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Laptop will boot into safe mode, but not normal.


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LordPython LordPython is offline
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12-Aug-2010, 11:18 AM #1
Laptop will boot into safe mode, but not normal.
My girlfriend's laptop isn't working right. She has a Dell Latitude D600 running Win XP Pro. It can boot just fine into Safe Mode and everything works. However, if I try to boot it into normal mode (even the last known good configuration) it loads the Win XP boot screen, sits there for a few mins and then goes to the screen posted below. I thought it was just a graphics issue, but I tried changing the graphics settings in safe mode, but they all worked correctly. I've tried moving the mouse around to see if I could see movement through the scramble, I didn't. I also tried hitting Enter to see if it was at a login screen (which isn't set up), again nothing. I've tried using system restore as well as the repair console, nothing has worked. The only thing we can think of is, the person who had the laptop before her installed what we think is a PS3 hard drive. The HD has "Not suitable for laptop use" printed on it. I would think, though, that if the hard drive was failing it wouldn't boot into safe mode. Either way, I'm out of ideas... anyone?

UPDATE: Status update as of post #14. I am able to get into normal mode now but only with /basevideo added into my boot.ini
If I try to boot into normal mode without a modified boot.ini, I get a quick flash of the desktop with a window that (I think) says "Tell ATI about this problem" then the screen goes blank but the laptop stays on.


Last edited by LordPython; 12-Aug-2010 at 03:37 PM..
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12-Aug-2010, 11:31 AM #2
Looks somewhat like a Display Adapter problem. Boot to Safe Mode > Device Manager > and uninstall the Display Adapter components and select to let Windows detect any Hardware changes. When it completes, reboot for effect.
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12-Aug-2010, 11:47 AM #3
Unfortunately, that didn't work either
But if that was the case, wouldn't it do the same thing in Safe Mode?
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12-Aug-2010, 11:59 AM #4
Nope, Safe Mode uses default VGA mode driver. Check the HD for errors at a command prompt. chkdsk /r
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12-Aug-2010, 12:06 PM #5
I already ran the repair console.
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12-Aug-2010, 12:16 PM #6
I'm not familiar with the repair console. If you meant instead, the Recovery Console, what commands did you run while booted there?
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12-Aug-2010, 12:31 PM #7
Sorry. Someone referred to the the "chkdsk /r" as the "repair console" once and it just stuck with me, so yes, I've already ran that.1
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12-Aug-2010, 12:48 PM #8
Are you able to invoke the Task manager when the screen is in that distorted mode? Ie, does the system respond to ctrl+alt+del?

Try running a full drive virus scan in Safe Mode. Worth a shot.

I'm inclined to believe you have a video card failure and if it's board integrated, that's serious. You can try replacing the chip set drivers. Download the latest from the manufacturers site. Put them on a flash drive, CD or floppy and install them in Safe Mode.
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12-Aug-2010, 01:49 PM #9
Ok, while poking around I decided to change the way windows boots. So I went into MSconfig and did a selective startup and only unchecking the "startup" box. When the system locked up this time, I got a better view of the screen (posted below). It appears as if Windows is instantly going into Shutdown just before freezing up. I tried moving the mouse and Ctrl+Alt+Del but neither of those worked. I also tried a Diagnostic starup and got the same screen below. I also noticed this under the Boot.ini tab:
[boot loader]
timeout=30
default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windpws XP Professional" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect

Also, whenever I reboot I get one of those "cannot close program, click to exit" screens for a program called "Sample" but I don't see any such program in the startup. I'm going to get a hijackthis report and post it.

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12-Aug-2010, 01:58 PM #10
If you're up to editing the boot.ini file, add a space after fastdetect and type /basevideo

Save the change and reboot for effect.
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12-Aug-2010, 02:10 PM #11
WOOT! ok, I'm in. Though I'm sure the problem isn't "fixed" just "patched" is there something I need to do now that I'm in?

I'm pretty sure it's most likely a driver issue now, When I got in, windows told me that my video settings were very low and asked me if I wanted windows to detect the best settings. I figured I'd give it a try, but it scrambled again. So I just rebooted and I am now back in again.

Last edited by LordPython; 12-Aug-2010 at 02:17 PM..
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12-Aug-2010, 02:18 PM #12
Look in Device Manager for any yellow exclamation marks. Try right-clicking the item listed under the Video Adapter listing there and selecting Properties > Drivers tab and click the Update Drivers button. Allow Internet access.
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12-Aug-2010, 03:10 PM #13
OK, well there were no yellow exclamation marks, but I did go into the display adapter and update the driver. I was then able to resize the screen in normal mode with it only scrambling during the resize. I then attempted to restart the computer without the modified boot.ini and it booted fine, but as soon as the desktop came up I saw a quick window that (I think) says "Tell ATI about this problem" then the screen goes blank. The laptop stays on and the HD lite keeps blinking. So I rebooted into safe mode and reselected the /basevideo and rebooted back into normal mode. So I'm kind of stumped now. I guess I could leave the modified boot.ini file and just have to resize the screen every time I boot up (though I'd prefer not to).

I believe, based on this thread http://forums.techguy.org/windows-xp...exe-error.html that the Sample program that won't close when I reboot is the Nimda virus. I don't know if that would have anything to do with the result I'm getting now, but i'm not sure.
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12-Aug-2010, 03:17 PM #14
Very interesting problem. Post your HJT log in the Virus/Malware forum here and hope for some resolution. (pun intended). I understand they are very busy so you will have time to do a full virus scan with the latest signatures.

Best regards,

Dude
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12-Aug-2010, 03:26 PM #15
Thanks for your help. I'll head on over there
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