|I have a machine running XP that has worked fine for months (pretty much unchanged both hardware and software-wise), but as of today Windows no longer starts up.|
The PC goes through POST fine, one beep, everything seems okay in the BIOS setup screens (all ram sticks accounted for, all drives properly detected, etc).
However, after the POST beep, it just gives me a black prompt screen with a blinking underline cursor, and stays there forever, without any responsiveness or HDD activity.
Things I have tried so far, all without success:
1) I tried booting into safe mode, but found out that I'm also unable to go into the boot options menu. Pressing F8 after the bios beep does nothing. I notice that once I get the black prompt with the blinking cursor, no key does anything. Ctrl-alt-del works fine if I press it during the first few seconds, but after that, not even ctrl-alt-del will register, and I can only reboot by hitting the reset button on the CPU.
2) I tried repairing Windows through the install CD. It went through its "copying files" routine up to 100%, then said it needed to reboot... After the reboot it became stuck at the blinking cursor prompt again.
3) I tried going into recovery console and doing a chkdsk /r - it did claim to find errors and correct them, but didn't solve the problem.
4) Fixboot didn't solve the problem either.
5) My boot.ini looked fine, but even so, I tried to do a Bootcfg /rebuild which was equally unsuccessful.
6) I tried copying the NTLDR file over from the install CD manually, but that didn't do it either.
7) Disconnecting the HDD did make the BIOS complain about the lack of OS'es. Re-seating the HDD sent me back to the same black screen again.
My only guess right now is HDD failure... If anyone can give me any further insights, I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks in advance!