startup hangs at windows splash screen

I have a Dell Dimension 2400 which hangs at the WIndows splash creen during startup. It hangs during a safe mode startup also, so I am unable to do a system restore. I have tried adding the "/sos" option in the boot.ini file but I see all the messages then it goes back to the splash screen. The computer had been working fine until a few days ago when this started. As I am working on the system for someone else, I am not sure what level of patches have been applied. As stated before, I am even unable to boot to safe mode to find out. Any help iwill be greatly appriciated.

Chuck
ltlchuckAsked:
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mediamaxCommented:
Firstly, Isolate the issue with the computer and not peripherals. Run the system with bare minimum requirements. Disconnect all peripherals. If it fails, you may consider using REcovery consle to rebuild the system.

One such way is restoring the system manually.

Look for a method to do so here http://www.experts-exchange.com/Operating_Systems/WinXP/Q_21780682.html

Good luck
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JonveeCommented:
ltlchuck  ..  although unable to start in Safe Mode, see if there's anything in this MS article that will help:
"Resources for troubleshooting startup problems in Windows XP":
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;308041
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mediamaxCommented:
By the way, I just bumped into several other forums. There are lot of people complaining about this. Looks like its a spyware infection. After performing restoration manually. Run Msconfig and place system on selective startup.

Once done restart system and uninstall AOL(if found). Run Spysweeper.

http://www.webroot.com/dell

Good luck
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ltlchuckAuthor Commented:
mediamax,

Thanks for the help. I was able to restore manually which got me up and running. Unfortunately, when digging through to find the initial cause, the system was behaving strange enough to get me to check under the hood. It seems there is a rootkit installed. So, after all that work, time to find the recovery CD. :(

Chuck
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