SBS 2003 won't boot other than in Safe Mode

Posted on 2014-07-16
Last Modified: 2014-07-28
I am having a problem with an SBS 2003 server that won't boot, except in Safe Mode.  If I try to boot it normally, it does not get past the Windows Server 2003 screen with the scrolling bar at the bottom.  The bar scrolls for a short while, then it stops (always in the same place, I believe).  The computer stops responding at that point.  Never in the process can it be accessed remotely, even by PING.

I am able to boot into Safe Mode or Safe Mode with Networking.  I have disabled everything through MSConfig, but that didn't allow a successful reboot.

I tried VGA Mode and Last Known Good Configuration, but both hung on reboot, though the scroll bar stopped at a different point.

I didn't see anything of significance in the Event Log.

Before the problem occurred, the system booted properly.  After running for a day, power was lost while the system was up.  The symptoms started when rebooting after the power failure.

I have not yet tried a repair install of Windows, though I likely will when I can get my hands on the computer again (in a couple of days).

I tried running SFC /scannow, but it gave an error about the RPC not running.  I am assuming that SFC won't run in Safe Mode on SBS 2003.

I ran chkdsk (initiated through Windows Explorer, ran on reboot) which didn't resolve the problem.

Please suggest how I should approach resolving this issue.
Question by:CompProbSolv
    LVL 9

    Expert Comment

    Repair of windows is on the order; make sure you have the SBS 2003 install CDs (as opposed to 2003 standard, etc.) as this flavor is very particular. It gives you no error messages, just freezes on boot, correct?
    LVL 19

    Author Comment

    We do have the SBS 2003 disks and those would be used if I do the repair.  I should have access to the computer on Friday or Saturday (they are limping by with Safe Mode with Networking) and will likely do the repair if I don't have any easier options.

    There are no error messages.  The bar scrolls a number of times, then just stops.  I've let it sit for 20-30 minutes and have seen no change on the screen nor any disk activity.
    LVL 5

    Expert Comment

    by:Adam Ray
    If you will have time to let it sit for a few hours to do hardware diagnostics...

    Most name brand servers have some sort of hardware diagnostic mode you can boot into (before Windows) and/or a boot CD to run the diagnostics.

    If you don't have access to that, get a bootable memory tester disk/flash drive.

    I would say looking for faulty hardware (memory in particular) after it failed to reboot after a power failure is looking for zebras when hearing hoof beats. But it's an easy test (if you have the time to let it run) and has been my problem on more than one occasion...
    LVL 19

    Accepted Solution

    I finally got my hands on the system and resolved the problem.

    I ran memory tests overnight and no problems were found.

    I scanned the drive system and no problems were found.

    I swapped out the video card and the problem went away!  I put the old card back in and it worked fine.

    My presumption here is that there was an issue with physical connectivity between the video card and the PCI-e slot (though it was seated all of the way down and the clip was latched) and re-seating it resolved the problem.

    I have rebooted about a half dozen times now (twice with the system cold, the others with it at operating temperature) and it worked every time.
    LVL 19

    Author Closing Comment

    Found the problem on my own.

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