Dell Laptop, XP, keeps rebooting after POST

January 17, 2011 at 20:17:57
Specs: XP Media Edition
I received a laptop that was getting the to windows XP logo and immediately getting a BSOD with stop code 7B. I finally got a repair install to finish and now the laptop reboots right after the POST finishes. I think a cursor in the upper left corner blinks once or twice. It is just a continuous loop. I can get into safe mode fine and all the data is fine.

To summarize I've tried FIXMBR, FIXBOOT. CHKDSK /R seems to always find errors and repair them. My first attempt at a repair install was a mess because the CD drive wasn't being recognized. So every time it asked for a file I just pointed it to a local copy on the HD. Not sure if that caused my next prob, but there was a version conflict with .NET. Sounds like it is common for repairing XP media edtion, which is what I have. So I had to get a tool that completely removes .NET. After that I was able to do a repair install successfully. This brings me to the point I'm at which is the loop of reboots.

I have permission to wipe the HD, but the fact that I can get into safe mode and all the data is fine makes me think I'm close to getting it recovered. I've done boot logging but I can't find anything helpful. Not sure what to try next. Let me know if more information is needed.

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January 19, 2011 at 14:50:03
I would run chkdsk this way.

Use your XP CD to boot from & when you get to a command prompt as per the link below, type this in. chkdsk C: /p /r ( note the spaces )
Using these commands for chkdsk can take a long time to complete, depending on the size of the drive & how much info is on it, overnight is how I do it.

CHKDSK using the XP CD & Windows XP Recovery Console

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January 19, 2011 at 15:59:51
Since you are getting errors indicating the drive has problems I would consider the drive to be bad. Try installing to a known good drive and see if the system boots. This leaves the existing drive intact. Have you run any diagnostics on the drive?

I sometimes use the clean install to a test drive to verify the remaining hardware and bootup. Then see if the customer wants a new drive and data from the old one.

With the price of drives and knowing that there are errors on the existing one it is not worth relying on a questionable drive for use especially when users are concerned with data loss.


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January 20, 2011 at 06:21:12
Thanks for the replies. John, I'm already running chkdsk successfully. It recovers errors each time I run it. Rich, I was able to get a disk utility, Fujitsu in this case. It did a quick and comprehensive test and found nothing. I might try an alternate HD tonight. Given the original 7B error and the chkdsk errors it makes sense the drive might be having probs, but the diagnostics came back fine. So for now I'll assume it isn't the drive.

I thought I was using boot logging correctly but it turns out I was looking at what was being logged by safe mode. The normal boot process doesn't appear to be getting far enough to log.

The CD drive has bad drivers. I've tried uninstalling them. I also completely removed the CD drive with no success. I went down to one stick of RAM and swapped it out, still nothing.

What I'm curious about is what does it mean that I can get to safe mode with no problems, but can't even get to the XP screen on a normal boot? If my MBR was messed up would I even be able to get to safe mode or view the contents of the drive?

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Related Solutions

January 20, 2011 at 06:40:04
"I'm curious about is what does it mean that I can get to safe mode with no problems"

Safe mode uses a minimal set of device drivers and services to start Windows..

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January 20, 2011 at 16:33:39
John, what I mean is that I have no problems getting into safe mode. I don't get any errors, the computer doesn't reboot, no BSODs. So it would seem this computer is fixable. Maybe it is a matter of disabling devices and services one at a time. My hope is that what I'm describing will lead to something to check specifically. Getting into safe mode has to mean I can cross somethings off the list.

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January 20, 2011 at 17:12:25
"what I mean is that I have no problems getting into safe mode"
Yep, I got that gwgeller.

"Getting into safe mode has to mean I can cross somethings off the list"
Exactly. We know what it is loading is Ok, so go from there.

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January 20, 2011 at 21:25:28
I was able to install SP3 in safe mode and that appears to have taken care of the problem. So ther must have been a bad file or driver somewhere. For anyone who sees this you'll have to enable the MSIServer service in safe mode before you can install/uninstall anything. I've been wondering about that for along time and I finally found out how to do it. Just copy the below into a text file and change the ext to .reg and then merge it:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00


Note this will only work for normal safe mode. Change Minimal to Network if you want to be able to install from Safe Mode with Networking.

Thanks all for the input.

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January 20, 2011 at 21:56:55
Nice work, thanks for the detail, never done a SP install from Safe mode, so it will now go into my database.

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