XP Keeps Rebooting

Hi Guys

i'm looking at a machine, it's a Dell laptop running XP. When booting it gets to the Windows XP logo, quickly flashes a BSOD, reboots and does the same thing.
Cannot logon using Safe Mode etc. The machine has 2 memory dimms, I used them 1 at a time to eliminate the memory. Ran chkdsk /F, no good.

I can how ever boot with a boot disk and see the files, even crete new files on the C: drive. I have tried booting with 2 different XP installtion disks trying to do a repair but it gets so far and I get a BSOD?
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ErgsConnect With a Mentor Author Commented:
yeh it was.... 0x0000007B.

Installing Windows 7 HP at the moment, hopefully I can find all the drivers (Dell sites has Win 7 64 bit only, not 32 bit).. we'll see nearly there.

I figure Windows 7 (or Vista) would have the correct controller drivers natively.
There is something wrong with your Windows installation.

chkdsk /F doesn't correct everything, there is still a lot that could cause the problem. If you had the errormessage from the BSOD, we would come a lot closer.

The other things that you can try instead CHKDSK /F (also in the recovery mode from the Windows CD like you ran chkdsk /F):
1. fixboot
2. fixmbr
3. There is something corrupt your registry. You can correct it with following link http://support.microsoft.com/kb/307545

If XP doesn't boot after you've tried the 3 things I described you can do the following:
1. Do a repair install from your Windows CD (same version as the Windows XP version that's on your HD).
2. If you still get BSOD when you boot, then there is something wrong with your HDD you can verify the integrity of it with following tool: Ultimate Boot CD, if your HDD is fine then there is only one shot for you:
Reinstallation of Windows.

I hope that everything is clear for you. I've described every possible solution for clearing the BSOD that you can boot normal + in safe boot. If all the steps fail a Reinstallation of Windows is necessairy.
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
In one case, I had a client's machine that was so badly infected, I could not do anything with it, it continually got blue screens in Windows Setup, repair attempts, etc.  The only solution was to do a complete disk wipe using Darik's Boot and Nuke (DBAN).  Not saying your infected, but if you continue to have problems, backup all your data and wipe the drive - or buy a new drive (they're pretty cheap).

Also, post the STOP error that your getting - wiping the drive/reinstalling won't help you if you have bad RAM and the STOP error may give a clue as to why it's crashing.
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If you use the F8 key on bootup, one of the options is to disable automatic rebooting.  That will give you a shot at seeing the details of the BSOD.
I would use memtest to check the memory... it's one of the tools included on the System Rescue CD
Choose (F) Run system tools from floppy disk image..., then memtest is the first option.
Let it run overnight, at least 3 or 4 full passes (overnight should give 5 or 6 passes, anyway), and it should have (0) errors.
Checking them one at a time doesn't eliminate the possibility there's a problem with both sticks.

Do you have a power supply tester?
please post the minidump for more info; find it in windows \minidumps
you can copy the dmp file when booted from a live cd, or when the drive is hooked to another PC
ErgsAuthor Commented:
I guys.... discovered something interesting. I removed the hard drive, ran scans etec. noticed the data was missing, found the user profile C:\ErdUndoCache.

I was poking around BIOS settings and dicovered the "Sata Mode Selection", it was set to AHCI, when I change it to IDE I can boot, logon and see the hidden folder "ErdUndoCache"?
what is the question?  and where is the dmp file?
ErgsAuthor Commented:
Just had a look and there are no minidump files, even though the settings are set to create mindumps.

it's more an obsivation then a question, I was hoping that by explaining what I experienced that someone may have an idea.

I think it is interesting I can boot in to Windows by changing a BIOS setting. I guess the question is was it always set to AHCI or did it somehow chage by itself?

Why can I boot in to Windows when I change the BIOS setting to IDE (even thoug it is a SATA drive)? And why is the profile empty? the original profile with all data has been moved to C:\ErdUndoCache

This isn't my machine, it belongs to a client of mine who I can assure you did not go in to BIOS. She said she shut it down after use and the following morning this started happening.... I had rebuilt this system 6 months ago for what may have been the same reason (Windows kept rebooting but the files are there)
ErgsAuthor Commented:
I know I can rebuild, already saved her data.... it concerns me this is happening, I suspect that a disk or controller driver is changing. Found this article which talks about SATA/AHCI/IED drives and Windows XP (the laptop is a Dell Studio 1555)

I think I may install Win7 on it, the laptop comes with Vista we went back to XP a few years ago.
Take a look at my first comment. There is a drive test in it. That you can verify the drive and everything around it.
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
sounds like something happened with the SATA controller drivers.  I'll bet the STOP error was a 7B - inaccessible boot device (would be good if you can confirm this).  If you re-install the SATA controller drivers, I suspect it will work on AHCI.  Of course, WHY they are getting corrupted is another story.
ErgsAuthor Commented:
just finished.... all bar the x 3 "Base System Device" drivers found. Looks like the Richo Memory Stick controllers.
I suggest restoring the Dell MBR (which got changed to a microsoft MBR if you used the fixmbr command from the recovery console) using the batch file in the MD2 subdir on the Dell Drivers and Utilities Disk, then invoke the recovery partition using Ctrl+F11 before the 2-second blue www.dell.com banner appears, and it should restore the hard drive to factory condition using the recovery partition.
(Then you can restore the user's backed up data.)

If it boots after being restored to factory condition like that, then it came from the factory with the AHCI drivers (it's an extremely protracted process to convert XP to AHCI drivers after installation)... if it doesn't boot like that (and immediately BSOD's with Stop 0x0000007B), then someone/something changed that setting to AHCI (e.g. uninstalling Norton Ghost 10 can change it, apparently).

Here's info on how the Dell MBR is supposed to work.
And, if there's no  MD2 subdir or you don't have the Dell Drivers and Utilities CD,
how to repair the Dell MBR
by cloning it from another Dell, or
by creating a Dell MBR repair boot disk.
Here's a link to R121517.EXE - http://downloads.dell.com/app/R121517.EXE
The link to that file in the Dell repair boot disk article appears to be broken.

Dan Goodell also wrote a DSRFix util which you can find if you look around on that goodells.net site, but the above methods of fixing the Dell MBR are easier, in my opinion.
you can also do a "system restore" using this method
An easier way is to boot from a Bart PE CD (or UBCD4Win CD) and use the file manager for manipulating files. Here  the procedure :
1. rename c:\windows\system32\config\SYSTEM to c:\windows\system32\config\SYSTEM.bak
2. Navigate to the System Volume Information folder.
it contains some restore {GUID} folders such as "_restore{87BD3667-3246-476B-923F-F86E30B3E7F8}".
The restore points are in  folders starting with "RPx under this folder.
3. In such a folder, locate a Snapshot subfolder. This is an example of a folder path to the Snapshot folder:  C:\System Volume Information\_restore{D86480E3-73EF-47BC-A0EB-A81BE6EE3ED8}\RP1\Snapshot
4. From the Snapshot folder, copy the following file to the c:\windows\system32\config folder
6. Exit Bart PE, reboot and test

Use a fairly recent restore point from at least a day or two prior to problem occurring .

** you can add the other hives also with this procedure

http://www.nu2.nu/pebuilder/       BARTPE
http://www.ubcd4win.com/            UBCD4WIN
The R227769.EXE Ricoh driver's compatibility screen says it's for both 32 and 64 bit win7.
(http://downloads.dell.com/chipset/R227769.exe )
ErgsConnect With a Mentor Author Commented:
Thanks Guys. All good the installed worked, windows updates sorted missing drivers - all good.
So, you can delete the factory XP recovery partition, and expand the main partition to give her a few more GB of disk space.  Unless you're planning on going back to XP for some reason.
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