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I had a windows installation that was essentially non functional (RPC process terminating unexpectedly, which caused an automatic reboot, even in safe mode) I brought out the XP install disk and attempted a repair install. The text-mode phase completed successfully, but after rebooting into graphic mode it is stuck at "39 minutes" Windows is running it's busy indicator and cycling features, but I don't see any hard drive activity.

I've run hardware diagnostics, scandisk, chkdsk, etc. and no errors were detected in either the system or the drive.

Update: After letting it run overnight, I get an error message:

Error: The signature for Windows XP Professional Upgrade is invalid. The error code is 426. The service has not been started.


Fatal Error: Setup failed to install the product catalogs. This is a fatal error. The setup log files should contain more information.


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2  
how long do you let it sit at the 39 minutes mark before you kill it off and reboot? – BBlake Feb 10 '11 at 21:39
1  
Be sure all extra devices are disconnected from the PC during the repair. – Moab Feb 10 '11 at 21:46

We need to know how long you let it set at the 39 minute hang as requested by BBlake, if you did not let it sit for a couple of hours, try that first, if no joy:

Similar issue described here, http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;828267

look at the setup log for clues.

examine the Setup log files for anything that may indicate what may be causing the problem. To do this, press SHIFT+F10 to open a command prompt after the first restart, and after any subsequent restarts, if Setup stops responding. In the %windir% folder (typically, C:\Windows or C:Winnt), look for the Pnplog.txt file. This log file is only created during setup if there is an issue that is detected with hardware.

I would also run a memory tester http://www.memtest.org/

Download the prebuilt ISO, burn it to CD as an Image (not data), boot from that CD and run the memory test for a couple of hours or overnight to stress test the memory. If you get errors with this test you have a bad memory module, if you have more than one memory module installed remove all but one and re-run the test, test each module individually until you find the bad one.

.

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I ran the hardware diagnostics, which included a memory test, though I don't think it took several hours by itself, so it may not be as exhaustive. – Justin Love Feb 11 '11 at 15:48
    
There was no Pnplog.txt Other logs indicated some unsigned dlls being registered, and catalog files that could not be removed. – Justin Love Feb 11 '11 at 15:59
    
I would back up the data and do a clean install. – Moab Feb 12 '11 at 3:57

I had this issue come through once before, and I was able to resolve by booting with the CD, and instead of doing the repair install, I went into the Recovery Console, and ran the following two commands, the next time I tried to do a repair install, it went off without a hitch.

chkdsk -r

Once this completed, I then ran

fixboot

Be careful with the 2nd one, if you are working in a multi-boot environment.

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chkdsk (in recovery console, but not not full windows) halts at 50%, takes a very long time (I left it running over the weekend) and then reports The volume appears to contain one or more unrecoverable problems. – Justin Love Feb 13 '11 at 22:41

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