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STOP: c000021a {Fatal System Error}

by maju2305 / December 8, 2005 1:31 PM PST

Have been trying to reinstall Windows XP on my laptop. This error comes up every time the Setup finishes copying the files it needs, and reboots. Once it reboots, it asks again whether to reboot from the CD (which I ignore), and then it comes up with the Windows logo page, then moves onto what looks like a continuation of the setup process, but then reverts to the blue error page:

STOP: c000021a {Fatal System Error} The Session Manager Initialization system process terminated unexpectedly with a status of 0xc000026c (0x00000000 0x00000000). The system has been shut down.

This is a fresh installation of XP Pro that I'm trying to do. I had previously had the Home edition on it, but the XP Home CD that came with the laptop (system restore use CD) must have been dodgy because it failed verification processes when I tried to use it for the reinstallation. The laptop had had a lot of problems before this, which is why I'm trying to reinstall... I have read many of the posts already regarding this but am still lost as to what to do about this error. Any help would be very much appreciated!

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Reply to STOP: c000021a {Fatal System Error}
by danthevan / December 8, 2005 5:30 PM PST

i take it by doing a fresh install you formatted the hard drive its just that this error usually occurs
when theres problems in your registry so wouldnt be that .

can you get into your bios settings at start up and see if hard drive is being recognised

also did all the files copy properly when first reinstalling

post back dan

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by maju2305 / December 8, 2005 10:55 PM PST
Happy Thanks for your reply; I did format the hard drive, deleted the existing drive and created a new partition etc... All the files did copy properly (that is, it went to 100% before rebooting) when first reinstalling. So when I go back into the setup screen it does acknowledge that there is a Win XP Pro set up in C: (and so I do get the option of repairing)

I'm not sure how to get into the bios settings though?
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Cold boot
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / December 9, 2005 12:06 AM PST
In reply to: Reply

Generally you will see options for entering BIOS when you cold boot a computer, eg, switch off, wait ten seconds, (To allow the hard disk to stop spinning), then switch on again.

You have to watch out for it though. On my Dell, the function keys to enter BIOS are displayed top right of the (black) screen very soon after the monitor starts to display, and disappears soon after that.


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by RaeAtkinson / December 9, 2005 12:13 AM PST
In reply to: Cold boot

on Some computers, such as mine, you can get into BIOS when you first boot up by pressing the delete button a few times. Try that and see if that does not help

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by danthevan / December 9, 2005 12:22 AM PST
In reply to: Reply

hi when your system firsts boots up you should see a screen which says press a button usually F2 or delete or escape to enter cmos setup usually near the bottom of the screen as soon as you see this press the button
should now see a new window with your settings on. be careful not to change any of the settings, look for " auto detect drives or harddrives " click on it, see if your bios is picking up the hard drive you should be able to see the name of your hard drive and info on it capacity etc
press escape to exit without saving any changes just in case

post back dan

also which file format did you use fat or ntfs ?
did you do a quick format or a full format ?

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by maju2305 / December 10, 2005 6:51 PM PST
In reply to: Reply

Thanks again for your reply. Haven't been able to see anything with auto detect drives or harddrives yet... Just the screen I described in the post below (named "Thanks")... Also, I used a ntfs format, and used the quick format when I did the formatting.

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by maju2305 / December 9, 2005 1:37 PM PST
In reply to: Reply

So far none of the keys did anything, except the ESC key, which brought up a Boot Menu list... I'm guessing this isn't it?

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This key...
by PKsteven / December 9, 2005 4:54 PM PST
In reply to: Hmm...

Did you try to tap the F12 key a bit repeatedly? By the replies, I beleive you are trying to get into cmos?

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by maju2305 / December 10, 2005 6:48 PM PST
In reply to: This key...

OK, tapping the F12 key on the laptop brought up a screen which displays the following (have no idea what to make of it):

PhoenixBIOS 4.0 Release 6.0
etc etc..

System Software Version P001<BIOS 00.03.05, KBC 3.02)
CPU=Intel Celeron 500MHz
636K System RAM Passed
127M Extended RAM Passed
128K Cache SRAM Passed
System BIOS shadowed
Video BIOS shadowed
Fixed Disk 0: IC25N020ATDA04-0
Mouse initialized
Event Log messages, enter Setup to view
0210: Stuck Key

Press <F1> to resume, <F2> to Setup

Is this totally irrelevant information?

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I think so...
by PKsteven / December 10, 2005 8:29 PM PST
In reply to: Thanks

The error you are getting is usually due to HOLDING DOWN a key, not tapping it once every second.This is the stuck key error. If you press F2 though ,it should bring you into CMOS.

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by maju2305 / December 11, 2005 9:11 AM PST
In reply to: I think so...

I thought so... Happy

When I've pressed F2 it's gotten me into some screen showing the PhoenixBIOS Setup Utility. Is this where I"m supposed to be? It has different tabs for all the different settings...

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by PKsteven / December 11, 2005 10:22 AM PST
In reply to: Hahaha...

This is where you are supposed to be. Is there a detect IDE, Hardrives or something similar to that? If so, you use your tab key to highlight it, press enter. Once in there, you should see 4 listed drives, commonly 2 hard drive orders on top of 2 disk drives. It should list the name or number of your hard drive as long as it doesn't say unknown. If it does, there should be something at the bottom, or around, that says press a certain key to auto detect drives. You do this and once it detects them , you hit esc button to exit that window, then you hit the F10 key and if it says (save to cmos and exit? Y\N? ) press the Y key and hit enter. The pc will reboot and cross your fingers lol. I have to be honest and say you may have a bad hard drive, but that should be the last option so try whatever you can first.
hope this helped, Paul

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by mrkhlp / December 10, 2005 8:31 AM PST
In reply to: Hmm...

If you are setting up XP Pro why are you formating and setting up partitions? It also sounds like you have multiple OS's on the drive since you said when you hit ESC you get a boot menu which if your setting up partitions is possible, unless you want multiple OS's. What kind of menu? XP Pro is simple to setup as long as you have the pc boot from the cd first. Put the CD in the drive let it boot to it and run setup, answer the questions it will do the formating and partition according to your answers. You want to do a new install.


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by PKsteven / December 10, 2005 12:35 PM PST
In reply to: Question

What OS are YOU using? Must be an OEM if you pop it in and it goes. Even then you have to make a couple of choices. No offense but I have installed Windows more times than I can count and it sounds to me as if he's doing it right. When you boot from CD it loads the neccesary files, gives you an option on WHAT you want to do, Intsall, repair, WHAT partition, WHAT size partition,What part to erase, What drive, etc...It is common to format in NTFS especially after there was a previous system. This usually insures you get a clean partition. It is also a must to format in NTFS when a different format was previoulsy on the drive. Unless you go with FAT32 which isn't a good idea unless under certain circumstances. Of course he wants to set up partitions, does everyone want to use the whole drive? No, otherwise it is just on the other side of impossible to add a partition. He should make the partition a bit larger for his OS, but not the whole drive if wanting to add a partition later, so he can easily add partitions if he wants to . He also did say he is doing a fresh install. While I am almost positive he is has a bad drive, he seems to be following fairly well.

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It sound like
by mrkhlp / December 11, 2005 8:15 AM PST
In reply to: ???

he was doing all this manually. Thats why I asked about the CD because as you say it asks all those questions. I misunderstood.


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by PKsteven / December 11, 2005 9:01 AM PST
In reply to: It sound like

He initially tried doing a fresh install of XPpro from a previous XPhome but it won't complete or finish enough to get his WinXP up and running. From what I can see, he has been told to go into CMOS which the ,del, key and others didn't work. I had told him to try F12 which for Dells and some HP laptops this key will get into CMOS. He got an error code, which was from holding the key down, not tapping it. He still has the option to press F2 to get into setup when he did this though. Personally I think he may have a faulty hard drive. Usually when an installation goes good, then suddenly crashes, from what I have seen, it's usually the hard drive has bad sectors and will cause errors. He thought he had a dodgy XPhome which may in fact been the hard drive all along. What's your take? This is the best I can figure for his problem.

take care, Paul

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by mrkhlp / December 13, 2005 9:40 AM PST
In reply to: Mark

I tend to agree with you. What kind of computer is this? I didn't recall seeing it mentioned anywhere. And usually when a drive dies you'll hear some head clacking not always though. But before I gave up the ship the cd was mentioned possibly being bad. BUT i would get my hands on an external usb cd drive or swap the drive in the laptop if it's possible to borrow one and run the setup from a different cd drive. I have seen where the cd drives just don't read right. Then if the installation goes ok he knows his CD drive sucks. If it still bombs I would agree with you that the drive is bye bye. But a least this will be a good test. Could just try cleaning the CD drive also.


Oh if it's a newer dell f2 for setup f12 brings up a menu.

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by maju2305 / December 13, 2005 9:25 PM PST
In reply to: Paul

Hmm... I think the comp does make some bad sounds when it runs... I'm already using an external CD drive, but I'll check out another one, thanks.

Thanks for all your help everyone!

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CD? no no no
by PKsteven / December 13, 2005 9:59 PM PST
In reply to: .

We were talking about a hard drive. That is your main drive that holds the OS and all your info. Or did you mean Hard drive? I don't want you to be confused on this, as it makes a night and day difference here. If your pc is making noise, please try to describe the best you can what noise it is making. Let me know.

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Yes! The hard drive...
by maju2305 / December 16, 2005 9:19 PM PST
In reply to: CD? no no no

... is what I was talking about too, though I've actually realised it's not really making any peculiar noises...

With all the trying out different keys to bring up the BIOS... Once I'm there, and having been unable to see any 'autodetect' or similar function for the hard drive... Is there anything I should be looking for in particular?

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similar problem
by IPFREELEY / December 21, 2005 7:48 AM PST

I seriously doubt the problem is the hdd itself or its detection. I'm having a similar problem, and it's driving me berserk. I've been building my own systems for 5+ years, and suddenly I'm an infant.

the problem occurs on clean install, reinstall, and attempted repair installations. all of the files copy onto the fresh partition with no problem. the system reboots. having left the cd in, I allow it to boot from the hdd with the files I've just copied on there. the initial windows xp logo comes up. during some attempts, the blue screen of death comes quickly. other times. more recently, it happens just as the screen transitions from the black xp page to the blue welcome/config screen. there error is usually the same: C000021a.

after a lot of googling and some fruitless ms knowledge basing, the problem is supposedly with a device driver incompatability. I've ruled out a system memory problem with memtest. I've even tried disabling the l1 & l2 caches (and of course bios shadowing and all the fancy stuff in bios that MS advises). no dice.

the system is a a Mach Speed K8M8MS microATA mb (via k3m800 north bridge, vt8237 south bridge chipset).

cpu: amd athlon 64 3700+ clawhammer. bios identifies it with no problems.

2 sticks of ddr400 memory

hdd is parallel ata100 (120g seagate). I've had similar problems with sata drives so I tried this. anyway, sata has been disabled in bios. this is only hdd. didn't help.

one dvd optical drive on a separate channel.

one fdd.

unplugged all front cass usb/audio connections. onboard audio & video. so only the devices on the back panel of the mb are active.

aspire x-qpack microATX case.

the only hardware that isn't brand new on the entire system (including cables) are the dvd drive and floppy drive. concerning the dvd-rom, I've swapped that out with a few others (used - spare), and the result is the same.

oh yeah, I also have two brand new xp pro discs/serials that I'm trying to use (never actually make it to the 'cd key' step though). one is OEM the other is Full Retail.

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sim problem II
by kloppy / January 15, 2006 10:07 AM PST
In reply to: similar problem

I have the exact same mainboard and cpu and just my luck the same problem. Any luck fixing your problem? I am ready to pull my hair out.

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my suggesestion try a Knoppix live cd
by rwp_17 / January 15, 2006 3:11 PM PST
In reply to: sim problem II

it is a cd you burn just pop it into the cd drive and run
no installation neccessary

multi purpose

troubleshoot windows
back up hard drive
troubleshoot hardware

that is just 3 purposes

if you liked what you saw and/or experienced look into getting some distrobution of linux
and dual booting it with windows that way you have access
to a back up plan if windows fails again

oh and by the way knoppix is a distrobution of linux

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knoppix live cd
by tribble11 / January 16, 2006 10:48 AM PST

Hi I have a similar problem with a sony vaio I received the same blue screen after formatting hd before windows xp loaded. I thought it was the touch pad which gave me trouble before i wiped the hd. I went into setup but could not find how to disable the touchpad. i disabled all else but then safe mode screen popped up giving me page_fault_in_nonpaged_area with a stop 0x00000050. I was able to load a windows xp upgrade version but it would not accept the laptops key code for activation. any ideas? if you tell me where i can find this knoppix live I have never used linux os before. I don't know what type of mb i have since i have not performed internal surgery on this machine. thanks for any help

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google for it
by rwp_17 / January 16, 2006 11:49 AM PST
In reply to: knoppix live cd

2 options

run a google search for ''knoppix live cd'' and see what comes up


here might be a decent place to look
free download

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it's likely hw
by IPFREELEY / January 16, 2006 12:52 AM PST
In reply to: sim problem II

I swapped the mb/cpu for an asus/p4 - install went smoothly. there's something on the MS board or bios that windows can't handle. but I know it's been installed successfully too. On newegg feedback, someone said something about having to fiddle with jumpers. maybe deactivating some onboard functions because the bios does recognize all the hardware, and it's nothing exotic.

re: knoppix...I didn't try any live installations, but I did try ubuntu (for amd 64). it locks up too - before it can automatically boot into kde. or even give a bash prompt. I don't know enough about it to freeze the scroll and look at what failed to boot though.

my only advice is to make sure you disable all stuff on the board that you can.

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Stop error
by Bill Boulton / February 1, 2006 3:02 PM PST
In reply to: it's likely hw

I have done many installations but after setting up a new system XPSP2 all was OK & all the programs were working until I downloaded the critical updates, all 34 of them, then I got the stop error Coooo21a.
Not wanting to fall for the trick of putting in all my usual programmes & having the BSOD again I just did a full format & reinstall.
All OK until I downloaded the updates & yep BSOD, it seems to be a problem with the critical updates?

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Since it's a laptop...
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 1, 2006 9:38 PM PST
In reply to: Stop error

Be sure that you contact them for latest firmware, drivers and what other items they have. A fine example was the Toshiba's that would BSOD even without XP updates. Toshiba had issued a new motherboard driver for a memory issue, but updates are far from automatic and most owners don't know to look or call in the issue.

Microsoft on their part just supply the OS so we get to sort it out.


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After a lot of googling and some fruitless ms
by Cursorcowboy / February 1, 2006 9:17 PM PST
In reply to: similar problem
knowledge basing, the problem is supposedly with a device driver incompatability.

Besides using the WinXP CD do you not have a mainboard CD with tools and device drivers?

1. The article [Q303980] describes how to modify the nonvolatile Random Access Memory (NVRAM) by using the Bootcfg.exe command-line tool. This tool can be used to configure, query, change, or delete the boot entry settings in the NVRAM. Specifically, the /addsw /so: switches that is used to display the names of each device driver while loading.

2. The ''Device Console'' (devcon.exe), is a command-line tool (refer to the ''Examples'' hyperlink) that displays detailed information about devices and lets you search for and manipulate devices from the command line. DevCon enables, disables, installs, configures, and removes devices on the local computer and displays detailed information about devices on local and remote computers. DevCon is included in the Microsoft
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I might have solved this problem on my machine
by shaunnuahs / April 15, 2008 8:34 AM PDT
In reply to: similar problem

I too had a similar problem having installed xp pro on a new hard drive, this error came up.

As i was not bothered about the info I just got into te BIOS, changed the boot up order to the cd drive fist and only boot up sequence and re installed XP from there, it asked me if I wanted to remove partitons and I got rid of both.......

Then on the re boot request i changed the bios boot order to the original setting 1st floppy 2nd Hard 3rd CD......

so far it seems to be working.....if you do not hear from me its all OK this failes then its something more sinister than a failed hard drive...... this was a new drive that this has happened on!!


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