Windows XP will not boot, stuck in a loop

Posted on 2012-09-14
Last Modified: 2012-09-14

I am hoping someone can point in the right direction on this one.
I am at a customer who has an ancient computer. It is an old P4 2.4 ghz. Just a few days ago, I fist saw it and noticed that it was quite slow. Today, the customer updated it and decided to reboot it. I just arrived and it is stuck in a booting loop: it will get to the windows xp logo and and the green thing will go by maybe 30 times. Right when it seems to want to get into windows it basically reboots and the post screen comes up.

I first tried last known good config, hoping to magically undo any issues. No good. Then tried safe mode. Still stuck in the same loop.

Unfortunately, this pc has all his financial data on it. My customer really cannot afford to lose all his data. If only he hadn't rebooted it I would have made backups TODAY!
What should I do? Should I copy it using my sata/ide -> usb device, or maybe try a live cd to copy the data? Can I still boot nito it somehow? Any suggestions would be highly appreciated!

Question by:CTSFlorida
    LVL 9

    Accepted Solution

    If data is your primary concern, as you mentioned use a sata/ide -> usb converter or slave the drive and get the information off FIRST. Then I would try a repair installation.
    LVL 11

    Assisted Solution

    I would slave it and copy the data then run chkdsk /r.

    Author Comment

    TunerML, when you say repair it, do you mean booting from the XP cd and repairing it that way? What are some of those steps, I haven't done a repair in years  :)
    By the way, thank you so much for the nearly instant replies!
    LVL 9

    Expert Comment

    Yes boot the XP cd, don't drop to console (myself haven't been infront of XP for awhile most of my clients are now Windows 7), but the option is there from the XP CD to do a repair installation, which almost resembles a clean install. Once you have the data you should be fine, be sure to have an idea of the software that you may need to re-install. Once you begin the repair it will be straight forward, just as installing a new copy of XP, but if it completes sucessfully your software and data will still be there, and as Billbondo mentions do a chkdsk /r as soon as possible. You should also have an antivirus software on hand just incase, has a freebie version that has worked wonders for me. But there are bootable antivirus recovery disks that you may also be interested available from AVG, ANTIVIR and some others. Also if the drive has read errors and you want to clone it check out CloneZilla (

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