Greetings experts.. Here is a unique problem, which is vexing me.. I have a Windows XP pro machine with a ton of installed items on it. It was a victim of spyware, which we removed. Upon removing the spyware, it disassociated .EXE files. I was having difficulty adding in the registry fixes to resolve this issue so I ran a repair on it.. Big mistake.. During the repair process, several instances of rundll.exe were unable to run. Upon restarting the machine, i encountered a black screen after the XP startup logo.
I then did what I should have done in the first place, which is boot from BARTPE, offloaded the SOFTWARE hive, made the .exe association fixes on a working machine and then placed it back. Now when I boot, I receive a 'Setup is being restarted' screen and then it freezes after some minor hard drive activity... Also, the repair option from the Windows CD is no longer available (probably because it thinks there is already a repair/setup going on).
So basically I have a situation where I need to 'turn off' whatever registry or boot flag is being set that makes windows restart the setup process. I believe in doing so, the repair option may return on the Windows CD. Here is what i've done so far.
Checked boot.ini for any erroneous settings (there aren't any).
Tried the /SOS and /SAFEBOOT options (they don't work)
Checked the NTBTLOG (shows nothing useful)
Checked the RunOnce and RunOnceEx registry settings on the offloaded hive (nothing showing that setup is being started)
Obviously something is telling windows to restart the setup process on boot. Usually it is boot.ini, but that is not the case here. It most likely is a registry key. I just need to know which one.. By the way, as much time as i've spent on this issue, it would take far longer to format/rebuild this machine due to the unique software loaded on it.
Any suggestions would be appreciated...