Cannot boot in Safe Mode

Dell Inspiron 6000
December 7, 2006 at 18:28:43
Specs: Win XP Media Center Editi, Pentium 1 / 1GB RAM
I cannot boot in safe mode to diagnose the problem. When I attempt to boot, I get the blue screen of death with the following error message:

"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 errror screen, restart your computer. If this screen appears again, follow these steps:

Disable or uninstall any anti-virus, disk defragmentation or backup utilities. Check your hard drive configuration, and check for any updated drivers. Run CHKDSK /F to check for hard drive corruption, and then restart your computer.

Technical information:
*** STOP: 0x00000024 (0x00190203,0x86F402B8,0xC0000102,0x00000000)"

I cannot get past this screen to attempt any of the suggestions. I am forced to power down and start again, which only gets me to the screen described above.

In earlier OS versions, there was a capability to change the BIOS parameters so the OS would look for the OS from a CD/DVD first instead of the Hard Disk but I can't find out which key gives me this option. With XP, this option may no longer be available.

Any suggestions or clues as to how I can work around this difficulty would be very much appreciated. Thanks in advance for any help

See More: Cannot boot in Safe Mode

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December 7, 2006 at 18:55:27
"can't find out which key gives me this option. With XP, this option may no longer be available"
Nothing to do with XP, all to do with Dell.

Password into bios used to be dell, if now different refer your manual.

You cannot start Windows XP in Safe Mode
How to perform an in-place upgrade (reinstallation) of Windows XP

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December 7, 2006 at 18:56:03
to get into your bios to change the boot sec, hit Delete or f1 to enter the bois, then navigate around, you will find were you can change the boot sequence to cdrom instead of harddrive. let me know if you need anymore help, but from the sounds of it you might be re-instlling windows soon.... :(


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December 8, 2006 at 06:56:50
Johnw and Metthew,

Thanks for your responses. I spent quite a bit of time with Dell since my post here. The result is that XP can indeed be booted in Safe mode. The key I was looking for is the F12 key. The site at
describes the process that solved my problem.

From this site: "The system bios can usually be entered on boot, usually by pressing the F1, F2, F8, F10 or DEL key." Oddly, the Dell tech had me use F12. Looks like another "magic" key needs to be added to the list. :)

My solution was gained through the Dell tech, the website above and a healthy amount of intuition. As you saw, the error suggested I use CHKDSK /F to check the hard disk. Apparently either XP or NTSF hard disk format does not support the "/F" flag as it was not recognized by the OS. The correct flag was "/R".

Here's my solution sequence:
1. Insert the XP OS DVD in the DVD drive
2. Reboot
3. Press F12 at Dell's boot screen
4. Choose the "Boot from the DVD/CD" option
5. Select "R" from the blue screen (this leaves you at a DOS prompt)
6. Enter "CHKDSK /R"
7. Wait until completed
8. Shutdown PC
9. Start PC as usual.

In my case, the CHKDSK found and repaired disk errors that apparently were the root of my problem. Ater several hours of use, everything seems to be working fine.

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Related Solutions

December 8, 2006 at 14:29:19
Thanks stevezal, very good detail.

As a matter of interest, do Dell have a message down the bottom of your screen during start ( boot ) up, saying something like this > press f12 to enter setup.

On boot up, hit the Pause button, so you can read each screen.
Press the Space bar to move off Pause.

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December 8, 2006 at 18:38:41

I've never seen any message like that upon booting. I know that older PCs had a similar message though. I'd have paid dearly for a message like that during this problem!

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December 8, 2006 at 20:09:51
stevezal, I think Dell have a splash screen hiding that info, you probably can hide thet screen.

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December 17, 2006 at 16:28:40
I've just run through a similar issue, though, I could boot into "normal" mode, but "safe" mode would blue screen with a 0x0000007b error.

I suspected a boot sector virus, though, AVG, Stinger, Housecall, and NAV all came up with nothing, and Windows Defender Final, Ad-Aware SE Personal, Spybot Search & Destroy, SpywareBlaster, SpywareGuard, and others that I've ins6talled and uninstalled as necessary, have found NOTHING after some extended cleaning related mostly to Bagle-type infections.

Which brings me to my point. The machine is a Dell, and during boot, on the initial screen, there are two choices which appear in the upper right-hand corner of the screen:

1. press F2 to Go To Setup (BIOS access)
2. press F12 to go to Boot Menu (can choose to boot from Disk [cd or DVD], or choose Safe Mode (in any of its flavors)

So, either tapping F8, editing the BOOT.INI in msconfig or a text editor, or selecting the 2nd option (F12) can all get you into Safe Mode on this Dell DIM2400.

BTW, stevezal's 1-9 step process is dead-on.

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December 17, 2006 at 16:43:48
...ooops the BIOS, you have to turn off "Fast Boot" (and perhaps have the fastdetect and optout:enabled switches present in the BOOT.INI file.)

That was the condition (settings) on the Dell that I worked on when it presented those options (F2 and F12) in the upper right-hand corner of the screen at boot.

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