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Can't get out of /SAFEBOOT mode, malware, anger and frustration ensue...


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#1 gigetybyte

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Posted 11 October 2009 - 08:05 AM

Hi,

My problem begins as many do I imagine: an idiot goes on a file sharing site and leaves with a nasty little malware or two. In this case the idiot is me, and the little nasty is MS Antivirus and Windows Police Pro. This is where it gets worse.

During my attempts to uninstall the malware, my computer froze and I pulled the plug and restarted it. Upon restarting I tried to start in safe mode by using the F8 key. When I select the 'start in safe mode' option and hit enter, it goes back to the initial Dell loading screen where I hit F8.

Now where Windows would typically load and go to the Windows log in screen it goes instead to this screen:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
We apologize for the inconvenience, but Windows did not start successfully. A recent hardware or software change might have caused this.

If your computer stopped responding, restarted unexpectedly, or was automatically shut down to protect your files and folders, choose Last Known Good Configuration to revert to the most recent settings that worked.

If a previous startup attempt was interrupted due to a power failure or because the Power or Reset button was pressed, or if you aren't sure what caused the problem, choose Start Windows Normally.

Safe Mode
Safe Mode with Networking
Safe Mode with Command Prompt
Last Known Good Configuration (your most recent settings that worked)
Start Windows Normally

Use the up and down arrow keys to move the highlight to your choice.

Seconds until Windows starts: 30

----------------------------------------------------------------
Again, safe mode won't work. I could get into windows by selecting 'start windows normally'. Once in windows, I went into MSCONFIG and selected /SAFEBOOT under the BOOT.INI tab and restarted. Now every time it goes to the 'we are sorry for the inconvenience...' screen, I select one of the loading options and it restarts again. I cannot get into windows to deselect /SAFEBOOT due to this. It just restarts over and over again.

I'd really not have to reboot Windows entirely but cannot figure this out. Any help is greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Ian


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#2 gigetybyte

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Posted 11 October 2009 - 11:25 AM

After doing a little research I came across the bootcfg option under the Recovery Console. Does anyone know if this will allow me to change the /SAFEBOOT setting without being logged into XP?

#3 powerjuce

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Posted 11 October 2009 - 11:31 AM

hey gigetybyte
this is a common problem that happens when people try to use msconfig to get into safe mode.

I suggest this tutorial to try and fix the problem.
If you dont have a Windows Install disc i suggest trying this.
If you burn that to a cd and boot off the cd follow these instructions. (taken from here)
  • Once the system has started up, the first thing you want to do is choose Places \ Computer from the menu.
    Posted Image
  • This should show you all the drives available in the system, including your Windows drive. In my case, that is the 52.4 GB volume.
    Posted Image
  • You can try and double-click on the drive to open it… and if it immediately works then lucky you and skip to step 4 Most of the time it’s going to give you an error saying “Unable to mount the volume”, because Windows didn’t shut it down cleanly.
    Posted Image
    • What you’ll want to do is open a new Terminal from Applications \ Accessories \ Terminal on the top menu. Once you’ve done that, then you’ll want to type in a bunch of commands, which I’ll walk you through.
    • First, we’ll want to switch to “administrator” mode, which in Linux terms is known as “root”. The simplest way to do it is with this command:
      sudo /bin/bash
    • We have to find out what your Windows Drive is. Use this command:
      fdisk -l
      Posted Image
    • You want to see which drive is NTFS, you can check by looking on the right of the screen.
    • Now we’ll need to create a directory that we’ll mount the drive on. The full explanation of mounting drives is a little complex, so just run this command:
      mkdir /media/disk
    • Now comes the tricky part. You’ll need to type out a command very similar to this one, but you’ll need to replace /dev/sda1 with what you see in that message box we showed you above. This command tells Ubuntu to use the ntfs-3g driver, and force mount even if there is a problem.
      mount -t ntfs-3g /dev/sda1 /media/disk -o force
    • If your drive is FAT32 instead of NTFS, then you can use the following command instead:
      mount -t vfat -o umask=000 /dev/sda1 /media/disk
      Posted Image
    • At this point, you should be able to access your hard drive through the icon in Computer.
  • Alright now that we are into your drive, you should be able to find the boot.ini. It will be in the same folder as the Windows Folder.
  • Rename the boot.ini file to boot.ini.bak.
  • Shutdown the computer, remove the disc, and restart.
If you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask.

#4 gigetybyte

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Posted 11 October 2009 - 11:55 AM

Thanks for the reply powerjuce.

Fortunately, I do have a XP disk as I purchased it separately to replace 2000 Pro a few years ago. This is good for me because I hadn't even heard about Linux until a few months ago and am completely unfamiliar with it. Out of curiosity, do you think that it is a useful application to have installed even if using XP as an OS? I plan on reading the tutorials pertaining to Linux, but am just curious about what you think.

Any-who, thanks again for the links and advice. Ill give the XP install disk/recovery console a try on Monday and ill post how it went.

#5 powerjuce

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Posted 11 October 2009 - 01:35 PM

Out of curiosity, do you think that it is a useful application to have installed even if using XP as an OS?

If by application you mean Linux...i would say depends. There are many ways to get Linux on your computer while using xp, so you can look into that.
Whether it is useful, I would say yes, however that is because I like Linux. However it is you to you. Most Linux distros have "Live Cds" which you can use to test out what Distro you like (by the way distro is a type of linux. eg Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora...there is a ton of them). Ubuntu is the most user-friendly, however you can use which one you prefer.
check out http://distrowatch.com/ for new distros.
powerjuce

#6 gigetybyte

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Posted 05 June 2010 - 06:58 PM

Thank you. This worked.




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