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Cannot Get to Windows XP Safe Mode


MegamanMicrosoft's Avatar
MegamanMicrosoft MegamanMicrosoft is offline
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27-Mar-2010, 07:18 PM #1
Cannot Get to Windows XP Safe Mode
Today, I have tried to repair my Windows XP... though when I did so, and reached the login screen, and tried to log in, the system told me I needed to activate it before I login, but when I click yes to activate it, all it does is freezes.

When I tried to use F8 to get to Safemode, I get to screen, but my keyboard doesn't work because I cannot select anything. It is as if my keyboard will not respond or obey any of my key commands. I am at the ends of my ropes and I'm actually in tears because I cannot get my computer to work.

Is there anyone who can help me at all? Please?

No matter if I press F2, F7, or F8, I can reach the screens but I cannot get my keyboard to work and its an USB Keyboard. I just want to reinstall Windows XP at this point, but I cannot even get pass this point... I will be most grateful for anyone who can truly help me.
MegamanMicrosoft's Avatar
MegamanMicrosoft MegamanMicrosoft is offline
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27-Mar-2010, 08:47 PM #2
If it helps any, its a Dell Dimension C521 I bought December 2007, and it has Windows XP Home Edition on it. I really could use some serious help at this point...
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dannypro77 dannypro77 is offline
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27-Mar-2010, 11:27 PM #3
You may try to press the F5 button during startup. If you are able to get into the windows, click "run", the type "msconfig",select the boot.ini and check the /safeboot and restart your computer. It will go to the safemode after restart. Uncheck the /safeboot before you exit the safemode in order for your computer to restart in normal mode.
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lexicon lexicon is offline
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28-Mar-2010, 10:01 AM #4
i had a similar issue with dell inspiron it had windows vista in it and i wanted to install windows xp, everything was fine the cd booted normally but during setup i had to agree by pressing F8 i tried and tried and lastley discovered that i had to press function key (Fn) + F8 and bang.. it worked
so it may work or not in your scenario.. but you may give a try by pressing pressing the Fn Key + F8 key at once

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28-Mar-2010, 11:50 PM #5
Do NOT use msconfig and check the /SAFEBOOT box. If you cannot successfully boot to Safe Mode, or log in once you do, you'll have no way of undoing the setting to get back to Normal mode without using the Recovery Console or a Live CD to edit the Boot.ini file.

The OP is not having any problem booting to safe mode anyway, the problem is the keyboard apparently does not work in Safe Mode.

If the PC came with a PS/2 keyboard, give that a try.
If this is a Wireless USB Keyboard, try using the original USB wired keyboard.

Try booting to Safe Mode then press CTRL+ALT+DEL twice at the Welcome screen to see if you can get the Classic log on box to appear. Sometimes when the keyboard won't work on the Welcome screen in the Password box, it will work in the Classic log on box.

Boot into the BIOS and see if there is a Legacy USB support setting and change it, though it sounds like the keyboard is not working in the BIOS screen either, is that correct?.

If you had IE7 or IE8 installed and did a repair install of XP without first uninstalling IE7 or IE8 this can cause the activation wizard to fail. The Recovery Console cannot be used to uninstall either of these unless you have previously enabled the Recovery Console Set command.

If you have access to a Vista or Win 7 DVD, or can download a Vista or Win 7 Recovery CD, the keyboard may work when booted to one of them, and that would allow you to uninstall IE7 or IE8 from a Command Prompt.

Download either a Vista or Win 7 CD from one of these links and burn the ISO to a CD.
Vista Recovery Environment CD
64 bit Vista
32 bit Vista
Windows 7:
Recovery Environment CD
  • Boot with the CD
  • Select your language and click Next
  • Click Repair your Computer
  • After it scans for Windows installations click Next (Win7: Select Top option first)
  • Click Command Prompt.
Type these commands:
If you had IE8 Installed:
CD /D C:\Windows\IE8\spuninst
If you get an error, don't continue. When booted to a live CD the hard drive letters may be different, so this would take some modification.
Copy spuninst.txt ie8uninst.bat

If you also had IE7:
CD /D C:\Windows\IE7\spuninst
Copy spuninst.txt ie7uninst.bat
MegamanMicrosoft's Avatar
MegamanMicrosoft MegamanMicrosoft is offline
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29-Mar-2010, 06:59 AM #6
Its like, if I press F8 or F12 or F2, it will go to the Boot Menu, but then the keyboard will not work. I cannot press the UP Arrow or the DOWN Arrow, but the NumLock key is lit up. I normally have to wait until the countdown is over and it will automatically restart normally. Sometimes the counter will freeze itself.

I have tried to put the Windows XP re-installation CD in the CD Drive, but sadly my computer will not even boot the CD because I cannot get it to boot from the CD because I cannot get the boot feature to work. Sadly, all I have is the original USB Keyboard because my computer only has the slots for USB.

I had IE7 installed because I never upgraded to IE8 on my Dell Dimension C521. I'm currently using my Acer Aspire 5517 Notebook and I'm curious of a couple of things:
[1]Is it possible I can pull the hard drive out of my Dell Dimension C521 and slave drive it to my Acer notebook here just to pull all my important stuff out?

[2]Is there anyway, if the first is possible or not, that I can just reinstall Windows XP at this point?
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