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Windows XP SP3

Hi Guys,

My desktop PC rebooted during the night (presumably due to an automated Windows update) and was stuck on a file system check. I forced a reboot as it had been stuck for hours and now the system won't finish booting. It shows the Windows XP splash screen, briefly flickers what looks to be a BSOD, and then reboots.

So far, I've tried:

  • Booting into all variations of safe mode (just hangs)
  • Setting BIOS settings to fail-safe defaults (still reboots)
  • Choosing the start-up option to load last known good configuration (still reboots)

Any suggestions on how to proceed here? I haven't installed any recent software or hardware so I don't think this is a result of any explicit change I've made.


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It would be great if you could specify which error code the BSOD gives you, since this would give us more information about what actually is giving the BSOD. – Christoffer Madsen Jun 17 '10 at 16:40
Use your XP setup cd and effect a system repair. This should repair any damaged files. It's worth a shot. – Daisetsu Jun 17 '10 at 17:06

This sounds like a hard drive issue. So you have a few options, most of them bad.

  1. Use hard drive sector recovery tools, like Spinrite, to check each sector for damage and recover is possible. This is a "bad" solution because the software costs about the same as a new hard drive. Though if you have non-backed up data on the drive you need, this is probably the second cheapest option.
  2. Wipe the drive and reinstall. If there is data on there that you need, you can generally plug it into another system as a secondary drive and pull your data off. This is a "bad" option because you have to reinstall all of your applications. It is the cheapest option generally.
  3. Replace the drive with a new one and reinstall windows. This is the most strait forward, and simple solution if you only have a single computer. You can then attach your other drive as a secondary one and get your data off of it.
  4. Use Windows recovery console to fix or replace corrupt files. This is the worst option because you really have to know what you are doing to get this to work. Some of the more basic tasks you can easily do, but repairing windows in this way is akin to installing an operating system manually, one file at a time.

Good luck

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I'd add something to Doltknuckle's list: Install Windows again from CD, over the top of your existing installation. Part of setup will actually run chkdsk first. If it tells you it must reboot before proceeding with setup, pop the CD out and see if it'll boot. If it still doesn't boot, put the CD back in and go ahead and really let it install Windows again. The option will say repair this windows installaton or similar. It is NOT the recovery console, however.

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up vote 0 down vote accepted

I tried re-installing the OS and came across other blue-screen errors so I eventually ran a memory test with Microsoft's Memory Diagnostic utility. As is turns out, one of the memory modules I was using was bad -- most (if not all) of the memory tests failed on it. I suspect this was contributing to the issues.

I've ordered a replacement and we'll see if it resolves the issue.


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Oooh I hate when that happens. Makes me wish all of our PCs were like some servers I have. I have a server that had a memory card go bad. Did it crash or blue screen? Nope. It just complained - that's all. "Hey, replace SIMM #6". It didn't shut down or shut off, and it didn't make the memory unavailable. I replaced it and all was well. – Mark Allen Jul 6 '10 at 21:07
Confirmed. Faulty memory. Thanks to everyone for their help. – Mike B Jul 8 '10 at 23:04

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