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Xp System in Reboot Loop

"IQON" winxp system. Windows XP home edition attempts to load. Gets as far as blue "Windows is Starting Up" screen and then reboots itself. This happens in both normal and safe modes. I am fairly satisified that this is not a hardware problem because I have installed my copy of xp onto a spare h/drive and all worked ok. Seems like xp is corrupted. I cannot perform a recovery because the hidden partition on this pc, that is supposed to trigger by F10 press, does not work. There are no recovery cd's and "IQON" did not supply xp on disk.
Can anyone suggest what might be missing or corrupted that would cause this reboot loop problem and any way of curing it?  I have had a quick (very!) word with "IQON" tech support (£1 per minute) without much success other than the F10 press should start the recovery process. I have run OnTrack's disk checker and their is definitely a 3.5Gb partition with an unknown format that is most likely the hidden recovery partition but as I say it is not accessible for some reason.
Look forward to advice.
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whitland
Asked:
whitland
1 Solution
 
speshalystCommented:
When the machine boots.. press F8 to go to Boot Options.. and select Disable Automatic Rreboot .

Now when the machine gets a BSOD... u will be able to see the STOP error.. which would help us take the right direction
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JoeCommented:
Hello whitland,


Do you have any XP cd at all? Place a XP cd in the drive and boot from the cd. Try to fix the booting from the windows recovery console. Below is a link that will guide you through this process.

http://www.windowsnetworking.com/articles_tutorials/wxprcons.html


Regards,

JoeZ430
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whitlandAuthor Commented:
I disabled automatic reboot and now have the following stop error:

STOP: c000021a {Fatal System Error}
The windows logon process system process terminated unexpectedly with a status of 0xc0000354
(0x00000000 0x00000000). The system has been shut down.


Does this help?
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r088yCommented:
Whitland,

The XP Pro operating systems offers a clean system install that keeps your current profile settings.
1.  Place the XP CD in the CD Drive and restart your machine
2.  Press F12 upon bootup and select to boot from the CD...make sure to press a key when prompted
3.  At the Welcome to Setup Screen, press Enter to Setup Windows XP now
4.  Press F8 to accept the license agreement
5.  Once Windows searches and Finds your instance of XP, Press R to repair that installation.  The Repair process then selectively deletes system files in the \Windows folder and subfolders and copies undamaged replacement files from the setup CD to their proper locations.
6.  Your system will reboot and take you through the XP setup process, not to worry.  Your repairing an existing version of XP, your not replacing it.  Continue through the Setup and you should be good to go.
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rindiCommented:
What doesn't work when you try the f10 thing? Have you tried using a partitioning utility just to make the special partition active.
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whitlandAuthor Commented:
Hi r088y. Tried the repair route this morning. This goes as far as "Installing Devices" setup will complete in 35 minutes. But after well over an hour it still goes no further. I tried another restart with exactly the same result.
Hi rindi. The system manufacturer created a hidden partition with a system recovery image. Their tech support people have confiirmed that one is supposed to be able to key F10 on bootup to trigger the recovery process from the hidden partition. Unfortunately absolutely nothing happens when I do key F10.


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rindiCommented:
And if you change the active partition on your disk to the hidden one, does it boot to that hidden partition when you start the PC?
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whitlandAuthor Commented:
Hi rindi
Can you suggest a utility that will enable me to make the hidden partition active? Bearing in mind that it is no doubt formatted differently to the main c: partition. Are you thinking that making it active will cause it to run the recovery process from boot-up as if it were in effect a recovery cd or such?
I am intrigued to know exactly what keying F10 does in  terms of triggering the recovery process. Unfortunately different manufacturers use different recovery programs. Some use Norton Ghost, then there is PCAngel and of course the appallingly protracted recovery of a Packard Bell pc that uses an NEC utility.
What I am hoping is that if I can get Windows running again I might find that I will be able to burn a set of recovery cd's and then do a full restore thus clearing away whatever caused this failure in the first place.
I do thank you all for your input. This sort of problem just would not occur if manufacturers would supply a WinXP and main board disk with their products. I think that it is very unfair to the purchaser. Let's face it, lots of people do not read the manual and do not burn a recovery cd set. Even if they do and the main board or such fails later it can still cause a major headache. That is why I like Dell and such.
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rindiCommented:
I think what the f10 key does is Boot from that partition. If you change it to unhidden and active you might be able to boot from it without the need for f10. Sometimes it might not be f10, but rather f11, or shift+f10, shift+f11 etc, so try those combinations too. You'd have to press F10 at the same time when you press they key to get into the BIOS, so also make sure you are pressing that at the correct time. In some BIOS's you can also change the bootup settings, so it shows you the key combinations used to enter what, and to give you enough time to read this, so also look for that.

You can make a partition active with any partitioning utility like fdisk, partition magic, acronis disk director etc. You'll find a couple of them on the UBCD, along with many other useful tools, so I suggest getting that, along with the windows version too.

http://ultimatebootcd.com
http://ubcd4win.com
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whitlandAuthor Commented:
rindi: Thank you for that. I ran a demo version of Active Partition Recovery last night and can confirm that the system's recovery partition does exist. It is 3.73Gb in size and formatted FAT32 with sector 0 as BOOT. It looks as though the content may be complete but all remains to be seen later today.
Once again many thanks for your help so far and...watch this space.
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whitlandAuthor Commented:
Have just made the recovery partition active by means of FDISK downloaded with UBCD(excellent). As you suggested this did make the partition boot and actually started to display the system's recovery welcome message. Then a STOP ERROR appeared exactly as per one of my earlier submissions. I am beginning to wonder whether the h/drive has actually got a fault that has not shown up with Western Digital's diagnostic scan. I am thinking that I could try cloning the h/drive to a known good one using Norton Ghost and hope that the error does not cross over with the cloning. Then try running the recovery process again. I really do not want to have to pay for a new  copy of XP Home if possible but looks like that might be all I can do in the end.
Thoughts welcome!
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rindiCommented:
Cloning or imaging could be a good idea. That is something I always try to do before even starting to troubleshoot. If you have downloaded the UBCD above, there are quite a few diagnostic utilities on it. The first one I run is memtest86+. Problems are often caused by bad RAM, and that test almost always helps you find problems with the RAM. There are also diverse disk testing tools etc.
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whitlandAuthor Commented:
rindi:Following on from the cloning operation I rebooted from the "new" drive but once again the same stop error appeared. Patently something had corrupted the installation to such a degree that even the hidden partition boot was affected. I did a ram check but no problems there. Anyway I managed to lay my hands on a genuine copy of xp home and have installed that onto the original drive. Absolutely no problems. Now upgraded to SP2. Have created a "Ghost" recovery dvd for future proofing. System is working as good as new now. Guess I never will find out what caused the problem but I do hate to be beaten.
Anyway many thanks for your help and for the others who contributed. I do feel that you deserve the full 500 points however because you did suggest the way to activate the recovery partition. If it had not been for the existing stop error I feel certain that I could have restored the system back to factory default. Fun ain't it!



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rindiCommented:
Thanks, your welcome.
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