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WinXP startup failure

By alun.pincombe ·
I have a WinXP system. with 2 accounts both passworded.

The PC boots to a blank desktop.
In safe mode the desktop still blank with safe mode flags in corners.
Tried resore to last good configuration still as above.

I need to recover the files from the user accounts.

I am considering booting from a second good harddrive. How then do I get into a passworded user account on the original harddrive?

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by Blackcurrant In reply to WinXP startup failure


You can see your desktop wallpaper but no icons? If so, try this:

Press Ctrl+Alt+Del select Task Manager. Click File>Run and type Explorer.exe. Your icons should now be visible.

If this does not work then maybe you have Active Desktop enabled - one of its options is to hide all icons. Right-click the desktop and select Properties, click the Desktop tab, click the Customise Desktop button and then click the Web tab.

After doing this you should run a thorough check on your system.

Good luck

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by RCOM In reply to WinXP startup failure

Use Ctrl, ALT, DEL and bring up task manager. Select application tab and then New Task. You can run commands from there. Run msconfig and uncheck everything that's not needed this can be undone later. Don't reboot yet.
This is caused by a virus that has changed the shell= statement.
Run regedit and backup the registry.
If regedit won't open run cmd which is the command prompt and rename regedit.exe to then run that instead. You can rename it back later.

Then navigate to the following key.


In the right-hand pane should be an entry Shell the value should be Explorer.exe

You'll still need to get rid of the virus.

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by alun.pincombe In reply to WinXP startup failure

Tryed Ctrl Alt del.
Nothing happened.
Multiple tries not causeing machine to shut down.

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by alun.pincombe In reply to WinXP startup failure

No desktop wallpaper or icons.
Just bare safemode screen.

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by LiamE In reply to WinXP startup failure

If even booting to safe mode is not letting you get at the run command via ctrl+alt+del it sounds to me like its time for a repair install.

If that fails to resolve it, you may have to consider a clean install.

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by DouglasB In reply to WinXP startup failure

Try this to recover your files:
How to take ownership of a folder
Note You must be logged on to the computer with an account that has administrative credentials. If you are running Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition, you must start the computer in safe mode, and then log on with an account that has Administrative rights to have access to the Security tab.

If you are using Windows XP Professional, you must disable Simple File Sharing. By default, Windows XP Professional uses Simple File sharing when it is not joined to a domain.

For additional information about how to do this, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

307874 How to disable simplified sharing and set permissions on a shared folder in Windows XP
To take ownership of a folder, follow these steps: 1. Right-click the folder that you want to take ownership of, and then click Properties.
2. Click the Security tab, and then click OK on the Security message (if one appears).
3. Click Advanced, and then click the Owner tab.
4. In the Name list, click your user name, or click Administrator if you are logged in as Administrator, or click the Administrators group. If you want to take ownership of the contents of that folder, select the Replace owner on subcontainers and objects check box.
5. Click OK, and then click Yes when you receive the following message:
You do not have permission to read the contents of directory folder name. Do you want to replace the directory permissions with permissions granting you Full Control?

All permissions will be replaced if you press Yes.
Note folder name is the name of the folder that you want to take ownership of.
6. Click OK, and then reapply the permissions and security settings that you want for the folder and its contents.
Good luck!

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by Poettone In reply to WinXP startup failure

Also to answer you question, if you are only concerned with gaining access to the user files then load your other windows drive then take replace the owner on the documents and settings directory on the troubled disk and copy to your new windows drive for recovery..

Follow the steps outlined by Doug to get the ownership changed when ready..

Good Luck

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