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Unable to login to win xp, Fix registry without logging in?

Posted on 2007-03-27
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Last Modified: 2012-08-14
When cleaning up a computer from spyware I am no longer able to login to Windows XP. I get to the login screen and click on any username, it acts like it is logging in but then it will say saving settings and logging out.

I have tried copying userint.exe to wsaupdate.exe through the recover console but that didn't help. While the computer was on the login screen I tried connecting to the registry by using registry editor and "connect network registry" on another computer but that didn't work. I also can't get into safe mode probably because of a device driver is preventing me from getting to the login screen. I used Hijack This and I think I deleted a registry value that is needed.

I backuped up the registry before trying to remove all the spyware but now I can't access it to restore it. Is there a way to restore the backup registry or be able to edit the registry from the recovery console or another means that is not logging onto the computer?

I can try doing a repair install but I don't want to risk deleting files or making programs inoperable. What options do I have to fix the registry or be able to login?
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Question by:jsfald
9 Comments
 
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Expert Comment

by:Kenneniah
ID: 18803480
Have you tried Last Known Good configuration?
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Accepted Solution

by:
Iateacricket earned 800 total points
ID: 18803683
http://home.eunet.no/~pnordahl/ntpasswd/bootdisk.html

The disk has an offline reg editor as well password utility.
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Assisted Solution

by:michko
michko earned 200 total points
ID: 18803837
How to recover from a corrupted registry that prevents Windows XP from starting
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/307545
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Author Comment

by:jsfald
ID: 18804989
Yes I tried last good known configuration and that didn't help. I did see that KB article but it wasn't exact so I was looking for a different solution. I will try those steps if necessary.  I'll try the bootdisk solution first and go from there. Thanks.
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Author Comment

by:jsfald
ID: 18805180
I am having problems with the bootdisk/registry editor. I can't browse the registry and I am unable to find any help with the commands. I am trying to browse to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer\Run and
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\Userinit
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Author Comment

by:jsfald
ID: 18805422
I figured out how to use the bootdisk/registry editor but it doesn't seem to be working when I add a new key (nk Userinit) and hit enter the next command prompt line never comes up. Any other ideas?
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Author Comment

by:jsfald
ID: 18805729
I fixed my previous problem but now I have another one. My problem was I need to add a new value and not a key. The reason it is logging out immediatly is because the Userinit value is not there. Even though it looks like it is saving when I reboot the computer and try to login I am immediatly logged out. When I reboot using the bootdisk and look for the Userinit value it is no longer there.

Is there a way a saved corrupt registery gets loaded and overwrites my changes at startup?
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Author Comment

by:jsfald
ID: 18809111
I Fixed it! I tried to do Iateacricket's idea by following the KB but that didn't work because I didn't head the warning in the KB to use the OEM disk instead of my own Win xp disk. I didn't want to go to my friend and say it is worse off now than when you gave it to me. But after following the KB I couldn't get to the login screen and I couldn't get to the recover console, just like the KB warned.

 I decided to backup the data on my friends computer onto mine by hooking up his hard drive to my system as a slave. After backing it up I thought I should try the steps from the KB execpt just use a command prompt instead of the recover console. The steps worked and I didn't have to fess up to my friend that I messed up this computer and don't know how to fix it without reinstalling everything.

I'll give michk some points because the idea was good and it was probably more of my inability to get it to work than the method.But in the end it was Iateacricket's idea that lead me to the solution.
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Expert Comment

by:michko
ID: 18810913
Good job.  Thanks for the points.
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