Windows XP Pro boots to black screen in all modes

By jsha021 ·
A few weeks ago I helped my mom with her work computer that was infested with spyware, malware and pretty much every nasty thing you can think of. A few weeks later she was complaining about the same things happening again so I took another look. I saw that all the programs I had installed to help get rid of the nasty things had been uninstalled. The first thing I did was run a system restore to get the programs back.

I found out that her work IT guy, stupidly, had uninstalled everything because he thought it was making things worse. He had installed a new printer on the system though that my mom really needed to use that I didn't know about so I tried to reverse the system restore to get it back and go from there.

Anyways, after the attempted restore the computer doesnt even boot to the windows screen, just a black screen. I've tried safe mode, recovery console, last working settings, pretty much everything and it still just hangs on the black screen. She doesn't have any Windows XP install disks, so is this computer completely dead?


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Check the

by NexS In reply to Windows XP Pro boots to b ...

BIOS for HDD types and such. Play around with it a little - Just remember how it WAS before fiddling.

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CAUTION Work Computer

by TheChas In reply to Windows XP Pro boots to b ...

More a word of caution than an answer. Be very careful when working on any "work computer"! Unless you know and follow the company policy on software installations and settings, you could end up getting your mother or a friend fired for not following company policy.

Another thing to keep in mind is that many programs that are free-ware for home use require license fees when installed on a business computer. Sometimes even a home computer if it is used for a home business. Installing software on a business computer without paying close attention to the EULA can get both the company and you in trouble.

Off the soapbox.

The troubling part is that you cannot get into safe mode. Or, apparently command prompt.

Odds are you lost a key Windows file when jumping between configuration and restore points.

As this is her work computer, the best thing to do is swallow your pride and have the IT guy restore the system.

If possible, approach the IT guy in a non threatening or accusatory manor and recommend that he scan the network for mal-ware. If the network itself is clean and secure, then one or more users are allowing mal-ware in that is corrupting users systems.

Every business that uses computers that are allowed to access the Internet needs to have mandatory security settings on computers and licensed anti-virus and firewall software.

In addition, it is prudent to have a hardware firewall between the network and the Internet.


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To interject for a moment, Chas

by NexS In reply to CAUTION Work Computer

<I>"you could end up getting your mother or a friend fired for not following company policy"</i>

Not so much to this extreme. The IT team is always considered the scum of the world because it's their fault when something goes wrong. In that same breath, they will be expected to solve the problem, and it will be expected to take no less than 5 minutes -- while they wait and watch over your shoulder.

Now this isn't really a complaint about how we, as IT Folk, are treated, more of example of how it doesn't matter how screwed up a computer is, the company workers will always get precedence over IT Folk.

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Don't Worry Nobody Will Get Fired

by jsha021 In reply to To interject for a moment ...

Just to give a little more background on the situation. My mom came to me after repeatedly reporting the errors and problems to her IT person, but he was unable to fix anything, even telling her once after trying to fix it, "It will probably still have problems." I understand if something is beyond repair, but I was able to make the computer usable again in a few hours by reading some pc security forums.

Anyways, I have tried to play around with the BIOS but have had no luck, I really think Windows is corrupted and without the install disk there is really nothing more I can do.

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The IT guys

by NexS In reply to Don't Worry Nobody Will G ...

At your mum's work should have install CDs. They can do it.

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Company Policies

by TheChas In reply to To interject for a moment ...

Where I work, there is a very strict policy that covers how you may use your company provided computer, and specifically forbids installing software that is not "approved" by the company.

Installing unauthorized software can result in HR action up to and including dismissal.

This is not specifically an IT policy but a company management directive. The goal of the policy is to protect the network and the company, along with protecting the companies intellectual property.

Even for a hardware device driver, the terms of the EULA must be acceptable to the company before the hardware can be used.

I heard a story from another division of the company. They said that the way they handle the need for new software is to convince themselves that they do not need the new tool rather than go through the approval process.

While the policy (and other policies) may seem a bit draconian, the company is a major target on multiple fronts. The policies help to limit the companies exposure to both mal-ware and legal actions.


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Oh, dear

by NexS In reply to Company Policies

You live in a very different world to the rest of us, then.
I give congratulations to you. That, and envy.

What I'm (and probably most other IT folk) used to is: "It's broken. Fix it by lunchtime."

Moreso in my last IT job than this one. Teachers are terrible Users.

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Well actually

by OH Smeg Moderator In reply to Oh, dear

What The Chas has described is fairly common particularly with Government Departments.

But if you think that Teachers are Bad you should try working with Doctors in the Specialist Fields. They are the Resident Experts and their word is not only LAW but has to be followed all of the time preferably before they speak so that they do not get upset.

I've lost count of the number of times that lesser people would have been terminated for what the Specialists have done to their computers only to watch the HR People bow down and apologies that whatever was wrongly installed by that Specialist didn't work or took the entire thing down. I remember one guy who just had to have Ghost on his system and he then cloned a Blank Unused HDD to the NB's HDD.

It was my fault for installing Ghost no matter that it was part of what he demanded he have. :^0

HR was very specific and demanded that I fix it now so that the guy could go away to a lecture in 20 minutes. They also demanded that i recover all of the lost data reload the system and get it back before he started needing to think about the lecture that he had to give to the residents. Needless to say it didn't happen.


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What you've described

by NexS In reply to Well actually

Other than proving my point that it doesn't matter who or what, the IT guys are at fault and should have it fixed yesterday, is incredibly funny -- as sad as the situation was.

It's much, much easier to laugh at the demanding and accusing nature of users (particularly your doctor, grand specimen, that!), and how the fault can never be their own.

A thought: In your situation above, would the doctor have adhered to processes put in place to prevent that kind of problem? Or would he simply have said "Just do it."?

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Actually I Terrify the HR People

by OH Smeg Moderator In reply to What you've described

When one of the Doctors asks me how to do something my standard response is RTFM

After all they wouldn't dream of attempting to use some new surgical device without reading the manual so why should they think that they can use something far more complicated?

The HR people faint when the Quacks ask me things and the quacks have figured out never to allow the HR types around when they want something. Most just come and ask or ring me and ask how they do something now apparently they don't like the fawning that HR gives them all that much when they have a real problem.

I have one guy who asked me how I became so smart as I know it all, in his words so he not only rings me with the smallest problem he gets his entire family to ring me when they have a problem. Like one day last week he was out of the country and his wife rang with a request could I come down and fix the Foxtel for her. Apparently they had a Power Spike and the VCR which had the Foxtel feed through it had turned itself off.

Easy fix and his 3 children all of who are surgeons continue to call me for everything. Bit of a double edged sword that I should say but at least it's never dull. :^0


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