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Windows fails to start at every restart

Posted on 2008-10-09
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Last Modified: 2008-10-15
Hi,
I've had this problem for like 6 months but now it's enough. I have a Dell Inspiron 1520 with Windows Vista Home Premium 32-bit. Whenever I restart, I get this error message:
Windows failed to start. A recent hardware or software change might be the cause.

I don't remember the rest of the message, because I have like 25 seconds to make a choice, but it is not the message where they ask you to use the installation cd/dvd to repair it or whatever. Instead they give me two choices:
-Launch Startup Repair
-Start Windows Normally

If I choose Start Windows Normally, Windows TRIES to start, then it restarts and I get the exact same error message again. So I launch Startup Repair. Then I'm asked if I want to use System Restore. If I say no, it "searches for a solution for the problem" for like 15 minutes, then it says something like "This system cannot be repaired. If the problem persists contact bla bla bla. Click Finish to shut down." It also asks me if I want to send the error to Windows or something like that. So I click Finish, and I start my computer again. And then Windows starts normally. The only problem is it took 15 minutes.

Every update for vista that needs a restart does this. If I say yes to System Restore (or is it repair?), it removes the update, then Windows update downloads it again and in the end I have no choice but to do the "15-minute startup routine" so that it finishes configuring the updates.

At first I thought it happened at random, then I realized it did this at every update, then I realized it actually did this every time I restart (choose restart in the vista menu) . If I want to restart without going through all that, I have to shut down my computer, then push the power button to start it. I guess you could call this a manual restart.

So, is there anything I can do? I can still use my computer, but it would be nice if it could restart without crashing. Thanks to anyone who took the time to read all of this.
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Question by:Dr_T_XLIV
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by:powercram
ID: 22684186
This might be overkill but fdisk and a fresh install may be the ticket.
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zack4x4 earned 1500 total points
ID: 22684206
I actually had this problem on a neighbors vista machine.  I had to disable windows updates for about a month until a fixed update was sent out.  Her machine would do the exact same thing.  I never did figure it out, I assume Microsoft just sent out a revised patch.
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by:nobus
ID: 22685679
>>   If I say yes to System Restore (or is it repair?), it removes the update,   <<   then set your system NOT to download any updates
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Author Comment

by:Dr_T_XLIV
ID: 22686031
powercram: The thing is I have re-installed Vista once to date (because my wi-fi had stopped detecting networks and I had to enable my wi-fi from the set-up menu every time I started my computer), and this started happening like 2 or 3 weeks after. So I guess I'm looking for a more durable solution. I mean, re-installing your OS pretty much fixes anything, but if the same problem comes back after, what do you do?

zack4x4: So you're telling me that they released an update that fixed this? I'll go and download every single update today and see if it fixes it.

nobus: The problem is already there. I already turned off Windows update, but my computer still crashes every time I restart it. And by the time I figured out it did this at every restart, I had downloaded a lot more updates. So I don't know which one did this.
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Expert Comment

by:zack4x4
ID: 22687683
Do a system restore to a date before the install was done.  That will fix your problem.

Dr_T I actually didn't download each individual update after the month when I re-enabled windows updates and started downloading updates it worked that time.  Sorry I wish I would've marked down which update the problem causer.
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Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 22688271
you can uninstall updates from add / remove programs
did you try updating the bios ?  can help too..
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Author Comment

by:Dr_T_XLIV
ID: 22706247
I downloaded service pack 1 and it worked. I guess they fixed it. Thanks to all for your help.
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