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XP Will Not Boot, Flashing Cursor in Top Left Corner

Discussion in 'Windows XP' started by troyw3412, Jun 30, 2008.

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  1. troyw3412

    troyw3412 Thread Starter

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    Good evening:

    I'm hoping some can offer some advice on this rather troublesome problem.

    I have a Dell laptop that was recently formatted, XP Home was re-installed from the original Dell ReInstallation CDs.

    Everything has been working perfectly for the past month. However, this past weekend, we're now unable to boot into Windows.

    When powering the machine on, the Dell logo appears as normal. When the Dell logo disappears, instead of the Windows splash screen appearing, a flashing cursor appears in the upper left hand corner. Nothing else. After letting the machine sit for approximately 30-minutes, an error message never appears.

    I've already attempted a few things...
    1. Removed the drive, attached it to a working computer via USB adapter. There, I performed a scan disk. No error messages appear.
    2. Placed the hard drive back into the Dell laptop. Inserted the Windows XP ReInstallation CD to access the recovery console. FIXMBR completed successfully, however the problem continues.
    3. Verified that the system BIOS recognizes the drive and correct drive size/parameters...

    I really don't know what to do. Apparently the repair install function is not available with the Dell OS ReInstallation CD... Can someone throw a hint or two? I'm almost out of gas on this one and need to have it running again ASAP.
     
  2. Wanderer2

    Wanderer2

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    run fixboot from recovery console. It repairs the volume pointer.
     
  3. troyw3412

    troyw3412 Thread Starter

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    Thank you for the recommendation. I've just tried this. No change. Any other ideas?
     
  4. Anon B

    Anon B

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    Hi,

    Boot from the XP installaton CD and go to the Recovery Console as you did when you ran the FIXMBR command
    This time run the disk checking utilty, at the prompt type in
    chkdsk /r <enter>
    Once it has completed reboot, does it boot ok after that?

    Anon
     
  5. pierjean

    pierjean

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    be careful using recovery console if you have an OEM windows, I had a problem lately with this and learn that the computer will ask you for the administrator password (there is porobably none ) but anyway, the system will invent one for you and you will not be able to use recovery... I am not sure if it does it all the time but it happened to me.
     
  6. vicks

    vicks

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    Try booting into safe mode... (tap th F8 key continously while machine is trying to boot)
    If it will start in safe mode, do a system restore to a date before the problem occured.
    vicks
     
  7. Anon B

    Anon B

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    Another option would be to try Last Known Good Configuration from the Safe Mode boot menu
     
  8. troyw3412

    troyw3412 Thread Starter

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    Thank you for this bit of wisdom. I have done this step, however, I did this a little differently... I removed the drive from the laptop, hooked it up via USB adapter to my desktop computer, and then performed this step from there... Do you think it would make a difference if this was done on another computer vs the troubled dell that will not boot?

     
  9. troyw3412

    troyw3412 Thread Starter

    Joined:
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    Vicks:

    For giggles, I tried this earlier. I didn't list it in my already performed steps as the laptop is not reaching the point where Windows tries to load. The system stops booting at the time that BIOS is attempting to hand off to Windows.

    The kicker is that I can boot from a CD, other drives, etc.

    I'm not thinking this drive is bad as the SMART tests have not revealed any errors. chkdisk /r performed successfully. And I can see the files when this drive is attached to another machine...

    The MBRFIX command hasn't helped either...

     
  10. pierjean

    pierjean

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    since you have the ability to plug your HDD in USB to your desktop, why don't you replace the 5 registry hive System-default,sam, security, software (C/ windows/ system32/ config with the repair files?(C?windows/repair) it is a much faster and safer process than using recovery console
    also replace NTLDR , NtDetect.com, and boot.ini file in C.

    Ps (just to make sure, save the original files in a folder in case you have to goback to previous state)

    this is a note from Microsoft concerning the use of recovery console:
    Warning Do not use the procedure that is described in this article if your computer has an OEM-installed operating system.( The system hive on OEM installations creates passwords and user accounts that did not exist previously. If you use the procedure that is described in this article, you may not be able to log back into the recovery console to restore the original registry hives.
    Note Make sure to replace all five of the registry hives. If you only replace a single hive or two, this can cause potential issues because software and hardware may have settings in multiple locations in the registry.

    If you experience a repetitive occurrence of registry corruption related issues, Microsoft recommends that you obtain and install the hotfix in the following article:
    318159 (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/318159/) Damaged registry repair and recovery in Windows XP
    This update is also included in Windows XP Service Pack 1.

    Guided Help to recover a corrupted registry that prevents Windows XP from starting
    Guided Help is available to help recover a corrupted registry that prevents Windows XP from starting. Guided Help can automatically perform the steps for you.

    The actions that this Guided Help performs can be undone after Guided Help is finished. To undo the actions that this Guided Help performs and to restore the corrupted registry files, start Recovery Console, and then manually copy the Windows\Tmp\*.bak files to the Windows\System32\Config folder. Make sure to rename the files to remove the .bak extension.
    For more information about Guided Help, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
    915092 (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/915092/)



    Hope this will help!
    if you bought a proprietary computer (dell, compact, HP etc witht the windows already installed it was probably OEM so be careful again with using recovery console !!!
     
  11. troyw3412

    troyw3412 Thread Starter

    Joined:
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    Thank you. I did replace the NTLDR, NTDETECT.COM and checked the boot.ini file. No change. Per your suggestion, I've also tried the registry, no change.

    While I had the drive hooked up to my linux machine, I did go ahead and back up the documents, pictures, etc as I get the feeling that I'll probably end up wiping this drive and starting from scratch.

    While browsing the contents of the drive, I noticed a ton of files in the AVG $VAULT$ folder. I'm thinking the machine may have become victim to a virus. But I'm willing to try a few more things to prevent having to wipe and reload the system.


     
  12. pierjean

    pierjean

    Joined:
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    About the boot.ini file, make sure about wich partition is you operating system. remember that if there is a restore partition, it may be hidden in a partition 1 therefore your boot.ini file should show the OS in partition 2 as in this one: (with XPPro)

    [boot loader]
    timeout=30
    default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2\WINDOWS
    [operating systems]
    multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect.


    to make sure of that right click on my computer choose manage/disk managment. check disk O if it has an hidden partition or not


    if your machine did come with pre installed xp it is probably windows XP home edition .
    In that case, replace " microsoft Windows XP Professional" with
    "windows XP home edition" or whatever OS you are using.

    remember you should change ALL 5 registry hive not just 2. SAM, SECURITY, DEFAULT, SOFTWARE AND SYSTEM
     
  13. pierjean

    pierjean

    Joined:
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    of course before reinstalling from scratch, you should consider repairing with athe CD.
    do not use the recovery console. upon booting with the disk instead of hitting "R' (on the first window) for recovery console, go as if you wanted to reinstall windows.
    the program wil ask you to choose your partition and then it should give you a second choice for "repair" while keeping all your personal files and programs.
    it is always safe to backup your files, as you did. but this should repair your actual windows. If it is really damaged then it might not give you the second option for repair but reinstall windows from scratch. it will ask you first before doing it so you can always go back or quit.
     
  14. troyw3412

    troyw3412 Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2006
    Messages:
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    Thank you, everyone for your assistance.

    I've checked the boot.ini file, everything appeared to be correct.

    Finally, I've backed up the documents, pictures, etc onto a working computer. While copying the documents and things over, I happened to notice the $vault.avg$ folder. Inside were a TON of files, many of them were created the day the system stopped booting.

    For giggles, I used Avast on my working computer to scan the drive. This uncovered nearly 100 additional infections that AVG apparently did not detect.

    After the thorough scan, a repair install didn't help matters. Finally, I just threw in the towel and formatted the drive. Unfortunately, that involved re-installing a number of applications, etc. But the system is now working...

    Apparently the user thought pirating software on LimeWire was the way to go. Unfortunately, they had not mentioned this before I had almost a few hours (and all of you guys and gals) involved in trying to salvage this machine...

    Hard lesson learned.

    Any other ideas and things I should check first in the event something like this appears again?


     
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