Safe mode won't boot, SM w/ networking will.

December 2, 2011 at 10:04:26
Specs: Windows XP SP3
Safe mode and safe mode with command prompt won't boot (the machine reboots after mup.sys), safe mode with networking and normal boot start fine.

I did a chkntfs /x to cancel a boot-time chkdsk, then used a 3rd party defrag program. Since then, safe mode won't boot. Safe mode with networking implies everything the same as safe mode PLUS networking drivers/services, so how is it able to boot?

I have run a chkdsk from the recovery console which said that it found errors (but didn't say what). To make sure that it had fixed them, I then ran another chkdsk which didn't find any errors. I have also performed a system restore to before the defrag, so that should have restored the registry/drivers, right?

Any ideas?

See More: Safe mode wont boot, SM w/ networking will.

December 2, 2011 at 13:12:40
Use xp cd to try repair.

1/3 of highway deaths are caused by drunks. The rest are by people who can't drive any better than a drunk.

Report •

December 2, 2011 at 14:05:32
How to fix an XP\Win 2000 System that freezes after loading mup.sys while booting
or 3. Instead of XP freezing at mup.sys windows reboots itself repeatedly just after that driver loads.

Report •

December 2, 2011 at 14:26:27
I've been to that page and the only thing on there that it could be is a corrupted registry, but the system restore will have restored an old copy of the registry already, won't it?

Report •

Related Solutions

December 2, 2011 at 15:13:04
"but the system restore will have restored an old copy of the registry already, won't it?"
Yes, but it must have been corrupted.

I would run these one by one, in this order. Reboot & test after each. I use them all daily on mine & other comps I work on.

Please download TFC - Temporary File Cleaner by Old Timer, saving it to your desktop.
* Open the file and close any other windows.
* It will close all programs itself when run, make sure to let it run uninterrupted.
* Click the Start button to begin the process. The program should not take long to finish it's job
* Once its finished it should reboot your machine, if not, do this yourself to ensure a complete clean.

Auslogics Registry Cleaner
I tick all the boxes.

Wise Registry Cleaner

MV RegClean

Vit Registry Fix Free Edition
5 Screenshots on how to use.

Report •

December 3, 2011 at 05:52:00
"Yes, but it must have been corrupted."

Then I don't understand why you linked to the page, what were you suggesting I should do?

What I can't understand, is what does safe mode try (and fail) to do, that safe mode with networking doesn't? Surely, safe mode with networking loads everything that standard safe mode does.

It's a shame that it gives no error, is there a bootlog anywhere that will show which point it is crashing at?

Also, I've discovered that it will boot into safe mode if the Widows CD is in the drive. I had no idea it would search the optical drives if it had a problem. What could it be getting from the disc, it doesn't contain a rudimentary registry, does it? So, it must be drivers?

Report •

December 3, 2011 at 14:53:24
"Then I don't understand why you linked to the page, what were you suggesting I should do?"

If you mean the registry & temp file cleaners, it is a process of elimination, cleaning up area by area.

Here is another.

Restoring Safe Mode with a .REG file

Report •

December 3, 2011 at 20:15:07
Here's what I would do.

sfc /scannow - to correct any corrupt system files.

chkdsk /f - to correct filesystem errors

chkdsk /r - to correct sector errors. If you run this first you don't need the previous command. But I would NOT run this unless your system were backed up.

Report •

December 4, 2011 at 03:08:14
Sorry I didn't reply yesterday.

I did a thorough chkdsk from the recovery console which found "one or more errors", and that fixed it. I'm quite surprised, I didn't think there were any bad sectors, and I have since run the HDD manufacturers sector scan, which "Passed". Is there anywhere I can see the results of the chkdsk to find out if there actually are any bad sectors?

John - I was talking about the aitechsolutions page.

Paul - Thanks, sfc was the command I was trying to think of to try next, then maybe fixboot and fixmbr, but no need now.

I'm still confused about the difference between safe mode and safe mode with networking. What could safe mode be failing on, that w/ networking wasn't? What can it take from the Windows CD?

Report •

December 4, 2011 at 03:27:41
"John - I was talking about the aitechsolutions page"
Ok oodboot, still the same thing, all anybody can do is throw things at you to try.

"What could safe mode be failing on, that w/ networking wasn't"
Did you read my link?
Partial extract from above.
"I posted about a virus that disables Safe Mode by deleting the SafeBoot registry keys, and later I talked about tricks to restore the SafeBoot keys. Now I’m posting another way to restore the SafeBoot keys: merging a .reg file with the missing SafeBoot entries"

Report •

December 4, 2011 at 06:22:36
oddboot - it's possible that w/networking references other copies of .dlls that are corrupt in their other instances due to the sector errors.

It's better to run the disk utilities from within windows if possible, because then you'll have an event log to reference afterward.

Report •

December 6, 2011 at 08:26:12
John, I did read you link, thanks. But it sounds like the option to boot to safe mode is removed from the boot menu, also this machine hasn't had a virus. Even if it was the defrag that had screwed the registry, I had restored it. However, re-reading the page, I checked the mentioned registry entries to compare minimal and networking. I found 1 thing that minimal was loading that networking wasn't - MSIService. I enabled that for safe mode a while ago, but I thought I had disabled it as MSI wasn't working in safe mode. Anyway, it's the only extra thing in minimal safe boot.

So, my current theory is that the defrag moved the msiexec.exe onto a bad sector of the HDD, which caused safe mode to crash when trying to reference it (even though it wasn't set to automatic, and so wasn't being loaded), but with the Windows CD in the drive, it found a working copy of msiexec.exe there.

Whether or not Windows actually "checks" services that it isn't loading in some way at startup, I don't know, and why normal boot worked, I don't know either.

Paul - So, because I scanned from the recovery console, there is no log? That's a shame, because this machine won't scan from within Windows (I don't know if this is normal for NTFS), it always requests to scan at reboot. Unfortunately, although it does add 20-30 seconds to the boot time, it never actually scans. If I managed to get it to do a thorough scan at bootup, would it find (confirm) the same bad sector(s), or are they now permanently bypassed?


Report •

December 6, 2011 at 10:13:42
Using the Windows XP Recovery Console and the CHKDSK hard-drive diagnostic utility

oodboot, here are a few extracts from the above link. A lot more possible clues are mentioned in that link.

"The Recovery Console runs with even fewer of the most basic parts of Windows (drivers, etc.) than Safe Mode. It allows a user to penetrate deeper into the system than Safe Mode does because of the minimum number of files that are in use.
Note that some OEM installations of Windows XP, such as the version installed on Fujitsu notebook computers don't support the Recovery Console, probably because it enables inexperienced users to screw the system up and cause the manufacturer technical support problems.
If it's not possible to use any of the Safe Modes to recover the system, other than reinstalling Windows over itself, or performing a repair install/installation, both of which are dealt with on this page, you'll have to try using the Recovery Console, which is also available in Windows NT and Windows 2000"

"The best way to run the Recovery Console is by doing so from the Windows XP CD, but it is possible to make six Windows XP boot discs that allow you to run it - if the PC is running the original version of Windows XP first made available in 2001. They provide you with the same options as booting from the Windows XP CD. It is possible to download the files from for the original version of Windows XP. There are separate versions for XP Home and XP Professional editions. But, because they allow passwords to be bypassed, Microsoft has abandoned this method of recovery.
Note well that if your computer has an SATA hard disk drive, the Windows XP installation disc does not have SATA device drivers (only device drivers for IDE hard disk drives), consequently, the installation disk won't be able to recognise the drive and you won't be able to go any further using it to boot from unless you have the SATA drives on a floppy disk and your computer has a floppy disk drive, which most recent computers don't have. That means that unless that SATA drivers are installed you won't be able to perform a repair installation or use the Recovery Console from the installation disc"

More good info is in these links.

Safe Mode the Easy Way

Report •

December 6, 2011 at 10:26:19
"That's a shame, because this machine won't scan from within Windows (I don't know if this is normal for NTFS), it always requests to scan at reboot"

Chkdsk in Read-Only Mode Does Not Detect Corruption on NTFS Volume
To work around this behavior, run Chkdsk with the /f option to reinitialize the $logfile data region and to correct the corruption problem.
At a command prompt, type the following command, and then press ENTER
chkdsk volume_label: /v /f ( example, chkdsk c: /v /f )
where volume_label is the label of the volume that you want to run Chkdsk on.

Obtaining CHKDSK Results ( log file )
How to get to Event Viewer.
In Windows XP there are four ways to get to event viewer.
Start > Control Panel > Administrative Tools > Event Viewer.
Right click > My Computer > Manage > Event Viewer.
Start > Run > Eventvwr.
Start > All Programs > Accessories > Command Prompt, paste > Eventvwr & hit Enter.
Obtaining CHKDSK Results
Once Event Viewer is open, select Application.
The 4th column of information in the right-hand pane is titled Source, click on the word Source at the top of the column to sort by that column.
Scroll through the Source column to find the most recent entry titled Winlogon.
Double-click Winlogon to open the CHKDSK results.

Report •

December 6, 2011 at 10:45:18
Chkntfs is a utility that enables a system administrator to exclude volumes from being checked by the autochk program. The utility is run from a command prompt and has the following command line options:
chkntfs /d
Restores the machine to the default behavior; all drives are checked at boot time and chkdsk is run on those that are dirty. This undoes the effect of the /X option.

Report •

December 6, 2011 at 11:47:58
I don't know whether the recovery console leaves a trail. I'm not aware of one, but...

Not scanning properly sounds like an autochk problem. There's a great tutorial by "Brink" on the forum on how to fix that in Vista, but I don't know for sure whether it's applicable here.

Another thing you could do is slave the drive to another machine and run chkdsk on it while it's online. I definitely would go for the /r switch, but as I think I said, be backed up first because I've seen that switch do damage.

Report •

December 21, 2011 at 04:35:34
Thanks Johnw. I can now find the scan logs ("Winlogon", how descriptive).

I've found that when doing a scan from within Windows, no event is created, but luckily when scanning from the recovery console, the result is logged.

There's definitely something inherently wrong with this defrag tool. I've now removed MSIservice from minimal safe mode, so now it only has services that are also in networking. I then installed a trial of the latest professional version of the software (previously it was a few months old free version), just out of curiosity (and because I now know how to fix it) and it has done exactly the same thing.

I tried a thorough chkdsk, which *didn't* fix it, so then I restored to before the installation of the software, and it still wouldn't boot into minimal safe mode. The only way to fix it is to restore to before the install (probably just before the defrag), *then* do a sector scan

It's a very strange problem and I cannot work out what is going wrong, but at least the solution is here for anyone else who uses the same software and ends up at this page.

PS: What's the policy on naming the offending software in this forum?

Report •

December 21, 2011 at 04:56:22
"PS: What's the policy on naming the offending software in this forum?"
No problem oddboot, share it with us please.

Report •

Ask Question