Results 1 to 7 of 7
  1. #1
    5 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    Allen, Texas, USA
    Posts
    727
    Thanks
    1
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Can't load Windows (XP Pro)

    My sons Dell 1.0 mhz PC running XP Pro started the eternal reboot. Even safemode reboots.
    The memory test ran with no errors.
    I ran the fixboot and bootmbr. Both said possible corruption but successfully did another re-write.
    The dir in repair mode gave an error that it couldn't display the directory.
    Same thing with a boot disk, failed showing c:
    The BIOS shows the HD as installed.

    What do you think happened and how do I get it back up and running?
    Do you think this was from a virus?
    Will a new install even load on c now?

  2. #2
    Silver Lounger
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Posts
    1,993
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: Can't load Windows (XP Pro)

    You do not mention anything about possible changes to the OS or hardware before this started, such as a service pack (SP3?) install, updates install, certain software install (CD burning etc.) or adding HDDs etc. so I assume nothing such significant has changed before this.

    You have tested the memory with Memtest86+ or similar software from a floppy or burned CD, correct?

    When it comes to troubleshooting for startup problems there are several steps to try depending on how severe the problem is. MSFT has, among many other articles, a general article with several steps: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/308041. Obviously, with "eternal reboot", the first steps are of no use.

    I think you know that it's possible to disable automatic restart (to be able to see the stop error message) from inside the OS [System|Advanced|Startup and Recovery|Settings].

    That is of no use now, but you mentioned that you had tried Safe Mode (with no luck), and I assume you used the Advanced Options Menu (by pressing F8 at boot time). There should be an item on that menu: Disable automatic restart on system failure The stop error message could perhaps give some help.

    Before any fix (mbr/boot) or rebuild, a general check could be good; Recovery Console from a Windows CD and an Administrator pw is needed. For example run: CHKDSK C: /P or CHKDSK C: /R; see <!post=this post and link about RC and CHKDSK,602944>this post and link about RC and CHKDSK<!/post>.

    With "repair mode" I assume you mean the Recovery Console (RC). As to DIR not working; in the RC it isn't (by default) possible to access every folder. It's restricted to: Root, %SystemRoot% and subfolders (i.e. Windows), CD or DVD (cmdcons folder if RC is installed on HDD). Description of RC at MSFT: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/314058.

    The "boot disk", was that a floppy? A Windows startup disk perhaps, and it was possible to boot from it?

    If no recent updates/software installed that can be related to this or faulty hardware, it could be a corrupt system file or a corrupt boot.ini, since Safe Mode doesn't work either. Early in the boot process Ntldr use the boot.ini to find the OS. A corrupt ntldr could be fixed with a copy from inside Recovery Console. It is also possible to view and rebuild this important boot.ini with the bootcfg command from the RC.

    For general info about bootcfg via Recovery Console, see MSFT: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/q291980/.

  3. #3
    Silver Lounger
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Posts
    1,993
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: Can't load Windows (XP Pro)

    Addendum:
    I hope this is only my Déjà vu (<post:=649,637>post 649,637</post:>), and that we have a new situation that is possible to solve without drastic measures; it seems to be another PC.

  4. #4
    5 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    Allen, Texas, USA
    Posts
    727
    Thanks
    1
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: Can't load Windows (XP Pro)

    No, this is another computer and my other son's.

    Yes I did use memtest86 and let it run for an hour and no errors.

    There were no recent updates at all: software, OS, hardware. All I can think of is a virus.

    I was going to try to overwrite and update the boot.ini and other files, but since I couldn't create a tmp folder nor copy to the c: I couldn't do that.

    I tried chkdsk and it gave some kind of error that it couldn't find C:
    Even with a boot disk, it didn't find C:
    At this point I figured something really bad happened and I went ahead and attempted a reinstall of the OS, but it said that it was corrupted and I needed to reformat...so that's what I did and reinstalled the OS.

    The reinstall worked fine and he's up and running. Had a good backup so no loss of data other than time.

    Thanks for your response in attempt to help, but every turn I took looked more and more grim so I decided in this case to just reformat. He didn't have that much data anyway.

    --KZ

  5. #5
    Silver Lounger
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Posts
    1,993
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: Can't load Windows (XP Pro)

    Hi,
    Yes, you indicated that there was some kind of error on the drive, it couldn't be found. It seems you tried a lot, and that there wasn't much to do. Good to hear there was a backup. This is a fresh start with tested memory.

  6. #6
    5 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    Allen, Texas, USA
    Posts
    727
    Thanks
    1
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: Can't load Windows (XP Pro)

    Even when it booted up using the floppy disk or booting from the CD, it would hand on the Dell splash screen for 1-2 mins before booting (even when those were the first choice in the boot process).

    One thing that he did tell me is that he had to turn it off without shutting it down correctly. Would that cause corruption in the boot sector?

    --KZ

  7. #7
    Silver Lounger
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Posts
    1,993
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: Can't load Windows (XP Pro)

    I don't think so, but I don't know. The first thing one comes think of in a situation like that is the OS, but XP is as you know quite robust. In many cases one would get the Startup Recovery menu at next boot time ("We apologize for the ,,," and with some options: Safe Mode and Last Know Good), and depending on what one knows about the cause either troubleshoot it from there, or simply select Normal Mode and try to find the cause. It is also possible to do a controlled shutdown with the power button, though most use the Start menu. So the OS takes the first hit, but it is often quite easy to recover. I've never heard of a boot sector being damaged in a situation like that.

    I was also thinking about BIOS, you mentioned the HDD was recognized. In a situation like this it could be good to take a closer look at the settings in BIOS, but again, why would they change? It doesn’t happen often, perhaps a small glitch. I have some notes of the settings, or remember what settings I have changed from the default, if I should have to reload default.

    So, in a situation like this I first pull out the Windows CD for a run with the Recovery Console and CHKDSK, as I mentioned in my other post. If it isn't possible to boot from that CD (and I think it's a good idea to learn a little about the RC and try it, and a possibly slipstreamed CD, before one really needs it, but in your case you knew about the RC), I would check further depending on symptoms. I once had sudden reboots when at the RC prompt, a memtest later showed some mem.errors. But you checked that. A check of the BIOS, as mentioned, but not the first thing. If nothing, perhaps a test of the drive in another PC (and a check of the hardware inside the PC) etc.

    In this case, before a rebuild, when one has decided to reformat, one can sometimes find tools at the HD manufacturer's site for disk check.

    But as I said, I don't know, perhaps someone else has some thoughts about the cause.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •