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My Windows XP SP3 stuck after the welcome screen. I could open the Task Manager with CTRL+ALT+DEL , I can open the explorer , but no items got displayed , just a flashlight animation.

And my HDD light (I'm with a laptop) was not blinking. I really don't know why it stuck for that minute.

How can I find it out ?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

Ok try booting up the computer in safe mode. Whilst there click start - run, type msconfig and press enter. click the diagonostic startup. click apply and restart your computer

Doing this should only load up the basic services and devices required by windows. If this works upon restart open up the msconfig control panel again and select selective startup click process system.ini file - apply and restart. Upon restart open up msconfig and click process Win.ini file and restart.

Do the same for the other 2 files there. This way you will find where the problem lies

If it turns out to be one of the startup items then click the startup tab and disable all.

Enable them one at a time restarting the computer after each one.

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If you want to delve deeper, Mark Russinovich presents a number of troubleshooting videos and blog posts using Windows Sysinternals. Check out The Case Of The Unexplained to see the different tools in action.

I think you will find Autoruns to be of particular use in your case.

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