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Windows XP in a boot up loop

by Cycleman / November 10, 2006 6:13 AM PST

It's a good thing I have another computer to use...otherwise, I don't know how I would be able to ask these questions.

My other machine is an HP a730n, 1 Gb RAM, 3 GHz, running with AVG anti-virus, all Windows updates in place.

The machine was on overnight. Two programs were running (photoeditor, word processor).

This machine also has two external drives connected to it, through USB ports.

When I turned on my monitor, there was an error message displayed, but I didn't write it down. I clicked okay, and then the machine proceeded to shut down, and now it is going through an endless loop of trying to start windows.

It initially gives me a screen with the options of safe mode, safe mode with networking, or command prompt, letting it start with the last known working configuration, or start windows normally. I've tried the start windows normally several times, to no avail.

In safe mode, I clicked on Administrator, which then said it was starting windows up, but I then got a window that said "winlogon.exe application error. The instruction at "0x7498aaba" referenced memory at "0x00000008." The memory could not be read. Click cancel to debug, and OK to close.

I also tried the last known good configuration, with the endless loop continuing.

Please help. I'm not very skilled at this.


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Some will have success in restoring.....
by Michael Geist / November 10, 2006 6:42 AM PST
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Sorry, I'm lost...
by Cycleman / November 10, 2006 7:24 AM PST

Mike, this is over my head, and I'm not skilled enough to know if I'm going to do this right.

I can pull a drive from the machine, though.


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More information...
by Cycleman / November 10, 2006 8:18 AM PST

I tried the safe mode again, but chose "HP Owner." It got me into my desktop. A window popped up that gave me the option to choose a system restore point. I chose that. I pushed it back a week. When I clicked next, it didn't seem to take very long, and then the system tried to reboot again. However, it brought me right back to the same screen, with the options of booting in the various modes (safe, last config, normally).

Now, when I try to go into the safe mode, it won't bring me into the safe mode at all. Just a continual recycling of the boot procedure.

I completely unplugged the machine, and re-set the memory cards, and disconnected the other drive (secondary HDD), and tried again.

No change.

I have this and the other machine running through a KVM switch, but that is operating normally.

From what I've read on the net, it's either a "hardware or software problem."

That sure narrows it down, since that's all that's in the computer, but hardware and software!!


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booting from CD
by Cycleman / November 11, 2006 12:28 AM PST

Well, I'm digging myself deeper, I think.

The latest...

Another guy I knew told me to boot the machine from the Windows XP disc, because he thought I had a "bad boot sector."

I do have a Win XP disc, but not for the computer that this problem is occuring on. It didn't come with one. When I bought the machine, it had Win XP Home installed on it, but you know how
it is, they don't give you the XP disc. All I could do was make a set of recovery discs.

Thus, I tried using the XP disc that I bought
for the other machine I have (which is running fine).

So, when I put the XP disc into the broken machine, and booted it, it started putting in drivers, and some other files, before it got to the screen that asked me if I wanted to repair, install, or cancel. I didn't know if this was what should happen, but I just did what the other guy told me to do.

I did the "R" for repair, and then it brought up the screen that asked me to choose to log on to either of those command prompts. One of them was I:\ I386, and the other one was I: \MiniNT.

This is some sort of dos prompt, but the choice was either 1 or 2, so I typed in the 386, and hit enter.

It then showed the dos prompt of I:\I386. Okay, so now I'm thinking, "yeah, now what??"

I remembered enough of my old DOS, to type in "help" and it brought up a list of commands. One of them was chkdsk, which I typed. It checked the disc. I also typed in "fixboot," and it did say it corrected a bad sector.

Anyway, I then typed "exit" and it was starting to reboot the computer, but it went right back to trying to boot from the disc, and then went right back to trying to load the files again.

When I got to the point of exiting the command prompt, I pulled the disc out, and then a black screen came up with the message "NTLDR is missing. Press any key to restart." This NTDLR is
apparently some file command that will allow the boot to occur??

But, all it does is go back to trying to boot the CD, again.

I'm stumped.

Have I really screwed things up??


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Time to save your files then...
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 11, 2006 12:39 AM PST
In reply to: booting from CD

Boot those restore CDs you made. An offer to repair the OS should be made but your files are now at risk. Save them first.


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How do I get at the files?
by Cycleman / November 11, 2006 2:03 AM PST

Bob, okay, but how do I get at the files to save them? Doesn't the restore disks remove all of those?

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An example.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 11, 2006 2:51 AM PST

Fast forward to today and I would offer PCLinuxOS instead (more hardware support.) Another method is to remove the current hard disk, put in a new drive, restore the OS to the new drive then add the old drive on the slave connection or put it into a nice USB 2.0 enclosure.

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Good suggestion.
by Cycleman / November 11, 2006 3:36 AM PST
In reply to: An example.

Bob, I like that idea of putting in a new drive, and using the other one as a slave.

To restore the operating system, after I install the new drive, would I then use the restore disks to do this, and that's all it will take?

I'm feeling a lot more comfortable right now....thanks.


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If their restore CDs are good, that's all it takes. More...
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 11, 2006 3:49 AM PST
In reply to: Good suggestion.

But I don't install the slave drive until I have the OS restored and working. I don't want to take any chance the restore program would touch or alter the old hard disk. So I have only the new drive, restore and later add the old drive on the slave connector or put it in the USB case. Then and only then connect it after the OS and all updates and protections are installed.

That method seems to work for many since they understand that and don't want to backup via another OS.


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Great, thanks.
by Cycleman / November 11, 2006 3:52 AM PST

That's good information, and I'll follow it to a T.

Thanks much.


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Of course you are still missing......
by Michael Geist / November 11, 2006 4:15 AM PST
In reply to: Great, thanks.

those so-called restore disks? Without those the restoration process hits a brick wall. Bob's methods are no different from what I outlined. Data recovery should be attempted first before the restoration begins.

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restore disks in hand
by Cycleman / November 11, 2006 4:49 AM PST

Mike, thanks. I do have the restore disks. I did try, eventually, to to the recovery. When I went to the one suggestion of "R" for restore, it wasn't clear if there had been any repair. There was one link on booting from the CD that said, "do not click on the R, but go to the installation of Windows." That was confusing, but I did what it said, and when I got to the agreement section, I clicked yes, and then it said that it couldn't find an existing operating system on the drive.

So, that's why I was stumped.

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The first "R" you get when......
by Michael Geist / November 11, 2006 8:51 PM PST
In reply to: restore disks in hand

booting from the restore disk is for using the Recovery Console. In a DOS-like environment you can use the Recovery Console commands to attempt to fix the XP install. Choosing a new install will lead you to the Repair option.

If your files are not needed, continue with a New Install. To get those files off the troubled drive before a New Install, either Bob's method or mine (previously given) should give you access.

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New drive
by Cycleman / November 11, 2006 11:23 PM PST

I decided to install a new drive. It gave me an opportunity to put in a bigger drive. The recovery disks worked fine. All security and updates are installed.

I haven't yet put in the old drive.

When I do that, with all the programs that are on it, will I be able to access those programs?

Some of those programs are originals, plus numerous updates, and I have the discs for them, but it will take a very long time to re-install all of them.

If I could access the programs from the old drive, it would be simpler if I could go that route.


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Read back and I wrote "files"
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 11, 2006 11:37 PM PST
In reply to: New drive

Due to a sea change of how things worked in Windows circa 1995, programs are now nearly impossible to move from another drive and often don't run from a drive transplanted.

Nothing broken here or rather it will work as designed.

I always write the word "files" since that's all we can save.


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Doesn't work that way.....
by Michael Geist / November 12, 2006 12:01 AM PST
In reply to: New drive

Programs need to be reinstalled to the current OS as items such as registry entries, shortcuts etc. need to be properly loaded. The old drive when connected will hopefully provide access to the files created by those programs.

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by Cycleman / November 12, 2006 2:01 AM PST
In reply to: New drive

Bob, Mike, thanks for the help. At least, I was successful in getting the machine working.

Program installations will be slow, but at least it won't be fun.

Oh, well...

Thanks again.


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Mirroring the hard drive
by Cycleman / November 12, 2006 11:00 PM PST
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Many like Acronis. Downside?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 12, 2006 11:16 PM PST

Many stop backing up after a few weeks (days?) of the machine working well. In fact I don't backup my machine. Only the files I can't lose.


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Putting back the original drive
by Cycleman / November 13, 2006 12:42 AM PST

By the way, I bought a case for the original/questionable drive, and it was recognized by the computer, but it had little information that I understood when I clicked on properties.

But, when I had an external drive crash a while back, you recommended I purchased the NTFS version for the external drive, and it worked well to recover my files.

I'm using it on this most recently screwed up drive, and while it is going to take a couple of hours to scan it, it does seem to be finding all the files.

A worthwhile investment, to be sure.


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