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Windows XP logs on then logs back off

By Michael1987 ·
Hi has anyone have this problem happen? you log onto windows xp 1/2 secs later it comes back to the welcome screen? what is a fix to this problem? i just disabled the welcome screen hoping this will fix the problem. I know the system done this 4 times before after the forth time every log in when you click an icon it would only give you the properties for the icon. is there a fix to this problem or did a windows update make this problem?

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The Fix

by rbardy In reply to Windows XP logs on then l ...

It's probem in the registry.

You need to download a live linux cd specifically made for editing the windows registry because you can't get into your PC any other way, I had the same problem and fixed it by bypassing Userinit.exe, by replacing it with Explorer.exe
but microsoft says the correct way is to do the following

HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon

Edit these values and type the correct path of shell:
Shell = explorer.exe

which is probably what will set it up to now that I can actually get into windows...

But just to get in, again I replaced userinit.exe with explorer.exe

I chose the bootable CD link at the bottom of that page.
Go there and download the zip, unzip the file to drive and burn a new cd with the ISO.
If you're not familiar with that do a Google for Burn4free or cdBurnerXP. Both free cd burners. Both burn ISO, zip is a winzip file.

Once burned you'll have a bootable linux live cd, power up the pc or laptop, you'll need to set it up to boot from CDrom in BIOS before HD.
or with some laptops you can power the notebook on and put in the cd, quickly hit ctrl alt delete then hold down C and it will try to boot from cd-rom. otherwise hit Esc before it boots, then F1 to go into BIOS and change the booting order.

Then the steps are something like this:

(When it boots, don't take too long to type in nt_pass at the boot: prompt or it will continue to boot to a Latvian version of the Linux GUI, which does not appear to have a GUI version of a windows registry editor.)

"nt_pass" apparently runs a linux script that eventually runs chntpw (change nt passord?) that appears to be a version of the same program created by pnordahl.

If by now you are lost don't worry, just let the CD load, it'll take a while then stop. hit enter a few times and eventually you will get to the next point. some of this is from memory, sorry.

The script will stop and ask you to hit enter to continue to load SCSI drivers, it then asked me if I wanted it to probe for SCSI drivers: [n], I took the default [n]o and hit enter.
Next, it asked what partition contains your NT installation, I took the default again, in this case [/dev/hda1] and hit enter.
Then it asked: what is the full path to the registry directory, again select the default [windows\system32\config].
Next came the question, which hives (files) do you want to edit (leave default for password setting, separate multiple names with spaces), the default was [sam system security], I chose to type software and hit enter.

I then chose option 9 - registry editor.

A ? will get you a list of commands that are available, I used ls which appears to be equivalent to a DOS dir command... cd to change directories... cat to print the value of a key... and ed to change the value of a key.

For instance (this is from memory, not notes... sorry) at the prompt [1020], type cd Microsoft and hit enter, (case sensitive!)
then cd Windows NT and hit enter, then cd CurrentVersion and hit enter, finally cd Winlogon and hit enter (case is important).

Maybe you could just type one cd Microsoft/Windows NT/CurrentVersion/Winlogon and hit enter... I don't know. But it seems to be the registry equivalent of
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon

At that point I typed cat Userinit and lo and behold, up came
C:\WINDOWS\System32\userinit.exe... At any rate I typed ed Userinit and at the prompt [C:\Windows\System32\userinit.exe] I typed C:\Windows\Explorer.exe and hit enter.

Then q to quit (you will be asked if there is something to save), q to keep quitting and y when it asks if you're sure you want to write the changes (careful, careful... good luck). The program then dumped me out to a # prompt and said I could rerun the script if I typed a space followed by sh /script/main.rc

I removed the cdrom from the drive and rebooted to Windows XP, no problems.

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IT works!

by pouigardens In reply to The Fix

I have been using this program for a while now to recover and edit lost passwords. I never used the other options until now.

Well done rbardy. your genius just saved me from a reinstall. I tell all that this is very effective if you system was affected by viruses or spyware and has a logon - logoff infinite loop problem.
It works. Period. (Saved by Linux.. Again)

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by jeff In reply to The Fix

those who discovered this fix, wrote the boot disk, and posted it here are GODS!!!

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Totally Works!!

by krozett In reply to The Fix

I had spend several hours trying a bunch of the other so-called solutions to this before I found this thread and it was easy and worked!! Thanks so much

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Life Saver!

by tgibbs94 In reply to The Fix

This worked beautifully! Thank you! Thank you! THANK YOU!

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Always something new to learn

by In reply to The Fix

I tell you, I've been doing this for a while (like the most of you and the some of you just starting out, this is good stuff!) I don't do a lot of registry editing manually, especially at prompt, but I tell you what, this was a great learning experience. I had just repaired a PC that had around 1,015 viruses (no lie--AV software picked it up as Win-Gen, something like that... Antivir and Malwarebytes are great antivirus-malware software/shameless plug) Anyways, this is nothing new, however, I figured that there would be problems after the removal, so afterwards, I popped the drive back into the system and sure enough, it was looping log in/log out. So I tried a few tricks (repair install/ chkdsk /r c:, etc. still, no avail). I didn't want to completely wipe the drive, and I had run into this problem before, I just never had the time and chance to look into repairing it (due to working in a shop and being on a time restraint). Well, I did exactly what was done here (with a few changes due to the revision of the ISO on the site provided--I downloaded the newest one and the nt_pass didn't work at the prompt so I just hit enter and it stayed in verbose mode = good stuff). Still did everything that I needed to do and was able to boot with no problems. I'm cleaning it up now with the rest of what I need to do, but this was definitely a new experience, and one I'll continue to use. Thanks :-)

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Ran into problems

by exterminateu2 In reply to The Fix

I get stuck at this part

A ? will get you a list of commands that are available, I used ls which appears to be equivalent to a DOS dir command... cd to change directories... cat to print the value of a key... and ed to change the value of a key.

For instance (this is from memory, not notes... sorry) at the prompt [1020],

When I type ls in I do not get a prompt for 1020 and stuck on this part need help quick

The problem I am having is I get the login screen and type the user name (I have no password) and hit login, next it is about a second later it logs back off and goes right back to the login screen again and does not let me pass this will this same post repair the problem that you were originally instructing. my OS is XP Professional thanks

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Can't boot CD

by ilovedctalk1 In reply to The Fix

I burned the CD on my desktop and put it in my Dell laptop and cannot get it to boot off of CD. I have changed the order to have it boot off of CD drive 1st and can't get it to boot. I need this laptop up and running...please help! I'm not dumb with computers but I'm also not going to claim to know it all. I think I can do this if I can just get the cd to boot. Please reply!

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The Fix Is In, rbardy!!!

by airmanchairman In reply to The Fix

Totally worked for me, and you have no idea how many solutions I tried and failed - rewriting userinit.exe as wsaupdate.exe, expanding USERINIT.EX_ from the i386 folder of my XP OS disk to C:\windows\system32, using BartPE and SaveMe recovery disks, safe mode (minimal), editing boot.ini at the command prompt etc - and all it took was to change the registry entry for the winlogon key from userinit.exe to explorer.exe!!!

Once logged in, mine was not to reason why - I simply restored my system to a date well before I started experiencing problems, updated all security software and browsers and then did a full scan.

I didn't need to use the NT Password and Registry Editor, but it's an awesome tool to have (a Linux tool that edits Windows settings, marvellous piece of software writing)and now sits pretty on a CD and thumbnail drive...

rbardy, you deserve to be appointed a freeman of Eagan, Minnesota, many thanks!!!

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by irondrake In reply to The Fix

It works perfect. 10X

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