Windows

What to do when Windows XP won't boot

When your computer hardware appears to power up okay, but the Windows XP operating system won't boot properly, you have to begin a troubleshooting expedition that includes getting into the operating system, determining the problem, and then fixing it.

When your computer hardware appears to power up okay, but the Windows XP operating system won't boot properly, you have to begin a troubleshooting expedition that includes getting into the operating system, determining the problem, and then fixing it.

To help you get started on this expedition, over in the TechRepublic 10 Things blog, I recently re-published and oldie but goody explaining 10 things you can do when Windows XP won't boot.

When you're dealing with a Windows XP system that won't boot, it helps to know what areas to target as you try to diagnose the problem. Windows expert Greg Shultz put together this list to help you identify and resolve the boot issue. His suggestions include:
  • Use Last Known Good Configuration
  • Use System Restore
  • Use Recovery Console tools such as Bootcfg, Fixboot, and Fixmbr
  • Disable automatic restart

Check out the 10 Things blog for the complete list and keep it handy for the next time your installation of Windows XP won't boot.

About

Mark Kaelin is a CBS Interactive Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He is the host for the Microsoft Windows and Office blog, the Google in the Enterprise blog, the Five Apps blog and the Big Data Analytics blog.

5 comments
TomMerritt
TomMerritt

This is Thingy #2 on our list. We keep a known-good XP machine patched current specifically for this purpose, but that's not really necessary. Once you're up in the bench unit, you can explore all sorts of things non-destructively. Many times, it's simply a matter of running CHKDSK /F on the "bad" drive. A dirty shutdown can occasionally scramble a disk. If that's the case, you can be 100%-Hollywood in a few minutes. The first thing you can tell about the "bad" drive is whether or not it's readable. You can then perform many of the steps listed in the article safely and easily. If you need to get into folders that have security set, you may need to take "ownership" of the drive and subfolders, then grant yourself permission. This might be destructive, so use only when all else fails. At minimum, if the disk has not suffers a catastrophic failure, you can usually retrieve all your data.

me19562
me19562

System restore will on ly apply if Windows is able to boot in Safe Mode. If Windows don't boot at all system restore can't be use.

daprez
daprez

last known good config. recovery console. !@*%. clean install.

DanLM
DanLM

I don't fight the battle. I was told by a tech support person that when you spend hours and hours trouble shooting when your not even sure you will correct the problem, that reformatting and reloading is much more cost affective. Less time spent, you know you have a clean system, and you can move on to the next problem much quicker. Myself... I have what I call an agravation factor. When it starts getting into the higher digits, and non booting of the system would definatly cause that. I justt refromat. Yes, I check my hardware... But if its a windows problem... I just start from scratch, because my agravation factor has been known to control the actions of my foot. Chuckle, thankfully... I have never carried through with my foot... Probably break a toe knowing my luck. Dan

boxfiddler
boxfiddler

if that doesn't work I mutter something similar and set about a clean install. grrr... Fortunately, this isn't something I have to deal with on a large scale.

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