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Need help getting Windows XP to boot...

by ebeamsales / October 21, 2008 12:51 AM PDT

OK... I have Windows XP Home w/SP3. It is loaded on a 6 year old P4 desktop with 1GB RAM.

Everything was great Sunday evening when I was doing some simple browsing on the Internet and editing some MS Word documents. When I was finished, I turned off my monitor and let the computer go into sleep/standby mode as I let it run constantly. I have been doing this for years.

Monday morning I come back to the computer and there is a black screen; it refuses to wake up from sleep/standby. So I reboot. After the POST, I see the Windows splash screen briefly with the blue bar at the bottom. Shortly after I get a mouse pointer and an error message box "lsass.exe - Bad Image The application or dll C:\WINDOWS\system32\DNSAPI.dll is not a valid windows image. Please check this against your installation diskette."

Black screen. Movable mouse pointer. Nothing else.

Cannot boot to safe mode. Cannot restore to last bootable restore point.

I am running AVG free for my Antivirus with the latest updates.

I have seen other people with similar issues who have been able to get access to the Recovery Console to do a Windows repair or to at least get to a command prompt. Here's my catch, there is NO option on my recovery CD to do a Windows repair. I downloaded Bart PE a while back and made a bootable CD so that I could at least get to a command prompt and Windows Explorer for moving files around. I followed some advice and copied over the System, Sam, Software, Security, and Default files from the c:\windows\recovery directory but, of course, this didn't fix it.

What is incredible to me is how everything was working JUST FINE Sunday night and someway, somehow, my computer seems to have screwed itself in the middle of the night by itself without any intervention from me.

I see why some people give up Windows and go to Mac. Some of us don't have time for this.

So here I sit with a black screen and no access to my OS. Does anyone have any suggestions? I am convinced there is a way to fix this without reinstalling my OS.

I tried searching the Cnet forums already and I haven't stumbled on anyone with the same issue.

By the way, I have a laptop that I am typing this on so I do have alternate Internet access (thank God).


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Two items that stop repair.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / October 21, 2008 1:00 AM PDT

1. Cannot boot to safe mode.
2. No repair option given on your XP CD.

You didn't tell us much about your PC such as make and model but most HP, Sony and such machines NEVER have a repair feature. This is a choice the makers made since OS repair is time consuming and given you can't condense the instructions to a volume smaller than War and Peace it's best to just forget about it and have the owner reinstall the OS.

So at this point I would remove the hard disk, put in a new drive, install the OS then add the old drive as a slave so you can get to your files.

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The computer is a VPR Matrix...
by ebeamsales / October 21, 2008 1:09 AM PDT

A former Best Buy product line.

So there is nothing else I can do? What about with regard to replacing possible corrupt files? I already tried the most common files e.g. system, sam, software, security but are there others I could try?

I essentially followed procedures to manually select a restore point from a couple days ago, but why wouldn't this work?

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So tell us how...
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / October 21, 2008 1:31 AM PDT

How will you use system restore since no safe mode or other modes work?

This is a bad sign of deep OS damage and why I move right to the hard disk solution since 99.99% of the time the owners must save files.

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Here is my theory...
by ebeamsales / October 21, 2008 1:40 AM PDT
In reply to: So tell us how...

I tried the procedure here:

While I cannot get in to safe mode, I can use Bart PE which I have on a bootable CD that lets me get to a command prompt. The procedure at the link above explains how to copy files from the restore points. If I copy the correct files, say, from a week ago or before this thing happened, shouldn't that wipe out whatever has happened to the registry? What couldn't be corrected with a good restore point?

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You proved that would not work.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / October 21, 2008 1:51 AM PDT
In reply to: Here is my theory...

I have yet to see that fix a deeply damaged OS like you describe. Let me be clear I have resurrected many a XP over the years but always used the Retail XP SP2 or such CD with repair installs and occasionally a trip to a PARALLEL INSTALL in which I can edit the other registry. But as noted those repair jobs were for pay where they racked up 10 to 40 hours of a repair bill. The problem I see is that you do not have the right XP to do such a repair so it's like we have a boat with no gas and want to get going...

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Any Idea how this might have happened?
by ebeamsales / October 21, 2008 2:17 AM PDT

I am just beside myself because, again, my system was running just fine the night before. So that means the system literally did something to itself, unprompted in the middle of the night to the point where it screwed the registry/boot sector/whatever.

How does something like this happen? Could a virus be to blame?

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Causes are far too long to list.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / October 21, 2008 2:26 AM PDT

Sorry but your guess is as good as mine as to what cause this machine to stop working. This is why we skip to a solution that is CHEAP compared to shop rates. The new hard disk and the OS install is only a few days (depends on the owner?) to a hour. Then all the files are usually fine on the hard disk.

The reason we do that is many still don't backup.

In fact, with free disk clone software available today why can't we keep a copy of our working system around?

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Progress Prevention
by ebeamsales / October 21, 2008 2:49 AM PDT


Honest to God, I was strongly considering cloning my OS drive to a spare drive for just such a scenario. It seems it would be even easier and less time consuming then to use backup software.

But, alas, the spector of "progress prevention" has beat me to it.

I developed a theorem many years ago which states that "for every hour of 'progress' on a computer, there are two hours of progress prevention." So if you spend one hour on a computer actually getting meaningful work accomplished (progress), it means that there is some poor sap somewhere else in the world who has spent two hours of his time trying to get something to work. Balance must be maintained.

Some people call it two steps forward, ten steps backward.

Thanks for your help and insight.

Rob S.

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Just picked up a spare drive today.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / October 21, 2008 3:15 AM PDT
In reply to: Progress Prevention has a one day special on 500GB SATA drives for 39.99 bucks each. Limit 2. I bought 2...

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by ebeamsales / October 21, 2008 4:13 AM PDT


Super deal on those hard drives. Looks like I missed out as they're sold out.

WOW! I fixed the issue with Windows not booting. Since the error message specifically mentioned the DNSAPI.dll file, as a last resort and not expecting it to do anything, I did a search for another file with the same name in another directory. Somehow, the DNSAPI.dll in the c:\windows\system32 folder must have gotten corrupted or something. So I replaced it with another copy. Windows boots normally, no issues, although I believe I am using the startup files from a restore point from a week ago.

I still don't know what caused this problem but you can be sure I am running a virus scan and spyway/malware right away. I also want to image the drive to another and do my backups that way. Do you recommend any specific image cloning tools? Preferably free? Thanks.

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What I use.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / October 21, 2008 4:17 AM PDT
In reply to: I FIXED IT!!!

I use G4U (see google) For me it's all too simple to use as I type in all of 3 words of which one is COPYDISK.

Others may need a mouse driven interface such as which notes a BART PE boot method.

But when someone asks me, I give them what I use.

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