|My guess is that your model Optiplex came with Vista natively, but because of the unpopularity of Vista XP was offered as a downgrade option, which was taken. Thus you have the remnants of Vista still installed. You can verify this in Windows by right-clicking Computer and selecting Manage. Then go to Disk Management and see if there is a 100MB system reserve partition at the front of the C drive. That's a sign of Vista or 7. I suspect that is what you'll find.|
But the real question is what happened to Safe Mode. Click Winkey-r and type in MSCONFIG. Go to the Boot tab and see what is checked or not. You can schedule a boot to safe mode there (see http://bcrawfordjr.wordpress.com/20... for details), but frankly I would be leery because something is screwed with the bootstrap. It seems that XP was improperly installed. A normal installation would have wiped the system reserve partition from the MBR. Instead, your boot sequence is using the Vista system reserved partition, but it is fractured. I would be afraid to schedule a Safe Mode boot via msconfig, lest the boot fail and you might not be able to get back to normal. Probably what I would do at this point is take a full system image so you can restore everything in case of disaster. Then do an XP "install in place" to correct the bootstrap and give you your boot options screen back.