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?clarifying a possible XP boot fix


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#1 Bakka

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Posted 22 March 2011 - 08:46 PM

This is part of a testimonial on the Boot Disk website:

"...when the system tried to start up it would go into a "loop" of restarting after the XP logo window popped up. After a miniscule $4 donation to this site I had access to some very useful utilities...most of all the NTFSboot CD disk! I was able to use that and run a chkdsk and all was back up and running after the fixes."

I have the same "loop" problem. Does anyone know the process and utilities this guy used to fix it using the NTFSboot CD -- or any other method?

I have tried every fixboot, fixmbr, chkdsk, etc., etc., from countless searches for about a year now to no avail. I have HP XP Recovery Disks that fail at various stages. I used ERD boot disk to get my files out and another straightforward bootdisk for DOS commands. I really need my programs to work again, so I persist in trying to get the XP to boot again rather than fresh-install. Please help if possible.

Thanks, Bakka

#2 MedEvil

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Posted 22 March 2011 - 10:06 PM

Let me see, if i understand you right.
You can't use your computer since a year now and your programs are really important to you, but it's not worth 4$ to you. :cheers:

I would have hired an expert already a few days after this would have happened to me and be done.

Make a list of all the programs installed, get them and reinstall XP.

On a personal note, i would say, it's save to assume, that there is nothing left to fix anymore, after you tryed everything and the kitchensink in the past year.


Good luck anyway. :whistling:

#3 Bakka

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Posted 23 March 2011 - 03:15 PM

Thanks, but no you don't understand me right because you did not take the time to read my post correctly.

The $4 thing was a clearly stated as a quote from a testimonial on BOOTDISK.com. I was using it to illustrate that I am having the same problem and was asking if anyone could clarify what was meant IN the testimonial re: how did the OP use the utilities mentioned there.

The time you spent criticizing me could have been spent reading my post, so your reply is of no substance nor consequence. Obviously you are not qualified to reply beyond the depth of "go buy a new one".

I have searched long and hard because many of my applications cannot be recovered or replicated --I'm talking hundreds. Now that I have finally found someone (re: the testimonial) who has solved the same dilemna I am simply asking for help in understanding how he may have accomplished the fix.

Actually I found this forum link on the BOOTDISK.com website and was hoping that OP might be a subscriber.

Again, the problem is: my XP boots to the WINXP logo then goes back and repeats (loops) this activity as long as I keep it turned on. I can reach the boot choice menu (safeboot, last good config, etc.) but clicking any choice simply results in the same loop. The OP in the testimonial used a tool called NTFSboot CD that has been modified and reworked by the owner of the webpage and I am simply asking how he might have used that tool to get his results.

I hope I have cleared up any reasons to misunderstand this. Thank you,

Bakka

#4 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 23 March 2011 - 08:06 PM

First thing is exiting the loop :cheers:.

The loop happens because you have a setting in Registry that tells the XP to reboot when it finds a problem.
We need to have the XP "hang" to hopefully see WHAT the actual problem is.
You mention having used a few tools but you seem like missing the actual knowledge to use them :clap:

Can you boot to "something" and change this Registry Setting:
http://www.theelderg...ystem_crash.htm
on the offline Registry?


In other words, the booting loop is caused by the above NO matter which "other" problem causes what would normally result in a STOP ERROR or BSOD (Blue Screen of Death), there is NO way to know WHAT causes it until we get to know WHICH STOP ERROR it is.

Are you familiar with the Recovery Console?
Do you have a Recovery COnsole CD?
You mentioned ERD, WHICH version do you have?



:unsure:
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#5 Sha0

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Posted 23 March 2011 - 09:21 PM

I really need my programs to work again, so I persist in trying to get the XP to boot again rather than fresh-install. Please help if possible.

Personally, I've never met a BSoD that couldn't be fixed without re-installing. Sometimes this involves taking the problem HDD from computer A and putting it in another computer B, then using B to:
  • Remove viruses from A's HDD.
  • Restore missing/damaged files to A's HDD.
  • Modifying the Registry on A's HDD so that the HDD can be booted again, possibly on a different model than A, if needed.
Once you get the BSoD error code (if there is one) as Wonko the Sane suggested, you might find out what the problem is. During boot-up, if you hit F8, you'll get a menu with an opportunity to Disable automatic restart on system failure. Choose that and find out the error code, if there is one.

#6 Bakka

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Posted 24 March 2011 - 08:03 PM

To Wonko the Sane:

I get what you said about the loop and I will try to get to the registry with the boot disk I have that allows me to get in with DOS. In a way you are right about my limited knowledge, but I am great at following procedures and have used the fixmbr, fixboot, etc. according to instructions in as many astute websites as I can find and followed the directions to a "T".

Since my XP is OEM I have a set of recovery/reinstall disks from HP. When I tried the recovery from the DOS boot disk I got as far as something to do with needing EULA and that was it.
When I use those HP disks in Recovery mode they do all kinds of weird stuff like hanging at various places or stopping for a timeout to install a "factory patch" that de facto terminates the process.

I am not sure which version of ERD I have because I had a hard time finding one I could download and was glad to get that -- I seem to remember 2005 but not sure. I would update if I knew where to get a newer version. Please keep in mind that what I have done was over a long period because I need to work on this when I can because of other commitments.

To ShaO:
The problem is I don't have access to another PC. I don't see Disable Automatic Restart in the choices.

I appreciate the help and will work on all of these tips.

Bakka

#7 Sha0

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Posted 24 March 2011 - 08:11 PM

The problem is I don't have access to another PC.

Booting to an alternative recovery environment seems to be your only option, then.

I don't see Disable Automatic Restart in the choices.

Please try again. Do you see any menu when using F8?

#8 Bakka

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Posted 24 March 2011 - 08:29 PM

Yes, I get the Safe Boot, Last known Good Config, etc. etc. but there is no Disable Automatic Restart there.

#9 Sha0

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Posted 24 March 2011 - 08:37 PM

Yes, I get the Safe Boot, Last known Good Config, etc. etc. but there is no Disable Automatic Restart there.

What happens when you press F8 again at that menu?

#10 Bakka

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Posted 24 March 2011 - 08:55 PM

Nothing happens. When I make a choice and press Enter the window changes to the Select the OS menu, but f8 there just returns me to the choices menu.

#11 Sha0

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Posted 24 March 2011 - 09:22 PM

Nothing happens. When I make a choice and press Enter the window changes to the Select the OS menu, but f8 there just returns me to the choices menu.

What happens if you very carefully type

unsupporteddebug

At the OS choices menu?

#12 Bakka

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Posted 25 March 2011 - 12:33 AM

I get this:

Current selection:

Title..:Windows XP Home Edition

Path...: multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS

Options: /FASTDETECT

#13 Sha0

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Posted 25 March 2011 - 02:57 AM

I get this...

If you then press enter on your OS choice and add /DEBUG /SOS to the end of the line of options, then press enter again, does the system hit a Blue Screen of Death and sit on it?

#14 Bakka

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Posted 25 March 2011 - 04:41 AM

When I press enter on my choice it goes to the Windows logo then black as usual and reboots.

#15 Sha0

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Posted 25 March 2011 - 01:51 PM

When I press enter on my choice it goes to the Windows logo then black as usual and reboots.

I meant after using unsupporteddebug.

#16 Bakka

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Posted 25 March 2011 - 04:17 PM

If you then press enter on your OS choice and add /DEBUG /SOS to the end of the line of options


There is nowhere to type /DEBUG /SOS into. When I hit enter after unsupporteddebug it goes into the windows logo loop.

#17 Sha0

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Posted 25 March 2011 - 05:38 PM

There is nowhere to type /DEBUG /SOS into. When I hit enter after unsupporteddebug it goes into the windows logo loop.

I guess that the lack of the Disable automatic restart on system failure and the lack of ability to add options after using unsupporteddebug must be a Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition limitation. I apologize for wasting your time. :cheers:

Hopefully you can modify the Registry offline by using some kind of emergency environment, such as a BartPE or whatever. RegEdit -> Highlight HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE -> File -> Load hive... -> HDD_Windows_drive_letter:\Windows\System32\Config\SYSTEM, etc.

#18 Bakka

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Posted 25 March 2011 - 06:10 PM

I appreciate whatever you do to help.

I just tried to boot from the ERD 2005 CD but instead of booting I got a blue screen.

It says the following:

STOP: c0000221 unknown hard error
\SystemRoot\system32\ntdll.dll

I remember seeing this .dll at some point in the past -- do you think I can use this info, and if so how?

I hope ERD will still boot, I never had it do this behavior before.

#19 Bakka

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Posted 25 March 2011 - 08:20 PM

Disregard the previous post -- it was a bad CD ROM causing that error.

I have ERD open with access to the registry. I tried to do the process from the webpage that Wonko the Sane provided (1st reply) but there is no "Crash Control" in the registry for changing the Autoboot settings.

So now I'm "all dressed up with nowhere to go". Do you happen to know what I should do within the registry? I tried to follow MS knowledge Base pages but there are so many links to follow I wouldn't want to mess with the registry under those confusing conditions.

#20 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 25 March 2011 - 09:44 PM

Disregard the previous post -- it was a bad CD ROM causing that error.

I have ERD open with access to the registry. I tried to do the process from the webpage that Wonko the Sane provided (1st reply) but there is no "Crash Control" in the registry for changing the Autoboot settings.

So now I'm "all dressed up with nowhere to go". Do you happen to know what I should do within the registry? I tried to follow MS knowledge Base pages but there are so many links to follow I wouldn't want to mess with the registry under those confusing conditions.

Do you mean that you can actually find CurrentControlSet? :cheers:

You need to connect to the OFFLINE Registry.
This is normally done by mounting the OFFLINE "System" file in a hive under HKLM or HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE of the current Registry.
Give a neme to it, let's say "myxp".
Then find in the mounted hive the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\myxp\SYSTEM\Select key.
Check WHICH ControlSet is "Current". (normally it is ControlSet001)
That ControlSet is the one that WHEN the XP is booted normally will become "CurrentControlSet".
Say it is "ControlSet001", HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\myxp\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\Control\CrashControl
Set autoreboot to 0.
Unload hive "myxp".

;)
Wonko

#21 Sha0

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Posted 25 March 2011 - 10:02 PM

So now I'm "all dressed up with nowhere to go". Do you happen to know what I should do within the registry? I tried to follow MS knowledge Base pages but there are so many links to follow I wouldn't want to mess with the registry under those confusing conditions.

Well, you can always back up the Registry before mucking about. Assuming the "broken" OS' filesystem has drive letter C:, you might:

xcopy /e /h c:\windows\system32\config c:\windows\system32\config.march-25-2011\

Then you could always restore that state by copying Registry files from the config.march-25-2011\ backup directory.

Were you checking for the "Crash Control" key in the PE environment's Registry or did you Load hive the OS' Registry and were looking in there?

#22 Bakka

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Posted 25 March 2011 - 11:50 PM

At this point I need to take it slow since where you are going takes a lot of thinking on my part.

FYI: I ran a System File Scan with the ERD System File Repair Wizard and the results are "No corrupted system files were detected"(?).

I found Current ControlSet in the registry using regedit in ERD. OK, in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE there are three ControlSets: 001,004, 005 plus CurrentControlSet. I found control/crashcontrol in them but no autoboot (I don't get how to get OFFLINE registry and mounting it.)

I backed up the registry by exporting it (ERD uses a Windows GUI so I can manuever comfortably within it). I don't think I can change any hives according to what I read if that means anything but I think I can set values and that sort of stuff.

#23 Bakka

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Posted 26 March 2011 - 04:14 AM

Could an explorer.exe crash cause bootup problem? In Event Viewer, the last entry at the time it must have busted is this error:

Application error:

Faulting application explorer.exe, faulting module explorer.exe, fault address 0X0003876c.

#24 Sha0

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Posted 26 March 2011 - 05:36 PM

At this point I need to take it slow since where you are going takes a lot of thinking on my part.

Sorry, I'm not familiar with ERD. My impression is that it's a branded Windows PE environment with recovert utilities included. I was assuming that the RegEdit it includes would be the normal Windows RegEdit with the File -> Load hive... option of post #17. Perhaps it isn't, though.

The "offline" Registry modification idea is that you can load one of the Registry hives (SAM, SECURITY, SOFTWARE, SYSTEM, DEFAULT) using RegEdit, then make changes within that hive, then unload the hive and retry booting your system normally.

I found Current ControlSet in the registry using regedit in ERD. OK, in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE there are three ControlSets: 001,004, 005 plus CurrentControlSet. I found control/crashcontrol in them but no autoboot (I don't get how to get OFFLINE registry and mounting it.)

Ok, but were you looking at the Windows PE's Registry or were you looking at the Registry hive of the HDD's OS installation? For example, there should be these:
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
  • HARDWARE\
  • SAM\
  • SECURITY\
  • SOFTWARE\
  • SYSTEM\
  • Anything else?
Perhaps someone knows ERD better and could offer better instructions.

#25 Bakka

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Posted 26 March 2011 - 10:46 PM

First of all thank you for putting so much of your time into helping, also Wonko the Sane -- it makes me feel like a solution is right around a corner.

ERD actually opens Windows XP but with limits. It has Windows explorer, networking if you use that (I let that load so I could get internet--the internet is super fast). The GUI is WinXP and it has a Command Console -- that is what I was hoping to use to fix the booting. It has a lot of wizards for fixing stuff and also system restore (which did not work for me but I have yet to look for volumes to see if they exist). Also Admin tools, System Tools, etc.

There is where I checked out my system files and there is no corruption. I can access all the .dll files with explorer.

One important thing I noticed is there is no longer a Recovery partition. That makes me think maybe a virus took it out.(?)


The Regedit looks normal but the file menu does not include load/unload hive, just import/export. With the edit menu you can set a New Key, string value, DWORD value, Multistring value, and Expandable value, or Reset Permissions. That is it.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE has everything in your list except Hardware. There are Hardware Profiles in the Control Sets.

I went online and was able to upgrade FireFox (there's no IE) so I could try running an online AntiVirus/malware in case that was an issue but I think the ERD comes between it somehow -- won't work. Applications cannot run, except I was able to open cccleaner.

So it boots XP, seems like in SafeMode. If I were to use the Commands I think it would be simpler in the ERD environment. I don't know what PE looks like, but online it looks very involved to download the right stuff. I also have another boot disk that is great for DOS and I can copy files etc. because it has a recovery aspect--if I was using retail XP I could just recover from that but there was something to do with not having a EULA(?) something or other.

That's everything I am working with. If it would run applications I would just use ERDs bootup forever. I think I might be able to use apps if I booted with a Linux CD but to me that is all very complicated.

Can the hives be worked upon using Commands?

Edited by Bakka, 26 March 2011 - 11:02 PM.





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