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I'm trying to fix my brother's Dell laptop for him. He originally was unable to get into Windows (the screen would display "NTLDR not found" after boot), so I was able to repair the Windows XP installation from the Reinstallation disc that came with the system.

After restoring Windows from the disc, the system seems to work completely fine - that is, for just the first boot into Windows (the one that occurs after the initial Windows installation, when the setup program restarts your PC). On any subsequent boot into Windows, the system freezes about 60-90 seconds after startup - no response to keyboard or trackpad input.

  • Is it possible that a missing Dell driver could cause this type of behavior? (If so, why is the initial boot into Windows after the reinstallation ok?)
  • What types of problems could cause a hard freeze like this? Could it be hardware related? (again, if this is the case, I'm really stumped on why the initial boot into Windows is fine)
  • Can anyone offer any sort of tips as to what to look into to identify the cause?
  • Or are there so many different possible types of causes to this problem that this question is essentially unanswerable?
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did you restore to factory default (and wiping the entire content of the hard drive in the process) or did you do a repair installation? –  Molly7244 Dec 8 '09 at 1:32
    
repair installation. did not wipe old data. –  matt b Dec 8 '09 at 1:36
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1 Answer

up vote 1 down vote accepted
  1. Boot into safe mode. remove as many programs from startup as possible. Turn off as many windows services possible. Disable everything you don't need to test the startup (including disabling optional hardware).
  2. Start windows in normal mode.
  3. Turn on each windows service you disabled earlier. Wait 30 seconds between turning on each. Do the same for all your programs

A missing driver shouldn't cause a hang. A missing driver will just cause the hardware to be, well, missing.

The freeze could be hardware related. However, since it only occurs after some time, i think its most likely some software program causing problem during startup.

(i am assuming your computer is virus free, it might be a good idea to run Microsoft malware removal tool once you get the computer booted)

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