There is a clever malware situation where in an attempt to remove malware by adding the /SAFEBOOT option through MSCONFIG or manually editing the boot.ini file, the system will never boot in any mode to allow you to remove the /SAFEBOOT option.
Read the article (at least the section above Conclusion) here:http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/tutorials/how-to-start-windows-in-safe-mode/
What you should do is create a bootable XP Recovey Console CD, boot on that, rename you boot.ini, recreate your boot.ini without the /SAFEBOOT option, boot normally (although possibly still infected), then work on removing the malware.
Even if you still have a problem to fix, you will know what it's not
when you get finished with this.
Here are my copy/paste directions to get you started:
You should first boot your PC into the XP Recovery Console using a bootable XP installation CD or a bootable CD with the XP Recovery Console on it.
You can make a bootable Recovery Console CD by downloading an ISO file and burning it to a CD.
The same XP Recovery Console commands can be run from the bootable Recovery Console CD.
The bootable ISO image file you need to download is called:
Download the ISO file from here:http://www.mediafire.com/?ueyyzfymmig
Use this free and easy program to create your bootable CD:http://www.imgburn.com/
It would be a good idea to test your bootable CD on the computer that is working.
You may need to adjust the computer BIOS settings to use the CD ROM drive as the first boot device instead of the hard disk. These adjustments are made before Windows tries to load. If you miss it, you will have to reboot the system again.
When you boot on the CD, follow the prompts:
Press any key to boot from CD...
The Windows Setup... will proceed.
Press 'R' to enter the Recovery Console.
Select the installation you want to access (usually 1: C:\WINDOWS)
You may be asked to enter the Administrator password (usually empty).
You should be in the C:\WINDOWS folder. This is the same as the C:\WINDOWS folder you see in explorer.
RC allows basic file commands - copy, rename, replace, delete, cd, chkdsk, fixboot, fixmbr, etc.
From the command prompt window run the chkdsk command on the drive where Windows is installed to try to repair any problems on the afflicted drive. Running chkdsk is fine to run even if it doesn't find any problems.
Assuming your boot drive is C, run the following command:
chkdsk C: /r
Let chkdsk finish and correct any problems it might find. It may take a long time to complete or appear to be 'stuck'. Be patient. If the HDD light is still flashing, it is doing something. Keep an eye on the percentage amount to be sure it is still making progress.
Remove the CD and type 'exit' to leave the RC and restart the computer.
You do not have to adjust the BIOS again to boot on the HDD since the CD will not be present.
Before rebuiling your boot.ini file, read this article:http://support.microsoft.com/kb/291980
attrib -s -h -r boot.ini
ren boot.ini boot.ini.bak
When bootcfg /rebuild asks for Load identifier enter whatever is appropriate such as:
Windows XP Professional
When it asks for load options type:
Here is additional information about how to start Recovery Console:http://support.microsoft.com/kb/314058
Here is additional information about the Recovery Console commands you will be using:http://support.microsoft.com/kb/314058
You can consider adding RC as a boot option to your system.
A good idea (now that you have had this experience) is to create a bootable XP installation CD with the latest Service Pack already installed.
Edited by joseibarra, 22 September 2009 - 05:00 PM.