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Win XP Home won't boot

January 30, 2006 at 10:30:24
Specs: win xp home, 1.4 ghz, 256mb

Hello everyone, Sorry this is kind of long,

My mother's Dell, has been having problems for a very long time. He main issue was that she would go online and download stuff, leading to spyware and viruses.

Last year, my older sister upgraded my mom's OS to Win XP Professional, and everything worked for awhile, until she started messing around online again. To make it worse, the XP professional CD was lost.

So then my mom purchased a new Windows XP Home edition with service pack 2, and she had me install it.

Well, windows XP professional won't let you "upgrade" to home edition. So I booted from the CD, and treated it like a brand new installation.

Everything seemed to work alright, but the screen resolution and color display was totally messed up. It was on the absolutely lowest settings, and wouldn't let me change them. So I tried restarting the computer.

It asked me if I wanted to start win XP home edition, or professional.

If I choose professional, it fails, and restarts the computer. If I choose home edition, it begins to start up, but then tells me to check the hard drive for errors. Whether I let it check it, or I cancel the check, it freezes at that screen.

Any advice? I'd really appreciate any help you can give me.

Thanks a ton!

-Beau


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#1
January 30, 2006 at 11:34:50

try booting to your XP home CD let it get to the part where it asks you what u want to do, select recovery console, at the recovery console type fixmbr and hit enter. if that dont work try booting to Safe Mode and run chkdsk, also check the event viewer for error details

for the display problem all u need to do is install the device drivers for your video card

post back if the problem persists


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#2
January 30, 2006 at 12:33:29

"To make it worse, the XP professional CD was lost."

That's not necessarily a disaster. You can use a utility to find the existing Product Key code, if have no idea what it is, that is hidden on the computer (in the Registry I believe; it is encrypted in some way), such as Keyfinder.exe (it also finds other Microsoft Product keys).
You could borrow an XP CD from someone who has the same version she had (with or without SP2 - it should preferably be the same), fix (Repair) the Pro installation, and still have the original product key and product Activation intact.
(if you don't know how to Repair an existing XP installation see this for one way of doing it:
http://www.computing.net/hardware/wwwboard/forum/41012.html )

What you should have done is get XP Pro, of the same version preferably (if all you could get is with SP2 and she didn't have that it will still work) not Home, and you would have been able to Repair you existing installation rather than install from scratch again, and not lose the existing installation. If the CD is the same version as she had, you could use the original product key and keep the product Activation intact.
If you chose to install from scratch with the new CD, you could just use the new Product Key.
.......

But now you've got yourself in a fine mess.

Get yourself a free hard drive diagnostics utility from the website of the brand of hard drive you are having problems with. Test the hard drive - if it passes, continue these steps.
If not, you need to get another hard drive and do other things to recover what data you can that she thinks is essential from that drive.

What you should try, providing you have the disk space, is to start from scratch again with the XP Home CD, and install it to a directory OTHER THAN C:\Windows AND wherever the other installations are, say C:\Windows2

That should give you a normal clean install, but some of the programs in C:\Program Files will not work. Reinstall all the software you can to the new Windows directory (e.g. \Windows2), and many of the programs she originally had will work and still have at least some of the stuff she added to them still intact.
That should yield you a functioning Windows.
Delete any directory entries and their contents in C:\Program Files you don't have the CD's for to install again.
You can later clean up the other useless stuff through means other than Windows if you need to.
.......

If you don't have enough room to install XP Home again, you'll have to delete some stuff to make room - anything that can be downloaded again, any directory entries and their contents in C:\Program Files you don't have the CD's for to install again, Temporary Internet Files, etc. etc.
You may have to do the latter with the drive connected e.g. as Slave, and another Drive as Master that has XP on it so it can see the NTFS formatting.


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#3
January 30, 2006 at 12:51:57

BY THE WAY you may not be able to install XP Home to a new directory without losing some data that is on the existing drive, perhaps even the whole contents of the drive - I haven't tried the above procedure myself - in works fine in ME and below, but XP does some stuff differently. If Windows Setup says you will lose the existing Windows installation if you proceed, that's fine as long as it doesn't start from scratch and re-format or fdisk the drive, or delete everything on the drive.

To be safest, you should back up the data - you should copy the stuff she things is essential and wants to keep to another drive, or the whole drive contents, somewhere else before proceeding.


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#4
January 30, 2006 at 15:50:52

Awesome, thank you everyone for the replies. I appreciate the help.

I'll definitely try those things. Luckily, my mom doesn't have any data that she wants to save. So if need be I might just go get a new HD, and do a fresh install on it, and make the other drive a slave.

That would work wouldn't it?

Thanks again everyone!


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#5
January 30, 2006 at 17:26:37

I just talked to my brother who was having some problems with XP and did a Repair yesterday - he looked at the standard re-install of XP and it RE-FORMATS THE DRIVE!
So if you want to SAVE some or all of what you have on the drive you MUST COPY the stuff she things is essential and wants to keep to another drive, or the whole drive contents, somewhere else before proceeding.



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#6
January 30, 2006 at 17:30:12

"....So if need be I might just go get a new HD, and do a fresh install on it, and make the other drive a slave.

That would work wouldn't it? "

Yes.
Sometimes people are justing looking for the cheapest way to do things, and buying a new drive isn't even in their radar.



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#7
January 30, 2006 at 19:51:31

What a disaster! Just boot with the XP CD and delete the partitions, and reinstall. You probably have two XP's on the same drive now. It is just FUBAR'ed.

If you can't do this, you can freely download a LinuxLiveCD to delete ALL partitions, then put that XP CD in there if that's what you want.


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#8
January 31, 2006 at 07:06:14

I am very sure that the Win Xp cd that you may want to use to try and reinstall has to be from Dell.Dell has volume licensing agreement with microsoft and Dell bios will ask you for an activation key and you need to activate your Xp.but anyway wish you the best of luck.

"There is a difference between knowing the path and walking the path"
MATRIX


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#9
January 31, 2006 at 11:18:35

(technocrat)
"I am very sure that the Win Xp cd that you may want to use to try and reinstall has to be from Dell.Dell has volume licensing agreement with microsoft and Dell bios will ask you for an activation key and you need to activate your Xp."

Bull.
The bios has no way of telling what operating system you have, and it isn't the bios that would ask for it.

In the very first post Jhangles said:
"Last year, my older sister upgraded my mom's OS to Win XP Professional,..."

so that wiped out whatever was on the computer hard if it was a full version, or drastically altered it if it was an upgrade version, the the Product Key would have then been that of the XP Pro, not whatever it was for whatever Op. system Dell had on there originaly.

Then he said "....purchased a new Windows XP Home edition with service pack 2, and she had me install it."

so it now has the Product Key of that XP Home CD.
...

All major brand name vendors have an OEM agreement with Microsoft - the operating system is already installed using whatever Product Key it was assigned, and Activated by Dell, before it is offered for sale. You don't get an XP CD with the product - the entire contents of the XP CD are either already on the C: drive, or accessable by the installation accessing a hidden partition in the backgroud, so you don't need a CD - that's fine if the CD contents do not become corrupted.
You usually get a custom CD put together by the brand name builder with the product (or you can download the contents of one, or have one shipped to you) that allows you to restore your included software configuration to what it was originally, and sometimes also to make backup CD's of it's contents, but you often can't restore the XP CD contents specifically - to do that it accesses a hidden partition on the hard drive that has all of the original software on it.
The trouble with that whole idea is if your hard drive fails and you have no backups, you have none of your original software, and no XP CD. You can often purchase a new drive already loaded with the original software from the brand name builder, at least within the first few years, but that is an expensive option.


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#10
January 31, 2006 at 11:29:39

Or with Dell you can get an XP CD for $10 - well worth the cost to avoid this.

You can avoid many of these Windows problems with Linux. Linspire eases the transition for new users


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