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Windows 2000 crashes at logon screen! Help?

Posted on 2004-04-17
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Last Modified: 2010-04-13
I turn on the computer. It goes through POST fine, it goes through the Win2K startup sequence fine. I see the "Press CTRL-ALT-DEL' screen that precedes the name/password entrance screen. I can move my mouse, click the help dialog, everything works great.

Until I try to press a key on the keyboard. Any keyboard input causes the machine to freeze. Mouse locks, keyboard lights (numlock, etc.) stop responding, the works. It does this in normal mode AND safe mode. I have tried multiple keyboards, they all have the same result.

I really need to access this machine, if only to make backups. I don't have another machine handy to swap the drive into. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!
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Question by:vagabondgaijinsama
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by:sirbounty
ID: 10851771
Can you boot into Recovery Console?

http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=229716
http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=216417

http://is-it-true.org/nt/nt2000/atips/atips71.shtml

Repair Windows 2000: http://www.windowsreinstall.com/install/textonly/repair2k.htm

This is for XP, but the principle should apply for 2k.  Use as a last resort, since you might potentially lose your installed programs and need to reinstall them...http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=307545&
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by:RevelationCS
ID: 10862737
You could also try burning the bootable CD version of linux (http://www.knoppix.net/) to see if you can access your data. It does not install on your hard drive and boots soley from a CD so you can access the data.  Have you installed any new hardware or software recently on the computer? Could be an issue with that if you did...
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Author Comment

by:vagabondgaijinsama
ID: 10864023
I tried the Win2K CD repair option, that didn't work, but it was a great idea. I tried both the knoppix and ERD Commander boot discs, and that was able to let me backup some of my critical data. Also, I upped the point value for this issue from 125 to 210 to anyone who can tell me what happened/how to restore this PC to it's normal working condition. No new software or hardware was added between shutting down and next reboot, when it began showing these symptoms.
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by:vagabondgaijinsama
ID: 10864031
Hrm, had more points than I thought.... New value is 325.
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RevelationCS earned 325 total points
ID: 10864946
well, based on what you are describing, it is a possibility of three things...

1. memory or some other form of hardware issue
2. something with your windows installation was corrupted (possibly bad sectors on the hard disk could cause this)
3. the computer was infected by a virus

without being able to log into windows, it is going to be hard to troubleshoot what actually happened. have you made any changes recently to either hardware or software on the computer?
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by:sirbounty
ID: 10865071
Could you get into Recovery Console at all?
You might try removing all non-essential hardware components (extra memory, sound card, modem, network card, etc)
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by:RevelationCS
ID: 10865095
what sirbounty mentioned with removing non-essential hardware will help determine if there is a failing hardware device. Once you have all non-essential hardware removed, try booting the machine to see if you are able to boot successfully. if you are able to do so, try adding the removed hardware back into the computer one component at a time, attempting to boot the machine and login to windows afterwards. Keep doing this until you find a component that causes the computer to crash as it was above. if with all non-essential components removed the computer continues to perform as listed above, it could be an essential component that might be failing
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by:RevelationCS
ID: 10865099
bah! clicked the wrong key and forgot to add in that if it might not be an essential hardware component even if it still does crash with only essential hardware in.
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Author Comment

by:vagabondgaijinsama
ID: 10909279
It turned out to be one of the sticks of memory went south... Who'd have thought that a bad memory stick would allow a boot, but not a login?!? Not me, anyhoo.... Thank you all for your help. I appreciate the quick replies...
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