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I can't log into Windows


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#1 Megaritz

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Posted 25 May 2009 - 07:23 PM

Whenever I try to log into my computer, I am instantly logged out again and sent back to the log-in screen. This happens in Safe Mode, too.

It started after I got a virus (from Digg.com, strangely enough), and used MalwareBytes to try to remove it. When it finished scanning, I got the standard message of having to restart my computer to finish removal. I did so, and ever since, I've been unable to log in without automatically getting logged out immediately afterward.

I'm using Windows XP Professional, Tablet PC Edition. All of the solutions that I've looked at involve using the Windows Installation CD--but I don't have one. Either I didn't receive one, or I've long since lost it. What can I do without the CD or the ability to log in? Has the virus won?

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#2 Budapest

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Posted 25 May 2009 - 10:47 PM

We will have to create a small 'fix CD' to solve this problem.
Please download RC.ISO and save it somewhere you can find it.
Also download MagicISO and install it.

Start MagicISO. You should see a window informing you about the full version of MagicISO.
In the bottom right select Try It! and the program will open.
Click on File and then on Open and navigate to the RC.ISO file you downloaded. Select it, and click Open.

First, we'll need to add a clean version of userinit.exe to the current RC.ISO
  • In the upper right pane, double click on the i386 folder.
  • Right click in the upper right pane and select Add Files...
  • Navigate to C:\Windows\System32 and select userinit.exe
  • Then click Open to add userinit.exe to the CD image.
  • Click File and select Save As...
  • Name the file RCplus and save it somewhere you can find it.
Next, we'll need to burn the newly created image to a disk that we can use to fix the problem.
  • Put a blank CD-R disk in your CD burner and close the tray. If an AutoPlay window opens, close it.
  • Click on Tools and select Burn CD/DVD with ISO.... A window will appear.
  • Click on the little folder to the right of CD/DVD Image File then navigate to the newly created RCplus.iso Image file and click Open.
  • In the CD/DVD Writing Speed drop-down menu choose the 8X setting.
  • Under Format make sure that Mode 1 is selected.
  • And finally, click on the Burn it! button to burn RCplus.iso to disk.
Once the disk is burned, put it in the machine you want to fix and restart it.
Boot to the CD just as you would with a Windows XP disk.
At the Welcome to Setup screen, press R to enter the Recovery Console.
Choose the installation to be repaired by number (usually 1) and press Enter.
When you are asked for the Administrator password, enter the password or leave it blank (default) and press Enter.

At the C:\Windows> prompt, type the following commands pressing Enter after each one. Note: Watch the spaces.

D:
cd i386
copy userinit.exe c:\windows\system32
exit

After putting in the third command, you should receive the message 1 file copied which will indicate that the operation succeeded.
Now take out the CD and reboot your computer to normal mode. Try to log in and it should let you back in.
The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who haven't got it.

—George Bernard Shaw

#3 Megaritz

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Posted 26 May 2009 - 04:22 PM

Once the disk is burned, put it in the machine you want to fix and restart it.
Boot to the CD just as you would with a Windows XP disk.


I can't boot to the CD. It says "Initializing and establishing link..." Then "Media test failure, check cable" and exits. I had changed the boot order so that CD-ROM was listed first, followed by LAN (which I think is what the "cable" message refers to).

I think I followed your instructions precisey, but with one exception: In the CD/DVD Writing Speed drop-down menu, I chose 16X, since 8X was not listed as an option. Could that have messed it up?

#4 Budapest

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Posted 26 May 2009 - 05:20 PM

I don't think the 16X would cause a problem.

What is the make and model number of your computer?
The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who haven't got it.

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#5 Megaritz

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Posted 26 May 2009 - 06:14 PM

Portege M400-S5032.

#6 Budapest

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Posted 26 May 2009 - 06:47 PM

I can't find any helpful information on your Portege. When it boots is there a message saying something like "Press F12 to boot from CD". Some computers do this, and normally the message only flashes on the screen for a second or two.
The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who haven't got it.

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#7 Megaritz

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Posted 26 May 2009 - 07:31 PM

No, unfortunately it doesn't show any such message. However, right after turning on the PC, a screen briefly displays the Toshiba and Intel logos. The screen has 6 icons below the Toshiba logo.

1. A stack of CD's
2. A stack of CD's and something square-ish
3. A single CD
4. A floppy disk and something rectangular
5. A network connection
6. A flash drive

Pressing F12 at this screen allows one of the icons to be selected. I'm not certain what they all represent, and out of curiosity, I tried using the first three (each representing CDs). None of them allowed me to boot from the CD, however, or provided any additional options.

#8 Budapest

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Posted 26 May 2009 - 07:49 PM

If you can't boot from a CD I'm afraid there is little I can do.

You might want to try burning the CD again as maybe it was a dud disk.
The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who haven't got it.

—George Bernard Shaw

#9 Megaritz

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Posted 28 May 2009 - 07:50 PM

The computer that I'm using at this very second is running on Windows Vista. I used this computer to make the RCplus file.
I have now made a second RCplus file and burned it to a second CD, just in case I messed up the first one. I tested the new RCplus CD on this Vista computer. It works. It boots to the CD, and I see the screen for the Recovery Console. When testing the RCplus CD on the (XP) PC I want to fix, however, it doesn't work.
Is it remotely possible that making the RCplus CD on a Vista computer, and copying the Vista computer's Userinit file, would make it unusable on an XP computer? It seems very unlikely, since the Userinit file should not affect whether it starts up in the first place, but as a complete noob, I'm trying to look at all the possibilities.
Edit: Is it possible the Recovery Console file itself is not compatible with XP, and I should find an earlier version?

I've never had any problems before with the CD drive of the PC I'm trying to fix. I also don't know much about how BIOS works, but I changed the boot order so the CD-ROM was listed first, and saved the settings. It still doesn't seem to acknowledge that there's even a CD in there (although I hear it whirring when I put it in).

If there's no other advice you can give, that's okay. The problem of not being able to boot from the CD is a more specific one, which I will do research on and ask help with in other forums. Your excellent information about how specifically to use the Recovery Console (as well as getting it onto the CD in the first place) will certainly help in the long run. Thanks a lot.

Edited by Megaritz, 28 May 2009 - 07:54 PM.


#10 Budapest

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Posted 28 May 2009 - 09:57 PM

It should not matter that you made the disk with Vista, it should work on any PC that will run Windows. Using the userinit file from Vista might be a problem (because I'm not sure if it is the same file as XP), but the computer should still boot from the CD. You might want to start a new topic in the Internal Hardware forum for advice on getting the computer to boot from a CD.
The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who haven't got it.

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#11 Megaritz

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Posted 17 June 2009 - 06:33 PM

I have embarrasing new information. It turns out the RCplus CD doesn't work in the first place. I thought it worked because I tested it on my dad's PC, but upon further testing today, it turns out that the recovery program I saw wasn't from the disk, it was actually on the computer, and didn't boot from the disk at all. Therefore, my problem is not a failure to boot from a CD in general, but that I did something wrong in making that particular CD. I tried the proceedure a second time, hoping to fix some mistake I made. Again, it didn't work. I also tried using a CD-RW instead of a CD-R. Again, nothing. Do you know of any other way to create a similar kind of recovery disk?

#12 Budapest

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Posted 17 June 2009 - 06:37 PM

If you put this CD in a working computer and view it in Windows Explorer, what do you see (files/directories) on the CD?
The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who haven't got it.

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#13 Megaritz

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Posted 17 June 2009 - 07:04 PM

There are two files (WIN51 and WIN51IC) and a folder labeled I386. Inside the I386 folder are a bunch of "SY_" and "DLL" files, as well as a few other filetypes, the "userinit.exe" file I added, and the SYSTEM32 folder. In the SYSTEM32 folder, there are only two files: NTDLL.DLL and SMSS.EXE.

#14 Budapest

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Posted 17 June 2009 - 07:26 PM

That sounds correct to me, so it seems you burned the CD okay.
The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who haven't got it.

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#15 Megaritz

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Posted 17 June 2009 - 09:35 PM

Any idea why neither computer would boot from it? I know that the computer I'm trying to fix is, or used to be, capable of booting from a CD. It's how my high school's PC administrators would fix it (before summer break). I'll be looking into other ways to make a recovery CD. Unfortunately, most of them seem to require the original Windows installation CD.




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