Solved

Computer Only Boots In Safe Mode

Posted on 2007-03-27
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Last Modified: 2008-12-27
I am working on a Dell Inspiron 8500, Windows XP Home Edition computer.  The laptop has recently decided it no longer wants to boot in Normal Mode. When attempting to boot it up in Normal Mode the computer reaches the Windows “splash” screen, and the screen goes away and proceeds to turn black.  Hard-drive activity is still noticeable.  The computer can be booted in Safe-mode with no problems; however, Safe-mode gets old very fast.  I assumed the problem had something to do with the video driver, and still kind of do, but it is sort of odd that when the computer boots in Safe-mode the video display remains normal.  I go to delete the video driver, but being that there is only one present it will not let me because it is necessary for the computer to operate.  It is like the Standard Video driver you normally find in Safemode is missing??  (how would I get the standard/basic driver?). I have updated the current video driver.  I have already uninstalled the Network card driver and that did not resolve the problem. Additionally, I have attempted to boot the computer using Diagnostic Startup and Selective Startup (about every option), none of which have worked for me.  I have also checked for Spyware and Viruses.  No System Restore Points are available.  Any ideas on how to get this system working again normally without trying a reinstall or repair?

Thanks for your suggestions and help,

Zach  
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Question by:BetterAlternatives
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LVL 29

Expert Comment

by:Alan Huseyin Kayahan
ID: 18804122
      If your computer has never booted normally into OS since a driver is failed, Last Known Good Configuration option in F8 boot menu is going to help you.
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Expert Comment

by:phototropic
ID: 18804128
Try this:
Boot to Recovery Console (use your XP disc if there is no option at startup) and run chkdsk /r
Let it finish - it will take awhile. Now reboot. Any change?

In safe mode, try going into msconfig (start - run - msconfig) and click on the "startups" tab, then hit the "disable all" button.  Now click on the "services" tab,  tick the "hide all Microsoft services" box,  then hit "disable all" again. Now hit "apply" and close.  Reboot.  Any change?

If you can now get in,  re-enable your internet security,  then start looking for the culprit...
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Accepted Solution

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Alan Huseyin Kayahan earned 100 total points
ID: 18804238
          * What was your recent installation/configuration before OS got corrupt?
           *Boot into safe mode. Right click My Computer>Properties>Advanced>Startup and recovery settings> Edit
             *You will see a line similar to one below
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Home" /fastdetect
             *Type /sos to the end of the line, will look like following
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Home" /fastdetect /sos
            *Now the driver files will be listed during normal bootup. And you will be able to see in which driver your computer hangs while loading.
            *Then you should uninstall/remove the related driver/file
               
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Expert Comment

by:Ryan_R
ID: 18805240
and if the above doesn't help, try repairing XP:
http://www.michaelstevenstech.com/XPrepairinstall.htm#RI
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Assisted Solution

by:PUNKY
PUNKY earned 100 total points
ID: 18805381
You must run repair to resolve the problem. You only can do basic trouble shoot in safemode, and that would be hard for you to get situation improve.
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Author Comment

by:BetterAlternatives
ID: 18805561
thanks for the suggestions, ill try them as soon as i can
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Author Comment

by:BetterAlternatives
ID: 18805562
Oh yeh, it was booted normally plenty of times and Last Known Good Config does not work
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Assisted Solution

by:BMarden
BMarden earned 100 total points
ID: 18805646
If the MS config trick above does not do the trick then an "Inplace upgrade" of XP should do the trick, boot from your XP CD (if your boot CD does not have SP2 your may want to find one that does, it will save some time).  Let the XP setup load then hit enter, F8 to accept license hooha.  Setup will now search for previoius installs, if you have booted from a compatible CD (i.e Home vs Pro) then you should get and option to hit "R" for repair.  This will go through reinstall all the necesary system files etc.
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Expert Comment

by:Ryan_R
ID: 18805840
BMarden, i was going to point out that I linked to how to repair xp - but since you used the word 'hooha' I'll go easy on you this time  :)

/R
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Author Comment

by:BetterAlternatives
ID: 18827631
Ok, so i finally had time to sit down with the computer and have some one-on-one time with it.  And it is winning the battle...The chkdsk \r led to an error and would not work.  Changing the options in msconfig did not do anything.  I changed the file extension name with the /sos and no drivers appeared.  The command sfc/scannow will not work. And finally I attempted a repair and it only led to multiple errors during the setup and many many missing files.  The computer now boots in safemode only like before, except has also stepped back in time to SP1 because of the repair.  Can not do any MS Updates because of different MS Update errors.  Thanks for all the suggestions.  Any more ideas? Thanks.
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LVL 15

Assisted Solution

by:Ryan_R
Ryan_R earned 100 total points
ID: 18827829
the only other idea left is a format and reinstallatio of xp. sorry - i know you won't like hearing that.
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Assisted Solution

by:phototropic
phototropic earned 100 total points
ID: 18828116
If chkdsk /r would not run from the Recovery Console, it sounds like you may have a hardware issue to add to the mix.
Multiple errors and missing files during setup (repair or clean install) would make me try to find another XP disk and/or try a different CD rom drive, if possible.
Like Ryan R says above, a clean install is the next step. If the disk won't format or you still get missing file errors during setup, you're probabley looking at a bad disk (either hard or XP).
Good luck!  (I always sign off with this - but in your case, I really mean it!!!)
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Author Comment

by:BetterAlternatives
ID: 18828638
Yeh.  I was afraid that is what it has come to.  I just replaced the hard-drive in December.  Ill try to find another disc today and see what happens.  Thanks.
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Author Comment

by:BetterAlternatives
ID: 18843528
In the Recovery Console are there other actions  I could take to attempt to repair the registry or restore all the missing files?  
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Expert Comment

by:phototropic
ID: 18843736
Try chkdsk /r again. Give it time to run - it may take awhile.
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Author Comment

by:BetterAlternatives
ID: 18958059
I know its been awhile, but this weekend I finally had sometime to mess with this Dell laptop we have been discussing.  I reformated the hard-drive and reloaded the operating system.  After doing so there were four drivers missing, so naturally i popped in the dell driver cd.  I installed the driver for the sound, modem, and network card and everything worked fine.  The video driver was missing so I installed that next and once again the same problem I was having, as discussed in the original post, began occurring.  So, as I originally believed its been a video problem all along.  Do you guys think this means its a bad video card?  

Another odd thing that happened also was that after loading one of the drivers I began getting these messages wanting me to repair the registry.  But it looked very similar to spyware, but it was strange because its a fresh install.  For example, the message would say to go to "www.registrycleanerxp.com" and follow the following 4 steps (which i didnt write down).  Anyways, just thought that was strange.

Thanks for the help.
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LVL 15

Expert Comment

by:Ryan_R
ID: 18961927
Try getting your drivers from the web

www.dell.com
www.driverguide.com
http://update.microsoft.com
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LVL 23

Expert Comment

by:phototropic
ID: 18965299
registrycleanerxp is identified as malware all over the web; eg:

http://www.viruspool.net/blacklist.cms

Does the laptop have an internet connection and have you loaded internet security software?
Best way to get rid of registrycleaner is with a toool like Superantispyware:

http://www.superantispyware.com/

If it was a clean install, this malware got on after setup completed...better check for more spyware.


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LVL 1

Author Comment

by:BetterAlternatives
ID: 18968827
yeh, the malware issue should be easy to take care of then.  Its the video issue that is still bothering me.
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Author Comment

by:BetterAlternatives
ID: 19028351
The solution that is marked as Accepted was made by mistake...I was trying to distribute points to everyone for helping.  I reformated the machine and the problem still persisted.  I think something is wrong with the hardware.
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LVL 15

Expert Comment

by:Ryan_R
ID: 19028358
Thanks for that. From my observations, the "Accepted Answer" label goes to the comment that had the most points assigned to it. If all points are equal, the first one is designated "Accepted".

If you have similar harware in another PC you may want to test it to see if your theory is correct.
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