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Startup Crashes At Xp Splash Screen


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#1 Jeff S.

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Posted 24 November 2007 - 09:36 PM

I hope I'm posting this is the right place, instead of hardware.

I'm running WinXP SP2 on a P4, 1GB RAM; ATI All In Wonder 9600 256MB. AVG anti-virus and Win Defender anti-spyware, both auto updated regularly.

Background: for the past several months I've been noticing some gibberish characters in the POST; also some of my icons both in Windows and inside apps have distorted colors and graphics, but still function OK. This morning the system had rebooted and hung in POST. Rebooted and noticed bad sounds from a HD; turned machine off and let it sit a minute, powered up and system went through POST and hung at Win logo screen. Gibberish characters now more prevalent in POST text and also now in BIOS setup. Pulled video card and replaced it with an older but functional card. All gibberish characters gone, but system proceeds to Win splash screen, progress bar spins for 10 seconds or so, BSOD appears very briefly and then system immediately reboots. Rebooted several more times and problem stays the same.

I thought I'd try a fixmbr command, or do a repair from the Repair Console, but now I cannot boot from the CD. I have checked the BIOS boot order (and even disabled all other options) but when the POST gets to "press any key to boot from CD" it seems the keyboard is nonresponsive at that point in the process. Also--I cannot boot into safe mode (F8 key).

I'm stumped. Any insight would be appreciated.

Edited by Jeff S., 24 November 2007 - 09:38 PM.


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#2 Andrew

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Posted 25 November 2007 - 02:03 AM

Hi Jeff S, welcome to BC! :thumbsup:

The first step I would recommend would be to reset the BIOS by either pulling the battery or using the jumper setting specified in the motherboard documentation (which method depends on your specific motherboard). If you would post your system's make and model (or, if you know it, the make and model of your motherboard) we can help you determine how, exactly, to reset the BIOS for your system.

Resetting the BIOS will clear any custom settings saved in the CMOS chip and will revert the BIOS to its default state. Hopefully, whatever was causing the strange characters during POST will be erased.

After resetting the BIOS, try to boot into Windows normally. If that doesn't work, try entering safe mode. If that doesn't work, try booting from your Windows CD.

If your keyboard is USB, then you may have some problems using it between the POST and when Windows loads. If you have a spare PS/2 keyboard, or can borrow one, you should use it instead of a USB keyboard until we get this fixed.

Also, when you boot Windows (after getting the Blue Screen during the previous boot) Windows should give you a black screen with options to start in Safe Mode, use the Last Known Good Configuration, etc. If you get this screen, use the arrow keys to select the option to Disable Automatic Restart on System Failure and press enter. That way, if you get the Blue Screen again, it won't automatically reboot and you will be able to copy down the error info, which would be very valuable.

Edited by Amazing Andrew, 25 November 2007 - 02:05 AM.


#3 Jeff S.

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Posted 25 November 2007 - 05:44 PM

Thanks, Andrew.

Here's what I've done today:

1) I used the jumper to reset the CMOS memory on the motherboard (ABIT BD7II).

2) I had tried an old PS2 keyboard yesterday with no result, but the mem reset must have helped. I the PS2 keyboard again and I now can boot into safe mode and Windows Install disk from CD-rom.

2) I had reinstalled my latest video card to see if the CMOS reset had fixed the gibberish characters. No go--strange characters still there, in both POST and BIOS setup. Also when bootup had proceeded to Windows splash I noticed some weird pixel artifacts in the logo. This all disappeared when I put my old PCI video card in, so it seems clear that at least one of the problems was the vid card.

3) Went into safe mode and tried "Use Last Known Good Configuration". Not successful.

4) Went into safe mode and disabled Auto Restart On System Failure, and proceeded to boot. BSOD error message was: "UNMOUNTABLE BOOT VOLUME". I did some research on this and the consensus was to login to recovery console and try: "chkdsk /r" followed by "fixboot" if necessary. Chkdsk proceeded to go to 50% and stopped with the message "the volume appears to contain one or more unrecoverable problems" and returned to C: prompt. I then tried "fixboot". The system processed for a while and returned "the boot sector is corrupt", then "the new bootsector was successfully written". I felt confident I had repaired the problem but no go, again--exactly the same failure sequence with the same STOP error message, unmountable volume.

So, I made some progress, but once again I'm stumped. Would "fixmbr" be the next choice?

UPDATE: Here's what I've tried since then:

1) In recovery console, I ran "bootcfg /scan" and received the message "Error: Failed to successfully scan disks for Windows installations. This error may be caused by a corrupt file system, which would prevent Bootcfg from successfully scanning. Use chkdsk to detect any disk error."

2) Then after more reading, I tried:

1. "fixboot" (successful)
2. "fixmbr" (succesful)
3. "bootcfg /rebuild" -- Failed. Same message as above, "...error may be caused by a corrupt file system..."


Now I've pretty much reached the limit of what I know to try, short of doing a repair installation of Windows. I'm going to take a break now!

Edited by Jeff S., 25 November 2007 - 07:59 PM.


#4 Andrew

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Posted 25 November 2007 - 07:49 PM

yeah, try fixmbr

If that doesn't work, I would recommend the Ultimate Boot CD for Windows. It will require you to have access to your Windows installation CD, the internet, and a computer with a CD burner + a blank CD.
The UBCD4Win has several tools (Boot Build, MbrFix, MBRWiz, TestDisk) which can help recover/restore/recreate your boot sector and/or partition table. Plus lots of other tools should anything ever happen again.

Let us know if fixmbr doesn't (or does) work. We can help you through the process of making the UBCD4Win disk and with using the tools I mentioned.

Edited by Amazing Andrew, 25 November 2007 - 07:56 PM.


#5 Jeff S.

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Posted 25 November 2007 - 08:03 PM

Thanks Andrew, I'll check that out.

Just reposting my update from above:

UPDATE: Here's what I've tried since then:

1) In recovery console, I ran "bootcfg /scan" and received the message "Error: Failed to successfully scan disks for Windows installations. This error may be caused by a corrupt file system, which would prevent Bootcfg from successfully scanning. Use chkdsk to detect any disk error."

2) Then after more reading, I tried:

1. "fixboot" (successful)
2. "fixmbr" (succesful)
3. "bootcfg /rebuild" -- Failed. Same message as above, "...error may be caused by a corrupt file system..."


Now I've pretty much reached the limit of what I know to try, short of doing a repair installation of Windows. I'm going to take a break now!

#6 Andrew

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Posted 25 November 2007 - 08:09 PM

Whoops, I guess I should finish reading before posting, huh! :thumbsup:

A quick question: Is your hard drive partitioned into more than one logical drive? If so, which logical drive is XP installed upon?

Seeing as fixmbr didn't clear up the problem, then it looks as though the UBCD4Win is our only option. Luckily for us, it's a very effective option.

#7 Crizz44

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Posted 25 November 2007 - 08:21 PM

A repair may help, here is a great site to explain how:

http://www.michaelstevenstech.com/XPrepairinstall.htm

If not: do you know your hard drive make and model? You may be able to run the diagnostic test from the manufacturer.

#8 syunichi

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Posted 25 November 2007 - 09:57 PM

I think the OS partition is corrupted or things might get worst if the HDD itself is. Just an idea that is...but I hope your HDD still works well. :thumbsup:

Ah..and before I go...would you like to do a troubleshoot on your RAM sticks and see whether it is doing ok? Trying switching it or even better use a slot at a time to see how the system runs with it. Good luck.
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Tech Support: "Do you have any windows open right now?"
Customer: "Are you crazy woman, it's twenty below outside..."

#9 Jeff S.

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Posted 26 November 2007 - 10:41 AM

OK, I've created a UBCD4Win disk and it's booted up on my crashed computer. I am on the internet through it right now. I attempted to slipstream SP2 into the build but I'm not sure if I was successful (I've just read the pinned FAQ on Autostream on the UBCD site and I think I'll redo the build.)

Anyway, a preliminary examination through Disk Manager shows 4 physical drives running (I have 5 drives installed, so there's one problem). "Disk 0" (27.95 GB) is drive C:, File System is blank, Status = "healthy (active)", Capacity = 27.95 GB, Free Space = 27.95 GB, %Free = 100. This gibes physically with what I recall from the last time I reconfigured all my hd's, i.e. I used a leftover 30GB drive for the OS only, no other logical drives on that hd.

Syunichi, I haven't tested RAM yet. If hd is fried at least I have daily Retrospect backups that are good (hopefully!) up to 11/24.

Now I guess I need some suggestions on how to use the tools available to figure out what's going on.

Edited by Jeff S., 26 November 2007 - 11:14 AM.


#10 Jeff S.

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Posted 26 November 2007 - 12:28 PM

Here's what HDTune says about C: drive:

Posted Image

#11 hamluis

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Posted 26 November 2007 - 07:21 PM

I think I would consider the results of the WD diagnostic more reliable than this utility you have used.

http://support.wdc.com/download/index.asp?...=999&swid=3

Louis

#12 Jeff S.

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Posted 27 November 2007 - 12:44 AM

I used the Western Digital DLG utilities from the UBCD disk, ran DLG Diagnostics Quick Test for C: and got a pretty quick abort with the message:

QuickTest on drive 1 did not complete! Status code = 07 (Failed read test element). Failure checkpoint = 65 (Error Log Test). Smart Self Test did not complete on drive 1.


Edited by Jeff S., 27 November 2007 - 12:52 AM.


#13 Jeff S.

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Posted 27 November 2007 - 12:51 AM

Here's the results of a scan of C: from HDTune:

Posted Image

#14 Jeff S.

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Posted 27 November 2007 - 01:05 AM

Here's a diagnotstic result for C: from DiskCheckup V2.1, also from the UBCD disk tools:

DiskCheckup Version: DiskCheckup V2.1 Build: 1001
SmartDisk DLL Version: SmartDisk DLL SDK v1.0 Build: 1013
Time of export: 09:27:58 02-Jan-2002
Device ID: 0
Device Capacity: 28623 MB
Serial Number: WD-WMA6W1018677
Model Number: WDC WD300BB-00AUA1

SMART ATTRIBUTES:
ID Description Raw Value Status Value Worst Threshold TEC
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1 Raw Read Error Rate 32 OK 172 1 51 N.A.
3 Spin Up Time 3725ms OK 102 99 21 N.A.
4 Start/Stop Count 287 OK 100 100 40 N.A.
5 Reallocated Sector Count 693 FAIL 26 26 112 N.A.
7 Seek Error Rate 0 OK 100 253 51 N.A.
9 Power On Time 50112 OK 32 32 0 N.A.
A Spin Retry Count 3 OK 99 98 51 N.A.
B Calibration Retry Count 0 OK 100 100 51 N.A.
C Power Cycle Count 274 OK 100 100 0 N.A.
C4 Reallocation Event Count 320 OK 1 1 0 N.A.
C5 Current Pending Sector Count 85 OK 183 173 0 N.A.
C6 Uncorrectable Sector Count 196 OK 160 160 0 N.A.
C7 UltraDMA CRC Error Count 0 OK 200 253 0 N.A.
C8 Write Error Count 306 OK 162 162 51 N.A.


Is this drive fried? Or is the partition corrupted? Will a Windows Repair Install fix this?

#15 Andrew

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Posted 27 November 2007 - 04:48 AM

Okay, let's get fixing! (note: since you mentioned that this drive solely contains the OS and not any of your critical personal data, the following is somewhat more aggressive than I would otherwise advise. While it's not necessarily dangerous, it carries more risk than other procedures, but can produce better results.)

We're going to try to repair the master file table and the boot sector on the misbehaving drive.

In UBCD4Win, launch the TestDisk program:

Posted Image
I usually select No Log, but it's up to you.


Here we see the disk selection screen. It will probably look different on your computer as you have more than one drive (you may want to disconnect them for the moment, for simplicity's sake). Drive X: is the temporary RAMdisk, just ignore it.

Posted Image


Next, select your system type (Intel, even if it's AMD):
Posted Image


Now select the Advanced option
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Now, select the boot partition. If I remember right, there should only be the one on your drive. Then, select Boot and press Enter.

Posted Image


Now to rebuild the Master File Table. Select the Repair MFT option and press enter.
Posted Image
Yes
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OK

Now, back at this screen to repair the boot sector., select Repair BS and press enter.
Posted Image




After completion, reboot back into the UBCD4Win and run CheckDisk. When done, boot normally and see if Windows works. If it does, get any info you want to keep and copy it off to another drive; this drive is unreliable and likely to fail completely soon.

Edited by Amazing Andrew, 27 November 2007 - 04:50 AM.





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