Hmmm... There is malicious software that when you use msconfig to add the /SAFEBOOT option to the boot.ini, your system will never boot again - from the HDD. The malicious software knows you will try to find it and remove it, so it thwarts these general troubleshooting methods - like adding the /SAFEBOOT option to trick you into thinking you have to reinstall XP! So you can fool it.
When I see that situation and find out that the afflicted system had the /SAFEBOOT option added via msconfig, I boot into Recovery Console or some other method with some maneuvering room and rename the c:\boot.ini to something like c:\boot.ini.bak - so there is no boot.ini file. Something like this from the Recover Console prompt will do it:
attrib -shr boot.ini
ren boot.ini boot.ini.bak
In a general XP configuration with one HDD and one partition, the system will boot just fine without a boot.ini file (it will complain but still boot). Try it, you non-believers!
Once booted, rename your boot.ini.bak back to boot.ini and use msconfig to undo the /SAFEBOOT option or just fix the boot.ini by hand or whatever you need to do to fix it.
If this is happening it sounds like you are still infected, so once you get going, I would do this:
Download, install, update and do a full scan with these free malware detection programs:
Malwarebytes (MBAM): http://malwarebytes.org/
SUPERAntiSpyware: (SAS): http://www.superantispyware.com/
They can be uninstalled later if desired.
Edited by joseibarra, 19 July 2010 - 05:16 PM.