My wife's laptop started playing up and wouldn't load past the XP logo, it just keeps rebooting. I've tried all the usuals, last config etc. Now it won't even let me boot in safe mode. We got the laptop econd hand with no cd's so cannot perform a repair/recovery. I removed the H/D and installed it in one of my desktops. I can see the H/D but for some reason cannot access it. It shows it as having 27.5 GB free, , but has XP on it so shouldn't show that much. I can find all the files using a boot cd with software on it, so they are still there. Any ideas on how to get it going again in laptop or gaining access via desktop.



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When you get to the boot menu, have you tried Booting from the last known good configeration option?

If your other PC has a recovery CD or you can follow this article to create a Windows disk.


You must use the Windows Product Key that you own, you are allowed to install XP on 1 Desktop & 1 Laptop.

Hope this helps

Tried the last known option, no good, tried using other xp cd i have, again, no good. Running out of ideas now :(

OK, theres another option. We can repair windows.

If Windows XP won’t start normally, your first troubleshooting step is almost always to start the system in safe mode. Once you make it to Windows XP, you can then investigate the problem and make the necessary changes (such as disabling or rolling back a device

Insert the Windows XP CD-ROM.

Restart your computer. If your system prompts you to boot from the CD, press the required key or key combination.

Tip: If your system won’t boot from the Windows XP CD, you need to adjust the system’s BIOS settings to allow this. Restart the computer and look for a startup message that prompts you to press a key or key combination to modify the BIOS settings (which might be called Setup or something similar). Find the boot options and either enable a CD-based boot or make sure the option to boot from the CD comes before the option to boot from the hard disk. Note that many Intel motherboards designed for the P4 processor require that you open the computer and move a jumper to enable access to the BIOS settings. (However, most of these machines will allow you to choose a boot device from a list of supported devices if you hold down the F8 key during the BIOS self-check during boot.)

When the Windows XP Professional Setup, Welcome To Setup screen appears, press R to choose the To Repair A Windows XP Installation Using Recovery Console option. The Recovery Console displays a list of the Windows installations on your computer.

Type the number that corresponds to your main Windows XP installation and press Enter. The Recovery Console prompts you to enter the Administrator password. (This should be blank, so just press enter. If not scroll down to Reinstalling XP).

Type the password and press Enter. The Recovery Console command-line prompt appears.

The Recovery Console is similar to the Windows XP command prompt, but it offers only limited access to the files and folders: the %SystemRoot% folder; the root folder of any partition; and the contents of any floppy disk, CD-ROM, or other removable disk.

Here are some troubleshooting notes to bear in mind when working at the Recovery Console:

You have a large but limited set of commands at your disposal. To see a list of those commands, type Help and press Enter.

If Windows XP won’t start because the Boot.ini file is corrupted or improperly configured, you can repair it by running the BOOTCFG/REBUILD command.

To repair bad sectors on the hard disk, run the CHKDSK command. Note, however, that CHKDSK only has two switches when you run it from the Recovery Console: /P and /R. In most cases, you’ll use /R (which also implies /P) to repair any bad sectors. Be aware that the /P switch is available only in the Recovery Console; there is no equivalent in the normal command-line version of CHKDSK.

If Windows XP won’t start because a system file is corrupted, use the COPY command to copy the file from the Windows XP CD’s I386 folder to the appropriate folder in the %SystemDrive%. This works for both regular and compressed files. If the file exists within a compressed cabinet (.cab) file, use the EXPAND command, instead.

If another operating system has taken over the partition boot sector, or if you suspect the partition boot sector is corrupt, you can fix the problem by running the FIXBOOT command.

If you suspect that your computer won’t start because the Master Boot Record is corrupted, you can repair it by running the FIXMBR command.

You can display a list of all the available device drivers and services by running the LISTSVC command. If a driver or service is preventing Windows XP from starting, you can work around this by disabling the driver or service. You do this by running the DISABLE servicename command, where servicename is the name of the driver or service. Run ENABLE servicename to enable the driver or service.

When you’re finished working with the Recovery Console, type exit and press Enter.

Insider Secret. If you run the SET command in the Recovery Console, you’ll see a list of four environment variables that control your ability to access and copy data while in the Recovery Console:

AllowWildCards This variable determines whether you can use the ? and * wildcard characters in Recovery Console commands.

AllowAllPaths This variable determines whether you can use the CD command to change to any folder on the hard disk.

AllowRemovableMedia This variable determines whether you can copy files from the hard disk to a removable disk.

NoCopyPrompt This variable determines whether the Recovery Console warns you when the COPY command will overwrite an existing file.

Each variable is set to FALSE, by default. Unfortunately, if you attempt to use SET to change the value of any variable, the Recovery Console tells you that the SET command is disabled. To enable this command, you need to adjust a group policy setting. (Of course, if you can’t start Windows XP, this won’t do you much good now. However, we’re letting you know about it just in case you need it for future troubleshooting missions.) In the Group Policy Editor, open the Computer Configuration, Windows Settings, Security Settings, Local Policies, Security Options branch. Select the Recovery Console: Allow Floppy Copy And Access To All Drive And All Folders policy. Note, too, that you can also select the Recovery Console: Allow Automatic Administrative Logon policy. Doing this prevents you from being prompted for a password when you start the Recovery Console. (This is quite dangerous, of course, so select this policy only if you’re sure no one else has access to your computer.)

Reinstalling Windows XP

If you can’t get Windows XP back on its feet using the Recovery Console, you may be able to fix things by reinstalling Windows XP over the existing installation. This won’t affect your data or any personal settings you’ve adjusted, but it may cure what’s ailing Windows XP either by reverting the system to its default settings or by installing fresh copies of corrupted system files. Here are the steps to follow to reinstall Windows XP:

Insert the Windows XP Professional CD-ROM.

Restart your computer. If your system prompts you to boot from the CD, press the required key or key combination.

When the Windows XP Professional Setup, Welcome To Setup screen appears, press Enter to choose the To Set Up Windows XP Now option.

When the Licensing Agreement appears, press F8 to accept it. Setup then displays a list of Windows XP installations on your computer.

If you have more one Windows XP installation, select the one you want to fix.

Press R to choose the To Repair The Selected Windows XP Installation option.

Crikey, if i don't manage to get it working after following all that, I think i'll bin it. Thanks Michael, i'll post back when i've worked my way through it all. Cheers

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