Windows XP repair install fail problem

April 10, 2011 at 12:41:54
Specs: Windows XP
A few weeks ago my computer failed to boot windows, we have managed to boot off a CD but during the installation process - the final two stages (including finalisation) the mouse and keyboard stop working. We have tried different mouses and 2 keyboards. It does not make a difference whether the keyboards/mouses are USB or not - both types have been tried. The problem persists.

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April 10, 2011 at 15:34:05
BEFORE you attempt to install Windows from scratch or run a Repair installation of Windows you should make sure your computer hardware is okay.

- Go into the bios Setup, find the current readings for the voltages - the readings for what is supposed to be +3.3v, +5v, and +12v should be within 10% or less of the nominal value - if any are not, replace the power supply.

- Check the ram settings in the Bios.

Some ram manufacturer's modules do not strictly adhere to the JEDEC standards that most mboards bioses use to determine ram settings.
In that case, the ram settings in the bios Setup that the bios has automatically chosen may not be correct.
Check the ram settings in your bios - the ram voltage, and the ram timing numbers - those should be the same as for the specs for the modules themselves. Often the ram voltage and timing numbers are printed on the label on the modules.

If the voltage setting or timings settings in the bios are different from the specs for the ram, change them in the bios. The timing numbers must be as close as you can get to the same, or slower timings (higher numbers = slower) - you won't notice the difference the slower settings make.

If you have a mix of different modules
- don't mix ram that different voltages are specified for - the bios will force the ram to use the lowest voltage, if "by spd" or similar is used (default settings) - ram that a higher voltage is specified for is more likely to not work properly in that situation.
- the bios settings must be those for the slowest timing settings of all the modules, or slower (higher numbers = slower).

- test the ram with diagnostics.

If you mboard has 4gb of ram or less....
this one is pretty good - Microsoft's
Windows Memory Diagnostic:
Windows Memory Diagnostic is limited to testing only the first 4 gigabytes (GB) of RAM.
It can be toggled (press T) to do a standard or a more comprehensive set of tests - use the default 6 test one first - if it passes one pass of that, use the latter one. A few of the tests in the latter set are intentionally slower.
If you don't have a floppy drive, see the Quick Start Information at that Microsoft link for how to make a bootable CD of the Windows Memory Diagnostic (you need Windiag.iso - you don't necessarily need to use the program they mention to add it to the CD).

If you have more than 4gb of ram installed, use memtest86+ (it's NOT made by the same guy who made memtest86) but be aware that it has bugs that cause false errors with some systems that can be avoided if you disable Legacy USB support in the bios and use a PS/2 mouse and keyboard.

- if the ram fails the diagnostics tests,
See response 2 in this - try cleaning the contacts on the ram modules, and making sure the modules are properly seated:

For a laptop, or netbook, you must remove both its main battery and AC adapter before you do that.

For a brand name computer, see the Owner's or User's manual if you need to - how to remove or replace the ram is usually in that - it may already be in your installed programs. If you can't get into Windows, it may be on a disk that came with the computer, or you can go online and look at it or download it - it's in the downloads for your specific model.

For a generic desktop computer, see the mboard manual if you need to - how to remove or replace the ram is usually in that.

Then test the ram again.

- test the hard drive that you're installing Windows on.

Check your hard drive with the manufacturer's diagnostics.
See the latter part of response 1 in this:

If you don't have a floppy drive, you can get a CD image diagnostic utility from most hard drive manufacturer's web sites, but obviously you would need to make a burned CD, preferably a CD-R for best compatibility, on another computer if you need to.

Seagate's Seatools will test any brand of hard drive.
Do the long test.

The bootable Dos versions of SeaTools can be used even if Windows is not working properly.

If the hard drive itself tests okay, any data problems found can be fixed, one way or another.

Since you have had problems previously, your problems may be due to Windows having problems detecting some hardware device properly, which happens during the second stage of Setup with 3x minutes remaining, unplug everything that is not necessary for running Setup, including cards in slots, and it may be better to use a PS/2 mouse and keyboard rather than USB ones .

Boot from the Windows disk and try running Setup again.

If the mouse and/or keyboard stop responding, WAIT for a short while, say 5 minutes, then DO NOT QUIT SETUP - hold the power button in until the mboard shuts off.
Setup has some self repair capacity built into it. In many cases when you boot the computer again, if you DO NOT choose to boot from the CD , Windows will start up, CHKDSK /F will run, then Setup will continue from shortly before the point where it froze, and complete successfully .

The same thing applies if it freezes during loading the first run of Windows after Setup has finished. If it freezes, WAIT for a short while, say 5 minutes, then hold the power button in until the mboard shuts off. Boot the computer - Windows will probably load and run CHKDSK /F and then load fine.

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