I was testing 3 or 4 network cards by turning of the machine (a fully updated XP Pro AMD machine) and substituting them one at a time for the machine's normal Network card and restarting. Everything was going normally until someone came by and using their breath a la birthcake candle style, tried to blow some the dust off the motherboard.
The machine locked up and will not reboot normally into Windows since. It gets as far as the first part of the Welcome screen. I get XP's normal darker blue bar at the top of the screen, the rest of the screen is the normal lighter blue but the account logon icons, and Welcome text of any sort and the darker blue bar normally located at the bottom of the screen are missing. I can't get any farther with the normal boot process.
I find however, that I am able to successfully boot in Safe Mode. Once there, in Device manager under Network Devices, I curiously find that I can see ALL of the network cards I had been testing listed.
I first tried to remove the Network cards listed in the Device Mangler but it would not let me remove any of them. I then tried unsuccessfully to recover by doing a "Driver Rollback", Boot to Last known Good configuration" and by using XP's Restore function. I have tried several of the recent restore points but just end up each time stuck back at the partial Welcome Screen.
I'm kind of assuming that blowing on the running MB caused some sort of major Windows file corruption. ??
Does anyone have any ideas of what happened or how I can fix the problem?
I am thinking of trying to install a second alternate copy of XP on the drive.... I believe if I just try to install XP on the drive it will give me an option of an alternative load… ?
If someone would blow more than air on the mobo and got all their drool over it some odd effect could produce. If some of that liquid came in contact, a minor short could produce and cause software corruption. Im speaking physically here only for I have never tested this and probably never will. I do not belive a voltage feedback occured from the fans.
This is kinda wierd so you gotta do some major trial/error work. Flash the cmos, switch AGP cards, unplug all the PCI cards, reseed the ram, clean off the mobo, reinstall windows.
I'm not certain why he'd recommend switching the video card, but I'd guess it's because of the symptoms of your problems. Windows doesn't hang when going into safe mode, which is a mode that uses the lowest video settings. It could be that the problem was a short on the video card that only get's triggered when entering a higher resolution video mode. Try setting it to default to the lowest video mode and see if the system boots normally like that. Just a thought...