General discussion

XP startup-Fatal system error-session manager initialization

Hi all,

Recently, the following blue screen message has been appearing everytime I try startup my Dell Inspiron 600m laptop:

"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."

It began appearing after my latest windows update. Everything went fine from the downloading process to the installing process. Now I can't get into my system anymore, and Dell Tech Support was of no help. They sent me to India and the lady simply suggested "it could be a virus".

If anybody has suggestions as to what I can do to remove it and return my system to a normal state without having to format everything, that'd be great.

Thanks in advance!

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Re: XP startup-Fatal system error-session manager initializa

I thinkit's the usual spyware. But you would boot to the safe mode command prompt and type in...

Then use that system restore to when it worked.

Spyware is not a virus.


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Re: XP startup-Fatal system error-session manager initializa

I'm getting the same problem. Have you had any luck?

Mine is a Dell Dimension. At least you got through to their tech support. I tried several times, and would be put on hold a while to talk to an actualperson, then the system would just hang up on me. I had to do it via email... it worked, but it's not as efficient having to wait for responses. I miss the good ol' days when companies cared about good customer service.

Anyway, I replaced the hard drive and cable to the hard drive, installed XP, put on all updates, installed all software. I don't think this is due to Spyware since I just installed the OS and the first thing I did was updates and antivirus. The last thing I installed was Office 2000. I had rebooted several times without a hitch, and Office was the last thing I needed to do. It won't boot into Last Known Good Config.

I saw on Microsoft's sight that at one point in time this was a problem in Windows 2k. Wonder if XP SP2 can cause this? I may try reformatting, installing everything and getting Office XP on it. It that doesn't work, I'll try installing all updates but SP2. Let me know if you have any progress, and I'll do the same.

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Re: XP startup-Fatal system error-session manager initializa
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have you a remedy

i have the same on my computer hoping that you have sorted yours out now can you help me

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remedy: last resort

I formatted hard drive. Re-installed xp home. Works fine except for slow startup. (Still working on that)

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Stop: c000021a {Fatal System Error}

I just developed that same problem last night. I started installing a game on my computer and the process locked up. I shut down (couldn't just use the restart option) and then after that <boom> no access at all. I've tried all booting options and still get blue screen right after the Windows xp startup screen appears. (Goes black and then blue) I've tried replacing several files in Windows\system32\config, but that did not help either. Any help would be greatly appreciated.


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Reply to topic

yes i have the exact same problem, have you fixed it yet? or have you found out how?

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.Net framework is the blame

I was installing a program, that i got from, and out of the blue it decides it wants to install .NET Framework for me. So I hit Cancel. And the system slows but nothing happens, so I hit Ctrl+Alt+Delete, and ended the installer, after that, all my programs had fatal errors and had to close. So I decided to Reboot my PC (I have a Dell Inspiron 4100, with Windows XP Professional) upon Reboot, after the Windows XP Boot Screen, the screen goes black for a second, then blue saying c000021a {Fatal System Error} And then the system automatically Reboots on its own, repeating that process over and over. I think if I could get my PC to boot into DOS, I could delete the .NET Framework files and that might fix it. But I dont know how to get it into DOS, without logging into Windows. Can someone please help.

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(NT) (NT) fatal system error
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When I first got my computer running windows xp I kinda had the same problem. I would get a fatal system error and the computer would shut down on its own. It was a microsoft problem. I called microsoft told them what was happening and they fixed it.

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XP Fatal System Error


Exactly the same problem as the one mentioned by Strangette. Happened on a NEC computer while downloading windows update. Happened 2 days later on another computer (Lenovo), same broadband connection, while downloading songs.....
Very puzzling. By browsing the internet, it appears that many people had the same issue, but i haven't found any way to solve it...
Any help would be very much appreciated

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I am narrowing in on the problem...

and its a real *****! So far, attempting to boot to Safe Mode or any other option on the F8 boot menu has no effect. The initialization error occurs before even safe mode is reached, so it becomes an endless loop of splash screen, reboot, splash screen, reboot, rinse and repeat.

The only solution that has yet worked for me is reloading the operating system from the install CD. Fortunately I have built all my systems from scratch with genuine M$ install CDs, not the big OEM house restore disks. Thus, I can use the repair option in the first screen of the retail install and not lose have the routine reset the partition to the original factory load. I am currently on my third reload of the evening and it is 1:30 in the freakin' morning so I am not a happy camper and I am not likely to finish troubleshooting this tonight, but here is what I know so far.

When the OS is reloaded from the original CD (a 40 minute process that looks exactly like a virgin install, but actually just overwrites the Windoze system files without blowing off the registry or any programs or data) TURN OFF Automatic Updates!!!! You may go to the Windoze Updates site manually and let it search for updates, but use the "Custom Install" not the "Express Install." This will allow you select the specific patches to be installed. When I started working on this issue earlier tonight and determined what was happening, I began installing the updates one at a time to find the one that caused the failure. I got halfway through the list of 16 and then got lazy. I did 4 at once and everything was fine. Then I did the last 4 on the list and bang, I'm dead again.

DO NOT INSTALL UPDATE NUMBERS 890859, 891781, 893066, or 893086. It is one of these that killed me. I do not yet know which one. Stay tuned and maybe I'll have some time on Sunday (won't have any time tomorrow, sorry) or one of you can take over the detective work.

Now if I were to rename my computer as "Kenny," then I could truthfully say, "Those ********, they killed Kenny." Wink


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Hotfix number 890859 is the culprit. Another tech in Microsoft's own newsgroup has documented it as well. But I can't find any evidence that Microsoft itself has acknowledged it. The easier solution than my method of reinstalling is outlined here.

So put out the word - turn off Automatic Updates, install updates manually and do not install # 890859. You may need to check the "hide this update" box so it doesn't get included again in future update cycles.


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Problem Confirmed

I had exactly the same problem with one PC. Uninstalled the Hotfix and the problem was gone. Great tip in this link, did not know how easy it is to uninstall a hotfix, this will save me hours of working time in the future.
Why does MS hide these great help tips even to developers??


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2 computer with this problem

I had a laptop that downloaded auto updates and exhibited this error and while working on that probel, my main PC did the same thing 2 days later. It is a b**** to figure out and the fixes listed above will only work if you applied the SP2 update. If you used a slipstreamed CD to do a clean install then you do not have the SP2 uninstall folder. I am very surprised that this has not been in the news or out on the web more.

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MS update problems

Like many of you, my techie will make quite a bit over the next two days correcting the damage MS has wrecked on two computers here even reaching out to non MS items such as ACT. My question to the readers; what are the alternatives to Office for example. Mozilla Firefox is a browser alternative but much will only work with Explorer so we are stuck with that for know at least.

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if its true... GOD BLESS YA!


i?ve been looking for a solution to this for days! I?ve formatted like 5 times already and done half the way through the same process you did on my last try, getting on to the damned update... but now I?ll go directly to the point! thanks!!

I hope you?re on the right track and I have no problems in this final update... if it is so I?ll post it here!



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thanks for the info

Have people solved the problem by not installing this update then?

I got my brand new laptop exactly 2 weeks ago today, and today that error came up, it also did it exactly one week ago. So once a week since I got it! I've been too scared to put all my files on it in case it happens again so I REALLY hope it works. Thanks for letting me know!

So any feedback on whether the prob has happened agin for anyone would be great!


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That is the fix

I just re-installed Windows XP with a CD that included Service Pack 2. I downloaded the updates which includes the one mentioned above and I instantly got the same error again. I followed the instructions listed to uninstall that service pack and now I am problem free. I also set windows update to hide that service pack and also to not auomatically download updates.

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IT IS 890859!!

Now I got another problem, I lost my internet connection, so I?ll have to do the tedious work of finding the problematic update once again.
XP really gets into it!

The good news is that the main problem is solved... KILL the 890859! NOW!


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This hotfix has been on my Dell optiplex GX110 since May 13/2006 with many reboots and no problems...

must be something else involved.


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Just checked my XP home machine and the update has been on there since Jan/2006....


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Complete Fix. for Windows Update BUG (pc keeps reebooting)

Guys I had the same problem, and researched for 2 days. Thanks for the guy who wrote abt KB890853. Here is what i did to fix my PC.

Hotfix number KB890859 is the culprit.
go here to remove it.

create boot dics (6) for XP Proff
Make your pc boot thru floppy dirve
choose R to repair
choose 1
enter admin password

chdir $NtUninstallKB890859$\spuninst
BATCH spuninst.txt
(It copies back some deleted files.)
Type exit
and restart and enter in Safe Mode.
goto Start>Programs>Acessories>system tools>system Restore

CHoose a date before you installed the microsoft updates
follow the steps.
It fixes your pc.

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No spunins.txt file


I followed the instructions, but de $NTUninstallxxxxxx$\spuninst folder contains no spuninst.txt file! All the oterh $NTUninstallxxxxxx$\spuninst have spuninst.txt

Any sugestions?
Thanks in advance


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rebooting problem

I found the problem was with an update of windows but then it finally just stopped at the desktop screen without desktop icons so I did a system restore and in the middle of the restore it rebooted and now I can get in or a desktop screen. Any suggestions to this. No virus on my system.

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missing spuninst.txt

i got into my HD via another installation of home, did a search for the kb890859 uninst file and ran it, which seemed to work, but my Winxppro still wouldn't boot. i then went to manually rectify the problem using the recovery console only to find the spuninst.txt file is missing!!! can someone PLEASE display the contents of this file or a copy so i can get back in?

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Windows Explorer Fatal Error

I had the same problem on my HP running XP Pro. I followed these directions and I am able to start it up most of the way, but when it reaches my desktop image it stops. Eventually it says "Windows Explorer has encountered a problem and needs to close." I am able to create new tasks through the task manager and i have tried running "explorer.exe" which immediately crashes. I have scanned the registry with Norton System Works 2004 as well as scaned for spyware and viruses. I tried restoring it to an earlier date but it still had the same problem. I can run every program but that one. If anyone has any ideas I would appreciate input.

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I will be crazy by this error

I also used HP WINXP, the explorer often closed automatic by quickly operations on it. Where could I get patch to fix it?

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BULLSEYE>RE:Complete Fix. for Windows Update BUG

I followed that exactly and it worked like a charm. I had the same problem. I noticed though that right before my computer rebooted it had installed some auto updates and i got the error reporting popup that said windows update encountered an error. It kept popping up again so I rebooted and BLUE SCREEN. Toshiba wanted me to wipe it with system restore but thats not necessary.

You can get to windows recovery with the xp disk except some computers i guess wont take the admin password. the floppys gets around that.

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Getting ride of Hotfix number 890859 with out Windows CD

Just a question does anyone know how to get ride of Hotfix number 890859 without haveing the Windows CD. I do have accesses to the drive by making it a slave on my other computer and can get to the install folders..does windows make a backup of the old drives that i could just swap with the ones installed with the Hotfix

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