Windows Legacy OS forum


Help someone!? Can't boot Windows XP, even in safe mode.

by wordiana / November 14, 2012 6:37 PM PST

Hey, I really hope someone could advise me, am hoping to find someone out there who loves solving computer problems!

I am running XP on my PC, a Dell Dimension E520 (old machine i know but hey, I'm a student!). Recently installed an update to firefox and one to AVG (aaah shouldn't have left AVG on there!). When I next turned it on I couldn't boot windows, even in safe mode. I wanted to boot in safe mode with command prompt and go back to an earlier date.

I can get into the setup utility and there can see that the boot sequence is 1. Onboard or USB CD-ROM drive, 2. Onboard SATA hard drive (not present). I can also get any info needed from the setup i.e processor type etc, wasn't sure that it was relevant.

So I am drawing the conclusion that it is a virus or fault that has made my hard drive disappear. I do have a full system backup although I am kind of a novice so don't really know how to use this (I made it on like 10 CD-Rs and a USB stick!).

Could anyone advise me on what would be the cheapest way to get a working PC again, running windows? Am not really bothered about recovering my files although it is always nice. If I get another hard drive and put the full system backup on there (don't really even know how to install another hard drive but am thinking the internet can tell me), would that work? Or should I take the existing hard drive to a computer shop? Or any other tricks which I don't know about to get it working again?

Thanks in advance!

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All Answers

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This looks like a hard drive error.
by Kees_B Forum moderator / November 14, 2012 6:47 PM PST

But it could be a motherboard error also.

I'd start with booting from a (free) Ubuntu disk to see if it can find the hard disk. Most likely it can't so then you know that the first thing to try is another hard disk.

Since you didn't tell what program you used to make that 'full system backup' we don't know how to restore it. If it's only 10 CD's it's only 7 GB, which is practically nothing. So let's hope that 7 GB is what you need to get it running with all your other data on that USB stick. Or maybe everything on that stick.
But just as well it's possible your backup is useless to get back a working system.


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I would generally agree
by Jimmy Greystone / November 14, 2012 10:38 PM PST

I would generally agree with Kees, but if you have XP install media, I'd at least attempt reinstalling the OS first. It will probably fail, but you might get lucky and all you have is a severely corrupted OS. If it fails, which it's likely to do, then you are most likely looking at a bad HDD. So you'll need to replace that before you can go any further.

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See this link. READ IT!
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 14, 2012 10:57 PM PST
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