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Old 04. Nov 2014, 02:15 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Windows XP not booting

I made an awful boo boo

I had bought a computer of a family I know to see if it worked fine.

Well, I had done all the work on it, and it was almost ready. As I have posted on another thread, I was struggling to find an antivirus for it. I had installed Avast, but it was slowing the computer down a lot. I decided to uninstall it, and just go with MCShield on the computer.

After uninstalling Avast successfully from Add/Remove, I then decided to run the Avast Removal Tool.

Since the removal tool only works in Safe Mode, I decided to boot to Safe Mode. However, when I tried to boot into Safe Mode, every time it shows a list of files, and then it would just reboot. I tried different options for safe mode, like simple, with networking, and command prompt. None works.

If you run the Avast Removal Tool from normal mode, what it does is, it gives the message that the tool has to run in Safe Mode, and it gives the option to run in Safe Mode and to do that, you have to click on Yes, after which it reboots the computer in Safe Mode. I have done that in Windows 8.1 (my computer) successfully, and it works. I decided to try this here too. That's the mistake I made. When I did that, the computer just rebooted, and then tried to boot to safe mode, but couldn't and rebooted again.

And after that, the PC does not boot even in normal mode. It just shows the white loading bar of XP and then just reboots.

I think the Avast Removal Tool trying to boot it in safe mode is putting into that loop.

How to solve this problem?

I do not have the XP CD for this computer. I however do have an XP CD of mine with me. I tried to boot the computer with it, to try to do something from recovery console, but I do not get that option.

Also, I noticed something else when I booted with the XP CD, that the C: drive is FAT32, whereas other three partitions on the driver are NTFS. Obviously some mistake by someone who installed the OS originally.

Anyways, how can the problem be solved?

If I am unable to restore, then I was also thinking of a reinstall. However, I cannot find the website for the motherboard manufacturer. So, I am in doubt.

The motherboard is Consistent ZX-I945LM4.

However, earlier, I did note down the individual components for the video, audio and network using software like HWInfo32, and Belarc Advisor. I located the drivers using those individual components. So, should it work?

Here are the components.

Video: Intel 9245G Express Chipset.
Downloaded from Intel site.

Audio: Realtek HD Audio AC662.
Adapter: Intel 82801GB ICH7 HD Audio

Downloaded the driver for this from Realtek. Seems like its generic for XP.

Network: Realtek RTL8102E/RTL8103E Family driver

Downloaded this from Realtek site too.

I have Wondershare LiveBoot CD with me, which was obtained for free via an offer long time back, and it's a useful CD. However, I couldn't find any option in there to deal with this problem.

I thought of UBCD, and I looked at the list of tools and was unable to locate any tool for dealing with startup files... which is where I think the trouble is.

My thinking is that if I can get access to the startup list, or msconfig, then I can somehow solve this problem.

I am currently downloading Hiren's Boot CD, which does seem to have startup tools, and also CCleaner. Something from that CD should work.

So, that's my plan for now.

Any other suggestion by which I can solve this problem?

I have posted this on TechGuy forum too, btw.
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Old 04. Nov 2014, 02:57 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I don't have a magic answer. However, I'd encourage you to check out Tweaking.com (http://www.tweaking.com/) to see if there might be a utility there that could help. There are tons of cool little utilities there and one might be what you need.
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Old 04. Nov 2014, 03:16 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks Kendall, but those utilities are for installation and at this time, the computer is not even booting.
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Old 04. Nov 2014, 06:35 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Well, I was able to solve the issue, yay!

Booted with Hiren's Boot CD. Booted into Mini XP, which has loads of useful programs.

First, I used Autoruns. It has the ability to scan offline system too, and so, using it, I was able to delete the entry for Avast Removal Tool. I had deleted the file before, using another CD, hoping that it would remove the startup entry too, but apparently, it wasn't removed. Anyways, I removed it, but the computer still refused to boot.

Before that, I had noticed that in boot.ini, it contained an argument for safe boot. So, I again ran Hiren's CD, and then surprisingly, I was able to run Msconfig directly from the C: drive by going to its location. Previously, I had tried that with Wondershare LiveBoot CD, but was unsuccessful, as it asked to be run as administrator here. No such issues with Hiren's CD.

I was able to remove the Safe Boot checkbox in msconfig, and that solved the issue, and the computer was able to boot up.

So, I will not be reinstalling Windows for now.

I will ask the family first, and then take proper backup of disk and partitions with an imaging tool, before attempting to reinstall Windows.

In fact, I had made images for these using Aomei Backupper, but then I thought that the computer is working fine now, so I should delete these backups. Bad decision. Was kicking myself for doing that. Would have saved me some trouble. Anyways, this was a good learning experience .

I will recommend Hiren's Boot CD to keep in your toolbox. It has got great number of useful tools, which can be a life saver. Also, earlier it had the issue that some programs were included without proper permission, but it seems they have got over that issue.

The problem still remains that the computer won't boot into safe mode. Any idea why, and how I can solve that? Can it be because of the system partition being FAT32, or no?
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Old 04. Nov 2014, 08:33 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I see you're getting help here:
http://forums.techguy.org/windows-xp...ails-boot.html
I hope you get it sorted.
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Old 04. Nov 2014, 09:18 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Glad to hear you got it working again. And thanks for sharing what you had to do too.

I did a search and found this article by Didier Stevens. His solution involves using a registry file. Also, although service pack 3 isn't mentioned, I downloaded the zip file and it does have a reg file for SP3 in it too. You may want to give it a try. Another thing you could do if you understand reg files is to open the file in Notepad and see which keys it changes. You can then compare the keys to those in your own registry.

P.S. I hope Melita reads this as it's a good real life demonstration of the use of bootable CD's.
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Old 05. Nov 2014, 08:04 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1002richards View Post
I see you're getting help here:
http://forums.techguy.org/windows-xp...ails-boot.html
I hope you get it sorted.
Yes, I had posted there, and I had mentioned about it in my earlier post here too. It's a great forum, and I have been member there for years now, even before I was a member here.
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Old 05. Nov 2014, 08:09 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe A.TT View Post
I did a search and found this article by Didier Stevens. His solution involves using a registry file. Also, although service pack 3 isn't mentioned, I downloaded the zip file and it does have a reg file for SP3 in it too. You may want to give it a try. Another thing you could do if you understand reg files is to open the file in Notepad and see which keys it changes. You can then compare the keys to those in your own registry.
Joe, I had come across that link yesterday itself, when I was looking for a solution to this problem. I came across similar link too, and had downloaded the registry file from there. Downloaded it from here too, and they look quite similar, maybe same.

But, I am unwilling to try this, as it involves changes to the registry. I opened the file, and it probably contains around 100 changes to the registry, of which I have no idea, and not possible to check so many entries.

The computer is very well ready from my side, and I will hand it over to the family for now. I am unwilling to make any changes at this stage, and risk a reinstall.

For now, I will just hand over the computer to them, and explain the situation... that a reinstall would be a good way to go. But, there will also be a risk because of the uncertainty of the drivers, since the motherboard site isn't available.

If they agree for a reinstall, then I can do this experiment before installing XP fresh.

Will also ask them for a RAM upgrade, which is only 512 MB now, and is not enough for smooth operation.
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Old 05. Nov 2014, 12:40 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Didier Stevens is a reputable source otherwise I wouldn't have posted it. Nevertheless, I do understand your reluctance to tamper with the registry. I hope everything works out. Good luck!
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Old 05. Nov 2014, 01:07 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I didn't know about the source, thanks .

Yes, not willing to try at this stage, after having gone through a problem recently, which took me quite some time to solve.

Thanks again .
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