I have a dual boot machine, originally XP, but added partition for Windows 7 (which I had immense problems getting installed - but that another story ). However got sorted and was able to restart into both Windows 7 and XP with no problems. Powered off for the night.
When I powered on and started XP, it got to a state where I had a mouse pointer and a desktop background (picture of a lighthouse, fyi) and nothing else. So I decided to do a repair of the XP system. Which I did. But when I start up the 'repaired' system, after having entered the product ID, and log on I get a dialog asking do I want to activate it. Well, Yes i do. So it continues to start - and I end up with mouse pointer and background image and nothing else. CTL-ALT-DEL doesn't do anything. After several attempts the only thing that changed was now I got the Windows is not activated message.
I can start XP into safe mode and I get the icons and it appears to operate as normal - except still not activated. I can't use Safe mode with Networks because when I say Yes to the Do you want to activate windows dialogue, I says I can't (activate windows in safe mode) - why the hell they ask me if I can't whatever I reply, beats me (minor detail).
What I need is to get windows XP started as normal so I can activate it
You be happy to know that my Windows 7 still seems to be hanging in there
Try to do a full clean setup of XP, not a repair. Seems like you have corrupt file(s) somewhere that the repair did not take care of.
Not what I want to do - all those apps to reinstall/replace - but edging closer to biting the bullet .
The reason why I'm interested in keeping XP is that I've got this Windows 7 setup that I'm not convinced will survive and I might need a second platform to work from. Getting a new external drive to save system images on (have to wait until it turns up), then will detemine whether to just move to Windows 7 completely.
In meantime will try another repair to see if that works properly this time