Windows XP Windows Boot Issue


I have a Windows XP computer and I have issues with it booting up - it says there was an error loading the operating system.

It appears that the issue can be fixed by running Windows Recovery Console and running the FIXMBR and FIXBOOT. I think it is actually the FIXBOOT that fixes the issue but I run both anyway.

This is happening with increasing frequency. Could this be a problems with the software and Windows installation (i.e. would a re-installation fix it) or is this a hardware (hard drive) issue where there is a fault with the drive causing the issue?

Any thoughts would be great to hear.

Thanks in advance
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JohnnyCanuckConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Simplest way to do a check, open a command prompt as administrator and enter
"chkdsk c: /r".
This will find, and flag as unusable, any bad sectors on the drive.  If it finds bad sectors then your hard drive is indeed on the way out.  Also, this process takes a long time on very large drives - you might want to run it overnight.

Another thing to do is to make sure SMART is turned on in your BIOS.  SMART stands for Self Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology and will detect if your drive is failing.  Some BIOSes don't allow this so if this is your case then download a Windows SMART monitor such as this.

If these tests pass then your drive is likely fine and we'd have to start looking at other things (such as windows logs, possible virus, memory etc) to try to narrow down the possible cause.
AlexiosConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Possible the hard disk indeed is causing that.
You have to check it for bad sectors or other malfunction so to see if that is the cause.

What is the brand of the drive?
rindiConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Causes for this are very often hardware related. Test your RAM using memtest86+, and the disk using the disk manufacturer's diagnostic utility. You'll find both of those tools on the UBCD:

You should rather than repairing XP start thinking of replacing it, as it's support will end in June anyway. If your PC is older and you want to keep on using it, and the hardware is OK, you should either install a Linux distro or upgrade to Windows 7. The advantage of Linux is that most distro's are free, practically everything needed is already included out of the box, and many distro's have no problem running fast on older hardware.
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gisvpnAuthor Commented:
What would the value be in running memtest86+? I am not sure any of the issues and fixes to the issues point to a RAM issue?

I will try the disk diagnostics utility - I would rather go to the manufacture's website to get this to ensure I can trust the software ;)

I cant stop using Windows XP -- pity! I guess even with the support ending it should still work!
Bad RAM can also cause issues like that. It doesn't only have to be a bad disk. The tools on the UBCD can be trusted. The advantage is that you have them all on one CD, if you individually go to the manufacturer's site, you burn that to a fresh CD and end up with 1 CD for just one tool. That in my point of view is a waste of CD's.
Although XP will keep on working, it will become less and less secure by the day after support has ended. It isn't the securest OS already to begin with. So if you keep on using it you risk compromising your data, and also becoming a host for criminals who misuse your PC without your knowing!

Whoever needs to keep on using it hasn't tried hard enough to replace it in my point of view. There's been enough time to act, as the EOL of XP has been known for many years now.
gisvpnAuthor Commented:
Thanks for your input .

Will leave the question open for anyone else to add.
A chkdsk doesn't give you any info on the state of your HD, and there can be many errors that chkdsk reports and fixes and they don't have to mean the disk is bad. Chkdsk only tests and repairs the file-system, and not the underlying disk. Although a bad disk can cause problems with the file-system there are many other things that can cause file-system corruption. So the only proper way to test the disk is to use the disk manufacturer's diagnostics. Apart from that, most manufacturers require such a test for warranty replacements or RMA's.
nobusConnect With a Mentor Commented:
i suggest the UBCD  to run some diags first - to be sure about the basics

Hardware diagnostic CD    UBCD
go to the download page, scroll down to the mirror section, and  click on a mirror to start the download
Download the UBCD and make the cd   <<==on a WORKING PC, and boot the problem PC from it
Here 2 links, one to the general site, and a direct link to the download

since the downloaded file is an ISO file, eg ubcd527.iso - so you need to use an ISO burning tool
if you don't have that software, install cdburnerXP :

If you want also the Ram tested - run memtest86+ at least 1 full pass,  - you should have NO errors!
For disk Diagnostics run the disk diag for your disk brand (eg seagate diag for seagate drive)  from the HDD section -  long or advanced diag !  (runs at least for30 minutes)                        ultimate boot cd             download page

once the basics, are ok -  you can proceed with software tools
MikeKAtLCSConnect With a Mentor Commented:
I use spinrite to check the disk.  Testing memory is just a good practice.  You want to eliminate all possibilities.

I have run into a viruses that can cause that.

There is a virus that uses any available space on the drive to create a custom hidden partition that is made the boot partition.  If your antivirus is preventing part of the process then the system would stop booting until to use fixboot and fixmbr.

You can try running TDSSKILLER from Kaspersky to see if that is the problem.  Tigzy's Roguekiller from Geekstogo also does a good job of detecting that virus.
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