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Windows XP freezes on loading up

Posted on 2004-08-09
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Last Modified: 2016-10-27
Hi experts,
I'm using XP Home on a laptop which has AVG virus guard and Zone Alarm installed. It's about 6 months old and has given no trouble like this before.

Yesterday I got an unusual message when sending/receiving my mail, which I didn't look at too carefully, but I thought it was an AVG message concerning not being able to initialise something, and the E-mail wasn't updated. So I thought rebooting the computer would probably fix the problem, but it was just the start of it!

On restarting, Windows XP screens appear as normal as far as the logon screen. I'm the only user and I don't set a password, so I just hit enter here. The window then comes up saying "loading your personal settings" as usual, but then the screen goes blank (all blue) and the computer stops loading Windows. However the cursor still responds to the touchpad. If I leave it, I see a few flashes of the hard disk light, and then everything seems to stop.

There's an occasional little flicker of the hard disk light, and then after a couple of minutes I get a Windows tune and the light flashes a few more times, but the screen is still blank.

If I press Ctrl+Al+Del, nothing happens for about 20-30 seconds, and then Task Manager appears. There are 19 processes running, and the memory usage values shown change occasionally. On the Performance tab, the CPU usage is zero apart from a spike a few minutes previously.

I don't have any Windows XP CDs as the laptop came preloaded, I was just able to buy the reload CD that resets everything to how it was delivered. Si if push comes to shove I can initialise the machine with the rebuild CD and then load back an Acronis image (assuming it works - I've not tried it before!) but I'll lose a few weeks' work since I last did an image, so I'd very much like to avoid all that.

Can anyone please suggest what's wrong and how to fix it?



Thanks,

Stuart
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Question by:StuartOrd
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47 Comments
 
LVL 2

Assisted Solution

by:vet716
vet716 earned 50 total points
ID: 11755861
Stuart,

Sounds like malware or a virus interupting your profile while it's loading.

Boot into safemode and run a virus scan.  To do this you need to press F8 at the initial windows XP screen (black screen with green bar) then select Safe Mode out of the list of boot options.

If you are not able to find anything, or if you are also not able to boot into safemode.  You may want to try booting the last known good configuration from this same list.
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LVL 21

Assisted Solution

by:gemarti
gemarti earned 50 total points
ID: 11756084
It may be this documented problem:

Blank Screen or Operating System Cannot Load Profile at Logon
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;EN-US;162031
0
 

Author Comment

by:StuartOrd
ID: 11756333
vet716,

Thanks for your reply. I've tried that and got the list of options you described.

When I tried safe mode, I got a screen full of lines referring to Windows system files, presumably being loaded. Then it sat around for a couple of minutes, and then loaded into safe mode but with a blank screen apart from "Safe mode" in the corners and build information on the top edge. I can get Task Manager again, now showing 10 processes running, but nothing else.

When I tried last known good config, again I went back to the blue screen as initially described, and got the tune after a few minutes, then nothing. I've left this for 15 minutes now and it hasn't changed. Task manager shows 19 process running again.

I've tried debugging mode but you can guess the result.

0
 

Author Comment

by:StuartOrd
ID: 11756385
Gemarti,

Yes, that sounds just like my problem. However, the article doesn't give any clues how to implement the solution! Can you help with that please?

The lik says  "The %SystemRoot% folder, and possibly its subfolders, has had READ permission for the Everyone group removed. If the permission has been removed from the %SystemRoot% folder only, you will get the blank screen symptom. If the subfolders do not have the READ permission, you receive the "Cannot load profile" error message.

This error may also occur if "Read" permission has been removed for the root of the system partition.
RESOLUTION
Restore "Read" permissions for the Everyone group to the Windows_folder folder and all its subfolders. "

If I can't get anything on the screen, how can I restore these permissions?
If I do get the screen back somehow, how do you restore permissions? It's not something I've done before.

0
 
LVL 2

Expert Comment

by:billyea
ID: 11756470
I gotta admit, big probs.
What 9 processes were cancelled when you ran safemode? To figure out, make a list of taskmanager before and after safemode.
Then we'll see if one of the process is malware.
0
 

Author Comment

by:StuartOrd
ID: 11756906
OK, the processes running in normal mode were:
sqlservr.exe
mdm.exe although this terminates itself and disappears from the list after a while
cdac11ba.exe
avgserv.exe (anti virus guard I guess)
alg.exe
spoolsv.exe
svchost.exe - 5 of these were running all with the same name, 1 being local services, 1 network services, and 3 system (2*)
lsass.exe *
services.exe *
winlogon.exe *
csrss.exe *
taskmngr.exe *
smss.exe *
vsmm.exe
system *
system idle process *


All say CPU00 except the last one which says CPU99

The ones marked with the asterisk were running in safe mode, the others were missing
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Expert Comment

by:billyea
ID: 11757347
Hmm, doesn't look like any unknown processes, although malware can duplicate itself onto the good processes.
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Assisted Solution

by:billyea
billyea earned 100 total points
ID: 11757375
Well, this is risky. I had a SIMILAR instance happen before, but the screen didn't turn blue.
Ok let me get this straight. Windows still loads  (it doesn't stop) while the screen is still blank.
So that means you just don't see winodws, but it's loading anyway (you hear the tune).

This could be the fault of the graphics driver being too advanced for your monitor (or vice versa). I'm not sure why the screen would turn blue.

Usually when the screen turns blue it says a message. Since you can't capture it with printscrn you must capture the image of the blue screen with a camera at JUST THE RIGHT time. Then read the message and post it up here.

I know it's hard work, i solved my problem by replacing the monitor with a new one but I guess you don't want to spend alot of money.
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LVL 9

Expert Comment

by:tosh9iii
ID: 11757418
Have you tried a system restore?

I know that you said you couldn't see anything, but the fact that you heard a tune, makes it sound like that Windows was able to load up, the only problem is that you can't see it.

If you're willing to try, I can help you.  It'll be like using your computer while your screen is off.

Even though, I don't know if it'll work, I for one have never tried System Restore before.

what do you think billyea or gemarti ?
0
 
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Expert Comment

by:billyea
ID: 11757482
I can help assist him, I mean, system restore isn't that bad, but I want to know what the blue screen says first.
System restore = last measure or was it Reformat?
0
 

Author Comment

by:StuartOrd
ID: 11757582
Billea,
Whilst it sounds like Windows is loading, if so it's very slow - it just seems to stop after you log on, and the tune comes about a minute or so later, not the 5-10 seconds that's usual. Normal loading causes lots of hard disk activity as all the background programs like Zone Alarm, battery manager, AVG, Winamp and all the rest load up - that's not happening. There's no taskbar or anything.
I've tried double clicking on the desktop where I know there are (or rather, should be) icons for programs, but nothing happens. So I think Windows hasn't loaded and the screen's OK.
Often I use a second monitor as an extension to the desktop and I've tried that now. Normally it duplicates all the Windows screens coming on the internal screen during startup, and then goes blue when windows finishes loading up, ready for program windows to be dragged over to it. It does that now (except obviously I can't drag anything to it). The cursor moves between the screens as usual. The cursor looks the right size on both screens.
ALso if it's any help, F1 doesn't bring up any help, and the keyboard does respond to numlock and caps lock.
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Author Comment

by:StuartOrd
ID: 11757598
Oh, and I'm sure there's no message being sent to the screen other than the ones I've described, even transiently
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Expert Comment

by:billyea
ID: 11757610
Have you captured a picture of the blue screen? What does it say?
When your 'Windows' starts up (or seems to, we'll figure that out), and all activity has ceased, press the Windows key, then 'U' then 'Right Arrow' key and 'Enter'. If the computer shuts off after a while then Windows has started up and is responding to input.

Otherwise it might be a driver problem. Do a repair installation (I believe a Cd came with the box).
Toshii might be able to shed light on Repair Install, but give me some points too! :)
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Author Comment

by:StuartOrd
ID: 11757728
No response to Window / up / right / enter, or Windows / up / enter / enter. However Cntrl+Alt+Del always brings up the Task Manager as normal. I've watched it very carefully and there are no other messages being sent to the screen.(either one)
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Author Comment

by:StuartOrd
ID: 11757742
Can I get it to start under DOS so that I can copy to floppy all files I remember working on since the last image was taken so that I'll lose less when (if) I restore the system?
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Expert Comment

by:billyea
ID: 11757761
Not unless you buy dos.
I reccomend Linux, just install it on any spare partition.
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Author Comment

by:StuartOrd
ID: 11757795
OK. I'll see if I can find an old DOS. It's real late here and so I'm turning in. If anyone has any ideas I'd welcome them in the morning!
Stuart
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Expert Comment

by:gemarti
ID: 11758224
Open up the Help and Support and search for "Cacls"
This command line tool can help you restore permissions to your computer files if this is truly the problem.
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Expert Comment

by:billyea
ID: 11758617
I'm sorry bemarti, but don't you remeber that he doesn't have access to his computer (or REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY limited access). I think an older operating system that doesn't use the windows system should REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY work.
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LVL 9

Accepted Solution

by:
tosh9iii earned 300 total points
ID: 11758722
StuartOrd, the next time you hit Ctrl-Alt-Delte, make sure the Application Tab is selected, Click on File>New Task (run)>Type Msconfig

If you can get that far, and are able to see something, then click on Launch System Restore.  It's up to you if you want to restore you system to a previous date.
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Expert Comment

by:billyea
ID: 11758731
GUYS! REMEMBER! HIS COMPUTER WONT RUN! HE CAN'T SEE HIS SCREEN. HOW IS HE SUPPOSED TO DO THIS????
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Expert Comment

by:tosh9iii
ID: 11759087
He said that he can see the Task Manager, that's how.
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Author Comment

by:StuartOrd
ID: 11759993
Thanks guys - I'll try tosh9iii's suggestion this evening when I get home - sounds hopeful!
Stuart
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Author Comment

by:StuartOrd
ID: 11766011
Hi guys,

I've tried tosh9iii's suggestion and made some progress.

First the bad news. Running system restore brought up a blank window but no action like offering restore points that I've created in the past. I've tried a few alternatives from the options in Systems Configuration Utility, and none did anything much. Once I got a message "Need to restart for your changes to take effect" and it did, but it went back to the normal problem.

Now the good news. If I click Browse from the Create New Task box, I can browse all the folders and files on the PC. If I select an exe file and run it, the application loads and runs in a window quite normally. If I select say a Word document, then Word loads up as normal in a new window. SO most things seem to be there - it's the Desktop that's missing, and I guess the delay before I get the windows tune etc is some timeput process.

I've plugged in my USB mouse and it's working normally.

Can these clues help us?

Stuart
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Author Comment

by:StuartOrd
ID: 11766614
I meant TIMEOUT process!
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Expert Comment

by:tosh9iii
ID: 11767235
If you can rund Word, then you should be able to run other programs like Antivirus or spyware or Adaware right?  Try that.

One more thing, after you try the above stuff, go to RUN and type in Control to see if you can get to Control panel.  From there, check out system>Hardware>device manager.  Tell us if anything has a yellow mark.

By the way, do you have another partition on your hard drive.  it's just that this might be a good time to copy your personal files to another place.
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Author Comment

by:StuartOrd
ID: 11768091
Good idea. I tried to run AVG but it said a "DLL could not be registered". There seems to be a problem with the registry as I got another similar message previously.

Just the word "control" doesn't work - do you know the path to it?

I've found that my external hard drive work OK so I've copied over all my working files to get the recently-modified ones to safety. With luck a system rebuild now won't be much of a problem provided it works. As everything is actually there though it would be a shame to do that.
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Expert Comment

by:billyea
ID: 11768415
you mean the registry element named 'control' doesn't work?
I'm no computer expert myself but I'm sure that if you use the 'Find' box and type 'control' you may find it.
C:\Windows\regedit.exe\Edit\Find

I found an activeX 'control' but then again, my computer isn't the same as yours.
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Expert Comment

by:tosh9iii
ID: 11768554
"do you know the path to it?"

Not exactly, but I do know a way around it.

Go back to New Task (RUN)>Browse

WHere it says "Look in" make sure that it says Dekstop.

Now you should be able to see "My Computer" listed with the rest of the things on your desktop.

Right Click on My computer>Manage>Event Viewer>

Carefully look over the things in Application Security and System and try to make a note of when your computer crashed.  This might help us determine what happened.

You can also access device manager from there (Computer Managment).
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Author Comment

by:StuartOrd
ID: 11771308
Hi,

I got as far as clicking event manager, but then got a MS Management COnsole message "MMC failed to initialise because it was installed incorrectly or because a portion of the registry has becme corrupted. Make sure the file Mmcndmgr.dll is registered by running "regsvr32%SystemRoot%\system32\mmcndmgr.dll" "

I've searched for this file and found it in C:\windows\system32\, in C:\windows\dllcache\, and in c:\windows\servicepackfiles\i386\

If I double click the file name I get a health warning and I need to cancel or specify which program to run it with. What should I use?

I can't see device manager for this reason too.

0
 

Author Comment

by:StuartOrd
ID: 11771466
Under C:\Windows\system32 I've found a subdirectory \restore\. In it there arelog files and a file rstrui.exe. Running the latter gives the error "System restore is not able to protect your computer. Please restart and then run System Restore again." so I guess this must be the restore program.
Are these log files any use?
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Author Comment

by:StuartOrd
ID: 11771476
Is there such a thing as Windows XP disks that can re-install Win XP in top of the existing without losing the setup? I seem to remember we could do that with Win98
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Expert Comment

by:tosh9iii
ID: 11777853
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Expert Comment

by:tosh9iii
ID: 11777921
http://www.pcbanter.net/archive/index.php/t-32079.html

There might be one other solution, but it could end up crashing your system, in which case you'll have no choice but to format and reinstall.

what I'm suggesting is to download Service Pack 2.  It most likely has all of those replacement files updated and so on.  It could fix your computer completely, or during installation it could freeze up on you, and the next thing you know, you can't even log into Windows, or it won't make a difference at all.

Give it some thought, to be honest I think it'll probably freeze up during installation, but you might get lucky.
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Expert Comment

by:tosh9iii
ID: 11777932
As for the CD that can reinstall Win XP on top of the existing one, well you can only do that with a Windows XP CD that you said that you don't have since it came preinstalled.
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Author Comment

by:StuartOrd
ID: 11778818
Hi again,
regsvr32 mmcndmgr.dll gave a "succeeded" message but running event manager again still failed with this "corrupted registry" error. Similarly devmgmt.msc failed.

I know I don't have the CDs but I thought if that held out hope then I'd try to borrow some from the shop I got it from.

I'll download service pack 2 - nothing to lose now! Thanks for your help - I'll let you know how I get on and then deal with the points.

Stuart
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Author Comment

by:StuartOrd
ID: 11778849
Ah, seems like Service Pack 2 isn't available yet for a single computer, and I'm not on a network. Looks like I'm stuck.
0
 
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Expert Comment

by:tosh9iii
ID: 11779115
what do you mean?

The only real difference between the installation pack and the single user one is the size of the download.  In the end, you get the same result

If you have broadband, go to this website and download it

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=049C9DBE-3B8E-4F30-8245-9E368D3CDB5A&displaylang=en

However, don't you have any friends who can lend you the CD?  Even though, I'm not sure if you'll get an error message saying whether or not it's the original cd.
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Expert Comment

by:billyea
ID: 11780801
toshii are you sure that SP2 will solve the problem at all, It wont replace files it will just make new ones, wont it? :0
I'm just looking at the worst case,
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Expert Comment

by:tosh9iii
ID: 11781100
billyea, we've tried just about everything, installing the Service Pack is basically a "last resort" next to formatting the drive.

But, if you have any other ideas, I'm sure Stuart will be glad to listen.
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Expert Comment

by:billyea
ID: 11789016
Yeah, i think formatting the drive would work. Oh and there IS one more way, next to getting SP2. Stuart may ask any friends if they have a Windows XP disk, or (this is gonna be hard), request a copy of THEIR registry, this might patch it up, or it might completely destroy the computer (nuh uh, never happened to me before, nope :)
Anyway, in my part of the world (Canada), it isn't availiable. So these might be good tactics to do meanwhile. If you don't live in Canada, and SP2 is there, go ahead, snap up the offer.
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Expert Comment

by:tosh9iii
ID: 11789913
billyea, what does living in Canada have to do with installing SP2?  I was under the impression that it'd work for anybody in the world.
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Expert Comment

by:billyea
ID: 11790206
no, in my area SP2 isn't availiable, I hope he doesn't live in my area if he goes ahead and tries it.
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Author Comment

by:StuartOrd
ID: 11791776
Well, SP2 downloaded fine (1.5 hours!) but failed to run on the laptop. So I decided enough was enough, time to insert the Rebuild CD, and guess what - it failed to run. Maybe the computer doesn't like me. Anyway, I'm off to the shop this afternoon to see what they can do. What a pain. I'd love to know what did it.
Now for points.
tosh9iii seems to have given me the most help and got me able to browse and pick up the files that I'd modified since the last image, so I'll declare you as the accepted answer even though we failed to solve it
billyea has also given lots of help so wuill get a good share
vet716 pointed me to F8 which was new to me - thanks!
genati also helped - all help is appreciated!
Cheers to all
Stuart
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Expert Comment

by:tosh9iii
ID: 11797770
Hey Stuart, I just wanted to say that I'm sorry we couldn't have been of more help.

But I was hoping you could do us a favor and let us know if and how the guys at the computer shop were able to fix your computer.

I'm very curious as to what caused the problem and what the best solution would be.

Good Luck

Tosh
0
 

Author Comment

by:StuartOrd
ID: 11803389
Unfortunately all they could do was supply the correct recover CD. That done I've now got my PC back to the state as bought originally, and I'm trying to rebuild it using an Acronis image. Alas that's giving me problems now so I'm trying to sort that. The original problem will be a mystery forever as the hard drive has been formatted in the recover process. Computers - don't we love 'em?!
Stuart
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by:billyea
ID: 11827996
Good job :)
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