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My computer will not load my desktop except in Safe Mode


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#1 danno1840

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Posted 18 May 2011 - 09:03 AM

I wasn't sure if I should post this here or in the Security Forum. I try to avoid posting things at all but this time I truly am not sure what to do. I have a Dell Inspiron 530 with Windows XP and SP3. Sometime around Christmas my computer was infected by what seemed to be every virus in the world. After many months of fruitless attempts to fix it I finally found this site. Using rkill, super anti-spyware, and malware bytes, I was able to get the thing running again and it was like a dream. Everything was fast like the computer was brand new. I continued using the aforementioned products along with Avast Antivirus to keep the computer clean and everything seemed to be going great. Then suddenly three days ago while watching some internet tv, the video started chugging along. Immediately I ran scans and nothing was detected. Thinking nothing of it I restarted the computer. Everything loaded correctly but then when I double clicked good old Firefox, the computer just hung there. I couldn't bring up the task manager or anything. Again I restarted the computer. This time however, after logging in my desktop did not even show up. Just my background and my mouse. Again I could not bring up the task manager or anything. When I restarted in safe mode, everything worked just fine. I ran scans and no viruses or malware were found. So that is where I find myself. Clearly something has to be wrong but what? As I am not anywhere close to being a technically inclined person, I turn to those here at BleepingComputer who solved my problems before. I apologize if I forgot anything.

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#2 lkegley9

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Posted 18 May 2011 - 09:17 AM

The first thing that comes to mind is a dying hard drive. But furthermore, it could be OS related, especially since Safe Mode works just fine.

While in Safe Mode, try disabling all startup items by going to Start > Run > Type in: msconfig

When that window shows up, go to the Startup tab, and then click Disable All. Restart your machine into normal mode and see what happens.

Something I do want to validate, do the icons show back up when you go into Safe Mode?

Edited by lkegley9, 18 May 2011 - 01:52 PM.


#3 danno1840

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Posted 22 May 2011 - 10:07 AM

Sorry it took me so long to respond. Yes all icons show up in safe mode. I will try what you suggested and report back how it goes. Hopefully my hard drive is not dying. The computer is only a few years old

#4 danno1840

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Posted 22 May 2011 - 10:14 AM

Unfortunately disabling all the start up options didn't have an effect. The computer loaded to the log in screen and once I logged in my background came up without anything else. Is this something I should post in a different forum? Could it be some sort of virus or malware?

#5 bloopie

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Posted 22 May 2011 - 03:30 PM

Hi danno,

Do you have your original Windows XP installation disk available? If so, try the SFC or system file checker.

Boot into safe mode and click Start > Run, then type "sfc /scannow" without the quotes.
And note the space between the 'c' and the '/'.

You may have to insert your Windows XP CD during the scan. Be patient, this scan may take a while.

bloopie

#6 danno1840

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Posted 22 May 2011 - 04:25 PM

Hi Bloopie,

I will take a look around but I am pretty sure that I don't have the XP disc. I bought the computer brand new from Dell and actually had to pay extra to have the machine pre-loaded with XP instead of Vista. As such, I'm not sure I ever got the disc. I will look to see

#7 bloopie

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Posted 22 May 2011 - 05:59 PM

Dell computers come pre-loaded with an F12 function on startup that may be able to restore your installation, but that should be a last resort.

Try running the SFC without the disk first. See if that helps.

Hopefully you can run the scan successfully. If so, reboot in normal mode and see if anything has changed.

bloopie

#8 danno1840

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Posted 24 May 2011 - 07:34 PM

I tried to run the scan but literally nothing happened. As far as I can tell, a scan never ran. No windows or boxes popped up. Just nothing at all happened. I checked to make sure i had included the space and it was there. Pretty flummoxed at this point. I'm missing being able to do simple things like listen to itunes

#9 bloopie

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Posted 24 May 2011 - 08:42 PM

Hi danno,

Your drive or your Windows installation may be compromised, but let's try the checkdisk option.

Again, click Start > Run and then type chkdsk /r

And again note the syntax and space between the 'k' and the '/'
Or you can just copy and paste the green letters from above.

You should then be brought to a command prompt screen that tells you:
Chkdsk cannot run because the volume is in use by another process. Would you like to schedule this volume to be checked the next time the system restarts? (Y/N)

Press the "Y" key and press enter.
(The box should disappear) Then reboot in normal mode.

Please post back what it finds.

bloopie

Edited by bloopie reborn, 24 May 2011 - 08:53 PM.


#10 danno1840

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Posted 27 May 2011 - 01:38 PM

Bloopie,

Well this scan at least ran. I typed the command and restarted in normal mode. The scan went all the way through the five steps and then loaded to a black screen with only the mouse. Pretty much the same thing that has been happening except this time it didn't even have my background

#11 bloopie

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Posted 27 May 2011 - 09:48 PM

Hi again,

This does not sound very good. I'm thinking something in your Windows operating system is corrupt. Which could mean you may have to reinstall Windows XP, but there are a couple things you could try first.

I would suggest you try a repair install of XP to see if that can take care of the problem.

First of all, see if you could maybe borrow a copy of the Windows XP Installation CD from either a friend, coworker, or family member. For a repair install, you will not need to enter the product key code...nor will it violate the EULA. But you will need the disk.

Instructions for a repar install:

First, insert your Windows XP Installation CD, then set your computer to boot from CD.

When you get to the Welcome to Setup screen, and you're given options to setup XP now, or repair using the Recovery Console, PRESS ENTER!
DO NOT PRESS "R"...this will bring up the recovery console which we ARE NOT trying to use at the moment!

Next, you will be taken to the Windows XP Licensing Agreement. After reading the agreement press F8 to proceed.

The next screen gives you the option to do a fresh (clean) install or to repair the selected Windows XP installation. To run a Repair Install Press "R" at this time!

***CAUTION*** if you do not see the option to repair the selected Windows XP installation DO NOT choose the option to continue installing a fresh copy without repairing as that will overwrite your data and cause unrecoverable data loss.


Windows XP will copy the necessary files to your Hard Drive to begin the installation, and will then reboot. You will see the message that informs you to "Press any key to boot the CD". Do not press any keys this time just wait a few seconds, and the Windows Startup Screen will be displayed. Following this you will be greeted by the Windows XP Setup Screens.

When Setup has completed you should find all of your previously installed apps and settings are intact.

See if this cures the problem, and let us know of your findings!!

bloopie

#12 danno1840

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Posted 28 May 2011 - 12:00 PM

Bloopie,

I am in the process of trying to find someone with an XP disc that I can borrow to try the repair install. I'm having a hard time convincing people that there is nothing illegal about it. In the meantime, what is the best way to go about backing up things on my computer in case there needs to be a total reinstall? The main things I am concerned about are all my iTunes music and tons of family pictures and videos. I realize this may sound like a simple thing but I just don't have a ton of experience outside of the basics. Again, Bloopie, I can't thank you enough for all your help and patience

#13 bloopie

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Posted 28 May 2011 - 01:06 PM

Hello danno,

It's my pleasure to assist in any way that I can! :thumbsup:

Backing up files and folders is not very difficult. If you're running XP Professional, you should have a backup utility built into the OS (Operating System). It can be found in the Start menu, then hover over All Programs > then hover over Accessories > then hover over System Tools > if you have the utility, you will see "Backup" as one of the choices. If the backup utility is not listed in the System Tools menu, you're probably running XP Home. Then a manual backup would be a good solution.

Before backing up, I would read the articles here and here. Personally, I've never used the backup utility.

I like to manually put all my music, and pictures in corresponding folders. Then, I would also advise estimating the amount of memory that is needed for backing up your things. After all your media is in one or two folders, just check the size of those folders by right-clicking on the folder containing the music or pictures, then click on Properties. This should display the size of the folder(s).

Next you'll want to decide where you would like to put this information. This depends on the size of the information to be backed up. You can use discs and a burn utility for smaller files. Or if you have a removable thumb or flash drive large enough to handle bigger loads, this will be easier. External hard drives are also very good for this task.

See what you have to work with, and use google online for information regarding some of these methods.

Keep in mind though...if you do need a full install of your OS, you will need the disk and product key code. You may have to purchase one because using a full install with another persons disc will not work. The key codes are for specific computers.

That is why it's best to try to repair your OS rather than a full install. No purchase is necessary for a repair as long as you can obtain a disc.

Take a look around, and let me know what you find! :thumbup2:

bloopie

#14 danno1840

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Posted 02 June 2011 - 01:24 PM

Bloopie,

Just wanted to check in to make sure you didn't think I had given up or anything. I just am running into a wall as far as finding a disc to borrow to run the repair install. People really don't seem to believe its legal. In anyas I'm still searchin and will let you know as soon as I find one and can give it a try

#15 bloopie

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Posted 02 June 2011 - 03:35 PM

Hi Danno,

I am watching the topic, so don't worry. :thumbup2:

It wouldn't hurt to mention you only want to borrow the disc and not the key code. People can google a "repair install" to find the in's and out's of what it entails and the legalities of the process.

There is no way you can "ruin" another persons key code even by trying to use it elsewhere.

If you really can't get your hands on a disc after all, I will see if I can contact another user for any other suggestions I might have missed.

bloopie




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