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Windows XP won't load

I have an older Toshiba satellite laptop. I was cleaning it up the other day, removing lots of old programs, and I also unchecked several startup processes, I believe I reviewed all of them and did not uncheck anything for the system. I don't know if it was that or something else, but now the computer will not load windows (XP Pro). It will go to the windows loading screen, then goes blank, shuts down and tries again, over and over. Pressing F8, I have tried all the options, start in safe mode, start in debugging, start with last known good configuration, and the rest, all result in the same thing - windows loading screen, black and power down. I can get to the recovery console, but don't know how to use this to try and start or fix or find the problem. I do not have a boot disk to use either (I'm traveling). I have a USB with me, but from what I have just read, this would not be so easy to make work. Any help is greatly appreciated.

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What "processes" did you uncheck?

In reply to: Windows XP won't load

You say you unchecked startup processes. Where did you do this? Were you using the msconfig utility? Did you uncheck any "Services"?

Replicate the process on the PC you're on now, without actually unchecking anything. In other words, recite what you did and where you did it from, and report back. I'm looking for something like:

I opened msconfig.

I clicked on the Startup Tab and unchecked some things

I clicked on the Services Tab and unchecked some things, etc.

It would be helpful if you were as specific as possible. There are ultimately other options than just using Recovery Console, but if it's a simple matter of re-enabling a service you disabled, that can be done in Recovery Console without any other steps.

IF you know you disabled some Services (via msconfig), you can go into Recovery Console, and when at the prompt, type:


and tap the enter key.

That will bring up a list of all the services available on your pc, AND what their startup status is. In other words, whether they are set to start when XP is booted or not. You can (tediously, I know) copy back here all the services that are DISABLED.

Here's what the output of the listsvc command might look like (your pc will be different somewhat):

Note that the pic above is the bottom part of the service list. It's all alphabetized, so you will have to scroll through the entire list and come back here and type which ones are disabled.

One last thing: Did you try to use the "Safe mode with Command Prompt" option other than just regular Safe Mode? Look this pic:

You would want to scroll down to the third option in the list and try to boot up that way. IF it can, it may be a very simple matter of using System Restore from the command line.

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In reply to: What "processes" did you uncheck?

Yes I did use msconfig, went to the startup tab and unchecked some services. I cannot remember which ones, I was trying to eliminate some of the update ones for HP or realplayer, etc. I may have unchecked a service inadvertently. I will go to my laptop and check the listsvc as you say, and get back to you. Could this cause the problem I am experiencing? Trying to remember other changes I made: I also uninstalled Norton and installed McAfee, I unistalled several other programs from the control console add/remove (about 8 different HP programs, which tool forever), but there should be nothing there for the OS I wouldn't think. Yes I also tried safe mode with command prompt and it did not work - I believe I tried every single option on that screen.

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Re: msconfig

In reply to: msconfig

MSCONFIG isn't for services. Services are managed by services.msc (part of the management console).

It could well be it's one of the other things you removed causing the problem. And it could be totally unrelated also.


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Might want to clarify that...

In reply to: Re: msconfig

I think your post might lead some to believe that it's not possible to disable services from msconfig, and that's certainly not the case; one can definitely do so.

I absolutely agree that msconfig "isn't for services", in the sense that it shouldn't be utilized for managing them. But that does not mean one cannot create some havoc by <i>using</i> it to disable services.

What's most important is that msconfig is not the tool to use. Services.msc --as you've pointed out--is certainly the way to go when managing them, with the proviso that one still needs to know what he is doing.

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listsvc results

In reply to: What "processes" did you uncheck?

I hope that listing the disabled ones will be enough, if not let me know, because there are hundreds it appears. So disabled ones:
odyssey IM3

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In reply to: listsvc results

I only used msconfig, and I only unchecked boxes on the startup tab, I did not go to the services tab.

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Want to try a "System Restore" from the Recovery Console?

In reply to: FYI

Since you didn't deselect services from msconfig, it's possible that all of this deselecting/uninstalling is playing a part. But, as Kees pointed out, it may be just a coincidence. I'm betting on the former, and your options right now given that you are traveling and don't have a boot disc are limited.

The following may very well get you back up and running, and it may not. If it doesn't, you'll probably need to do a non-destructive "Repair Install" when you get back home. So, if you're game, please follow instructions carefully.

First, you absolutely MUST print out these instructions and follow them to a tee. If you can't print this out, please don't try to remember the instructions. Here's the page to print:

For your purposes, boot to the Recovery Console and start with Step 5 of the instructions in the link above. (Steps 1-4 are for people booting from an XP disc to get to Recovery Console.)

Now, with respect to choosing the right restore point (aka "RP"), it's imperative that you choose one that's dated right BEFORE you started all this uninstalling/deselecting. So, if you did all this "cleanup" on March 1, look for an RP date of February 28 or 27 --close to the date <i>but before</i> you started this cleanup process.

Syntax is very important here. So, follow the lines in the article above as typed with respect to copying things. Note that the Restore Points are saved with underscore characters before their names, so that must be part of the name when you go to copy. For example, you'll see in the article above (and don't do this step now until you follow all the instructions in the article!):

copy _registry_machine_system c:\windows\system32\config\system
copy _registry_machine_software c:\windows\system32\config\software
copy _registry_machine_security c:\windows\system32\config\security
copy _registry_machine_sam c:\windows\system32\config\sam
copy _registry_user_.default c:\windows\system32\config\default

You must type those lines exactly as written to ensure they are copied correctly. But again, that's the last step. Follow the instructions in the article before you get to that point, and be absolutely sure you pick a restore point date BEFORE the day you started the cleanup.

Now, IF you do this and are able to boot successfully, you will no doubt have some errors about not being able to find programs, etc. System Restore will not bring back your uninstalled programs. So, the registry you are restoring will still have indicators that these programs exist. You'll have to either reinstall them or deselect them from the startup routine.

Good luck, grasshopper.

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PS on System Restore

In reply to: Want to try a "System Restore" from the Recovery Console?

When you get to Step 11 of the instructions above, remember that you don't necessarily want the most recent RP (as the article points out). You want to check the date of the Restore Point to make sure that it comes BEFORE the day of your cleanup. So, if the most recent RP is RP74 dated March 1 (the day you did cleanup, for this example), check RP73 and before to make sure the date comes before.

(RP74 is just an example. Your RP numbers will no doubt be different)

Also, what's not noted in the article is backing up your current registry hives.

Look at Step 8. The author of the article uses Step 8 as a solution if you get an "access denied" error. However, you might want to make backup copies of your registry "hives" before actually overwriting the original ones. So, regardless of whether you get an access denied error, follow the instructions in Step 8 to "CD (change directories)" to the correct folder and once there type the following:

ren system system.bak
ren software sofware.bak
ren security security.bak
ren default default.bak
ren sam sam.bak

Then, you must complete the steps in the article copying over the renamed restore point files that you've chosen.

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DIfferent than last good config?

In reply to: PS on System Restore

Okay I will give this a try, is this different than the "start with last known good configuration" that is an option on the safe mode screen?

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That's a good question, and here's your answer:

In reply to: DIfferent than last good config?

"Last known good configuration" only "restores" a small subset of registry settings; far less than what an actual System Restore would do. Here's the official verbiage from Microsoft:

<b>"When you start your computer by using the Last Known Good Configuration feature, Windows XP restores information in the following registry key:


Note Any changes that were made to other registry keys remain."</b>

The CurrentControlSet primarily deals with device drivers and services. Those are important, of course. But if other registry changes have been made outside of that realm, Last Known Good Configuration won't change them back. That's where System Restore comes in.

The process I outlined above is essentially a manual version of System Restore. You're resetting your complete registry to a state it was in before you had these problems. It's your best shot right now, given your circumstances.

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In reply to: That's a good question, and here's your answer:

Followed the directions and everything worked fine for the restore (took a point last month, newest one but well before I made any changes), but still won't start up. Same behavior. Now I wonder if indeed it was not something I changed but is some other problem coincidentally or otherwise.

I'm back home saturday, I do not have the original windows disks (old inherited laptop),and did not make a start-up from that laptop. Will a start-up disk made on any XP machine work? I assume that is my next step?

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Check your disables

In reply to: listsvc results

Go to the site URl below and click the Search button in the second line at the right top. Enter the file names one at a time from your list and determine whether they are required. I check 6 or 7 and half indicated This is a valid program that is required to run at startup:

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Recovery help

In reply to: Check your disables

I found I do have the recovery disks, but it only allows me to reinstall (erasing hard drive). Is there any way to recover data first? I tried going to recovery panel but access is denied to the data files. Not sure it can recognize a USB drive anyway. Suggestions please!

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LiveCD's can let you copy files out.

In reply to: Recovery help

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In reply to: LiveCD's can let you copy files out.

I actually used BartPE and that worked for getting my data off. Before I use the restore disks do I have some more options to try to get the system working again. I mean everything is there that I can see from BartPE. I would like to not lose my programs as several I don't have disks for anymore. Also my laptop had Windows XP Pro, but the recovery disk started up saying windows 95, so apparently it had an upgrade from the way it was bought. Going to Win 95 would kind of suck.

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Then the news is grim indeed.

In reply to: Thanks

Without all the CDs you may want to set this aside while you ponder.

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What did you use to make BartPE with?

In reply to: Thanks

You obviously had to use someone's XP disc, right? Have you thought about trying to do a repair install with that? Was it an XP Pro disc?

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XP Pro

In reply to: What did you use to make BartPE with?

This laptop is a hand me down from my old place of work, so no chance of finding the discs. Will any XP disk work? Does it have to be XP Pro? I take it that has options for fixing versus just wiping out and reinstalling?

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missed question

In reply to: XP Pro

Missed your subject question. I am on my desktop which has XP (not Pro). No original disks, this a hand me down from current place of employment (not bad employers). Don;t know if I can get those disks. Will a recovery disk I make from this machine work on the laptop?

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I'm not sure what you mean by "make a recovery disc"...

In reply to: missed question

See my subject line. You need an actual XP Pro disc, not a recovery disc. You already have BartPE, which, by the way, might be your *possible* savior.

Let me think of a few things that you might try with BartPE, but I really have to call it a night for now. I'll get back to ya in the am.

In the meantime, exactly what model laptop is this?

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The answer is no.

In reply to: missed question

XP has teeth and barks a lot over missing media. It's all too probably this will be the usual expensive lesson.

If you need to repair your XP installation and have no hope of them handing you the media, go to and price out XP Pro SP3.

-> No, you can't use XP Home.
-> No, you can't create a restore CD.

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In reply to: missed question

Any chance you can create an "Ultimate Boot CD for Windows" (UBCD)? It builds upon BartPE with a lot more functionality and inspection/repair tools.

Try to build/burn one by following instructions here:

Doesn't matter if you have a Home or Pro disc. Let me know, and we'll go from there.

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problem with UBCD4

In reply to: Also...

I'm working on it, the build is giving me an error that certain files in the I386 directory are not found (72 actually). I have posted a question on the forum there. Perhaps UBCD4 uses more files than BartPE requires, since the BartPE built and worked fine. i can't imagine that if I have the XP files on the hard drive that they are not all there though.

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