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Windows XP won't boot - need some guidance

Discussion in 'Computers' started by Jon_Are, Dec 28, 2005.

  1. Jon_Are

    Jon_Are Well-Known Member

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    Hi all,

    I was on the internet this morning when my AVG anti-virus program told me I had a virus. I selected 'delete file', then the same window popped up again. This sequence repeated for several more cycles until I eventually got fed up and just shut the computer off (using the power button, not the proper way).

    Well, now I can't get it to boot up. Everything appears normal until the blue screen with the XP logo, at which point it freezes.

    I've tried doing the F5 tap-tap-tap and re-booting in various modes: safe, return to last set-up that worked, debug...all of these freeze at that same point.

    I've also tried booting from a disk - both a Windows98 full install and an XP Upgrade disk - with the same result.

    This is my secondary PC and there's nothing file-wise that I need to rescue, so I wouldn't mind re-formatting if that's what it takes, but I can't even figure out how do do that.

    Any suggestions?

    Happy Holidays,

    Jon
     
  2. SethH

    SethH Well-Known Member

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    To reformat, you should use the DOS program fdisk. Boot to it from a floppy and you should be able to format. Do a google search for fdisk and you should be able to download it to a floppy to use.

    I don't have any troubleshooting suggestions right now, but I'll think about it a little.
     
  3. Vivek_IVB

    Vivek_IVB Well-Known Member

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    Something sounds off - you can't even boot from the official Win98 boot CD?

    Are you sure you're actually booting from the CD? Try unplugging the HD.
     
  4. Paul Padilla

    Paul Padilla Well-Known Member

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    You may need to go into your BIOS to change the boot order. (Usually hitting either the delete key or the F2 key while the initial POST is taking place when you first turn on the computer.) If it looks exactly the same trying to boot from a 98 and and XP cd then it's definitely booting from the hard drive. If it's truly booting from the XP CD you'll see a blue DOS looking setup screen with no logo (called text mode) rather than the normal XP boot up screen. A DOS boot disk won't be necessary at that point.

    Usually when you can't boot to last known good or safe mode either A) Windows itself is corrupted...or B) you have a hardware failure.
     
  5. Jon_Are

    Jon_Are Well-Known Member

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    This had no effect.

    It's definitely not booting from the CD because the CD is 98 and the boot sequence shows XP. So, I'm thinking that I need to change the BIOS to boot from the CD.

    But how??



    Here's what the boot-up sequence looks like:

    1 - A brief look at a blue Hewlett Packard screen
    2 - Black
    3 - A large XP logo on a black background, with a "working" bar scrolling
    4 - Black
    5 - A two-tone blue background (dark stripes on top and bottom) with a small XP logo and a cursor arrow (which works). This is where everything freezes, no matter the mode.


    Thanks,

    Jon
     
  6. SethH

    SethH Well-Known Member

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    Try pressing F10 during boot. If that doesn't work try it again pressing Delete during boot. If neither of these work you may need to contact HP (or look at their support page) to find out what to press to enter the BIOS.
     
  7. Paul Padilla

    Paul Padilla Well-Known Member

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    I've seen some machines refuse to go into the BIOS unless they're started from being completely powered off.

    You should be hitting keys during the HP screen. Try all of the F keys...it could be F10, but if delete didn't do it then it has to be one of them. Hitting escape during the HP screen might display the actual POST screen which could give you more info.
     
  8. DougR

    DougR Well-Known Member

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  9. StevenFC

    StevenFC Well-Known Member

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    I could walk you through some xp recovery steps, but, they may or may not work, are rather painful, may not remove the virus and I'm a little foggy on--so I won't.

    Do what Paul said and change your boot order to boot from cd first.

    Then reboot with your 98 disc in the cdrom drive. Select the cdrom option, and then the start computer with cdrom support option. Type fdisk at the command prompt (use your 98 startup floppy if fdisk doesn't load). Select yes to enable large hard drive. You're probably using the NTFS file system, so you'll want to delete that partition (non-dos). It's probably option 5. At any rate start at the bottom and work your way up. Deleting the non-dos, then logical, then extended, all the way up to your primary partition.

    After deleting all your partitions you'll need to create a new one. Just use the option to create a primary partition and make it active. It's up to you if you want to save space for other partitions. You create them in the opposite order that you deleted them. Now that you've created your partitions, exit fdisk and reboot. Choose the cdrom support option again.

    Change to your cdrom drive by typing "d:" without the quotes. Then change to the win98 folder of your 98 disc by typing "cd win98". Once you've verified that you're in your win98 directory, type "format c:" to format your newly created partition. Do the same for any other partition you may have created using their drive letter.

    Once you have done formatting, you'll get the option to give your partition a name.

    After that just type "setup" and 98 should begin loading. Or you can reboot and use the setup windows 98 option. Either one. Some people feel a need to reboot after formatting.

    And watch out for the message to remove your disk at the create startup disk screen. It's not talking about your 98 cdrom disc.

    I'll leave the xp upgrade part to you.

    Don't forget to change back your boot order after you're done.


    Addendum:

    It's possible that you may need to clear the cmos if you can't get into the cmos setup screens (although you should be able to). Either remove the cmos battery for a time or short the cmos jumpers on your motherboard.
     
  10. Paul Padilla

    Paul Padilla Well-Known Member

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    I'd skip the 98 install unless maybe it's a customized HP install with some particular application Jon uses. Going through two installs is not necessary even though (I gather) the machine was upgraded. Booting from the XP cd will walk him through all of the steps of deleting and recreating the partition as part of the setup. I've found that Fdisk is a little confusing for a novice (Apologies if I've assumed too much Jon [​IMG] )

    There will come a point when XP setup will ask you for a qualifying previous product. Insert your 98 disk at that point and let it take a gander. Re-insert the XP cd after setup continues. It's likely Jon will have to fool with fewer driver issues that way.
     
  11. StevenFC

    StevenFC Well-Known Member

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    I agree Paul, but I'm a "better safe than sorry" kind of guy. I just don't feel comfortable using XP to handle partitions--especially when there's a virus involved. Plus I also think it's important to be familiar with command line. Those are the two main reasons why I wouldn't recommend what should be the "easy" way. But, yeah, for the faint of heart I guess the XP upgrade would be the way to go.

    Maybe I'm just paranoid. [​IMG]
     
  12. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Well-Known Member

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    My brother-in-law had a similar problem with his PC. He got some kind of "update" message that he didn't read thoroughly, just said "OK" to, and after that his PC would crap out with a security error on every reboot. Booting to AVG rescue disk (created new on a good computer with the latest files) did nothing. Windows XP CD - nothing. Recovery console failed, reinstall failed. Reboot into any version of safe mode? Failed.

    With a virus this persistent I decided not to take any chances. Really nasty bugs can hide in the master boot record (which is not overwritten by a reformat unless you use the /MBR switch with FDISK first) or even in the CMOS. I figured there was not point in scewing around.

    So I went to Circuit City and bought a cheap HDD ($39.99 for a Western Digital 100 GB after rebates) and swapped it out with the bad one. Then I reinstalled Windows and Office from scratch and finally connected it to his network (with the other PC turned off) and loaded and ran AVG, and three different anti-spyware programs. When I get some time I'll pop the bad drive into an external drive enclosure and try virus scanning it from a computer that doesn't boot off it to find out what we have been dealing with.

    In his peer-to-peer network the data files reside on the other computer, so I didn't have to worry about trying to preserve any of his files.

    If you can get a good deal on a hard drive, you might want to consider doing the same rather than taking a chance using the existing one, especially if you have no data that needs to be recovered.

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  13. StevenFC

    StevenFC Well-Known Member

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    Good point Joe. But messing with the MBR is the second to last thing I would do--right behind smashing the hard drive with a hammer. It may make your hard drive a paperweight. I'd trying re-formatting, running a floppy based anti-virus, replacing the boot files, or anything before I would be brave enough to try it. Besides, 99% of viruses are eliminated with a format.

    Of course, I don't recommend Jon upgrades over 98 either. I've hosed enough systems to develop a little bit of paranoia about taking chances. So maybe I'm not the guy to be giving advice about fixing a pc. I tend to err on the side of caution.

    Of course that's why I like to keep spare parts around just so that I can break them by trying such things. It allows me to scratch that itch that I'm too scared to scratch on my main machine. I actually can't believe I still have a functioning hard drive in my spare pc. [​IMG]
     
  14. Harold Wazzu

    Harold Wazzu Well-Known Member

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    Are you sure there isn't a jumper on the motherboard that has to be switched in order to get into the BIOS??? Some Intel motherboards are like that.
     
  15. SethH

    SethH Well-Known Member

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    That's possible, but all the jumpers I've ever seen are use to reset the BIOS. I would definitely try other options before that.
     
  16. Paul Padilla

    Paul Padilla Well-Known Member

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    To each his own. [​IMG]

    I'm not sure where the trepidation comes from, though. XP's setup performs the same functions as Fdisk during text mode.

    And possible virus not withstanding, deleting and recreating the partition overwrites the MBR anyway regardless if it's done from Fdisk or XP's setup.
     
  17. StevenFC

    StevenFC Well-Known Member

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    I just don't like using Windows to create partitions--what can I say?? And there ain't no way I'm using it if the OS is infected. I'm heading for fdisk or preferably a more robust third party tool. Again...paranoia.


    Hmm...are you absolutely sure about that?



    How 'bout it Jon? Any luck yet?
     
  18. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Well-Known Member

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    Recovering the Master Boot Record (MBR) and Boot Sector on Windows 9x Platforms:

    1.Restart using the Windows 95/98 Startup disk.

    2.Type in the following commands, pressing the ENTER key after each command:

    oFdisk /mbr

    oSys C:

    3.Restart your computer.

    Recovering the MBR and Boot Sector on Windows NT platforms:

    1.Restart your computer using the Windows 2000/XP CD, not the Windows NT CD (the Windows NT CD cannot perform a repair installation).

    2.At the Welcome to Setup screen, press R to repair, and then press C (for Windows 2000 CD only) to start the Windows Recovery Console.

    3.Select the appropriate number for the Windows installation that will be repaired. Usually, this is 1.

    4.Type in the administrator password. If the administrator password does not exist, just press the
    ENTER key.

    5.At the command prompt, type in the following commands then press ENTER after each entry:

    oFIXMBR device name

    Device name specifies the optional device that needs a new MBR. Usually, FIXMBR alone without the parameter is enough.

    oFIXBOOT drive name

    Drive name specifies the drive wherein the boot sector will be written. Usually, FIXBOOT alone without the parameter is enough.

    6.

    7.Type EXIT to restart your computer.
    Windows NT (without the Windows 2000 or the XP CD but with ERD)

    Recovering the MBR and Boot Sector on Windows NT platforms:

    Important: The Emergency Repair Disk (ERD) can be obtained during the Windows NT/2000 installation or through the use of the utility rdisk.exe. If you do not have a Windows 2000 or Windows XP CD or an ERD, refer to Solution 12669.

    However, this solution will not work if the partition table has been damaged.

    1.Restart using the Windows NT Setup CD.

    2.During Setup, select the Recovery or Repair option.

    3.Select the Inspect the boot sector option and clear the other options.

    4.Place the ERD in the disk drive.

    5.Restart the computer.
     
  19. Paul Padilla

    Paul Padilla Well-Known Member

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    The master boot record has to refer to the partition table to be able to access the active partition from which to boot. When partitions are altered the MBR is updated, even if the partitions are recreated in the identical configuration.
     
  20. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Well-Known Member

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    Then why does FDISK have an /MBR switch? That the MBR is updated with new partition information does not mean it is erased and created from scratch, anymore than deleting a file means that the file is physically removed from a disk drive. FDISK has the /MBR switch precisely to ensure that the MBR is first wiped and then recreated from scratch, rather than being "emptied" and updated.
     

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