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  1. #1
    3 Star Lounger djmoore's Avatar
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    Continuous reboot (Windows XP Pro)

    Briefly, my son's laptop has come upon hard times. He's a teenager, so he is big on privacy, and so I don't know if he does Windows patches or not; I've asked, but since he is 16 he responds with grunts and dirty looks rather than actual words. Be that as it may, he has been complaining about spyware for a while now., and I asked him to create an Admin ID on his laptop so I could deal with it without his having to give me his login password. He never got around to it, and now it is stuck in a continuous reboot cycle. I tried starting in safe mode and loading last known good configuration, but neither option stops the rebooting. I see, for a split second, a blue screen message, but it flashes by much too fast; I resorted to filming it and then reviewing the film to catch the message:

    <hr>Stop: c0000218 [registry file failure]
    The registry cannot load the hive (file):
    SystemRootsystem32configSOFTWARE
    or its log or alternate.
    It is corrupt, absent, or not writable.<hr>

    I found this thread <post#=649637>post 649637</post#> from back in May, which discusses the problem in detail. But my son's laptop has an OEM copy of Windows XP installed, and while reviewing this document http://support.microsoft.com/kb/307545/ on the Microsoft website I saw the following:

    <hr>Warning Do not use the procedure that is described in this article if your computer has an OEM-installed operating system. The system hive on OEM installations creates passwords and user accounts that did not exist previously. If you use the procedure that is described in this article, you may not be able to log back into the recovery console to restore the original registry hives.<hr>

    But that's all they say - no mention of what I can do if I have an OEM version of XP. The laptop may or may not have come with an XP disk - I've asked him to give me the box of 'stuff' that came with the laptop, but he just got his Halo 3 for X-box tonight and thinks he's allowed to stay up as long as he wants playing it - and interrupting that , apparently, now qualifies as a crime against humanity. So I won't know if we have an XP CD for this laptop until sometime tomorrow, perhaps.
    In the meanwhile, I'm assuming that the procedure I should be following in this case, if we can scare up an actual XP disk, is the Repair installation procedure. Is that correct?
    For the past few months he has been complaining about slowness and quirky behavior; I had him run a spyware scan and he said he found a few things, but as I mentioned above he never gave me access on the laptop to investigate and/or recover from that stuff - but he kept complaining that his laptop was getting worse and worse. All this leads me to the assumption that the problem here is being caused by spyware and not by a faulty hard disk. (Which probably means it's the hard disk.)
    Have a cookie -

    Don

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    Re: Continuous reboot (Windows XP Pro)

    " ...no mention of what I can do if I have an OEM version of XP"

    You can restore Windows installation to its original state - that means, all installed programs, user settings, documents, favorites, personal files, etc. will be gone.

    I would rather suggest you to do so - it will be a lesson for your son. Unfortunately, you did not mention the laptop make and model, and I can't give you step-by-step instructions how to restore Windows. Some models have hidden Restore partition, other require Reinstallation CD. If the CD is required and you do not have one, or Restore partition was destroyed, in most cases you can order a CD from laptop maker for a fee. Visit laptop's maker website for information and instructions.

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    Re: Continuous reboot (Windows XP Pro)

    If you have an XP CD try a repair install first. That way you should at least be able to backup the data on the PC. Once you get the data backed up I'd do a clean install. If you do NOT have an XP CD go ahead and follow the instructions in the KB article. The PC is hosed anyway. That should at least get you back to the point of being able to back up data and proceed from there. BTW, you have my sympathies on having a 16 year old. Been there, done that, and have the scars to prove it. <img src=/S/crazy.gif border=0 alt=crazy width=15 height=15> <img src=/S/flee.gif border=0 alt=flee width=25 height=25> <img src=/S/surrender.gif border=0 alt=surrender width=31 height=23>

    Joe
    Joe

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    3 Star Lounger djmoore's Avatar
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    Re: Continuous reboot (Windows XP Pro)

    Some background information and clarification:
    I do have my own Windows XP CD, but that's not OEM. I have a home-grown PC.
    My son's laptop is not made by a well-known company - it's assembled by a company called Cyberpower. We got it for him when he graduated from Middle School (known as Junior High in the real world) - his favorite color at the time had always been red, and my wife and I in our infinite wisdom figured he'd like a red laptop. Only problem being that nobody made one. Well, there were a couple of vendors advertising in PC Gamer magazine who sold different-colored laptops, so I decided on that. When the time came to click the "Buy" button, however, we realized that he was entering high school and most likely wouldn't feel to 'cool' walking around with a red laptop. So I changed the color to silver and hit the "Buy" button. About a second later I had regrets, realizing I could have - and should have - just gone to a better-known company if we were going with a normal color. But it was too late. So we've been stuck with this beast for 2 years, and I've regretted it ever since. Wish I could say it was Sony or Dell, but you know what they say about wishes...
    This morning (after he left for school) I did find a Recovery CD in his drawer of stuff. Apparently it's XP Pro SP2. I haven't tried using it yet, but I wanted to bring the info in this thread up to date and answer any questions that have cropped up.
    Have a cookie -

    Don

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    Re: Continuous reboot (Windows XP Pro)

    An OEM can customize a recovery CD in many ways. Usually it is setup to get the PC back to the way it left the factory as far as software goes. You probably can use your XP CD to do a repair install as long as it is SP-2 also. Just remember, if at all possible back up any important data before you attempt any changes or recovery.

    Joe
    Joe

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    3 Star Lounger djmoore's Avatar
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    Re: Continuous reboot (Windows XP Pro)

    My own XP CD is not SP2, and backing up data isn't an option, since there's no way to get past the constant rebooting.
    Sounds like there's a possibility that the manufacturer's CD could wipe the hard drive?
    I've seen mention made of a Slipstream CD - what exactly is that? Would that be an alternative solution in my case?
    Have a cookie -

    Don

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    Re: Continuous reboot (Windows XP Pro)

    Slipstream is a term used to mean integrating a service pack or other change with a CD/DVD containing an earlier version of the software. In your case it would integrate sp-2 with your XP CD thereby allowing it to used in a repair install of the other PC. Search the XP forum for 'slipstream' for links on how to accomplish it.

    Joe
    Joe

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    Re: Continuous reboot (Windows XP Pro)

    You could first use a bootable live Windows CD, like Bart PE ( http://www.nu2.nu/pebuilder/ ) and then first check and backup the hard disk. You could then try a repair install, like mentioned before.

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    Re: Continuous reboot (Windows XP Pro)

    Sounds like there's a possibility that the manufacturer's CD could wipe the hard drive?

    It is not a possibility, it's a fact of life. The manufacturer's CD would completely erase your hard drive, especially from small companies. To cut the expenses, small companies would put an "image" of factory Windows installation on CD, rather than true modified Setup package, as big companies (Dell, HP) do. If your Recovery CD contains only an image, the Repair installation is impossible.

    About slipstream. If you have Windows XP Installation CD (and you have), you can burn another installation CD with "hotfixes" (say, SP-2) integrated in it. BUT! To install Windows XP on another computer you will need another XP Installation Key (License). Remember, OEM Installation keys DO NOT WORK with retail Installation CD! Only if laptop manufacturer used a retail version of Windows XP, their Installation Key (on a sticker on the bottom of the laptop) would be accepted by your retail Installation CD (does not matter slipstreamed or not). If you want to create a slipstreamed Installation CD, check first, will Installation Key for the laptop work with the retail CD!

  10. #10
    3 Star Lounger djmoore's Avatar
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    Re: Continuous reboot (Windows XP Pro)

    Yikes - thanks for that info!
    There is nInstallation Key on the underside of the laptop - if that doesn't work, my son has said that he only has school stuff on the laptop (which to him is not worth saving) <img src=/S/sigh.gif border=0 alt=sigh width=15 height=15> . Could I possibly tell if the CD is an actual installation disk versus an image? Or is this strictly a trial-and-error kind of thing?
    I:f I want to try and save whatever data is on the hard drive, then I could always replace the hard drive, install XP from the OEM disk, and then hook up the old drive externally to see (if the problem truly is not the hard drive) what data I can copy back onto the new drive. I'm generally more comfortable dealing with hardware than software, so that was one of my earliest thoughts on the issue. But the laptop is in such sad shape in general - some of the rubber feet are missing, and the imbalance is creating pressure on one of the fans and in turn causes it to grind (loudly) to a stop when it is on a level surface; the 'H' key is broken off; and a few screws holding the chassis together are missing from the underside. All the same, my wife and I are wondering if this is a sign that it's time to just get him a new - and this time good quality - laptop.
    Have a cookie -

    Don

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    Re: Continuous reboot (Windows XP Pro)

    "if this is a sign that it's time to just get him a new "
    I would say NO until he learns how to maintain one <img src=/S/evilgrin.gif border=0 alt=evilgrin width=15 height=15>

    Now running HP Pavilion a6528p, with Win7 64 Bit OS.

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    Re: Continuous reboot (Windows XP Pro)

    You do have a good point, Dave, but I believe I'm to blame for a good part of it all. I just gave it to him, planning to help him learn to maintain it and such - but his attitude for the past few years has been "severely teen" - he'll blow us off as quickly as possible with a "yeah, yeah" or "I know" and do his best to make us feel stupid and backward. So I kept my distance and figured I'd let him learn from his mistakes. Of course, now he's learning that he just has to use the family PC while I 'fix' his laptop. I had told him to do spyware scans and that he should do Windows Updates, but clearly he never did either. But by the same token, neither did I sit down with him (even for the almost bearable minute or two) to show him what the heck I meant by that. So it's a fine line I've drawn for myself, not just for him.
    Ah, parenthood. Kids - you can't live with them, and you can't return them.
    Have a cookie -

    Don

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    Re: Continuous reboot (Windows XP Pro)

    Best you can do is hope they do little damage and leave for college as soon as possible. <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15>

    Joe
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    Re: Continuous reboot (Windows XP Pro)

    Could I possibly tell if the CD is an actual installation disk versus an image?

    Yes, of course. Insert it in the drive on your computer. If autorun is enabled, in case of Installation CD, the blue "Welcome to Microsoft Windows XP" window will appear, with "What do you want to do?" options. In case of Restore Image CD, it can be anything except "Welcome to Microsoft..." screen.
    If autorun is disabled, open Windows Explorer and look at CD: the file structure of Installation CD is strict. You will see $OEM$ folder (not present on retail Installation CD), i386 folder (it is main installation folder), SUPPORT, VALUEADD and other folders. Beside these folders, you will see Setup.exe file and following files: WIN51, WIN51IP and WIN51IP.SP2 (on Windows XP SP-2 CDs only). File structure of Restore Image CDs must be different, without i386 folder.

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