WinXP boot hangs irretrievably

December 28, 2010 at 06:36:15
Specs: WinXPSP3, T5400@2.0GHz/2GB
Really hope someone can help.

My WinXP installation won't boot: in normal startup mode, I just get a blank screen with a flashing cursor. In safe mode (any of the safe modes - I've tried all), the startup hangs half way through. The last display line lists crcdisk.sys as the last loaded driver, but I know that this doesn't always point to the problem.

I'm assuming from this that the problem lies with a driver, and that the MBR and boot code is all OK, as I wouldn't expect to get this far if it wasn't.

I tried moving the HD to an external enclosure, and performing the following:
1) running scan disk to check for disk errors (all OK)
2) scanning disk for malware (all negative)
3) inspecting windows/system32/drivers folder for 0kb files (none found)

I have been trying to find a way to run sfc on an external target disk, but have had no success. I have seen some anecdotes of running sfc from the recovery console, but it always refuses me. I understand I could do this with MS DaRT, but I don't have access to that. I don't have a BartPE disc, but could build one, but I don't see how that would help, as I'm not sure it would allow me to run sfc. I don't have a bootable WinXP installation disc, although might be able to make one. I've tried running winnt32 from my setup folder to try a repair installation from there, but the RC won't let me, and my other boot option takes me into DOS, and winnt32 refuses to run in dos. My installation files, which always reside on my HD, are slipstreamed to SP2, and I've not long performed a full update on my XP installation with Offline Update, so presume it's now at SP3. I don't have another XP computer, but assume I'd be able to run SP3 just to slipstream on a Vista or Windows 7 computer if that was necessary.

I'd be very grateful for the following expert opinion:
1) confirm my suspicion that there's no point in fiddling with the MBR, as safe mode boots halfway with no problems
2) suggest how I can run sfc without being able to boot into that installation of windows
3) any suggestions as to what else I might try.

Thank you so much.

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December 28, 2010 at 11:04:01
1. Agree
2. sfc is a much overrated process - I'd concentrate on a repair reinstall (ie, you need to burn or borrow an XP install disk that matches your installation type (Home/Pro/Media center, OEM or Retail). You can slipstream SP3 on a Vista or win7 machine (personally I'd use nlite - run as administrator - to do this). Also, once you have an install disk you could try running chkdsk c: /p from recovery console (it functions slightly differently that 'normal' chkdsk, and I've found it to fix non-booting xp installations on a number of occasions when I'd already run 'normal' chkdsk (from Bart)

btw - have you any idea what caused the problem? Repair reinstall is a good 'cure all' but it can fail if the system is really screwed.

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December 28, 2010 at 11:32:10
Thanks. Will try check disk.

As to cause of problem, it appears to be updating a vista installation on the same disc. I don't have dual boot, and very rarely use vista, so if I want to boot to vista I set the vista partition to be active. I was wanting to update the vista partition so I could image it and reclaim that partition, so booted into vista, used offline update, had loads of problems with the update, tho' it eventually went through. needed to run windows update readiness tool before it worked, and then had problems with network card so installed new drivers. But that was all in a separate partition to the XP. It was when I set the XP partition to be active again that I had the problem, but assume that one of the above processes messed with my XP installation in some way.

I had also recently updated the XP installation, but had booted successfully more than once thereafter.

Thanks. Will come back with results. I will try chkdsk and then repair install (have burnt myself a slipstreamed SP3 disc now - but am worried about some IE issues, as I'm happy with 7, and don't want 8, and MS say IE may not work after repair install if IE7 installed). But small price to pay if it works.

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December 29, 2010 at 10:15:31

chkdsk /p and later /r didn't help the problem.

Managed to burn sp3 disc, which offered to repair, but because I don't have another xp machine, I slipstreamed sp3 in on a windows 7 box, and so my product key wasn't recognised, which is a known issue for which MS offers no workaround. I was left halfway through the installation process.

Restored the broken image after the attempted repair, and tried with an SP2 slipstreamed disc, but wasn't offered the possibility of repair during that installation, presumably because it recognised that the existing installation was already SP3.

So, 2 days later and still nowhere, thanks MS.

I don't think is is anything to do with the crcdisk.sys, but how would I extract just that driver from the i386 folder if I wanted to replace it?

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December 31, 2010 at 04:04:04
Posted here to close thread.

Unbelievably, it's now working, and I think that it was/is an MBR/MFT issue, because the successful boot into XP occurred when I set the Vista partition to be active!! I was always baffled by the fact that all the posts I found referring to hangs at crcdisk.sys were from Vista unfortunates, and here was my XP doing the same. Maybe it wasn't! Maybe it was Vista!!


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