My Windows XP computer has suddenly started hanging on startup. I get to the login screen, then after logging in my background wallpaper appears, but nothing else. No taskbar, no icons, and no response to Ctrl+Alt+Del.

It may be related to the fact that I have recently installed a second HDD with Win 2008 server. When I boot up on Win2k8 it all works fine, and I can access my WinXP drive. I also used to be able to boot up into WinXP, but I went on holiday for a few weeks, leaving the computer switched on in Win2k8 mode, and when I got back, I could no longer boot into WinXP.

Any ideas?


  • 1
    Can you boot into safe mode? It sounds like an issue with explorer.exe not launching correctly, but if you can't CTRL+ALT+DEL either you may have a more serious issue. See if you can get into safe mode and check event viewer.
    – JNK
    Aug 11, 2010 at 18:04
  • Related: superuser.com/questions/235362/… Oct 5, 2011 at 17:03

3 Answers 3


There could be a bunch of different things wrong with it, but probably a sure fire easy way to fix it would be to run a repair install of Windows. It will keep all your files and programs, but it will reinstall all the windows files so any corruptions or missing files will be fixed.

You need a Windows XP CD to do this.

Here are the instructions. It's about half way down the page.


Boot it in safe-mode. If you find "restore", it would be the perfect option. Use SpyBot antivirus to check for virus related problems, slowing down the PC.

Maybe some Windows files were deleted, through some virus activities, but try to restore. If it succeeds, then use antivirus software to scan the PC.


It could be a lot of things. My first suggestion is to make a backup of the important things in the WinXP HD. And disconnect the Win2008 HD.

Then you could try to use Windows XP Recovery Mode to see if it can restore Windows.

One way to try to find what is causing this is to turn logging on by pressing F8 during boot and selecting the proper option.

I already got this behavior when dealing with faulty hardware drivers so I could enter into safe mode and restore things.

Hope this helps.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.