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my friend's laptop did not successfully boot and it just keep on restarting after the loading screen appears.
The safe mode didn't work either. As well as the installation disk, it get stucked when I press "Repair my computer".
And also, when I press F8 and disable "Automatic restart ...... " I faced this error.


A problem has been detected and windows has been shut down to prevent damage to your computer.


If this is the first time you've seen this stop error screen. restart your computer. If this screen appears again, follow these steps:Check to make sure any new hardware or software is properly installed. If this is a new installation, ask your hardware or software manufacturer. for any windows updates you might need.

If problem continue, disable or remove any newly install =ed hardware or software. Disable BIOS memory option such as caching or shadowing. If you need to use safe mode to remove or disable components, restart your computer, press F8 to select Advance Startup Options, and then select Safe Mode.

Technical Information:

*** STOP: 0x000000D1 (0x00000008, 0x0000000A, 0x00000000, 0x839B28D9)

*** sisraid4.sys - Address 839B28D9 base at 839AD000, DateStamp 45adcfa2

That actually show up on the screen when I disable Automatic restart.. I don't know what's the cause of this problem, my friend cannot remember the last time he used his laptop.

Safe mode and all the options in F8 didn't work either. The installation disk get stucked at Starting set up ( 'cause I want to install new OS on other partition so that I can back up the files hopefully. But suddenly failed. )
I already check the memory using memtes86, no error found, pass only once cause it takes too long. Anyone know this???? Please help.

I've just tried twice to install Win7 Service Pack 1 on a relative's Acer desktop PC - which runs ZoneAlarm anti-virus, but has very little else apart from Word installed.

Each time, the download and install process seemed to go OK; however, when the system rebooted, it displayed the Windows startup logo, but at the point where the logo goes away and you expect to see the mouse appear, it just froze with a blank grey screen. I left it for a while, but nothing happened.

Eventually, I power-cycled the PC and an error message was displayed and a Windows boot selection was offered: Repair (recommended) or Start Normally. Choosing 'Start Normally' repeated the boot and freeze sequence. Choosing 'Repair' started the startup repair procedure, which failed with 'The operating System is incompatible with Startup Repair'. Trying the 'Advanced Restore' procedure reported 'No restore points', although I had explicitly created one before the update, and the update itself creates one.

I managed to fix it by running 'Startup Repair from the original Windows 7 installation DVD.

The PC works fine now, but Service Pack 1 isn't installed. I have had to turn off automatic updates so that it won't get installed.

Does anyone know what the problem might be, or suggestions for a fix?

Failing that, is there a way to disable the 'Service Pack 1' entry in 'Windows Updates' so that automatic updates can be enabled?

I have a 1TB hard drive divided into 2 partitions of 500GB each. On one partition I have installed windows 7, and on the other, windows vista. Several days ago I started getting a blue screen when trying to boot the windows 7 side. It occurs almost immediatedly after the splash screen. The automatic repair that windows tries to do is unsuccessful.

Since then I have been booting the vista partition. I could still access data files on the 7 partition. Today the vista partition doesnt boot either. The error message is something like Sata drive 0 not recognized. I checked the bios and it does exist. The windows installation disk for windows 7 is of no help. I select repair and it is unsuccessful. I select install, and the install disk doesnt recognize either partition. It only recognizes a drive x that it says has 30 GB in size.

I suspect the mbr is missing or damaged but dont know how to repair or get it back since even going to the command prompt on the install disk only allows me to go to drive X. In looking at drive X it looks as though it only has install files on it.

I dont know about the blue screen on the 7 partition but I suspect I did something to cause the vista partition to no longer boot. I dont even get to the startup screen that gives the dual boot option any more. I just get the "drive 0 not recognized" error message and the "press ctrl-alt-del to reboot".

Any thoughts or ideas? Thanks!


I recieve a PROCESS1_INITIALIZATION_FAILURE. I am experienced in computer truobleshooting with the exception of Blue Screens. Thus, this is my first post in ANY windows troubleshooting forum. I am looking for ANY help so please read all of this since I don't really know what information is critical so I am getting detailed.

I was trying to get Halo 2 for Vista to work on Windows 7 x64 Ult custom build (By trying the following: Halo 2 Windows 7 (workaround) - "System Cannot Find the Path Specified" or "LIVE gaming on Windows failed to initialize" - Games for Windows Live ).
I also unistalled an unrecognized USB driver from device manager.
After that failed to fix my Halo 2 problem I updated my GPU card driver and rebooted my PC.


After "Starting Windows" screen appears for roughly ten seconds a "PROCESS1_INITIALIZATION_FAILURE" BS appears. The computer reboots (after about 1.5 seconds) after the Memory Dump reaches 100. I do not get any option to boot into safemode or with "Last known working configuration" but I DO get the options to either start the start-up repair or reboot windows normally.

If I reboot normally the problem repeats, trapping me in a boot loop. So I launch start-up repair.

I tried "Startup Repair" as well as System Restore (I tried ALL of my restore points) but get an error telling me "Windows cannot repair this computer automattically" or "System restore was not successful", respectivaly. I can then choose to send information about this problem or not but I get no further troubleshooting options.

FORTUNATLY, I was able to boot to desktop AFTER using the command prompt to xcopy a "bootcat.cache" file from my HP Laptop (Also running 7 x64 Ult.) into my build's system32CodeIntegrity folder in:
- C: (The DISKPART > "list volume" command says this is a 100MB system reserve partition of my main HDD)
- D: (actual 931GB partition of my main HDD that is my Local Disk [I do not know why it is D: and not C: but before this it was E: and my CD-ROM drive was D: so it gets reassigned each time I reboot. [I have even tried the DISKPART > "assign letter=C" command to reassign letter C to this drive but it doesn't seem to help or hurt anything since my Local disk was not C in startup repair but is back to C: now that i have booted]). And
- X: (I do not know what this is but it was the default drive when I entered the command prompt [I believe the default was X:sources or something like that]). I exit command prompt and reboot.


Then and ONLY then will the computer boot to my desktop. A few drivers, such as my GPU driver must be reistalled (I assume this because these drivers were not on my HP's bootcat.cache?).

So besides some missing/inactive drivers I have full function of my PC. BUT WHEN I REBOOT THE PROBLEM COMES BACK AND I B.S. AGAIN. So I performed my fix again and booted to my desktop once more. I have now started backing up my files in preparation an imminent clean install (I am willing to try ANYTHING to avoid this!). While files are backing up I am saving Application and System event logs. (PM me for the logs). Running and screen-shotting CPU-Z and posting this thread.

I do not know what I should try now that I am back at my desktop. ANY help at all will make my day.

Thank you all!


Hello everyone,

I would like to congratulate you first on this great forum.

I have been running Windows 7 RTM 64-bit for a couple of weeks now. I got a key thought my University's MSDN.

I currently triple boot 7, XP 32 and XP 64 on the same drive but different partitions. I also run dual monitors.

I installed the trial version of Diskeeper 2009 and restarted. This is where my problem started. Windows 7 loads ( the 4 particles making the Windows logo), but instead of the welcome screen, i get a a black screen with a cursor in the middle.

Here are the things I tried so far:

Booting into safe mode results in the same black screen with the cursor in the middle.I put the DVD and tried repairing. It did not detected startup problem and to my surprise, it is reporting that it can't find any system restore points. I am sure I had restore points on the computer. It was enabled.I plugged one of the monitors out. I switched video card ports, but with no luck! I took out my video card and ran on the onboard VGA also with no luck.I swapped my ram strips and ran diagnostic tests (no errors).I can boot into XP and see the windows 7 drive from there and access it. (Maybe I can get you dump files that way)I deleted event logsI tried a registry method where you load and unload a hive
I would really appreciate your help since I really like Windows 7. This is the first headache it gives.

Thanks a lot,

Hi, I hope somone out there can help. I've been looking through the forums for a while and I haven't found a solution to my problem.

First of all I'm running Windows 7 Pro 64 bit on an i5 system.

I powered on my PC and it gave me a warning about the machine not being shut down properly. I started windows normally and once I reached the desktop Windows freezes, I can still move the cursor but I can't click on anything. Pressing Ctrl alt Del only causes a black screen to appear and I am forced to reset the machine.

Unfortunately I haven't set up any system restore points. I tried running a memory diagnostic with the Windows 7 CD but to no avail. Serching for problems using the Windows 7 disk turns up nothing aswell. I started windows in safe mode and disabled all programs at startup. After rebooting in normal mode the same thing happened, it freezes just as before.

I installed Windows 7 on a different hard drive partition and it works fine so I'm pretty sure it's not a hardware issue.

Can anyone tell me what I can do to troubleshoot this problem? How do I go about testing which program may be causing the problem? Is there anyway I can try and repair windows files?

I would be really grateful for any help. Thanks in advance.

Ever since I bought my new computer and installed Windows 7 64 bit Pro I have noticed that sometimes when I start my computer the startup locks up or crashes, requiring me to restart or it takes me to the system repair screen and running this process does nothing.

I cannot figure out if something is conflicting or what is causing this problem. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Let me know if you need any additional information,

I'm running the startup version of Windows 7 on a new Toshiba NB205. Installed Essentials Mail and Photo Gallery and Mail works fine. Whenever I start up Photo Gallery withing 10 seconds or so it crashes after loading a number of thumbnails. I have repaired, uninstalled and reinstalled Photo Gallery and nothing helps. The following are the details of the crash:

Problem signature:
Problem Event Name: BEX
Application Name: WLXPhotoGallery.exe
Application Version: 14.0.8081.709
Application Timestamp: 4a579126
Fault Module Name: StackHash_0a9e
Fault Module Version:
Fault Module Timestamp: 00000000
Exception Offset: 04169860
Exception Code: c0000005
Exception Data: 00000008
OS Version: 6.1.7600.
Locale ID: 1033
Additional Information 1: 0a9e
Additional Information 2: 0a9e372d3b4ad19135b953a78882e789
Additional Information 3: 0a9e
Additional Information 4: 0a9e372d3b4ad19135b953a78882e789

Any help would be appreciated. Martin

Hi helpers,

It's a very strange situation I am stuck on since yesterday.

When I turned on my laptop yesterday, that windows did not load properly and came up with Blue Screen of death with this 'Unmountable Boot Volume' error.

After tons of research online, I found so many different tricks to get it working but no luck so far.

I can't boot my laptop at all, I get to the Windows Recovery Page which gives me 2 options:

1. Launch Startup Repair (Recommended) >> This doesn't work, comes up with the windows 7 background with a cursor and stays there for ever, no dialogue box or anything.
2. Start Windows Normally. >> This keeps me putting into the blue screen of death loop.

So, I then inserted the Win 7 DVD to boot windows from there and perform Start-Up Repair. >> That's doesn't seems to be working either.

I have also performed the chkdsk, chkdsk /r, chkdsk /f /r, but NO luck at all. Tried bootrec /fixboot, bootrec /fixmbr. But that did not helped either.

I am not sure what has caused this problem, but it is just doing my nut in now. I got 2 partitions on my HDD, 1 with Operating System with some data under my user profile and 1 partition with all my data.

I am wondering if there's anyway I can get round of this situation and get it fixed, if not then If I did a clean install then WILL I LOSE BOTH THE PARTITIONS or the one with just the operating system on it? Plus, if it's just the operating system partition which will be lost, then anyway to get my personal data out from there?

Guys, your help will be really appreciated.

Thanks very much!


Hello there!

On Friday, I started having a problem with my system, running Windows 7 Ultimate, where I get a BSOD right at the login screen. Computer boots up normally, the blue login screen pops up, and immediately goes to the BSOD with BAD_POOL_HEADER at the top. It then will go back through the boot process, and if I select boot normally (or it times out) the same thing happens.

Going into Safe Mode (with networking) I can get into the Control Panel, Recovery, and choose a restore point. The computer then does it's thing, and boots up normally. As long as I leave the computer on, it runs fine.

It does this if I restart the computer or boot it back up after a shutdown. I've included the W7F information, hopefully that'll shed some light on the problem.

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Join Date Mar 2010 Posts 1,333 Re: BSOD on reboot or startup after shutdown For starters:
At work we start all repairs with a set of diagnostics. Often they find problems that weren't even expected. It's a waste of time to try to fix software on a system that has hardware problems.
Please try these free diagnostics for starters: Initial Hardware Diagnostics
Also, please ensure that you have ALL available Windows Updates (it may take several trips to get them all). There are no memory dumps in the uploaded files. Please do this:
Upload Dump Files:
NOTE: If using a disk cleaning utility, please stop using it while we are troubleshooting your issues.
Please go to C:WindowsMinidump and zip up the contents of the folder. Then upload/attach the .zip file with your next post.
Left click on the first minidump file.
Hold down the "Shift" key and left click on the last minidump file.
Right click on the blue highlighted area and select "Send to"
Select "Compressed (zipped) folder" and note where the folder is saved.
Upload that .zip file with your next post.

If you have issues with "Access Denied" errors, try copying the files to your desktop and zipping them up from there. If it still won't let you zip them up, post back for further advice.

If you don't have anything in that folder, please check in C:Windows for a file named MEMORY.DMP. If you find it, zip it up and upload it to a free file hosting service. Then post the link to it in your topic so that we can download it.

Also, search your entire hard drive for files ending in .dmp, .mdmp, and .hdmp. Zip up any that you find and upload them with your next post.

Then, follow the directions here to set your system for Minidumps (much smaller than the MEMORY.DMP file): Set MiniDumpMore info on dump file options here: Overview of memory dump file options for Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows 7, and Windows Server 2008 R2 Please check to ensure that you have all Windows Updates (you have 137, most systems have 150 or more). It may take multiple trips to get all of them.

You have a 802.11bgn 1T1R Wireless USB Adapter
I do not recommend using wireless USB network devices. Especially in Win7/Win8 systems.
These wireless USB devices have many issues with Win7(and I suspect with Win8) - using Vista drivers with them is almost sure to cause a BSOD.
Should you want to keep using these devices, be sure to have Win7/Win8 drivers - DO NOT use Vista drivers!!!
An installable wireless PCI/PCIe card that's plugged into your motherboard is much more robust, reliable, and powerful. We've seen a number of BSOD issues with SSD's. Here's the information that I've compiled so far:
There's not a whole bunch available to test SSD's. The "easiest" test is to remove the SSD, install a platter-based hard drive, install Windows and test for stability that way.

Here's some suggestions:
- Update the SSD's firmware to the latest available version (VERY IMPORTANT!!!)
- Update the motherboard controllers drivers to the latest available version from the controller manufacturer (NOT the mobo manufacturer unless you can't find any on the controller manufacturer's website). Be sure to update ALL controllers on the motherboard! I STRONGLY suggest not using controller drivers older than mid-2012 with SSD's.
- Slow the memory (RAM) down to the next slower speed (I've only seen one person who claimed that this worked for them).
- Use any manufacturer's utilities that you may have. If you don't have any, then try this free one (I haven't used it myself): Crystal Dew World
....NOTE: Recently (Nov 2011) we had BSOD issues with the Marvell 91xx controller and an SSD. You may have to switch controllers also.
- Replace the SSD with a platter based hard drive and see if that stops the BSOD's. If it does, then it's likely that there's a problem with the SSD OR an incompatibility with your system.
06 Dec 2011 - This post tends to confirm issues with certain SSD chipsets and certain controllers - [SOLVED] cant find the cause of BSOD F4 - Tech Support Forum
05 Jan 2013 - very interesting post about difficulties with the Marvell controllers even when not connected to the SSD drives:
27 Feb 2013 - I'm starting to see much better reliability with SSD's using current (mid-2012 and later) storage drivers. I have withdrawn my objections to using these devices in everyday systems. This device has issues:
sbwtis ROOTLEGACY_SBWTIS000 This device is not present, is not working properly, or does not have all its drivers installed. This device has problems and must be fixed. I suspect it's GFI Firewall SDK Transport Inspection System Driver - but haven't had time to do much research (I'm late for work right now).
Please un-install it, then un-install the device from Device Manager

Hi i had 2 partitions on my hard drive before installing windows 7, one with xp and the other with ubuntu. I used ubuntu gparted to resize the xp partition to make room and created a new partition for windows 7, it installed fine and it was running perfectly for about a week.

It was going so well in fact that i decided to use it as my main OS which meant giving it some extra hard drive space. So went back into ubuntu, shrunk the xp partition again, and added the new space to the win7 partition.

That completed fine but when i tried to boot into windows it first said win7 encountered an error on startup and i had to insert the disc and "repair computer", this (to my surprise) actually found exactly what was wrong with it and apparently repaired it. woohoo i thought.

after restarting it now boots into win7 fine but when i log in it says "preparing your desktop" for quite a while then goes to a light blue screen (not bsod) and does nothing.

I ctrl+shift+esc'd and started explorer.exe which eventually came up but the theme is the windows classic one and hardly any programs work, they all say "explorer.exe - no such interface supported"
All my files seem to be in tact, i don't want to have to reinstall all over agin!

oo also apart from a chkdsk the first time, xp boots up fine so i don't think it was gparteds fault!

please help!!

Windows 7 wont boot, says NTLDR is missing on startup...

So I recently upgraded from windows xp to windows7, I went about installing well the wrong way. I Installed windows 7 from the downloaded file onto a empty hard drive I had attached to my computer. I did this all while xp was still running. Anyway it worked and windows 7 always booted up and worked just fine. But NOW!! I removed the attached hard drive where xp was installed and I try to use win 7 but it says NTLDR is missing at startup .
I cant repair with a windows 7 disk because I have problems with my cd rom too!
So I need a solution to repair windows 7 without windows 7 disk .Any Ideas?
I also cant repair it with USB because I cant boot from USB.
Any Ideas?

For the past week or so I'm getting this error message. I've followed the suggestions on another Thread here with the same error. But the problem still remains.

System file check - threw up nothing
SO I did a System Upgrade Repair

What I can tell you are:
At the startup I get the error message (as the title states)
IE9 crashes almost immediately when it is opened - I've started using Chrome and there is no problem with that - so far.
I find dragging windows leaves a delayed trail behind.
I've always used But this switched to (by itself) the same time this problem started happening. Also struggles to connect and attaching files to emails is almost impossible. So I've started using and there is no problem with that - so far.

The Event Viewer throws up values:
Under "Error"
Application Error
Service Control Manager

Under "Warnings"
User profile service
Restart manager

My computer has stopped working once or twice and needed a restart. You will notice from the attachments that I have 5 screens. Sometimes on startup one ot two screens will fail to connect to the computer so a restart fixes that. Also, I find that the startup has got very slow as the computer has also got slow overall.

I use the computer for trading and reading emails - that's it - its never given a problem for the past 2 years.
My question is: as I have amassed days trying to solve this problem without success and at great expense (not just of time but financially as well - the system is just to volatile to risk using in a trading environment) what would you suggest?
I'm considering to upgrade to Win8 in the "hope" that that would be a comprehensive quick fix - but only as long as I do not have to rebuild my setup (this would also take days). i.e. would an upgrade solve the problem? And, would the upgrade be simply sticking in the disk and when its finished doing what it does will my world be as it used to be [without the errors?]?

Please note I'm computer illiterate - I've spent most of the past few days trying to figure out terminology and what all the acronyms mean (not that it helped). So after all the hassle, whatever I do now I would like it to be the most robust solution. I would be very grateful for any suggestions or solutions that you might propose. (for the technically inept)

Thank you in advance

Don't know if this is the right spot for this thread, or if I should have started a new one. I was working on fixing the BSoD problems I had, here is the link to that thread.

I had also been getting a few freezes of the system but wanted to take care of the BSoD first. Now I think they might be related. Anyways just got a few of them and now I can't get my computer to post an image. It powers up but nothing happens, so I can't run any tests or figure anything out. I got it to go into windows once, but it froze and had to be restarted after a couple minutes.

What should I do?

What should I do if I can get back into windows?


Edit: Just got in to Windows, restarted by itself twice, then BSoD, told me to run CHKDSK /F

Then restarted manually (I have it checked so I do this) and it ran startup repair, then it just went blank on me again.

I will try to get dump logs but it isn't looking good.

Can I run CHKDSK in Safe Mode?

Edit again: Now it is just stuck saying "Loading ASUS Express Gates


My windows vista laptop suddenly doesn't start up anymore. It starts to scan it's hard disk, then restarts en starts to scan again... I can start in safe mode so I think (hope) it's not a hardware problem?

I ran the diagnostic tool but I cannot seem to install the CPUID tool...

I hope someone can help me....

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Join Date Aug 2009 Age 59 Posts 756 Re: Laptop crashes on startup - only safe mode possible Hello user231,

Start in safe mode, open command prompt, run as Administrator, in the dialog box type in sfc /scannow and hit enter or ok and let it run. This tool will check for and repair any damaged or corrupt system files.
If you have the Vista Install DVD or a Recovery DVD, you could also use that to do a "System Repair".

Hope this helps


i apologize in advance for this is a bit involved. on 8/21/2012 i installed a new program for cleaning the comp. it had good reviews from people i trust. i set it up, ran it, and after cleaning the free space on c it froze. the only thing i had was the mouse. i pressed restart and just after getting the windows logo i got a bsod telling me my boot.ini was corrupt. i tried three more times and got the same thing. i could not get startup repair to run, so i put in a partition wizard boot disk and booted into ipartition wizard. i made a new partition on one of my other drives so i could install windows on it because i knew most likely it would fix the boot.ini of the old windows. well it worked and i was able to get into my old windows, but it had been rolled back just over twelve months. i updated firefox back to 15.01 and use mosbackup to restore my settings, addons, and bookmarks. i have never had a problem with mozbackup so i'm pretty sure it's not a issue with the backup file.

MozBackup - Backup tool for Firefox and Thunderbird

however whenever i launch firefox i get the following error messages. the first one pops up without the browser window opening, click o.k. and it pops up the second one, click o.k. and the browser window opens then the third one pops up. i have jave 7 update 6 in so i have no idea why i'm getting the errors. any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

Windows 7 Ultimate, Service Pack 1, 64 bit
Motherboard ASUS Maximus Formula
Intel Core2 Duo CPU E8400 @ 3.00GHz
Memory DDR2 6400 2 Gigs
Graphics Card nVidia 8800 GT
TV Tunner Hauppauge WinTV HRV-1800
Sound Card Creative X-Fi Xtreme Audio
Mouse Microsoft Wireless 4000
Keyboard Logitech Wireless MX3200
Hard Drives:
C: Total - 286165 MB
E: Total - 305242 MB
F: Total - 953867 MB
G: Total - 74747 MB
H: Total - 476936 MB
I: Total - 390894 MB
P: Total - 11295 MB
ESET Smart Security
WinPatrol 2012 Plus 25.0.2012.5
Rollback Rx 9.1 Build 2695045130
Firefox 15.01 Attached Thumbnails       Last edited by JiggSaww; 08-25-2012 at 04:01 PM. Share Share this post on Digg Technorati Twitter

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Join Date Aug 2008 Posts 1,301 Re: FireFox 15.01 Java Script Error What's the software's name that you used to clean the computer?

I know this is a common problem but mine differs from everyone else.
Here's the deal..
When I turn the computer on it never gets to the Login part. It just go to a black screen and stays there.
Although, it works when I start it in Safe Mode. This problem started Friday, May 29, 2009. I've been trying to fix this since then. I'm Sh!T broke so I can't just put everything on a Ext. Drive and start over.

I did NOT mod my PC in anyway.

Its not a virus. I scanned it multiple times with AVG and Spyware Terminator. Although I did find quite a few Trojans. They were cleared up. I scanned it a couple more times and they're all gone. Still no help.

No installation disk came with it to repair it, which doesn't matter because it won't read disks properly.

My Drivers are up to date and working fine.

Its NOT Windows Explorer, its running and its working fine.

I did the whole "Start computer with last successful configuration." It got me in, but it became unbearably laggy and within 3 minutes a message came up that said "Windows encountered a problem. The system will shut down in one minute. Save your work." WTF?!

Cleaned out my Temp Folder.

Did the whole "Open msconfig, uncheck startup items, restart, blah blah blah"

And lastly, because I know some idiot will say it, I'll answer your question before you say it. YES!! I did google it. Nobody seems to have the exact problem I have because my Safe Mode IS still working.

I would appreciate your help, but, plz don't respond saying" I have the same problem, It's driving me crazy, I don't know what to do!" Thats how the topic gets lost in randomness. Don't respond if you don't have a suggestion.


I am lost as to a solution on this.

I have used XP Home on this PC since it came out. Recently, it updated
itself to SP2 and I never expected any issues.

Well, now the PC doesn't boot properly. If I start up the machine it
will partially boot and then freeze even before the "XP" startup
screen. If I turn off the machine and start it again it will then get
to the startup screen and then freeze. If I turn off the machine and
go one more time, it will get to afrer the screen and freeze, then
another off and on gets it to the desktop and one final off and on for
the machine to boot all the way until XP is usable.

SO, I have to turn my PC off and on 4-5 times to get it to boot all
the way. Each off/on gets it a little further in the process until it
freezes again. Once finally up, the machine runs fine.

What on Earth is causing this?? Never seen anything like this before
and a Norton scan of the hard drive claims it's fine so I assume this
is a problem with the update to XP.

Any ideas on how to resolve this? My XP Home CD is, of course, earlier
than SP2 so it won't let me reload or repair from it saying it is an
"earlier version than installed on this machine".


with thoughts of a virus, I shut off "system restore" and
was going to run a virus scan from safe mode.
Choosing "safe mode" from the F8 during startup, would
not load the "windows safe mode desktop". I then
restarted the computer normally, went to the command line
in "run" and entered "msconfig" and chose "safemode" and
restarted the computer. When the computer restarted, It
still would not load to the "safe mode desktop". After
several attempts without success, I tried to "reload" XP
from the cd, and chose "repair existing OS", it worked,
except when the system shut down to finish loading the
operating system, it came up with the message, Windows
cannot finish loading in "safe mode". How do you turn off
safe mode without actually going into the run command
from the desktop and unchecking "safemode"? With the F8
option during startup, choosing "start windows normally
does not work either. I also tried to go into
the "Recovery Console" but my administration password did
not work. Is there a "standard" password? Any help would
be greatly appreciated. Thank you

*WARNING* This is a LONG spill, all in plain text and simplified so that
even non-techs should be able to understand it. Hopefully this will
assist some people in not only repairing their systems, but in making
them faster and more stable tools for them to use. It contains advice
on many things, many considered "common knowledge" to 'IT' people
everywhere. It is split into major sections, hopefully this will make
it easier to navigate. *WARNING*

Suggestions on what you can do to secure/clean your PC. Every attempt
has been made to be general and an assumption of a "Windows" operating
system is made here as well - although in some ways, this could be
adapted to any OS.


You should periodically defragment your hard drives as well as check them
for errors.

How to Defragment your hard drives

How to scan your disks for errors

How to use Disk Cleanup

You should also empty your Internet Explorer Temporary Internet
Files and make sure the maximum size for this is small enough not to cause
trouble in the future. Empty your Temporary Internet Files and shrink the
size it stores to a size between 120MB and 480MB..

- Open ONE copy of Internet Explorer.
- Select TOOLS - Internet Options.
- Under the General tab in the "Temporary Internet Files" section, do the
- Click on "Delete Cookies" (click OK)
- Click on "Settings" and change the "Amount of disk space to use:" to
something between 120MB and 480MB. (Betting it is MUCH larger right
- Click OK.
- Click on "Delete Files" and select to "Delete all offline contents"
(the checkbox) and click OK. (If you had a LOT, this could take 2-10
minutes or more.)
- Once it is done, click OK, close Internet Explorer, re-open Internet

Uninstall any software you no longer use or cannot remember installing
(ask if it is a multi-user PC) - but only if you are sure you do not
need it and/or you have the installation media around to reinstall if
you need to. may help you accomplish this.

You should also verify that your System Restore feature is enabled and
working properly. Unfortunately, if seems to have issues on occasion,
ones that can easily be avoided by turning off/on the system restore and
make a manual restoration point as one of your periodic maintenance tasks.
This is particularly important right before installing something major
(or even minor if you are unsure what it might do to your system.)

Turn off System Restore.


Turn on System Restore.

Make a Manual Restoration Point.

(That, of course, will erase the previous restore point you have.)

Also, you should look into backing up your valuable files and folders.

And keep your original installation media (CDs, disks) safe with their
CD keys and such. Make backups of these installation media sets as
well and always use strong passwords. Good passwords are those that
meet these general rules (mileage may vary):

Passwords should contain at least six characters, and the character
string should contain at least three of these four character types:
- uppercase letters
- lowercase letters
- numerals
- nonalphanumeric characters (e.g., *, %, &, !)

Passwords should not contain your name/logon name.


** Side Note: *IF* you are about to install Service Pack 2 (SP2) for
Windows XP, I suggest you clean up your system first. Uninstall any
applications you do not use. Update any that you do. Download the
latest drivers for your hardware devices. Defragment and run a full
CHKDSK on your hard drives. Scan your system and clean it of any
Spyware/Adware/Malware and for Viruses and Trojans. Below you will
find advice and links to applications that will help you do all of
this. If this advice helps you, please - pass it on. Print it,
email it, forward it to anyone you think it might help. A little
knowledge might help prevent lots of trouble.

This one is the most obvious. There is no perfect product and any company
worth their salt will try to meet/exceed the needs of their customers and
fix any problems they find along the way. I am not going to say Microsoft
is the best company in the world about this but they do have an option
available for you to use to keep your machine updated and patched from
the problems and vulnerabilities (as well as product improvements in some
cases) - and it's free to you.

Windows Update

Go there and scan your machine for updates. Always get the critical ones as
you see them. Write down the KB###### or Q###### you see when selecting the
updates and if you have trouble over the next few days, go into your control
panel (Add/Remove Programs), match up the latest numbers you downloaded
recently (since you started noticing an issue) and uninstall them. If there
was more than one (usually is), install them back one by one - with a few
hours of use in between, to see if the problem returns. Yes - the process
is not perfect (updating) and can cause trouble like I mentioned - but as
you can see, the solution isn't that bad - and is MUCH better than the

Windows is not the only product you likely have on your PC. The
manufacturers of the other products usually have updates as well. New
versions of almost everything come out all the time - some are free, some
are pay - some you can only download if you are registered - but it is best
to check. Just go to their web pages and look under their support and
download sections. For example, for Microsoft Office update, you should

Microsoft Office Updates
(and select "downloads")

You also have hardware on your machine that requires drivers to interface
with the operating system. You have a video card that allows you to see on
your screen, a sound card that allows you to hear your PCs sound output and
so on. Visit those manufacturer web sites for the latest downloadable
drivers for your hardware/operating system. Always (IMO) get the
manufacturers hardware driver over any Microsoft offers. On the Windows
Update site I mentioned earlier, I suggest NOT getting their hardware
drivers - no matter how tempting. First - how do you know what hardware
you have in your computer? Invoice or if it is up and working now - take

Belarc Advisor

Once you know what you have, what next? Go get the latest driver for your
hardware/OS from the manufacturer's web page. For example, let's say you
have an NVidia chipset video card or ATI video card, perhaps a Creative
Labs sound card or C-Media chipset sound card...

NVidia Video Card Drivers

ATI Video Card Drivers

Creative Labs Sound Device

C-Media Sound Device

As for Service Pack 2 (SP2) for Windows XP, Microsoft has made this
particular patch available in a number of ways. First, there is the
Windows Update web page above. Then there is a direct download site
and finally, you can order the FREE CD from Microsoft.

Direct Download of Service Pack 2 (SP2) for Windows XP

Order the Free Windows XP SP2 CD

Microsoft also have a bunch of suggestions, some similar to these,
on how to better protect your Windows system:

Protect your PC


Let's say you are up-to-date on the OS (operating system) and you have
Windows XP.. You should at least turn on the built in firewall. That will
do a lot to "hide" you from the random bad things flying around the
Internet. Things like Sasser/Blaster enjoy just sitting out there in
Cyberspace looking for an unprotected Windows Operating System and jumping
on it, doing great damage in the process and then using that Unprotected OS
to continue its dirty work of infecting others. If you have the Windows XP
FW turned on - default configuration - then they cannot see you! Think of
it as Internet Stealth Mode at this point. It has other advantages, like
actually locking the doors you didn't even (likely) know you had. Doing
this is simple, some helpful tips for the SP2 enabled firewall can be found

If you read through that and look through the pages that are linked from it
throughout - I think you should have a firm grasp on the basics of the
Windows XP Firewall as it is today. One thing to note RIGHT NOW - if you
have AOL, you cannot use this nice firewall that came with your system.
Thank AOL, not Microsoft. You HAVE to configure another one.. So we
continue with our session on Firewalls...

But let's say you DON'T have Windows XP - you have some other OS like
Windows 95, 98, 98SE, ME, NT, 2000. Well, you don't have the nifty built in
firewall. My suggestion - upgrade. My next suggestion - look through your
options. There are lots of free and pay firewalls out there for home users.
Yes - you will have to decide on your own which to get. Yes, you will have
to learn (oh no!) to use these firewalls and configure them so they don't
interfere with what you want to do while continuing to provide the security
you desire. It's just like anything else you want to protect - you have to
do something to protect it. Here are some suggested applications. A lot of
people tout "ZoneAlarm" as being the best alternative to just using the
Windows XP FW, but truthfully - any of these alternatives are much better
than the Windows XP FW at what they do - because that is ALL they do.

ZoneAlarm (Free and up)

Kerio Personal Firewall (KPF) (Free and up)

Outpost Firewall from Agnitum (Free and up)

Sygate Personal Firewall (Free and up)

Symantec's Norton Personal Firewall (~$25 and up)

BlackICE PC Protection ($39.95 and up)

Tiny Personal Firewall (~$49.00 and up)

That list is not complete, but they are good firewall options, every one of
them. Visit the web pages, read up, ask around if you like - make a
decision and go with some firewall, any firewall. Also, maintain it.
Sometimes new holes are discovered in even the best of these products and
patches are released from the company to remedy this problem. However, if
you don't get the patches (check the manufacturer web page on occasion),
then you may never know you have the problem and/or are being used through
this weakness. Also, don't stack these things. Running more than one
firewall will not make you safer - it would likely (in fact) negate some
protection you gleamed from one or the other firewalls you run.


That's not all. That's one facet of a secure PC, but firewalls don't do
everything. I saw one person posting on a newsgroup that "they had
never had a virus and they never run any anti-virus software." Yep - I used
to believe that way too - viruses were something everyone else seemed to
get, were they just careless? And for the average joe-user who is careful,
uses their one to three family computers carefully, never opening unknown
email attachments, always visiting the same family safe web sites, never
installing anything that did not come with their computer - maybe, just
maybe they will never witness a virus. I, however, am a Network Systems
Administrator. I see that AntiVirus software is an absolute necessity given
how most people see their computer as a toy/tool and not something
they should have to maintain and upkeep. After all, they were invented to
make life easier, right - not add another task to your day. You
can be as careful as you want - will the next person be as careful? Will
someone send you unknowingly the email that erases all the pictures of your
child/childhood? Possibly - why take the chance? ALWAYS RUN ANTIVIRUS
SOFTWARE and KEEP IT UP TO DATE! Antivirus software comes in so many
flavors, it's like walking into a Jelly Belly store - which one tastes like
what?! Well, here are a few choices for you. Some of these are free (isn't
that nice?) and some are not. Is one better than the other - MAYBE.

Symantec (Norton) AntiVirus (~$11 and up)

Kaspersky Anti-Virus (~$49.95 and up)

Panda Antivirus Titanium (~$39.95 and up)
(Free Online Scanner:

AVG 6.0 Anti-Virus System (Free and up)

McAfee VirusScan (~$11 and up)

AntiVir (Free and up)

avast! 4 (Free and up)

Trend Micro (~$49.95 and up)
(Free Online Scanner:

RAV AntiVirus Online Virus Scan (Free!)

Did I mention you have to not only install this software, but also keep it
updated? You do. Some of them (most) have automatic services to help you
do this - I mean, it's not your job to keep up with the half-dozen or more
new threats that come out daily, is it? Be sure to keep whichever one you
choose up to date!


So you must be thinking that the above two things got your back now - you
are covered, safe and secure in your little fox hole. Wrong! There are
more bad guys out there. There are annoyances out there you can get without
trying. Your normal web surfing, maybe a wrong click on a web page, maybe
just a momentary lack of judgment by installing some software packages
without doing the research.. And all of a sudden your screen starts filling
up with advertisements or your Internet seems much slower or your home page
won't stay what you set it and goes someplace unfamiliar to you. This is
spyware. There are a whole SLEW of software packages out there to get rid
of this crud and help prevent reinfection. Some of the products already
mentioned might even have branched out into this arena. However, there are
a few applications that seem to be the best at what they do, which is
eradicating and immunizing your system from this crap. Strangely, the best
products I have found in this category ARE generally free. That is a trend
I like. I make donations to some of them, they deserve it!

Two side-notes: Never think one of these can do the whole job.
Try the first 5 before coming back and saying "That did not work!"
Also, you can always visit:
For more updated information.

Spybot Search and Destroy (Free!)

Lavasoft AdAware (Free and up)

CWShredder (Free!)
** No longer updated as of July 29, 2004 - however, still a great
product and should still be ran **

Hijack This! (Free)
( Tutorial: )

SpywareBlaster (Free!)

IE-SPYAD (Free!)

ToolbarCop (Free!)

Bazooka Adware and Spyware Scanner (Free!)

Browser Security Tests

Popup Tester

The Cleaner (49.95 and up)

That will clean up your machine of the spyware, given that you download and
install several of them, update them regularly and scan with them when you
update. Some (like SpywareBlaster and SpyBot Search and Destroy and
have/are immunization utilities that will help you prevent your PC from
infected. Use these features!

Unfortunately, although that will lessen your popups on the Internet/while
you are online, it won't eliminate them. I have looked at a lot of options,
seen a lot of them used in production with people who seem to attract popups
like a plague, and I only have one suggestion that end up serving double
duty (search engine and popup stopper in one):

The Google Toolbar (Free!)

Yeah - it adds a bar to your Internet Explorer - but its a useful one. You
can search from there anytime with one of the best search engines on the
planet (IMO.) And the fact it stops most popups - wow - BONUS! If you
don't like that suggestion, then I am just going to say you go to and search for other options. Please notice that Windows XP
SP2 does help stop popups as well. Another option is to use an alternative
Web browser. I suggest "Mozilla Firefox", as it has some great features
and is very easy to use:

Mozilla Firefox

One more suggestion, although I will suggest this in a way later, is to
disable your Windows Messenger service. This service is not used frequently
(if at all) by the normal home user and in cooperation with a good firewall,
is generally unnecessary. Microsoft has instructions on how to do this for
Windows XP he


This one can get annoying, just like the rest. You get 50 emails in one
sitting and 2 of them you wanted. NICE! (Not.) What can you do? Well,
although there are services out there to help you, some email
servers/services that actually do lower your spam with features built into
their servers - I still like the methods that let you be the end-decision
maker on what is spam and what isn't. If these things worked perfectly, we
wouldn't need people and then there would be no spam anyway - vicious
circle, eh? Anyway - I have two products to suggest to you, look at them
and see if either of them suite your needs. Again, if they don't, Google is
free and available for your perusal.

SpamBayes (Free!)

Spamihilator (Free!)

As I said, those are not your only options, but are reliable ones I have
seen function for hundreds+ people.


I might get arguments on putting this one here, but it's my spill. There are
lots of services on your PC that are probably turned on by default you don't
use. Why have them on? Check out these web pages to see what all of the
services you might find on your computer are and set them according to your
personal needs. Be CAREFUL what you set to manual, and take heed and write
down as you change things! Also, don't expect a large performance increase
or anything - especially on today's 2+ GHz machines, however - I look at
service you set to manual as one less service you have to worry about
someone exploiting. A year ago, I would have thought the Windows Messenger
service to be pretty safe, now I recommend (with addition of a firewall)
that most home users disable it! Yeah - this is another one you have to
work for, but your computer may speed up and/or be more secure because you
took the time. And if you document what you do as you do it, next time, it
goes MUCH faster! (or if you have to go back and re-enable things..)

Task List Programs

Black Viper's Service List and Opinions (XP)

Processes in Windows NT/2000/XP

There are also applications that AREN'T services that startup when you start
up the computer/logon. One of the better description on how to handle these
I have found he


That's it. A small booklet on how to keep your computer secure, clean of
scum and more user friendly. I am SURE I missed something, almost as I am
sure you won't read all of it (anyone for that matter.) However, I also
know that someone who followed all of the advice above would also have less
problems with their PC, less problems with viruses, less problems with spam,
fewer problems with spyware and better performance than someone who didn't.

Hope it helps.

- Shenan -
The information is provided "as is", it is suggested you research for
yourself before you take any advice - you are the one ultimately responsible
for your actions/problems/solutions. Know what you are getting into before
you jump in with both feet.

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