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locked out of PC

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  • Windows XP
  • External Hard Drive
Last response: in Windows XP
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February 7, 2014 11:00:16 AM

HI,I managed to lock myself out of my PC,i can get into setup,BIOS and all of the settings are set to factory defaults.
But i can not get into boot menu,F-12 will
not work,F-8 will not work.
I get a screen that says what the MOBO is,but it will not go to log in screen.
I did a back up to a external HDD A FEW DAYS AGO can i use that to get past the lock up,also can not get into
safe mode,any ideas would be appreciated,thanks

More about : locked

February 7, 2014 3:27:44 PM

The Hiren's Boot CD can help you with the included application named Registry Restore Wizard... it can restore the Windows Registry to a previous date so it works about the same as System Restore... other than a Repair install or backup restore of Windows XP, the RegResWiz solution would be quicker so it's my first suggesion but it's up to you which date you'd prefer to restore the system to; either the RegResWiz registry backup date or to the external backup date... which ever is more convenient to you.

http://www.hiren.info/pages/bootcd
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February 7, 2014 4:39:37 PM

HI,I have this PC backed up on a external HDD can i hook it up to a usb port and restore it that as the back was about a week ago
or is the only thing backed up on external HDD just data and files and would be just as effective,thanks
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Related resources
February 7, 2014 5:36:34 PM

Depends on what program you used to make the backup, the backup size, what the backup file type is (what extension eg: .iso, .img, exe, etc).

If what you have is a backup image or cloned copy of your installed Win XP, it would be like restoring the system to a week ago.
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February 8, 2014 2:33:24 AM

Well i plugged usb external HDD into my PC did not even register,went to RegResWiz and that does even work WINDOWS too dumb to make DVD says it can not open file.
I thought about putting a registry restore program on it,but have not run across one will keep looking,what can not understand is why safe mode will not come up any ideas why,thanks
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February 8, 2014 2:52:53 AM

If you really want to, it is always possible for you to remove your external hdd from it's case and plug it in like an internal drive, then boot off it. (if it is an exact image that is.)
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February 8, 2014 8:27:27 AM

HI,I got my new SSDH & WIN 7 disk that i was going to install in my DELL E521 and thats what started this problem,what i do not know quite yet is i thought that you could get into safe mode anytime or do i not know how safe mode really works.
Going into the external HDD is not a option i do not want to do.
Another thought i have is this problem isolated just to the MOBO and not the existing HDD,IF so maybe i just should get another PC,i would like to be able to out think this PC AT 73 YRS. OLD I AM RUNNING OUT OF TIME so time is of the essence,thanks
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February 8, 2014 11:07:55 AM

You probably installed the SSDH with the HDD still in the computer, then started the Windows 7 installation but stopped it at some point, right? if so, the Win 7 installer must have removed the Windows XP bootloader and without a bootloader Safe Mode wont work it will not even start to load Windows XP...

So, what you need to do is:
1. fix the Windows XP boot sector from a Windows XP CD loging into the Recovery Console with commands "FIXMBR" following with "FIXBOOT".
2. Or login with a bootdisk... you can download a file that makes a bootdisk from the Bootdisk.com website, you can make a bootdisk from a Floppy disk, from a CD/DVD, from a USB pendrive or USB HD.
3. You could also continue and finish installing Windows 7 and it will probably create a dual boot with Windows XP and if it has any problem creating it, you can install a bootloader editor (EasyBCD, Visual BCD, etc.) to create the dual boot yourself. For better results make sure the Windows XP HDD is the main, first or 0 hard drive in a SATA system or Master in an IDE system, and Windows 7 in the second hd or slave hd in an IDE system.
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February 10, 2014 2:09:10 AM

Chicano said:
You probably installed the SSDH with the HDD still in the computer, then started the Windows 7 installation but stopped it at some point, right? if so, the Win 7 installer must have removed the Windows XP bootloader and without a bootloader Safe Mode wont work it will not even start to load Windows XP...

So, what you need to do is:
1. fix the Windows XP boot sector from a Windows XP CD loging into the Recovery Console with commands "FIXMBR" following with "FIXBOOT".
2. Or login with a bootdisk... you can download a file that makes a bootdisk from the Bootdisk.com website, you can make a bootdisk from a Floppy disk, from a CD/DVD, from a USB pendrive or USB HD.
3. You could also continue and finish installing Windows 7 and it will probably create a dual boot with Windows XP and if it has any problem creating it, you can install a bootloader editor (EasyBCD, Visual BCD, etc.) to create the dual boot yourself. For better results make sure the Windows XP HDD is the main, first or 0 hard drive in a SATA system or Master in an IDE system, and Windows 7 in the second hd or slave hd in an IDE system.

HI,If i continue to install WIN 7 will be i able to get past the no boot problem and actually get WIN 7 installed on the SSDH HDD,but i have another option and that is we have a GSA auction outlet to far from me and they have PC'S without HDD'S that will may be give me a newer MOBO that will make better use of the of the SSDH & WIN7
What do you think of my second option,thanks
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February 10, 2014 7:19:46 PM

Well i had tear my house apart but i found the WINXP X64 disk that I got with this PC can i use this to reinstall WINXP to resolve my boot menu problem and if i can is there a down side reinstalling WINXP,THANKS
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February 11, 2014 12:01:43 AM

Yeah, last two options sound good. There is no downside to "repair" installing the same version of Windows XP as the CD... but you can use the CD to Repair the Boot Sector from the Recovery Console section of the CD with commands "FIXMBR" following with "FIXBOOT". Do either ot this first, and and later install Windows 7 for better results and so the Windows 7 installation creates the dual boot with Windows XP. And in case it doesn't automatically create the dual boot, you can use a Boot Editor software like EasyBCD or VisualBCD.

How To Repair A Windows XP Installation
http://simplyguides.net/guides/repair_installation_xp/r...

How To Enter Windows XP Recovery Console
http://pcsupport.about.com/od/fixtheproblem/ss/rconsole...

Windows 7 Installation Guide / Tutorial
http://www.techtalkz.com/windows-7/514412-windows-7-ins...

How To Install Windows 7 (Step-By-Step Tutorial With Screenshots)
http://www.door2windows.com/how-to-install-windows-7/
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February 11, 2014 9:52:44 PM

Chicano said:
Yeah, last two options sound good. There is no downside to "repair" installing the same version of Windows XP as the CD... but you can use the CD to Repair the Boot Sector from the Recovery Console section of the CD with commands "FIXMBR" following with "FIXBOOT". Do either ot this first, and and later install Windows 7 for better results and so the Windows 7 installation creates the dual boot with Windows XP. And in case it doesn't automatically create the dual boot, you can use a Boot Editor software like EasyBCD or VisualBCD.

How To Repair A Windows XP Installation
http://simplyguides.net/guides/repair_installation_xp/r...

How To Enter Windows XP Recovery Console
http://pcsupport.about.com/od/fixtheproblem/ss/rconsole...

Windows 7 Installation Guide / Tutorial
http://www.techtalkz.com/windows-7/514412-windows-7-ins...

How To Install Windows 7 (Step-By-Step Tutorial With Screenshots)
http://www.door2windows.com/how-to-install-windows-7/

Well i tried what was suggested but i did not even get a hint of a start up,the reason i know is my son's friend brought a laptop to our house and said he could not get it to work and found the MBR not working.
I did not know it had a Vista disk in until i opened DVD player but i knew the MBR was not working so i did the procedure you suggested and only got as far the EULA and it would not go any further so gave up on it.
I thought may be my DVD player was bad so took one i had laying around and put it in did not make a difference
Is there anything i could have done to this PC that when i hit F-12 that takes it straight to the name of the MOBO and no
further,if you think i can not get any further with this PC then i may just go to our local GSA and see about getting a PC
from them,i looked in their web site and can get a pallet load of about 64 PC'S some have GATEWAYS& HP'S might be
able to find one that works,thank's
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February 12, 2014 10:19:03 AM

To repair the MBR from the installation disk you don't have to get to the EULA screen... on Windows XP press "R" at the first option to press it, where it says Repair.. This logs you into the Recovery Console where you can type FIXMBR and follow with FIXBOOT, next exit and restart the computer... Windows XP should boot.

If this doesn't work, you can always backup your files from the Hirens Boot CD or with the hard drive accessed from another computer, and next format the hard drive and install a fresh copy of Windows XP 64 bit... I would add backing up files from a Windows 7 installed on a second partition but you would have to finish the installation which you apparently cant. I would guess the DVD drive is the cause.. you can diagnose it with a Hirens Boot CD (Live CD).. if Hirens boots all the way the DVD drive is OK and if it fails, I'd suggest you install Windows from a Bootable USB flash drive or USB hard drive.

To answer your question, there may or not be something you did to the PC to make it unbootable, the MBR can get damaged for different reasons some from bad use of disk applications (which I doubt was the case), from virus infection, and from disk errors that occur to old, worn hard drives... infact this could be the actual cause of the booting and installation problems... depends on the hard drive age. You should try accessing the BIOS to see if it detects the hard drive normally (bad hard drives have trouble getting detected). Press DEL repeatedly right after switching the computer on to go into the BIOS.

If the PC is in good general condition, has adequate hardware resources and meets your needs, you should try to repair it instead of buying a replacement in doubtfull condition... if you apply my last suggestions and still can't get it to boot or install, a new Hard Drive or a used one in good condition may be all it needs
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February 13, 2014 11:45:36 AM

Chicano said:
To repair the MBR from the installation disk you don't have to get to the EULA screen... on Windows XP press "R" at the first option to press it, where it says Repair.. This logs you into the Recovery Console where you can type FIXMBR and follow with FIXBOOT, next exit and restart the computer... Windows XP should boot.

If this doesn't work, you can always backup your files from the Hirens Boot CD or with the hard drive accessed from another computer, and next format the hard drive and install a fresh copy of Windows XP 64 bit... I would add backing up files from a Windows 7 installed on a second partition but you would have to finish the installation which you apparently cant. I would guess the DVD drive is the cause.. you can diagnose it with a Hirens Boot CD (Live CD).. if Hirens boots all the way the DVD drive is OK and if it fails, I'd suggest you install Windows from a Bootable USB flash drive or USB hard drive.

To answer your question, there may or not be something you did to the PC to make it unbootable, the MBR can get damaged for different reasons some from bad use of disk applications (which I doubt was the case), from virus infection, and from disk errors that occur to old, worn hard drives... infact this could be the actual cause of the booting and installation problems... depends on the hard drive age. You should try accessing the BIOS to see if it detects the hard drive normally (bad hard drives have trouble getting detected). Press DEL repeatedly right after switching the computer on to go into the BIOS.

If the PC is in good general condition, has adequate hardware resources and meets your needs, you should try to repair it instead of buying a replacement in doubtfull condition... if you apply my last suggestions and still can't get it to boot or install, a new Hard Drive or a used one in good condition may be all it needs

HI,I can get all the way thru the BIOS and all are set to factory defaults,i can set which HDD i want use,tried to get EASYBCD2 to work but it says will not work in WINXP program,downloaded a program called DVDFLICK on the surface looks like something i may use if i can get it work.
You would think EASYBCD would work in WINXP as it has been around for quite awhile,thanks for the help.
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February 18, 2014 10:59:28 AM

Sounds like you are just trying random disks on the system which is not doing anything. We need to find out exactly what happened first.

Start at the beginning from when the computer was working. Exactly what did you do till the point it was not longer working?
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February 18, 2014 11:21:35 AM

No, EasyBCD doesn't work in Windows XP... maybe I didn't make it clear enough but I meant to suggest you install it on Windows 7 after you've setup Win 7 on the SSD which should be possible and flawless after removing the Win XP Hard Drive.

After that install the XP Hard Drive back on the computer and see if it's detected by Windows 7.. if it is, scan it with Hard disk Sentinel... If it detects it with fair health, try repairing it's MBR and Boot Sector and next see if it boots or at least you can access it to backup personal files and follow with a full format. If it can't be detected by Hard Disk Sentinel or it says it's health is to low, you'll know it's to far gone to recover.
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February 22, 2014 5:21:47 PM

hang-the-9 said:
Sounds like you are just trying random disks on the system which is not doing anything. We need to find out exactly what happened first.

Start at the beginning from when the computer was working. Exactly what did you do till the point it was not longer working?

HI, hang-the-9, Here is what started my problems in the order of what happened.
I did a backup before starting
I put the new SSDH HDD in bay 2 went into BIOS to change boot order,put DVD player to start first,then new HDD,
put WIN 7 disk it literally disabled my PC,nothing worked after that could still get into BIOS changed boot order back to original HDD but PC would not even boot from that one.
I have rooted around on internet and there is some mention WIN 7 will not work on older DELL PC'S.
I went into PC and removed and re-installed everything i could if by chance something was not seated right,pulled
battery,moved jumper from PSWD TO RESET jumper 3 times,once all night,pushed power button when battery was out,pulled add on GPU,reset to on board GPU,replaced 500 watt PSU with stock 305 watt PSU.
Right now when i turn on PC i have 3 lights on front of it 1,2,3 no number 4,i have what appears to be a little cylinder spinning when lights start coming on,the lights bounce around as if it is checking circuits.
The F-2 button is the only one that works,the F-12 gives no response,then it goes to what appears to be the model
of the MOBO from PHOENIX.
i HAVE A FEELING THIS PC is toast if it is all i need to do now is find a PC that i can afford and transfer what is usable from this DELL I.E. GPU,PSU,WIN7,SSDH HDD,STOCK HDD,THANKS FOR ALL THE HELP.
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February 23, 2014 5:54:23 PM

The information you found about WIN 7 not working on older DELL PC'S probably refers to much older Dells, or 64bit models with slow processors and small RAM such as the Dell Dimension E521 with original hardware... Your computer has the AMD Sempron 3400+ Single Core, AM2 Socket 64Bit 1.8 Ghz CPU, which is probably to slow for Windows 7 specially if it's a 64 Bit Edition. And if the stock RAM of 512MB hasn't been upgraded, that would probably cause the issues you're having... The least you should do is increase the RAM to at least 2GB (Max is 4GB), and upgrade the CPU to a Athlon 64 X2 6000+ 89W 3.0Ghz Windsor... Check the difference from a AM2 Sempron 3400+ to a AM2 Athlon 64 X2 6000+ here: http://www.cpubenchmark.net/socketType.html#id12

Windows 7 system requirements
http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows7/products/sy...

Dell Dimension E521 Original Specifications

Dell Dimension E521 Upgradeable Specifications

As long as the BIOS is accessible and you have video, the motherboard is still good. The F2 key accesses the BIOS, the F12 key accesses the Boot device menu but will only work if the hard drive works. The mobo is a Dell model, Phoenix is the BIOS make... so, the only part that could be toast is the Hard Drive, but if you have already decided to get a newer computer, make sure it's at least a AMD socket AM3 onwards, or Intel socket 775 onwards. You can use a AM3 Mobo with a Phenom II X4 Core CPU, or a AM3+ FX after updating the BIOS. If you get a Intel computer, make it a socket 775 mobo onwards... You can use a Socket 775 mobo with a Core 2 Quad CPU, or a socket 1366 or 2011 mobo with a Core i7 CPU.
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February 24, 2014 12:23:11 AM

Chicano said:
The information you found about WIN 7 not working on older DELL PC'S probably refers to much older Dells, or 64bit models with slow processors and small RAM such as the Dell Dimension E521 with original hardware... Your computer has the AMD Sempron 3400+ Single Core, AM2 Socket 64Bit 1.8 Ghz CPU, which is probably to slow for Windows 7 specially if it's a 64 Bit Edition. And if the stock RAM of 512MB hasn't been upgraded, that would probably cause the issues you're having... The least you should do is increase the RAM to at least 2GB (Max is 4GB), and upgrade the CPU to a Athlon 64 X2 6000+ 89W 3.0Ghz Windsor... Check the difference from a AM2 Sempron 3400+ to a AM2 Athlon 64 X2 6000+ here: http://www.cpubenchmark.net/socketType.html#id12

Windows 7 system requirements
http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows7/products/sy...

Dell Dimension E521 Original Specifications

Dell Dimension E521 Upgradeable Specifications

As long as the BIOS is accessible and you have video, the motherboard is still good. The F2 key accesses the BIOS, the F12 key accesses the Boot device menu but will only work if the hard drive works. The mobo is a Dell model, Phoenix is the BIOS make... so, the only part that could be toast is the Hard Drive, but if you have already decided to get a newer computer, make sure it's at least a AMD socket AM3 onwards, or Intel socket 775 onwards. You can use a AM3 Mobo with a Phenom II X4 Core CPU, or a AM3+ FX after updating the BIOS. If you get a Intel computer, make it a socket 775 mobo onwards... You can use a Socket 775 mobo with a Core 2 Quad CPU, or a socket 1366 or 2011 mobo with a Core i7 CPU.

HI,Chicano,this what i have done to this PC,added the 3.0Ghz cpu,4GB RAM,500WATT PSU,GT 610 GPU.
I have another DELL E521 that my son uses but it has not had CPU upgraded yet i have one that have ready to put in but have waiting to see if i can get my PC squared away before doing that.
What do you think of putting the HDD that was in my PC to see if it is toast that way it would tell me if it is still working,i believe all i would need to do is go into the BIOS and change the boot order is this right.
One other thing why can i not install WIN 7 on the new SSDH HDD even if the other drive is not working,also just take the old HDD out of PC and eliminate that possible problem should it not just install.
While i am on a rant can i use the WINXP 64bit install disk to upgrade the PC i am using right now.
And i understand when do the WIN 7 install i need the DVD player to boot up first then the HDD is this right have install a OS before,thank you help & advise
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February 24, 2014 6:26:34 AM

The motherboard could have died, not really an issue with the hardware attached to it since you tired just about everything else. That's an older system, could very easily have had the motherboard go bad. I suggest you just get a used dual-core system for about $100. With all the upgrades you put in yours, unless you got the parts very cheap, you're better off with either a new system or a newer used system rather than keep putting in older parts in yours.
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February 24, 2014 3:33:24 PM

HATEMYDELL said:
HI,Chicano,this what i have done to this PC,added the 3.0Ghz cpu,4GB RAM,500WATT PSU,GT 610 GPU. I have another DELL E521 that my son uses but it has not had CPU upgraded yet i have one that have ready to put in but have waiting to see if i can get my PC squared away before doing that.

What model CPU is that 3.0Ghz?.. Has it worked before on that motherboard?...


HATEMYDELL said:
What do you think of putting the HDD that was in my PC to see if it is toast that way it would tell me if it is still working,i believe all i would need to do is go into the BIOS and change the boot order is this right.

Yes, that would be the thing to do... your son's computer being identical to yours, should boot the HD right up, it should at least start loading Windows XP and cut out, if it's still good. If it's not recognized on that computer either, that should prove it bad. Changing the boot order with the Hard Drive (if recognized) as the first boot device would only make it start booting seconds faster.


HATEMYDELL said:
One other thing why can i not install WIN 7 on the new SSDH HDD even if the other drive is not working,also just take the old HDD out of PC and eliminate that possible problem should it not just install.

It should if all the hardware is in good condition... it's possible the SATA port or SATA cable the hard drive is connected to, may be damaged... See if using another or new SATA cable connected to another SATA port helps. Another possible cause may be the DVD Drive itself may be damaged... you could try installing Window 7 from a USB Pendrive... Windows installations from USB have minimal chances of failure... but you may need to enable USB settings in the BIOS so it can boot... if already enabled it should appear listed in the Boot Device Menu with F12.. some use a different F#, which key to use should be indicated in the BIOS post. A bootable USB Pendrive may have to be inserted to be listed... it may also have to be set as the 1st Hard Drive to make it boot.


HATEMYDELL said:
While i am on a rant can i use the WINXP 64bit install disk to upgrade the PC i am using right now. And i understand when do the WIN 7 install i need the DVD player to boot up first then the HDD is this right have install a OS before, thank you help & advise

If this computer you mean is the other DELL E521 (64bit system)... the one you haven't upgraded (still with 1.8Ghz Sempron single Core and 512MB RAM?), WINXP 64bit should install but it may not be a good idea installing it yet*... after you upgrade CPU and RAM, the answer would be Yes. And yes, the boot order should be the DVD Drive first and HD Second.

*In my experience even Windows XP 32 bit runs slow on 1.8 Ghz single core and 512MB RAM.
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