). Recovery console won't accept any passwords. I'll try putting in one stick at a time and see if it will boot. Is there a way I can recover my data using a boot floppy and burning stuff to a CD? There's only one CD drive. Thanks again.

    EDIT: How do I reformat and reinstall if I have two NTFS partitions on one disk? Do I have to repartition?
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