Friend's Computer cannot goto windows and cannot enter BIOS

I have a friend who has a P3 computer and uses Windows XP Professional but as for the other details on his computer like his motherboard etc etc, he cannot remember.

Anyway, when he starts his computer, he cannot be brought to Windows but is instead brought to MS-DOS.However before that, he suspects a message was displayed but he is unable to see the message displayed as it was a quick flash.

When he tries to enter his BIOS system, it asks him for a disk and unfortunately does not know what disks to input and neither do my other friends.

When he tries to format his C: in MS-DOS, it displays that it is a bad command.
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1) Windows XP does NOT contain MSDOS and does NOT have the capability to boot to DOS.  Therefore:

a) Your friend's computer does not really have XP installed but rather Win9x or MSDOS.
b) You are confusing the XP recovery console with MSDOS or MSDOS mode.

The fact that you get an ERROR when trying to run FORMAT is a tipoff to me that you are in the XP recovery console.

Please clarify what your real situation is.  For information on how to use the XP recovery console, see:

Most likely you'll want to use the FIXBOOT and/or FIXMBR commands since there seems to be a booting problem.
Sam CohenConsultant to Digital/DeveloperCommented:
does it just boots to c: ,what is the error message?
after com boots up
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YongXAuthor Commented:
Ok, thanks jhance and all4artz.

Now, i have got more from my friend.

Firstly, when he starts the comp the comp boots up and a message appears, saying, "We apologise for the inconvenience, Windows did not start properly due to some recent hardware or software changes"
then, he is brought to a menu asking him to choose one of 5 different options with a timer

They are : (1)Start windows normally
                (2)Safe mode with networking
                (3)safe mode with command prompt
                (4)Start with last known good confighuration
                (5)Normal safe mode
OR if the timer finishes counting down, the comp reboots.

All of them would goto scandisk and it reboots the comp and goes back to the same menu with the 5 options again.

However, options (2) & (3) does not scan disk, instead, lines of words appear and keep going up until the computer hangs.
Forcing my friend to restart the comp manually.

Next, as for the MSDOS thing, my friend is not too sure but i forgot one important point.
He inserted the Start-Up disk first before being brougt to a command prompt that does not have anything but 'A:>' and when he tries 'FIXBOOT' or 'FIXMBR', 'bad command' appears.
So, jhance, i am not sure if it is XP recovery console cuz it does not give me any vlue.
Also, when he inserts the disk, it just brings him straight to 'A:>', pressing F10 or R does not help.

Also, the start-up disk my friend uses was created from somone else's computer.
That somone uses XP Professional too.
And to all4arrtz question, i am afraid i cannot answer it as the error was just a quick glance.

I hope the above information helps and thanks for the help.
Sam CohenConsultant to Digital/DeveloperCommented:
 use the winxp cdrom.....boot up from cdrom
(make sure the boot sequence is set to initate cdrom "first", this is located in bios)
now when the comp starts it will boot from cdrom first (with winxp cd in) then hit any key to enter the boot when when you get to winxp setup screen hit "R" to get to the recovery once you get the command prompt "C:" type :  chkdsk /r
this will take about 30min.....after finish type: EXit
now comp will restart into windows normally :}
Generally, if you boot with a DOS or windows 9X boot floppy you'll end up at the A:\>_ prompt and that's it. You're then in "DOS" and nothing
else. If you want to access computer BIOS setup, you must do this before your operating system starts to load, by hitting F10 or F2 or whatever
key your system uses.
YongXAuthor Commented:
Sorry all4artz but i mentioned earlier that my friend cannot access the BIOS as he has to insert some diskette into it. Not any diskette though but something of relevance and my friend has no idea.

YongXAuthor Commented:
Ok rid but does that mean my friend got a wrong startup disk? Cuz he did make a startup disk from another comp using WinXP, the same OS he is using.
Is this a Compaq? If so you need some sort of software package to rebuild the BIOS setup partition on the hard drive.
YongXAuthor Commented:
No, it is a Fujitsu but after a certain time he changed his motherboard to a AMD Athlon.
Are you sure that it is XP that he has installed?  XP doesn't run scandisk on bootup, and the bootup menu isn't the same.  Try to boot up into safemode & remoe whatever hardware he may have added recently....on that same note, when did the computer stop working?  See if he has more details
YongXAuthor Commented:
Yes rustyrpage, it is a XP Professional insalled.
As for the new hardware installed, it was last year, 2002, during june .
Also, i mentioned earlier that if he chose any of the options, the computer would scandisk and reboot the computer.
Please refer to the messages which i have posted earlier.
This is all very confusing. I think there may be 2 problems here:

Your friend cannot access BIOS setup, because the wrong method is used. Asking for a disk in this situation does not make sense (to me, anyway) as most proper setup programs are self-contained in the BIOS itself. You only need to press the correct key(s) during POST and you should be getting into the setup screen. Some Compaq's are sad exceptions to this.... If he needs to get into the BIOS setup, he should put a non-system disk or a DOS/win9X disk in the FDD and try out the proper key combo for enetering the setup. Or read the manual...

The other problem may be a crashed XP installation. You may have to boot from the install CD and repair your O/S.

YongXAuthor Commented:
I have to admit that this is all very confusing and apologise for that.

Ok, rid concerning  your latest comment, my friend says that he is prompted to insert a disk when he presses the key to enter the BIOS setup. Also, he cannot boot the startup disk from the CD-ROM cuz he cannot even go into BIOS.

Anyway, he just heard from his uncle that he might have to download some files from a website called '' or something like that to load his BIOS.

I will try to update u all tomorrow.
No need to apologise - some situations are confusing...

I find this "disk" business quite odd. The manual for the MB should clearly state what needs to be done to enter BIOS setup. Using a disk for this is nothing I have ever encountered (exception - Compaq, but it is not quite like that either). If you are thinking about a BIOS upgrade ("flash"), this is something quite different and, yes, it needs a disk. BUT for changing the boot sequence, a BIOS upgrade is not needed.

Well, we'll see what happens.
YongXAuthor Commented:
Ok, he downloaded the files , load it onto his computer but nothing happened.Instead a message appears telling him that the file could not be found.

Oh well, he is considering buying a new motherboard , again.

Do u all think this could be due to the motherboard ?
I would not begin with buying new hardware. My guess is that this is an O/S crash and your friend needs to figure out how to access the BIOS setup properly. BIOS very seldom asks for a disk.... not until POST is finished and it starts looking for an operating system,anyway.

He could try disconnecting all hard drives and leaving only the floppy drive attached and then try to boot. If there is a message about "Missing operating system" or something to that effect, the mobo is probably quite OK. Next step, try a DOS bootable floppy and see if the computer can boot at all.

If he is using an USB keyboard, this may prevent access to BIOS as those KB's sometimes require a driver that loads from the O/S.


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YongXAuthor Commented:
My friend thinks there could be some corruption with his OS, is this possible ?

And RID, concerning your method, my friend does not seem to be willing to use it, sorry.

Also, are there any more information you all need?
">> My friend thinks there could be some corruption with his OS, is this possible ?"

Definitely. Far more probable than a mobo dysfunction.

I suggest he think over the keyboard situation. Otherwise I cannot give more help about this. Getting into BIOS setup is the key.
YongXAuthor Commented:
Sorry RID, his keyboard ain't USB.
OK. I'm out of ideas for now.
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