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XP will not boot all the way, software glitch NOT hardware.

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  • Windows XP
Last response: in Windows XP
September 23, 2010 8:34:27 AM

Sorry to ask for help, but I've tried lots of Googling and am getting nowhere.
The faults I'll describe are not due to hardware or malware of any kind. They are entirely self-inflicted wounds.

My PC is running XP, SP3. I have two HDD, both with multiple partitions. The C:\ SYSTEM disk is copied bit-for-bit to a backup on the second HDD. I have cleverly corrupted both sets. I accidentally defragged the backup, which moved files around. An error on the main system prompted me to overwrite the entire disk with the backup, but it will now not boot to Windows.

From cold, my PC boots past the BIOS POST, the Windows XP splash screen starts, the progress bar moves as it should. The screen goes blank and the drivers kick the USB keyboard and speakers. The Windows cursor appears on the black screen, then just hangs there. I've tried waiting for hours, still nothing more happens.

Here's what else I've tried:

1. booting to safe mode. Same thing happens, the PC just hangs at the black screen without launching the GUI.

booted from XP disk, started recovery console. None of the usual commands work:

"an error occurred during directory enumeration"

"the volume appears to have one or more unrecoverable errors"

cd windows
"the path or file specified is not valid"

"fixboot cannot find the system drive, or the system drive is not valid"

"this computer appears to have a non-standard or invalid master boot record"
"the new master boot record has been successfully written"
(the new MBR made no difference....the machine still hangs before the Windows interface opens.

when I rebooted, it runs checkdisk, reports all files and folders intact, but still hangs at the same point.

booted off the XP install disk, selected ENTER to install Windows
"setup cannot find a previous version of Windows installed on your computer."

At this point, you're thinking the disk is goosed, Windows or the partition table are fried, it needs a complete re-install....

And now the really funny part....

4. I removed the disk and installed it in a USB drive case

the disk is split into three partitions (system, games, photos)
all three partitions are visible through USB, so everything has been copied to another drive and is safe.

the SYSTEM partition is intact, all Windows files and directories appear intact, so...

5. I copied boot.ini from c:\windows\pss and overwrote the one in the root
this made no difference when I reinstalled the disk and rebooted

6. back in the usb drive, I copied the registry files from c:\windows\repair to c:\windows\system32\config
this made no difference when I reinstalled the disk and rebooted

All the Windows files are on the drive, as far as I can tell. Me running defrag on the copied image has screwed up the directory or something, so Windows cannot start fully. ANY help gratefully received from XP experts!

More about : boot software glitch hardware

September 23, 2010 7:10:56 PM

Hope you had anything important copied elsewhere, sounds like you need to get a copy of the HDD utilities from whatever brand you use, boot that cd and reformat the whole drive to factory defaults.

Sorry for your bad luck, Dead
September 23, 2010 7:42:49 PM

Last chance...

Start recovery console.

Chkdsk /r

you didn't say if you used this chkdsk parameter or not, so I offer it.
Related resources
September 24, 2010 1:25:39 PM

Sorry. Should have been clearer.

Any chkdsk option fails when I boot from the XP install disk.
However, when the disk is visible via USB, I can run chkdsk from a command window, and it works fine. It also reports no errors.

It seems that Windows can't find something it needs to launch the GUI and desktop. Just wondering if there's something I can manually alter while the disk is visible through USB, which will get XP to launch fully.
September 24, 2010 3:16:58 PM

There's an awfull lot of starup files that could be bombed, but the one that particularly comes to mind is the NTLDR........please note im typing from memory so i might not have it spelled could look into that, and maybe someone else on here can confirm the spelling??

Hope it helps, Dead
September 24, 2010 3:19:53 PM

Also, there might be something in recovery console that will rebuild the boot sector, Im sorry, its been a long time since i had to muck about in these areas...ive kinda lost some of the info!

September 25, 2010 2:54:53 AM

Somewhare in all this, I lost track of the status of the hard drive that normally would be used to boot windows...

Last, Last chance.. ?

If Windows "Starts" but won't show up, and if the mouse pointer does show up, you can try this, if the drive will allow changes.

Put your Windows XP CD in the drive and boot computer.
At proper prompting, start recovery console.
The installed Windows files and folders should scroll on screen, this is good, shows you have a file system.
If not, drive data may be toast.

If Ok,

cd D׃\i386 (assumes drive D is your CD, adjust as needed)
expand lsass.ex_ C׃\windows\system32
Enter cd C׃\windows\system32
Enter attrib lsass.exe -r
Enter rename lsass.exe lsass.bak
Enter rename lsass.ex_ lsass.exe
Enter Exit
Enter <Enter key> (machine restarts)

EDIT: You can do all this while the drive is in the USB box if the repair console "sees" it. It'll need to go back to it's proper controller to boot for test. If the repair console does not see it, then you'll need to copy attrib.exe off the XP CD as well as Expand.exe so you can run these two without the repair console using one of those NTFS4DOS programs to gain access to your NTFS drive from DOS.
September 25, 2010 7:20:18 AM

Thanks for the help, people.

One of the things I tried was launching the recovery console and pulling up the C:\ prompt.
typing DIR get me the response "an error occurred during directory enumeration" and I can't use the command to change directory.

The thing that really bugs me is, when I try to look at the drive via the recovery console, I cannot see or access anything at all. When the drive is plugged in through USB, I can see everything on there through Windows.

I should also say that the drive is FAT32 formatted.
September 25, 2010 1:41:45 PM

Well, sorry to say Im out of ideas...oh and BTW knowing it was formated to FAT32 might have been go to know from the begining!