1. Stay away from IE7
2. The three most imortant words in computing is Backup,Backup,Backup.
Now to the problem, If you cannot even do the repair install the OS is pretty much hosed. I would pull the HDD and attach it to another computer as a slave and get the data off of it.
If that is not an option you could do a parrallel install(you will need a full install OS/CD for this)
Perform a Parallel Install (Same partition)(New Windows Folder)
A parallel install of Windows XP is always a good idea If you are unable to boot into your original install of XP. You can boot into a parallel install to get access to the original install. From the parallel install you can replace registry files, modify registry files, replace bad driver files and retreive data. (files)
A parallel install of XP should only be done to repair your original install or retreive data, It is not meant to replace your original installation.
1. Start your computer from the Windows XP/CD Rom
2. Watch for the prompt to "Press any key to boot from CD" (Loads Files) "Do not use again"
3. At the Welcome to setup screen, press Enter to begin the windows XP setup
4. End user license agreement, Press F8
5. To continue installing a fresh copy of windows XP without reparing press "ESC"
6. To setup Windows on the selected item press "Enter"
7. To continue setup using this partition Press "C"
8. Select the "Leave The Current File System Intact"(No Changes) option, press "Enter" to continue
9. Press ESC to install to a different folder
10. When the Install detects another OS it prompts you to type a name for the new folder after the slash(\), for example you could type \WINXP. if no other OS is detected the setup program automatically assigns \WINDOWS, press "Enter"
11. you will go thru the regular Windows setup, Product Key, ETC
12. When the install is complete click "My Computer' and Local Disk(Should be "C")you will have access to both windows folders.
12. After repairs are made and/or files are saved you should delete the new Windows folder by restarting the computer and booting to the old windows setup.
13. Go to start/Run and type "msconfig", Open "Boot.ini" , highlight the new OS, click on "check all boot paths" and remove the entry for the new windows setup.
Post back on your progress
Well, I apologise up front if this gets long-winded, but Ive been having tons of problems for over a week which I have been unable to sort out, and have now climaxed into what appears to my newbie eyes as total disaster- my computer wont boot windows, or let me reinstall!!
As Sherlock Holmes always advised, I shall start at the beginning:
1) About 8 days ago (and about a week after installing Internet Explorer 7) I started to suffer problems with Internet explorer. New tabs would suddenly appear in open IE windows, sometimes 2 or 3 new tabs, sometimes 8-10, all trying to connect to numerous different advertising websites, most of which just brought up the 'could not connect to' error message (if I shut off the 'tabs' facility, then new windows would open despite my pop-up blocker). This was abviously very annoying, and caused much system slow-down, especially as it seemed to happen about every 15 minutes (although it could be as long as 3 hours between 'attacks'.
2) Assuming this was a virus I tried to open mcaffee virus scan, which would no longer open! I got an error message saying windows could not find the .exe file (mcaffee worked fine before), I uninstalled mcaffee, but it will not reinstall, and I get given no reason for it not installing.
3) I ran ad-aware, spy sweeper, and that new microsoft repair thing, all of which brought up the usual offenders, plus a couple of trojans. I deleted these, and double checked the windows firewall was still on, which it was not, and when I tried to switch it back on, I got an error message telling me that windows could not access firewall settings! I tried the AVG online virus scanner twice, each time nothing was found.
4) The problem did seem to stop, but unfortunately after returning to my computer after a few hours I found the problem was still there. I repeated the ad/spyware sweeps with the same results.
5) I tried rebooting into safe mode to reinstall mcaffee, but safe mode will not boot. All that happens is that when I press enter for safe mode, I get the black screen with all the setup commands listed, then the computer resets itself. I have tried many times, and the result is always the same.
6) Back in windows I tried downloading any latest windows security updates (only 1 new one, I have all the rest), but that keeps 'failing'. The only thing I could download from windows update was the malicious software removal tool- which found nothing.
7) I tried system restore, but no matter what date I pick, it keeps failing to restore saying "windows could not restore..."
After a week of these probs I tried to do a repair reinstall of windows XP, using a slipstreamed SP2 disk I made yesterday. All seemed to be going well, and the blue setup screen reached 0 minutes on the progress bar, then the computer reset itself again, and I had the option of continuing the reinstallation (which goes back to the blue setup screen but rather that having completed the installation e.g. the progress bar is at 0 minutes, the progress bar is back to 39 mins), or leaving the computer to try and boot 'normally. If I do the latter I get presented with the black screen saying windows start-up was interrupted, etc, etc, would I like safe mode, last known good config, or normal boot. Every option I choose results in the same thing- the computer resetting itself! If I try and 'continue the reinstallation' the above process repaets itself- the reinstallation gets 3/4 way through, then the computer resets.
9) With the exception of internet explorer 7, no new software or hardware has been added/updated.
So thats it- I cant boot windows, and I cant reinstall it. I have not tried reformatting and reinstaling, and hope I done have to cos obviously I dont want to lose my files (although I will if its the only option, its better than having a totally useless PC!!!).
Presumably this was initially a software issue of some kind- but has it become a hardware issue? My hardware is about 18 months-2 years old. One other thing is that my computer doesnt just continually restart/reset itself- its only when any of the above is happening it will restart, if Ileave it on say the recovery console, it wont reset at all.
What do you experts suggest? Im tremendously grateful for ANY advice or help.