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My computer is in a coma. Whenever I turn it on, it stays stuck on the "Please Wait..." screen and does nothing else, regardless of time. I have kept it on for as long as 6 hours to no avail. I have tried Safe Mode, Safe Mode with Networking, and Safe Mode with Command Prompt; they all also have the "Please wait..." problem.

At the suggestion of one website, I used a Recovery disk. It didn't work. (There is a slight possibility I used it incorrectly.)

I can't recall doing anything radically out of the ordinary in the weeks preceding all this. However, a day or two or three before, my roommate's IP had been blocked by the server, so he asked me to download a program for him. I did so, and transferred it by zip drive, but when he put it on his computer, his antivirus program flagged it as a virus, so he had me download another program which was not a virus and solved his problem. I am under the impression that as long as viruses are not opened (this was a .exe file), no harm is done in their simply being on your desktop. I never clicked it. Regardless, as soon as I heard it was a virus, I deleted it.

I have Vista Home Premium 32-bit on a Dell Inspiron 1525. I haven't installed any new programs in weeks, and I have an anti-virus program, although I'm unsure whether or not it was particularly active.

Much as I would like to simply clear the hard drive, I have several years' worth of photographs (not to mention music) which have not been backed up (a stupid move, I'll admit).

I would be extremely grateful to anyone who could help me with this.

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4 Answers 4

You may want to take a look at Microsoft / Sysinternals Autoruns. This tool will be able to show you everything that gets processed at your Windows startup and easily add/remove/delete entries.

It is basically a very enhanced version of the Startup and Services tab of Msconfig with a lot more!

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Didn't see this question was over a month old :S Community must of bumped it :S –  William Hilsum Nov 27 '09 at 1:54

Thank you for the suggestions, but I actually just now fixed it by going back to a restore point using the Recovery Disk. The problem appears to have happened Friday afternoon, so I can safely assume that the problem was with the file my roommate requested.

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The "please wait" screen is commonly stuck due to a window behind it waiting for confirmation (simply a "click OK" type deal). I'd recommend editing the registry from the offline NT password and registry editor (make sure you back it up first), and turning off all of the applications scheduled to run at startup. They are found in these entries:

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run]
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce]
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunServices]
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunServicesOnce]
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\Userinit]

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run]
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce]
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunServices]
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunServicesOnce]
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Windows]

Then Vista should boot but none of your startup programs will load. You can use the regular registry once again or msconfig to re-enable the programs selectively one by one. I'd recommend only enabling them if you're familiar with what program they are associated with. Less programs running on startup provides for a faster system anyway.

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If you'd prefer to wipe the hard drive and re-install Vista (the only sure way to be virus free!), you can use a Linux live CD (ubuntu is recommended as being fairly straightforward) to access the Vista partition to back up files.

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