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XP Media Center only boots to Safe Mode after SP3 installation

Posted on 2011-09-08
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Last Modified: 2012-05-12
I am working on an HP desktop that came to me with XP Media Center Edition installed and was updated to SP2.  I tried to install SP3 (both through Automatic Updates and manually) and have run into a problem.  It all seemed to go well, but won't reboot properly.  If I just let it boot to normal mode, it starts to load Windows, shows the Windows logo, then reboots.  I am able to reboot to either Safe Mode, though.

I have tried disabling everything in Services and in Startup through MSConfig (including Microsoft items) with the same result.

I have scanned for viruses and spyware with Norton, Housecall, SuperAntiSpyware, Malwarebytes, and TDSSKiller.  None found anything significant.

I ran Memtest for a number of passes and found no RAM errors.

I have tested the hard drive with chkdsk /f and with the manufacturer's diags with no errors found.

I have run sfc /scannow with no problems found.

I don't have a suitable copy of MCE to use for a repair install.

The computer had Norton 360 on it, which I have uninstalled (before another SP3 try) with no change.

Any suggestions on how to proceed would be appreciated.  I don't want to have to give this back without SP3 installed if I can avoid it.
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Question by:CompProbSolv
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by:chakko
ID: 36507912
I would check if there are any System Restore points saved before your SP3 install. Try to roll-back to SP2 to get a bootable system and then you can try it again (make a good backup first though).
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by:CompProbSolv
ID: 36508029
I backed up the hard disk (imaged to another drive) before the SP3 installation.  I've tried the installation of SP3 manually (downloading from Microsoft Update) and through Automatic Updates.  I've also been able to uninstall SP3 through Add/Remove Programs to more or less get back to where I started.  The issue is still one of not booting in normal mode after SP3 is installed.
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by:chakko
ID: 36508039
Have you tried to boot in debug mode?  It should list all of the drivers being loaded (like safe mode boot), maybe you will get lucky and it will reboot when it hits some specific driver, then you can track down a possible driver problem.

Anything in the Event Logs - after a failed normal boot, go to safe mode and check event logs?
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nobus earned 500 total points
ID: 36508643
I used Knoppix to try to access the hard drive so that I could rename intelppm.sys to intelppm.old. I could see the files after I mounted the drive but I could not change the write access to be able to rename the file because it said the drive was in use. I used the XP Home cd and selected the Repair option again and this time I had the Windows drive listed as well as MiniNT and I386. I selected the Windows directory and was able to rename intelppm.sys from the command prompt. I attempted to boot into Windows and the computer ran checkdisk. Everything looks OK for now.

from : http://social.technet.microsoft.com/forums/en-US/itproxpsp/thread/5f9f01b7-606a-454b-9f0d-f25ec735af41/
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by:CompProbSolv
ID: 36512233
The problem has to do with a conflict between AMD CPUs, SP3, and how the original installation was created.  A good discussion of it can be found at:
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/953356

The fix suggested here, renaming intelppm.sys, worked.  Microsoft's solution is effectively the same, disabling the driver through the registry.

Thanks!
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by:nobus
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tx for feedback
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