Windows XP stalls at splash screen after Updates (safe mode stalls at mup.sys)

emiops used Ask the Experts™
We pushed out about 4 months of updates through our WSUS server this week along with Windows XP SP3.  On about 15% of the machines that install these updates we get the following problem.

-Regular windows stalls at XP splash Screen (progress bar is empty and dimly lit as it freezes just after it starts to appear).

-Safe mode stalls at mup.sys

-When booting from Windows XP SP2 cd it stalls at "Setup is starting Windows" (Since I cant get past this point I cant even wipe the hard drive).

On one machine I was able to boot into safe mode after waiting 20 minutes at mup.sys.  After removing the hard drive and plugging it into another system as a slave, I attempted to follow the system restore instructions found at:;en-us;Q307545 which did not work.

The last machine this happened to I actually had control of before the problem showed as it was in for maintenance.  At the time the machine already had XP SP3 installed and I was installing an update to SP3 when the issue started.

I have done some research on the web and found many people with similar issues, but none of the fixes work for me.  This has been complicated by the fact that one of these machines is our CEO's.  Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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not being much help - i have seen a few of these lately, and google seems to show  a lot of people with a similar problem. the problem isnt so much the mup driver - but what load after it - which could be an driver.
I ended up giving up after trying a couple of methods that have worked before..(so i will tell you anyway)
in addition to the choice you have tried, a also tried using an imaging product like acronis with its universal restore function. This is designed for restoring an image to different hardware after a hardware failure. It pushed the appropriate drivers into the system when it restores the image.
take an image of the hdd to an external usb
restore the image off the usb, but select the option to say that the hardware has changed - this should push/update the drivers.

system restore options havent helped much either in this scenario.
reinstall sorry.

This has both worked and not worked for me on occassion.
Top Expert 2009
Did you you try this system restore method?

If that dosn't work try copy and pasting from c:\windows\system32\drivers folder and copy the *.sys files and let them overwrite the *.sys files on a problem machine
(never tried this but you never know!)

NB-get a backup/image before!


optoma, I tried your method.  I still couldnt get into safe mode on this machine so doing a system restore could not be attempted, however I did copy the drivers folder onto one of the machines.

When I boot up into safemode or regular mode it says windows\system32\config\sytem is corrupt.  I attempted using the windows CD and I actually got farther into the process until it says that it does not detect the hard drive.

The computer that I am doing my testing on just had a hardware failure while I was out to lunch.  The original maintenance that I was working on was working on a computer overheating issue.  When I let the computer run over lunch it died on me.  I guess the saying goes "when it rains it pours."
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Hi emiops,

Try using BartPE and run checkdisk on the system drive with repair option. I am not sure it will work because I didn't experience the mentioned issue after deploying SP3 and other updates but just give it a shot. Who knows it will work.


I cant believe that actually worked.  My first attempt I used the drivers folder from another computer that wasnt too similar, also I renamed the system file to system.bak and forgot to undo it.

On a 2nd attempt I found another laptop sitting in our shelves with a bad screen that was the same make and model.  I copied the drivers folder from that computer and overwrote the drivers folder (c:\windows\system32\drivers) and believe it or not worked right off the bat.

Top Expert 2009

Good stuff!

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