PC won't start and keeps showing same message

Microsoft Microsoft windows xp home edit...
November 4, 2010 at 06:55:18
Specs: Windows XP
Windows XP PC shows a countdown message saying it will start in x amount of seconds, but doesn't and just reverts back to message and starts all over again. I am computer illiterate when it comes to things like this, so am afraid to try anything, though have tried remote access from laptop, but PC hasn't got that switched on or something. I would appreciate any help I can get as I need to access files. Thank you.

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November 4, 2010 at 08:14:53
Hi Mo54: There is a cd that came with the computer. The CD should have system restore or something like that written on it. Just pop the cd in to try to restore the original operating system which is Windows XP. Try that and let how it goes from www.chuckduru.com

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November 4, 2010 at 08:24:18
Thank you Chuckduru, I've got the cd you are talking about. If I do what you suggest, will my files, photos etc. be okay?

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November 4, 2010 at 08:53:29
chuckduru is a 'PAID' company that charges.

"Just pop the cd in to try to restore the original operating system which is Windows XP. "

That is BAD advice as you will lose everything on your PC.
If you have an xp install disk, you can try a repair install. Doing that you only lose the critical updates and you just have to download them again. Good Luck

Some HELP in posting on Computing.net plus free progs and instructions Cheers

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November 4, 2010 at 09:16:39
Thank you XPuser4real for your info,. I'll definately try the cd to repair the problem. Will let you know how I get on. Thanks again.

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November 4, 2010 at 10:29:58

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November 4, 2010 at 11:27:45
"Windows XP PC shows a countdown message saying it will start in x amount of seconds, ..."

What were you doing just before that ?
You don't normally get a countdown like that, unless you were running Setup from the Windows CD, or unless you were installing some major Microsoft software package.

You have MANY alternatives other than using the XP reinstall CD or a Recovery disk to re-install Windows from scratch, or re-install all the brand name supplied software. (Most brand name computers that have XP installed on them have an XP re-installation CD, rather than a Recovery disk that re-loads the original contents of C from files already on the second partition on the hard drive). Doing that is a LAST resort. All your personal files you have added to the hard drive will be gone if you do either, unless you have copied what you do not want to lose to elsewhere BEFORE you run the procedure.
(If you have an XP re-installation CD. you often also have a Drivers and Applications CD, or similar, as well. The XP re-installation CD does not install all the drivers needed for the system. You can save yourself some time by installing at least the drivers from that CD, rather than having to get them by downloading them from the brand name's web site, from the downloads for your model. )


You may be able to use System Restore to get your computer working properly.

Remove any bootable CDs or DVDs you have in drives.

Press F8 repeatedly - do not hold down the key - when the boot choices menu pops up, choose
Safe mode.
You will see a bunch of lines about things loading, it will stay that way for a while, then you should see a black screen with white text at the top, then your your logon screen, if you normally have to logon, then (after you have logged on) a black Windows desktop screen with a window box that asks if you want to run in Safe mode - answer NO.

A System Restore window will pop up.
Click on Next.
Pick a restore point with a recent date and time BEFORE you had your problem, when Windows was still working OK. The newer the better.

Etc., etc.

If choosing a certain restore point doesn't help, you can boot into Safe mode again and try a slightly older one.

How to do an XP Repair installation , step by step:

HOWEVER....there are things you should be made aware of ....

If you have a brand name system, you MUST use
- an XP re-installation CD that came with the computer ( or that you made yourself by using a program supplied by the maker that was in the original software installation)
- or - you can use a regular Microsoft OEM XP CD for the same version, Home or Pro, along with the Product Key that's on the official Microsoft label, that's probably on the bottom of the case on the laptop - such an OEM CD has "For distribution with a new PC only." printed on it

(If you have an XP MCE version, it's more complicated. XP MCE versions DO NOT fit on one CD - I've never encounted it on a DVD, though that's possible . If the brand name computer did not come with an XP MCE re-installation DVD, or two MCE CDs, then you must buy and use the OEM 2 CD XP MCE set to run the Repair installation
AND - because of bugs in MCE's Setup, you CANNOT load the second CD's contents. You can quit Setup at the point where it asks for another CD the first time , but if whatever is wrong requires software to be loaded from the second CD, Windows will still not work properly after Setup is finished. Both CDs MUST be inserted in the same drive. The MCE Setup bugs prevent the second CD being recognized as a valid source when you run the Repair installation.)

- the XP CD MUST have at least SP1 updates integrated into it in order to be able to recognize hard drives larger than 128gb in Windows ( = > 137gb manufacturer's size).
Regular Microsoft XP CDs have SP2 or SP3 printed on them if they include those updates; if they have SP! unpates all the ones I've seen with them DO NOT have SP1 printed on them, but the volume label - the label you see in Windows for the CD for CDS with SP1 updates included is different from those for CDs with no SP updates at all - you can search using the volume label to fibd out if it has SP! updates or not. An XP re-installation CD that comes with a brand name computer usually hasSP1 or SP2 or SP3 printed on it if it includes those updates.

If you DO have hard drives larger than 128gb in Windows, and you DO NOT have an XP CD with at least SP1 updates included, you MUST make yourself a "slipstreamed" CD , preferably a CD-R, that has at least SP1 updates integrated into it - you might as well integrate SP3 updates into it - and use that CD instead of your original CD. .

- there must be NO PROBLEMS with reading the ram or with reading the CD while the Repair installation is running.
Make sure the CD is clean and free from major scratches.
Eject the optical drive's tray, and with no disk on the tray, wipe off the obvious laser lens with a tissue or soft cloth to make sure it's not "dirty", BEFORE you run the Repair installation.

If you are unable to complete Setup, the existing Windows installation will be trashed. If you quit Setup before it's fiinished, you WILL NOT be given the choice of running a Repair installation when you boot the computer with the XP CD again.
DO NOT exit Setup if you have problems - e.g. you may need to Skip loading files as many times as it takes - Setup must finish.

You can copy files off the hard drive that you DO NOT want to lose, as long as your hard drive is physically and logically okay itself, BEFORE you take the risk of doing anything, or even after a Repair installation fails, by connecting the hard drive to another computer one way or another, or by you booting the computer with an operating system on a CD such as Linux, and copying the files to somewhere else.

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November 4, 2010 at 15:55:45
Hi Tubesandwires,
just in and saw your reply so tried hitting the F8 key as you said. The lines all came up but just for a few seconds, then it just went back to the countdown thing again! Very frustrating! I'm afraid the other info you gave was a bit too complicated for me, but grateful thanks for it anyway. I hope whatever has happened to the PC doesn't happen to my laptop! I guess I'll have to take it somewhere and have them do the other stuff you suggested. Thank you once again.

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November 4, 2010 at 16:03:47
Hi again Tubesandwires,
forgot to mention that I have only been using the PC these last few days to sort my holiday pictures using paperport and photoimpression.

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November 4, 2010 at 16:45:42
If you have not installed any software yourself just before this happened, then it MAY be that you have a MALWARE problem, either faked, or real.

If you are able to boot and get into Windows when you boot normally , then that's when you get the count down, try this....

(this MAY also work if you don't get to the Windows desktop screen)

Press the Alt - Ctrl - Del keys at the same time to pop up Task Manager, select the Processes tab if that list isn't already showing, click on CPU twice at the top of the list.

The programs that are using cpu time will then be shown with the one that is using the most at the top, in descending order.
Try selecting the ones that are using CPU time, one at a time, and STOPping them to see if the countdown goes away.

If it does, make a note of the program name of the one you stopped.
(You will probably have to do that twice - reboot and do that again, hopefully remembering where it was in the Processes list the last time - copy down the name before you STOP it ).

When that program has been stopped, look for other symptoms

- new Icons that are shortcuts for a program on the web you did NOT install yourself,
- pop up messages about malware urging you to go to some site to scan your computer (the scan is free but you have to pay for the program to get rid of the bad stuff it finds
- things that are normally there in the Start Menu that are missiing
- anything else that is strange

If that doesn't help, you could try....

Remove any bootable CDs or DVDs you have in drives.

Press F8 repeatedly - do not hold down the key - when the boot choices menu pops up, choose
Last known good.....

That loads the last successful set of certain things that worked when you booted normally , but it doesn't load everything - that may or may not work

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November 4, 2010 at 17:07:06
Hi Tubesandwires,
this will sound like a really dumb question to you, but when you say 'boot', how do I do that? I've heard so many scare stories about booting your pc and making things worse that I am a bit scared to do it. Also, as soon as I turn pc on, that message comes on straightaway, so will I keep hitting th F8 key even when that is showing?.......told you I was computer illiterate......ask me to do anything in Word or Publisher and I'm fine, but anything else....Once again Tubesandwires, thank you.

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November 4, 2010 at 19:01:04
Boot a computer = start up a computer (from it's shut down state) , not physically kick it with your foot.
There are probably articles on the web about where that string of words came from.

As in , the power led is off, you press the power button briefly, the power led is then on, the mboard itself starts up, the cpu (processor) is working, the mboard speaker or sound device beeps once when the POST (Power On Self Test) has completed successfully, the hard drive(s) spin(s), the cpu fan spins, the power supply fan(s) spin(s), the video fan spins if you have one, the hard drive activity led blinks, you get video before Windows starts to load, and, hopefully, then Windows loads.

"as soon as I turn pc on, that message comes on straightaway,"

If your computer starts up quite fast from the shut down state (the power led is not lit up, before you press the power button), it may seen like Windows loads right away, but it actually takes a short time before the computer lets Windows start to load. What you're seeing - the countdown - probably can't appear before Windows starts to load, even if Windows is not presently loading all the way like it used to.

On the the hand, if your computer was in a standby or hibernate mode (the power led is on before you press the power button, but it may be a different color than it normally is), rather than in the shut down mode (the power led is off, before you press the button), when you press the power button briefly Windows does run almost right away . That depends on settings in Windows (Windows is set to go into a Standby or Hibernate mode after XX seconds or minutes of inactivity by the user) and sometimes on settings in the mboard's bios.

If the computer is in a Standby or Hibernate mode, you must "wake up" the computer ( move your mouse, or press a key on the keyboard, or if that doesn't work, press the power button to get it out of that state) and Shut Down Windows, . then press the power button again after the computer is in the shut down state and power led is not lit up.

If your computer starts up quite fast from the shut down state (the power led is not lit up, before you press it), you may need to repeatedly press F8 starting right after the led on the monitor turns to the color it is when Windows is running and is not blinking - e.g. it may be blinking and amber when there is no video signal, green or red and on all the time when it has a video signal, whether you see anything on the screen at the earliest point or not.

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