XP boots to black screen.

Sheldon Livingston
Sheldon Livingston used Ask the Experts™
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Windows XP Home goes immediately to black screen after BIOS f12 / F2 options.  It will recognize F8 but all options result in the same black screen with no cursor.
I used a PE disc and invoked a system restore to no avail.
Tried an in place repair and got the same thing when it had to reboot.
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Try a chkdsk on the hard drive.
Sheldon LivingstonConsultant

Author

Commented:
Already tried a chkdsk and SpinRite.  Swapped out the video card and disconnected the CD ROMs as well.
Try booting with no devices connected. Just monitor and power connected. If it boots begin plugging devices back in one at a time.
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try booting off hirens cd and go into minixp

use the mbrfix program and type : mbrfix \device 0 fixmbr

also try downloading/create a vista recovery cd here:

http://www.vistax64.com/tutorials/141820-create-recovery-disc.html

boot into that and go to command prompt:
try typing in bootrec.exe /fixmbr
bootrec.exe /rebuildbcd
bootrec.exe /fixboot

did u say u tried running a windows xp repair using the installation disc already?
can also try last known good config under the f8 advanced boot options as well
Top Expert 2011

Commented:
Put the hard drive in another machine and get all your important data off of it.

Can you get to the recovery console with the XP install disk?
Top Expert 2013

Commented:
download ubcd, and run memtest86+ for ram, and the proper diag for your disk, to be sure about the basics
post results !

Commented:
Could you please post the content of your boot.in file.
A bad setting in the CMOS Settings (BIOS Settings) perhaps?

Although I tend not to recommend it, just in case it is an OEM system that has been "tweaked" for a specific hardware configuration, you might care to remove the CMOS Coin-Cell battery for a few minutes then reinsert it.  If incompatible CMOS settings ARE the cause, then that would void previous configurations and the system SHOULD be able to load some default and hopefully failsafe settings at next boot.

I would certainly follow Jim-R's advice and slave the hard drive to another computer to copy out important data just in case you lose access to it.
Sheldon LivingstonConsultant

Author

Commented:
Recap:
Ran chkdsk
Booted with no devices
Tried Last Known and safe mode
memtest was good

I CAN get to the recovery console

Didn't try fixmbr yet

Commented:
Could you please post the content of your boot.in file.
Top Expert 2013

Commented:
did you run the disk diag yet?  here the link to ubcd : http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/      
Sheldon LivingstonConsultant

Author

Commented:
Boot.ini:

[boot loader]
timeout=30
default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition" /fastdetect /noexecute=optin
Sheldon LivingstonConsultant

Author

Commented:
nobus: I ran the Dell hard drive diagnostic routine... came out fine.  Ran SpinRite... came out fine.

Commented:
Request you to scan your machine using a bootable antivirus rescue media.

Could you please tell us that during booting to safe mode what is the last file that is loaded before you get a black screen ?
Sheldon LivingstonConsultant

Author

Commented:
xpHelp20.sys

Commented:
I could not find any information on xpHelp20.sys. If you want you can isolate this file by moving it to some other location using the recovery console. Once this is done try booting your machine again.
Sheldon LivingstonConsultant

Author

Commented:
Tried that... just stops at the file prior.
Top Expert 2011

Commented:
You can get to Recovery console and fully into safe mode?
Top Expert 2011

Commented:
Is this a laptop?  Did the machine come with a "recovery" partition"

Boot.ini indicates Windows is on Partition 2 of the first drive (drive 0)  Partition 1 is usually a hidden "recovery / reinstall" partition.

Also, I don't know why serverman2008 is telling you to use a Vista recovery disk and Vista commands to rebuild a BCD that doesn't exist on XP.  The BCD (Boot Configuration Data) basically replaced XP's Boot.ini

Before you try the fixmbr, scan the disk with with a bootable antivirus rescue disk or another system's up to date antivirus program in case the MBR is infected and can be cleaned before you fix it.

Sheldon LivingstonConsultant

Author

Commented:
Not safe mode.
Sheldon LivingstonConsultant

Author

Commented:
Not safe mode.
Top Expert 2011

Commented:
From:

Computer stops responding with a black screen when you start Windows XP

Warning If your computer is infected with a virus and you use the FIXMBR command, you may be unable to start the computer. Before you use this command, make sure that the computer is not infected with a virus.
Top Expert 2011
Commented:
Once you are sure your hard drive isn't infected with some kind of virus, you may be interested in this article.

Windows XP Crashed? Here's Help A salvage mission into the depths of Windows XP, explained by a non-geek
serverman2008
Here on Experts-Exchange we are not allowed to mention or suggest the Bootable CD you mentioned in the first line of your comment http:36314171 as it allegedly contains copyrighted software.  Just for your info.
Sheldon LivingstonConsultant

Author

Commented:
Current I have this HD attached to a machine and am running NOD32 against it.
Sheldon LivingstonConsultant

Author

Commented:
NOD32 found and cleaned 11 infections.  Computer still doesn't boot.
You can download this iso file and boot off from a cd and scan your whole pc

http://devbuilds.kaspersky-labs.com/devbuilds/RescueDisk/
Top Expert 2011

Commented:
>>>NOD32 found and cleaned 11 infections.  Computer still doesn't boot.<<<

Do you have a list of what NOD found & fixed?

If you can get the boot menu and select SafeMode, as it attempts to boot, it makes / appends to:

\Windows\ntbootlog.txt

If you could get the latest portion of that file, from the time and date that the last boot was logged, we could get some clues as to what is going on when it chokes.
Top Expert 2011

Commented:
Also, if you booted "Normal" after the NOD cleaning, it may have auto - re - infected from start up entries.
Sheldon LivingstonConsultant

Author

Commented:
Holy crap!  Worked!  I had all but given up.  Thank you!
Sheldon LivingstonConsultant

Author

Commented:
Jim-R...  I don't know if you recall the article that you sent me to, but one of my "complaints" with Vista or Win 7 is that you can't get at that level of the OS (as you can with XP).  You can't do a inplace repair either.  It seems that all you can do with V and 7 is let it pretend to be looking for issues and fixes and then pop up with a box that states it cannot fix the error and to send it on to MS.

What are your thoughts?
Top Expert 2011

Commented:
I'm glad that worked for you.  Its a very good explanation of what is going on as you work through it.

Vista didn't impress me much when it first came out.  You'd hear so many nightmares about drivers, and without working drivers, your corresponding hardware might as well be in the recycling pile if all you had was Vista.  Vista SP1 was out before I even tried it, and by this time drivers were much less of an issue unless your hardware was relatively old, in which case you'd want / need newer anyway, and the newer stuff was getting less and less expensive.

When it comes to fixing Vista crashes, its a different game you have to play.  Boot.ini was replaced with the BCD file, and this is more difficult to deal with because it isn't just a plain text file like Boot.ini.  (This was by design for security reasons).  Look up the BCDEdit reference paper for available commands, some of which mimic Boot.ini entries.  The recovery environment is different also, being more of a GUI windows type of interface, but you can get into the nitty gritty like XP through the Command Prompt and the repair tools are different as well.  I had one instance where a DLL got corrupted and I had to rename and replace it in like fashion of the article you just used on XP.

You can also do an in place repair (aka upgrade) with Vista, however you must have the matching DVD when it comes to the SP already installed.  You cant use an SP1 DVD to repair an SP2 install.  

In the case of an OEM version or the retail full version of the DVD, there is some "trickery" involved, but it can be done, unless you have no access to any appropriate DVD(s) at all, like when no Win DVD at all comes with your machine and all you have is a recovery partition and the "make your own recover DVD(s)".  OEM DVDs don't normally allow "upgrade" installs, and you get the "This version of Windows is for a computer without any Windows installed" message, or your only choice with home made recovery DVD(s) is a recovery which totally wipes and redoes your machine back to out of the box condition.  Machines that come with no OS media are the worst to deal with when they won't boot because of this

With Win 7, I fortunately have not had much trouble with yet, and I generally learn from the school of hard knocks.  It is similar in many ways to Vista when it comes to recovery.  You just have to keep on learning how these new versions of Windows work.  I try to learn something new every day, and hanging around this forum, this isn't too much of a stretch.

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