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I've got an HP desktop machine circa 2009, running Windows Vista 64-bit and Ubuntu 12.04 LTS. The machine has been in this configuration (dual boot) for some time (3 years) but recently developed a problem with the boot/login process.

It comes up to the user selection screen as per normal, and I can select my normal user and then type in the password and either hit enter or click the '->' button... at which point the mouse cursor disappears and the machine becomes unresponsive. The only activity appears to be the hard drive light flashing a little faster than once per second - thats it. If I walk away and come back in an hour, it's still at it. Manually power-cycling the machine appears to be the only way to get it back under user control.

After power-cycling, it will boot back in to Ubuntu without any problems or complaints, and functions as per normal.

If I restart the machine again and select the the Windows Vista option from the boot loader, it comes up with the normal Windows white-on-black text screen saying that Windows did not shut down properly, giving me options as to how I want to proceed: Normal, or various forms of 'Safe Mode'. If I have it boot into Safe Mode with Networking... it works. Obviously not very usable in this mode, but it works.

I'm unsure at this point how to proceed about 'fixing' my Windows Vista install so it works normally again.

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Can you boot into your Administrator account, instead of your normal account? Not safe mode, mind you... the built-in Administrator account the computer came with? It sounds like the issue is with your install of Vista, or at least the files associated with that one specific account... as opposed to the hardware. You could even try booting to safe mode, creating another regular user account, and then trying to boot into that. –  Bon Gart Nov 13 '12 at 18:21
    
I would just reinstall Vista at this point. –  Ramhound Nov 13 '12 at 18:36

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