Windows not booting OR reinstalling!!

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Thread Starter
Jan 20, 2007
Hi Guys,

Well, I apologise up front if this gets long-winded, but Ive been having tons of problems for over a week which I have been unable to sort out, and have now climaxed into what appears to my newbie eyes as total disaster- my computer wont boot windows, or let me reinstall!!

As Sherlock Holmes always advised, I shall start at the beginning:

1) About 8 days ago (and about a week after installing Internet Explorer 7) I started to suffer problems with Internet explorer. New tabs would suddenly appear in open IE windows, sometimes 2 or 3 new tabs, sometimes 8-10, all trying to connect to numerous different advertising websites, most of which just brought up the 'could not connect to' error message (if I shut off the 'tabs' facility, then new windows would open despite my pop-up blocker). This was abviously very annoying, and caused much system slow-down, especially as it seemed to happen about every 15 minutes (although it could be as long as 3 hours between 'attacks'.

2) Assuming this was a virus I tried to open mcaffee virus scan, which would no longer open! I got an error message saying windows could not find the .exe file (mcaffee worked fine before), I uninstalled mcaffee, but it will not reinstall, and I get given no reason for it not installing.

3) I ran ad-aware, spy sweeper, and that new microsoft repair thing, all of which brought up the usual offenders, plus a couple of trojans. I deleted these, and double checked the windows firewall was still on, which it was not, and when I tried to switch it back on, I got an error message telling me that windows could not access firewall settings! I tried the AVG online virus scanner twice, each time nothing was found.

4) The problem did seem to stop, but unfortunately after returning to my computer after a few hours I found the problem was still there. I repeated the ad/spyware sweeps with the same results.

5) I tried rebooting into safe mode to reinstall mcaffee, but safe mode will not boot. All that happens is that when I press enter for safe mode, I get the black screen with all the setup commands listed, then the computer resets itself. I have tried many times, and the result is always the same.

6) Back in windows I tried downloading any latest windows security updates (only 1 new one, I have all the rest), but that keeps 'failing'. The only thing I could download from windows update was the malicious software removal tool- which found nothing.

7) I tried system restore, but no matter what date I pick, it keeps failing to restore saying "windows could not restore..."

8) After a week of these probs I tried to do a repair reinstall of windows XP, using a slipstreamed SP2 disk I made yesterday. All seemed to be going well, and the blue setup screen reached 0 minutes on the progress bar, then the computer reset itself again, and I had the option of continuing the reinstallation (which goes back to the blue setup screen but rather that having completed the installation e.g. the progress bar is at 0 minutes, the progress bar is back to 39 mins), or leaving the computer to try and boot 'normally. If I do the latter I get presented with the black screen saying windows start-up was interrupted, etc, etc, would I like safe mode, last known good config, or normal boot. Every option I choose results in the same thing- the computer resetting itself! If I try and 'continue the reinstallation' the above process repaets itself- the reinstallation gets 3/4 way through, then the computer resets.

9) With the exception of internet explorer 7, no new software or hardware has been added/updated.

So thats it- I cant boot windows, and I cant reinstall it. I have not tried reformatting and reinstaling, and hope I done have to cos obviously I dont want to lose my files (although I will if its the only option, its better than having a totally useless PC!!!).

Presumably this was initially a software issue of some kind- but has it become a hardware issue? My hardware is about 18 months-2 years old.

What do you experts suggest? Im tremendously grateful for ANY advice or help. :) :)

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