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Windows XP boot up stops at checking file system

Last Modified: 2008-05-12
Just began upgrading to new Dell PCs - ran into apparently identical problem on 2 PCs.  They ran fine for awhile, and then they failed to boot.  During the boot process, the initial Window screen shows - bar at bottom continues to move.  Then screen disappears after what seems like a normal time - but then nothing.  Screen is blank.  Never gets to the login screen.

No problem getting into Safe mode.  Tried to eliminate all start up programs and eventually everything else, but still would not boot into Windows.  Also tried disabling video drivers in Device Manager.

Then I added the /SOS switch to the boot.ini file to see if I could see exactly where they were stopping in boot up process.  Both PCs stop at the same point:  Displays both freeze at the following point:
"checking file system on c:
The volume is clean
windows has finished checking the disk."

Any suggestions as to what could be causing this problem?  Thank you.
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The hard drive might be damaged. Try running the diagnostics. Press F12 upon posting, and select hard drive diagnostics. If you have a return code, then most likely your hard drive is damaged.

boot with "last known good config.."

You can also get the files to make a dell Diagnostic CD here at the Dell site:


If you choose Drivers and Downloads and then enter the Service Tag for your PC it will take you to a download page where you can choose all kinds of updates. ( The service tag is on the back of older models or on top of some of the newer towers.) You can also get to the dowloads page by entering the model number of your PC

It will allow you to see if there are critical Bios updates or other drivers as well as get a Dell Diagnostc utility that will check your RAM, Hardrives etc.


Ran the hard drive diagnostics on both machines - both passed.

have a look at this kb entry :  http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=160963

I would suggest to boot up in safe mode and use the  chkntfs /x c: This disables chkdsk from running on drive C:

give it a try.

best regards,



Convert the disks to NTFS.


As suggested above (Mr Aruba)- I am attempting to disable chkdsk from running on boot up.  I ran the utility and confirmed the registry settings were updated to disable this on drives c and d.  Now when I boot - it stops at same point, but now says: "windows has finished checking the disk".   Any ideas as to what else I can do to completely eliminate this check during boot up process?  Thanks.

Have you tried booting to the recovery console and run CHKDSK /R?

there are three things i would sugest now :

Boot from the windows XP CD, press the "R" key in the setup in order to start the restoration console. Select your windows XP installation from the list, and enter the administrator password.
Enter the command: "FIXMBR" (without the quotes) at the input prompt and confirm the next question with a "Y" (without the quotes). Use exit to restore the computer.

take out the HDD and put it as slave in another pc. Run a chkdsk on the slave HDD, after it finished put the HDD back in the original pc and try to boot.

as mentioned by 2pifl, convert the drive to ntfs if it is a fat32 partition.


If I go into Safe Mode, Device Manager - then disable some of the devices (video, nic, DVD) then restart - boots up OK.  Then I can go back into Device Mgr and re-enable.  Doesn't look like this is a permanent fix - as one workstation failed again this AM - had to back into Device Mgr and repeat.  Any ideas regarding this?  Thanks.

Disable one at a time, reboot and see which one crashes the box.  Then reinstall that driver

is there any update driver for MB chipset?


Go here:

Click "Enter Service Tag" and it will list all the available drivers for that specific machine.


I agree that's why I already posted the same thing earlier in this thread.  ;)


Looks like your going to have to call Dell - bummer.
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I am having the exact same issue on two of these machines one is a Dell Vostro 400 and one is a Dell Vostro 200 with pretty different hardware configs.  The Vostro 400 I reinstalled from scratch without doing anything to the harddrive (i.e. running chkdsk etc) and this screen has not reappeared since.  The one that has not been reinstalled seems to be locking up like this regularly.  No problem booting to XP safemode.

This seems like t may be a common issue.  I have 2 Vostro 200 desktops and I get the same exact problem. The only thing I can do to make windows  boot is boot to safe mode and use a system restore point.  Not sure if its something the users are doing.  No errors in event viewer either.

After hours of research I finally found this is an inherent problem with the Vostro line from Dell.  It also seems to affect a few of the cheaper Inspirons.
As yet there is no agreed upon permanent solution.  A temporary solution is to go into Safe Mode and delete all files in C:\Windows\Prefetch.  For more details and other possible solutions you may read this Dell user forum: http://www.dellcommunity.com/supportforums/board/message?board.id=dim_other&thread.id=341726&view=by_date_ascending&page=1
Sadly, Dell is paying little attention to this problem, and what advice they have given is flawed.  For now I recommend staying clear of the Vostro line.
I am getting the same symptoms on 3 Vostro 400 machines.  

I had one client of mine purchase 1 Vostro 400, and another client purchase 4 of them.   The only difference is the single Vostro has a faster CPU and better video.  These machines seemmed to be working normally for a while. But now they will hang in the same place that the thread author says when booted in Normal mode, and they will boot in Safe Mode.  The computers pass all the built-in DELL diagnostics.  I disabled many of the startup processes in mcsconfig and it didn't help.  

I am running Symantec Antivirus on all the machines.  I'd remove it just to see if it helps, but the uninstall for it won't run in Safe mode.  I am stumpted.  I have installed hundreds of new PCs in the last few years and never seen these symptoms.  The troubleshooting for this is so time consuming I am seriously thinking of going to a clone dealer and have the motherboards replaced and just cut my losses on this.  I nearly always purchase DELL's and hold them in no-less high regard after this purchase.

Perhaps this will eventually be figured out.  I could be something I am doing.  But I don't have any idea what.

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