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XP won't boot past "splash" screen

Posted on 2004-09-14
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XP system will not boot past the initial XP "color" screen.  Rolling back to a previous version did not work.  The system ends up with a black screen with just a white mouse pointer blinking.  The mouse will move around the screen so the system is not frozen but cannot see anything else because it's black.  

It will boot into the Safe Mode but gives just Safe Mode in white letters in each of the four corners and the blinking white mouse cursor.  It will go no further.  Have the 2 OEM discs (Drivers and Utilities, Applications) which came with the machine.  Booting from the Utilities disk and running diagnostics shows hardware to be all ok.  Neither of these discs appear to have an XP image and wonder if one was even provided since I have all the other discs.  Therefore, I am unable to do a XP reload.  
I booted from another system's XP disc and did a FIXMBR and FIXBOOT.  On FIXBOOT it indicated I had a corrupted boot sector and said it fixed it.  However, upon a reboot, the screen is the same as described above.  Any way to fix this without buying a new OS disc?  

 
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Question by:chuck53
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by:Fatal_Exception
ID: 12059893
What is the manufacturer of this machine?  Some place a hidden partition on the drive for a reinstallation of the OS, instead of giving you the Recovery CD...  (I really hate it when they do this..!!)
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by:ChiefoftheChiss
ID: 12060268
It almost sounds like the "explorer.exe" process isn't starting. Maybe try Ctrl+alt+del and in the applications TAB you'll see "new task"
A run dialoge box will hopefully appear and you can type "explorer.exe"
- Just a thought, I hope it works for you.
Also agree with Fatal Exception though you might hope that there is a "recovery partition" that you can reinstall OS from.
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by:davexnet
ID: 12061553
while using the recovery console, did you try chkdsk /p

Dave
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by:chuck53
ID: 12069715
Fatal- how do I look for a hidden partition if I missed it below- they all look to small to be that?  This particular machine is a Dell Dimension 4300S.  If I try to install Windows 2000 it shows a small FAT32 partition, a very large NTFS which is active and a 3rd partition for the Windows 2000 installer.  Should a FAT32 partition be there?... not sure why or how or if it could cause a problem.  I only used this 2000 disc to check the NTFS and partitions and exited setup.  Then, I used an XP disc from another machine to do the recovery consule (Note: this disc is XP Pro and the problem system is XP Home- any problems doing this?)

ChiefoftheChiss- when in the black screen with just the white mouse pointer showing, Ctrl+Alt+Del does not do anything with multiple attempts.  To even reboot requires a power cycle from the power switch (no reset).

Dave- I just ran chkdsk /p and it found an error and it appeared to correct it.  However, upon reboot and telling it to start Windows Normally, there is no change from the original problem (black screen with mouse pointer).

Help?
Chuck53

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by:ChiefoftheChiss
ID: 12070024
While Fatal is coming up with an answer for ya (since he is the guru to have responded) and while I'm thinking about it...

 Did you say the mouse cursor was actually blinking? i.e. flashing??

Have you considered installing XP Pro in directory other than the XP home one (should automatically update boot.ini so you can still boot to XP home someday) and using it's installation to rip the documents/saved material off?
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by:Fatal_Exception
ID: 12070077
I would need to know the manufacturer to find out the correct method of accessing a hidden partition and reinstalling..  It is usually available by using a specific hotkey...

Here is an instance of using an AMI hidden partition:

http://www.ami.com/support/doc/PreBoot-spec.pdf
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by:Fatal_Exception
ID: 12070118
Just in case you have a Dell:

I had forgot just how to do this with a Dell, but found a support link to a Dell system technician..  This was his response to the Dell Hidden Partition:

There does happen to an image restore utility on some OLDER dell models, that uses "zztop" as mentioned before.

Also.. recently we started placing a Ghost imaging utilty on some Dimension and Inspiron systems (that shipped after 7/15/2004) It will wipe your partition and restore it to factory, and is accessable by pressing Ctrl+F11 at the Dell Logo when the system starts up.

All other Systems WILL from factory have a hidden partition for the Diags, commonly referred to the "utility partition" you can get it by pressing F12.

FE
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by:chuck53
ID: 12071786
This particular machine is a Dell Dimension 4300S.  Manuf date (disk load, not BIOS) showed early 2002 (if I remember right) from chkdsk desc.   The black screen always has a mouse pointer (not blinking) which I can move around the screen if booting Windows normally.  If in Safe Mode, get all 4 corners saying Safe Mode with the same MousePointer and black screen.  Ctl+Alt+Del has no effect even with multiple retries.  Screen stays the same until a power cycle.  Splash screen is color.  Note: booting to Command Prompt shows a bunch of lines with an rdisc and files listed in them and then stops.  Never gets to a command prompt when selecting this option on boot.  I will be in front of this machine in the a.m. if you have more suggestions.  Unable to try any hot keys or hidden routines but mentioned above seem to be for newer productions.

thx,
Chuck53
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by:Fatal_Exception
ID: 12073326
Dell, some time ago, used the hidden partition and the command ZZTop to restore systems with that hidden partition.  It has been a long time for me, but from what I remember, you could use a W98 boot disk to access the C drive, then run the command ZZTop to access the image.  It is very possible that this image is not on your machine, but it may be worth the try.

I just read a thread in Dell support and it seems that Dell stopped creating the ZZtop image when they went to XP, and only recently started putting a restore image back on.  Reason was they sent out Recovery CD's with all their machines.  You may try calling Dell and requesting a replacement.  But here is the catch with calling Dell.  If you want action, do NOT call normal tech support (India).  Call corporate headquarters in Texas.  This is the only way you will get good customer service, as they can make a quick decision and will send you replacement Recovery CD's.

FE
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by:ChiefoftheChiss
ID: 12075570
Problem is if you try to use a win98 boot disk it wo't read the NTFS partition. I've heard of DOS NTFS "drivers", but never tried them.
When you say booting to command prompt are you referring to the "safe mode with command prompt" option in the F8 menu? Could you supply the line that it freezes on? (if it always freezes on the same one) Also what are we trying to do here? Are you trying to save the data on the thing? Do you have another Win2k/Win XP PC?
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by:chuck53
ID: 12075674
FE- Even though this is XP, I gave it a shoot & booted from a WIN98SE startup disk.  Running ZZtop from a c:/ prompt simply returned me back to the C:/ prompt.  While at the prompt, I ran FDISK to see the partitions .  It shows Partition 1 non active (blank), Non-DOS, no volume label and 31 MB, 0% useage.  Partition 2 is active, NTFS, 190554MB and 100% useage.  Running Chkdsk shows a Volume RAM-drive created 08-21-1991 1200a with 15 user files which, I take it, are loaded from the startup floppy disk into the RAM drive partition.  Does this look normal?

All-
If I cannot find a restore disc (from Dell per F.E.'s suggestion, or elsewhere- surely there are other sources for restore discs???) or make XP work again (P.retty D.arn Q.uick), I could install Windows 2000 SP4 (since I have a new copy available) but I have to repartition the disc to make space available for it and then find all the Dell drivers (have XP driver disc- will WIN2K drivers be there?).  I want to leave the current partition active to keep the data and resize it to make room for a WIN2K D: partition.  I have Partition Magic 6.0 but, I think, it requires Windows to launch, not via DOS prompt. If this is wrong, will someone will let me know how- I have the executable and program P.M. disc files (backup file copy, not image) and key but not the original version at this location so I don't know if the original P.M. program disc is bootable or not.
Regards,
Chuck53
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by:chuck53
ID: 12075913
Chief... got your comments/questions directly above after I posted the above information.  Response to your questions:  
1.) Yes, i am trying to save the data.  
2.)Booting into "SAFE" Mode versus "SAFE MODE WITH COMMAND PROMPT" always give the black screen and mouse pointer which I can move around the screen.  Cannot do anything else, not even warm reboot from CTL+ALT+Del.
3.)Booting into "SAFE MODE WITH COMMAND PROMPT"  give multiple lines showing driver loads and then halts with the line "multi(0)disk(0)..... System32\drivers\AGP440.sys" - then after less than 30 seconds the screen goes to the "Safe Mode" in all 4 corners of the screen with "Microsoft (R) Windows XP (R) (Build 2600) across the top center.  The rest of the screen is blank (black) except for the same mouse pointer which I can move around the screen.
4.)I have other PCs with 98, 2K & XP available at this location.  Note: This "bad' PC does *not* have a NIC card in it, just a modem.
thx,
Chuck53


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by:ChiefoftheChiss
ID: 12075952
Are you familiar with slaving hard drives?
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by:ChiefoftheChiss
ID: 12075995
What I usually do when a PC won't boot and all the odds are stacking against me is to slave the offending drive to another PC, copy it's data off onto the host computer and then format it while it's in that computer. Then move the Drive back into old PC and run a clean install... it'll mean a bit of work, but many times it's faster than troubleshooting the cause.

http://www.mysuperpc.com/hdu/jumper_pins.shtml

This above link is one I just found googling for how to perform a drive slave... maybe not the best but it demonstrates how to do it at least if you don't know.
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by:chuck53
ID: 12076152
Yes, I have done and can do this.  I could slave the current drive and add a new hard drive Master; load an entirely new OS on the machine via the new hard drive, then pull the desired data across from the original, now "slaved" drive.  Then repeat the process by wiping the slaved drive, making it the master and loading the O/S on it, then pulling the data back to it.

I was hoping for some different "magic" but this is likely the most time efficient (??) in the end.... or maybe I should just shut-up and let you tell me an easier way- maybe mirror or image it back from the new drive to the old to save loading the O/S twice; once per drive?

Let me know,
Chuck
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by:ChiefoftheChiss
ChiefoftheChiss earned 250 total points
ID: 12076257
The way I like to do it is to slave the drive to a computer with an already working OS... that saves a ton of time... then move the data onto the working computer. Move the slaved drive back into the old and then install the new OS on it. Since you don't have a NIC (network card) in the old computer you'll have to slave it again to the computer with the data...
This IS different than the idea you posted above, and should work.
I always hope for a solution other than that, but if it isn't readily apparent this old standby works great.
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by:Fatal_Exception
Fatal_Exception earned 250 total points
ID: 12076411
As to your question >Does this look normal?< Yes, it does.

Another method, and one I prefer if I am at a client's site (and since I carry the CD with me at all times) is using BartsPE method of accessing the drive.  It runs in a similar environment as WinPE.  It is completely bootable, and has some really nice built in features, and lots you can add.  You could actually access the registry of your old system, and import the backup registry (which is the C:\WINDOWS\repair folder)..  

And, I have never tried this before with a W2K disk, but it may work:  Put your W2K disk into the system and boot to the Recovery Console.  Once there, you will be able to restore your backup registry also...  This would certainly be the fastest and easiest solution..

FE
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by:
Fatal_Exception earned 250 total points
ID: 12076468
I forgot to post those links for you..  :)

Here is the download link to Barts..  It is actually deceiving simple to create one of these and add all the plugins you want.

http://www.nu2.nu/pebuilder/

This is the method of restoring your registry to its former, good working state.

http://www.jsifaq.com/subj/tip4700/rh4796.htm

Additionally, if you can get to the recovery console, you may want to try these commands to rebuild your boot.ini file, and bootup..

bootcfg /rebuild

and

fixboot

FE
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by:ChiefoftheChiss
ID: 12076707
Sweet!

Even though I'm not the origional poster... that would be a nice thing to add to my toolkit!
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by:Fatal_Exception
ID: 12077131
Absolutely..  and get all the plug-ins you can...]

For instance:

http://oss.netfarm.it/winpe/
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by:chuck53
ID: 12078035
Must I have a working system with the same O/S to slave the drives or can I put the XP drive in a
WIN2K NTFS system (slaved) and save the XP data files?

If not, disregard below.  If so- then In trying Chiefs... suggestion (pursuing this since I had moved the drive to a spare system before the PE comments) of putting the drive in a different system (I am using a Win2K, PIII with Award Bios), I can't get this XP drive to be recognized when acting as second drive in this WIN2K system.  Both drives are Western Digital (10 pin jumpers).   Note: the Win2K drive jumper was originally set to no option (sideways or horizonally) and it boots the WIN2K system normally.  As the only drive, if I move the jumper to Master I get "Primary Master Hard Disk Fail" .  The WIN2K drive only boots with the jumper in CS or No Select position.  I am using the WD jumper setting description both listed on the drive & their Web Site i.e. from right to left (while facing the back of the drive) CS- rightmost, Slave, Master...-leftmost)

Detail- if I Slave (slave jumper position) this XP drive in this Windows 2K system, it is not recognized (with primary WIN2K drive as Master (master jumper position)) and it successfully boots to WIN2K.  This is the only way the WIN2K will work with jumper in Master position.  If I set the XP drive to MASTER (as the only drive at the end of the cable) it hangs the system.  If I put this XP drive in CS mode as the only drive, it starts to boot going to the option screen (Safe, Safe with networking, Safe with Command Mode, Start Normally) like the original XP system except it hangs the system when selecting START WINDOWS NORMALLY.  This drive was set to CS in the Dell system & is the only drive on the single connector cable.

Summary- neither drive wants to work when Masterjumper is set unless two drives are on the cable, then the second is not recognized.  Cannot seem to configure the WIN2K system to recognize the XP drive.

Might I have a BIOS setting off preventing two drive operation or are the drive Interfaces conflicting? Neither drive seems to want to work in Master Mode when it is the only drive on the cable.  Seems weird.

(I am having trouble with PE Builder disc creation and will ask FE about this in a separate question since this is a different solution than above)
Chuck53
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by:ChiefoftheChiss
ID: 12078086
*bows to Fatal_Exception*
"may the bits that flow toward you never be all 1's or 0's-but contain meaningful information to make the PC that your call your own to rejoice" --- Hymard's Blessing, to Mark.
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by:ChiefoftheChiss
ID: 12078141
Hey Chuck... sorry if all the cross talk is confusing you!
To answer your question - You can use Win2k or WinXP to read eachother.
Although I generally don't do it, try putting both drives on CS, or pull the IDE cable off of the CD-ROM and make BOTH drives Master on separate IDE channels (cables).

Although I haven't tried BartPE, it sounds like a wonderful thing, if you can't get the drive working in the other PC BartPE might be the way to go.
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by:Fatal_Exception
ID: 12079138
Right..  easiest method is as Chief mentions...  Pull the cdrom ide and put them on different Controllers.

Did you try the Recovery Console from your W2K disk?
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by:chuck53
ID: 12079763
I put the drive in a XP Pro machine and it was recognized when set to slave mode.  (Did not try the suggestions above since I had moved on to this newer machine- but likely your suggestion would of resolved the problem in the older 2K machine)

First, I ran a virus scan on the slaved drive and Norton quarantined all of the significant number of trojans.  There are 6 different ones; some with multiple entries.  Obviously the user had not had protection or had it disabled which explains the boot problems.  So, the trojans had already done their damage.

I can likely burn a copy of the data files and thus save the data now that the drive is operational in another system.

What is your recommendation for the O/S given this new part of the puzzle? Should I try and fix the damage at the registry level (can I regedit the slaved D: drive???) or my "gut" says to wipe the disk clean (KillDisk) and reinstall an OS, getting rid of all traces of the invaders?

If the latter, I still long for the restore XP disc since, in essence, the O/S was already bought as part of the machine.  Using a new Win2K disc requires the user, in a sense, of purchasing the O/S for the same box twice given that no restore disc is available from the owner of the system.  

After going through Dell "hell" on the phone, they told me they no longer have an O/S disc after 21 days from purchase due to Microsoft agreements.  If a customer looses it, it's up to the customer to buy a full version replacment.  It's $180 from Dell.  No thanks! whew...

Question: I have the Microsoft XP Home Keycode on the sticker on the side of the machine.  Can't I just borrow someone's XP Home Disc, enter this keycode and be back in business for a reinstall?  No parts have been changed in this system since being activated/registered with uSoft.????

chuck



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by:Fatal_Exception
ID: 12079908
Go with your gut..  with that much infection, I would do a reinstall or you may be working on that machine again..  for free..  :)

>>Can't I just borrow someone's XP Home Disc, enter this keycode and be back in business for a reinstall?<<  Unfortunately the answer is no...  The keycode for the OEM version will not work for a full Retail version.  

One of the reasons I would never purchase OEM is exactly the response you got from DELL...  
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by:ChiefoftheChiss
ID: 12079992
I used to work for Symantec here in Eugene. (before offshoring) our expression, which we were never allowed to use on the phone was, "it's time to nuke and pave" (reference to format and then reinstall)

Fatal seems to know a lot of what s/he is talking about... might try to put the code in though... but best would be to buy off newegg.com (like he said) they are a great site and can get XP for like 136 or something like that. if you want to save $ use you Win2k.

I would say that it's much happier to nuke and pave rathen than dig through the whole thing... if you want to try to clean the system go to www.sarc.com or call them up (69.95 fee... and you have 2 weeks until all the Americans are gone) Not that I have any problem with the people of India! They are just like any other people, good ones and not so good ones.

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by:Fatal_Exception
ID: 12080063
>>what s/he is talking about<<  *grin*  I am a 'he', chief..  And yes, I have been around the block also.  (feel free to ck my profile for more on this subject..)
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by:chuck53
ID: 12080117
I'm with you on the "nuke and pave".  Now that's that decision is made... I should of asked the question more specifically- I was thinking not of a Full Retail Version but borrowing someone's "Dell" XP Home disc that came with their Dell machine and use this keycode???? I have the other Dell Utilities and Driver Discs- they key does not have OEM in the keycode like the old days??? but I am pretty green on XP.

(Note: Being a "sparky," I buy hardware from Newegg often so am familiar with them- forgot that they sold sofware though- thx.)  I will decide which OS after more thought (and discussion?)- leaning toward 2K since much more familiar with it and already have it in my hand.

Chuck

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by:ChiefoftheChiss
ID: 12080245
I'm thinking that It'll work for your friends copy... I've reinstalled Dell OEM once I think... does it even ask for the key code when it installs? And you might hit the same thing again though, that Dell won't let you install thier "customized" XP on different hardware.

Horray for newegg!!

Personally... if it was me... I'd use what I had and save $... that's me... and I have XP... so do what you can!
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by:Fatal_Exception
Fatal_Exception earned 250 total points
ID: 12080293
Yes, you might as well give it a try, but like Chief says, it will detect the new hardware and probably will not install.  But if it is the same basic system, you may be in luck.  BTW:  If you need a copy of XP Home, I have one that I would be willing to sell, if you want it...

FE
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by:chuck53
ID: 12104643
Chief and FE-
Update so I don't appear to have disappeared off the screen-
Have 2 things going on; 1) I am waitiing for a copy of another Dell XP Home Disc to try and 2) if this does not work, I will use a retail copy purchased from FE since the machine's owner would like to stay with XP.  (if it were me I would use the 2K disc I already have and could finish this project up). They use XP Pro at work so prefer to have XP at home.

Chuck
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by:ChiefoftheChiss
ID: 12104980
Hope the best for you!
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by:Fatal_Exception
ID: 12105402
Very good...

FE
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by:chuck53
ID: 12278887
FE & Chief:
Sorry for the delay in posting and rewarding the points.  I found that borrowing a friends Dell O/S disc allowed me to reinstall successfully without any problems so I ended up not needing the XP Home disc (I will use it somewhere later).  There was a lot of information in all your postings and I hope I correctely split the points appropriately even though some of the other answers were also worthwhile.  Again, thanks for all your postings.  These led me to a solution and were thought provoking along the way.  I can use this information and the listed tools in future troubleshooting.
thx. again,
Chuck53
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by:ChiefoftheChiss
ID: 12279045
Only happy to help! Thanks - Chuck!
Also good to know that similar Dell disks could work, thanks for that info.
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by:Fatal_Exception
ID: 12279076
Good for you Chuck..  Glad you got it, and thanks..

FE
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