Windows XP help?

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Eddthehammer | 17:00 Wed 19th Nov 2008 | Technology
6 Answers
I started my laptop this morning and unable to access anything.

I get 5 options, either:

start in safe mode
safe mode with newtworking
safe mode with command prompt
last known configuration
start normally

Whatever I chose, its try to load up but then I get a quick flash of a blue error message. Too quick to read what it says. After that, my laptop restarts again and I start all over again.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.


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I had this and it was a hard drive problem which, thankfully, Dell replaced free of charge,
But try to boot from the CD first. When you switch the computer on, pressing one of the keys will give you boot up options. (Key depends on make and model) Set it to boot from CD, put your windows disc in that and restart to see if you can get it to work.
agree with christry reinstalling - you might be lucky .... but you might not - either way it will prove the point - on the bright side - if it boots from the CD - at least the machine is OK

new HDD isn't going to cost the earth - the documentation should tell you how to change it - if you're not in the mood yourself - someone good witha screwdriver should manage it in 5 minutes

get a new one hard disc - reinstall windows - sorted
(then give ethel the old disc to hit with her hammer!)
Hopefully your important files are backed-up. If not, maybe find a way to backup your files first, perhaps by using a bootable linux CD (such a Knoppix - search on internet for more info ) which may allow you to have access to the files on your hard-drive and give you the ability to copy them over to another source, such as an external USB hard-drive or other storage media.

But anyways, it sounds like perhaps the boot file or some other important Windows files somehow got deleted or corrupted.

Chances are that not all is lost though.
You can probably try to do a "Repair Install" which can hopefully be able to fix and repair and missing or corrupt Windows files, as well as it should still leave your files and settings intact.

You will need to use your Windows Installation CD that came with your computer to try this Repair Install option. If wanting to try the Repair Installation, place the Windows Installation CD into your computer and then reboot / turn-on the computer.

This answer will be divided into two-posts here, as it's too long to have all in 1 post appearantly (it exceeds the allowable max 2000 character count)

1. Boot the computer using the XP CD. You may need to change the boot order in the system BIOS so the CD boots before the hard drive. Check your system documentation for steps to access the BIOS and change the boot order.

2. When you see the "Welcome To Setup" screen, you will see the options below

This portion of the Setup program prepares Microsoft
Windows XP to run on your computer:

To setup Windows XP now, press ENTER.

To repair a Windows XP installation using Recovery Console, press R.

To quit Setup without installing Windows XP, press F3.

----> continued in my next post here:
3. Press Enter to start the Windows Setup.

To setup Windows XP now and Repair Install , press ENTER. do NOT choose "To repair a Windows XP installation using the Recovery Console, press R", (you Do Not want to load Recovery Console). I repeat, do not choose "To repair a Windows XP installation using the Recovery Console, press R".

4. Accept the License Agreement and Windows will search for existing Windows installations.

5. Select the XP installation you want to repair from the list and press R to start the repair. If Repair is not one of the options, END setup.
*** WARNING: WHat If the Repair Option is not Available?
What should you do? Most important do not ignore the information below!
If the option to Repair Install is NOT available and you continue with the install; you will delete your Windows folder and the Documents and Settings folders. All applications installed that place keys in the registry will need to be re-installed and will require the original install media.
You should exit setup if the repair option is not available and consider other options.

6. Setup will copy the necessary files to the hard drive and reboot. Do not press any key to boot from CD when the message appears. Setup will continue as if it were doing a clean install, but your applications and settings will remain intact.

*** Blaster worm warning: Do not immediately activate over the internet when asked, enable the XP firewall before connecting to the internet. You can activate after the firewall is enabled. Control Panel - Network Connections. Right click the connection you use, Properties and there is a check box on the Advanced page.

---> continued in my next post:
7. Reapply updates or service packs applied since initial Windows XP installation. Please note that a Repair Install using an Original pre service pack 1 or 2 XP CD used as the install media will remove SP1/SP2/SP3 respectively and service packs plus updates issued after the service packs will need to be reapplied.

For more tweaks, tips, tricks, security, freeware utilities, games, and various other software and resources, please visit my blog, "Tweak My Computer" at:
Hopefully you have not lost anything and you have recovered your files etc.
Though in pricipal I agree with lonewolfdon if you have not had the option to repair a windows installation and have not completed a new install it could be possible to recover using the "Recovery Console". The fault you have described is common in XP. When you have reached the screen where it asks you to press "R" to enter recovery console.
Press "R"
A dos screen will come up, it will ask you to choose which windows installation - Type : 1 and then press enter
At following DOS prompt type in
CHKDSK /P (dont forget the space between K + /)
the computer will then scan your hard drive and try to repair any system faults if it is un repairable it will tell you unrecoverable errors however it just might restart your PC for you. Hope this helps.

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