Boot problems

By eric ·
I've had this problem with several computers that I've repaired and I've always had to reinstall XP without being able to save any of the data on the HD that I know is good.

The computers, Dell's, HP's and some no-name computers boot up fine until xp needs to load. Then the 'safe mode' screen comes on and no matter which option i choose, nothing happens. Usually I try several times until it either works or just get's worse. I've tried loading Spotmau and fixing the mbr, doing a chkdsk, recovering the HAL etc. and nothing ever works.

I guess my question is why does it do this and what is the best fix without a full reinstall (virus notwithstanding)


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Have you tried

by ComputerCookie In reply to Boot problems

an inplace reinstall?

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RE: Boot problems

by Jacky Howe In reply to Boot problems

Windows XP may default to Safe Mode at every startup. Even if you select the option Start

Windows Normally, it still boots into Safe Mode. You cannot get out of Safe mode.

This happens if the /safeboot switch is added in the Boot.ini file. /Safeboot parameter

forces a start in safe mode by using the specified parameters. The available parameters





Click Start, Run and type MSCONFIG

Select the Boot.ini tab

In the Boot Options section at the bottom, uncheck /SAFEBOOT option

Click OK

Restart Windows

The /safeboot entry will now be removed from the Boot.ini file.

Alternately, you can also edit the Boot.ini file manually and then remove the /safeboot


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Several issues here....

by tintoman In reply to Boot problems

It is completely possible to fix a mchine with the symptoms you describe.
I have no wish to offend you or belittle your attempts in an way, but you are describing yourself as a support technician and it seems that you might benefit from some additional training.
Having said that this problem is caused by a system protection feature within windows, which by default will cause the system to reboot itself during in the event of an error during start up.
You are right about one thing though...fixboot and fixmbr never work properly in this scenario.
If you press the F8 key during the start up process the boot options will contain one to "disable reboot on error"
Be VERY CAREFUL if you choose this option, I have been lucky so far when doing this and all that happened was that scandisk was invoked and the boot errors were fixed automaically, but it is equally possible that further damage could occur.
If you want to have a realistic chance to fix these matters and save your customer's data you are going to need a decent emegency boot disk and backup imaging software.
Personally I use Norton Ghost for this because it serves me well enough.
That way at least you will have a copy of the data in theory.
Then you could try a repair of the windows installation by booting from the windows installation CD. follow the prompts all the way through to accepting the licensing agreement, then you will see a screen detailing previuosly installed versions of windows, then if you press "R" on the keyboard the repair process begins.
If this is successful you will find that all the windows installed updates and fixes will be gone and you will have to download and reinstall them all.
I hope this was a help to you come back if you need any more help but beleive me this is routine stuff for a Techie and I'm sure you will be fine when you get to grips with it

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