On a routine restart (WinXPProSP2) my system was still showing the “Windows is shutting down” screen after ~30min, so I powered off. I turned the system back on ~15min later, and noted that it seemed to be taking a very long time to boot. In fact, it took ~10min to get to the “Windows is starting up” screen, and >30min later that screen was still there.
So I did a Last Good startup with the same results. A Safe startup seemed to begin okay, but when it got to the black screen nothing seemed to happen any more, and I gave up after ~30min. (The disk activity light would blink very briefly every few minutes, but nothing else seemed to be going on.)
I had created a second installation of Win on a second hard drive, so that I would have access to my system if the main install ever gave me trouble. (I periodically booted to this install and backed up my main install; I figured I could restore a recent backup and get going again.) But this second installation also hadn’t gotten beyond the startup screen after >30min.
So I booted my WinXP install CD, planning to run chkdsk from the Repair Console (figuring it must be my C-drive that was the problem). As I write this (on another computer, obviously), the “Setup is starting Windows” message is still on the screen, nearly an hour later. (The file loading seemed to have been maybe a little slow, but not remarkably so, and I wouldn’t have noticed a difference--if there really was one--had I not been looking for it.)
This is obviously a hardware problem, but I'm not sure where to go next. I’m running an AMD 1.85GHz with 2x512MB RAM on an Asus A7N8X-E. Any help would be appreciated. This is my main system, and I need it badly!