I have Windows XP Home, and yesterday after turning my computer on, automatic update prompted me to install SP2. I clicked through until it began installing, then left. Upon returning, I found that my computer had frozen, so I did a hard reboot. After chdsk ran, my computer simply stopped on that blue screen and wouldn't boot any further. This problem kept repeating itself, so I tried to boot from my Windows XP disk and repair my currently installed version of windows. This seemed to be successful, but now when my computer boots up, it gets all the way to the Windows XP logo screen, then turns black. The cursor appears, and I can control it, but after a few seconds I get an error message about not having enough virtual memory to start, and my computer reboots itself. I can't even start in safe mode. Can anyone out there help me? I have a term paper due in a week, and not having a working computer is going to make that really difficult :(

- Jeff

Recommended Answers

All 3 Replies


My guess is that you are running a computer with marginal memory for XP to work with, such as maybe only having 128 MB or so of RAM, and that your computer's hard drive was nearly full when you started the SP installation, and that either the download file, or the extraction, filled up your hard drive. This is why people should partition their hard drives, and not put everything on C:

You basically have a couple options:

1) find a floppy disk that you can boot that will allow you to write to NTFS partitions. While there are several utilities that allow you to read NTFS, you need to be able to write to it. This will cost you money. Use the utility to delete some files on the drive to free up space for the virtual swap file. Kill off some major space -- 500 MB or so

2) put that drive into another computer with XP or 2000 on it, and mount it as a D: or E: on another computer. You will need to set the IDE slave relationship properly, and have the proper cables. Again delete something 500 MB or so to make space.

If you are unable to do those things, you might be able to mount the drive and / or use a NTFS read-only utility to save off important files before re-building the computer. If you have a server handy, try making a bootable floppy to both load the NTFS reader, and access the network to copy the files to.

How to avoid in the future?

Check your hard drive's available space more often. Rebuild the box with a C: for the system and D: for programs. To be honest, I make a C: a D: and an E: for system, apps, and data. And most importantly, backup your data regularly. My server does mine every 2 days.


I dont think RAM is a problem there .... it does slow down the system but it'll not halt it. I have installed win xp sp2 with only 112 mb of ram ... yes if there is no virtual memory windows will attempt to make memory temporarily ... but it'll certainly boot. The only case left is as told by kc0arf.

Here's the simple way to solve your problem.

1. Purchase (or borrow) a USB hard drive
2. Download the Ultimate Boot CD for Windows
3. Follow the instructions to make the Boot CD
4. Boot with the CD (I'd recommend a DVD, especially if you slipstream SP3 onto it)
5. Transfer files to the USB hard drive in a familiar interface.

Cost: $Free, provided you already have, or can borrow a hard drive, otherwise the cost of the hard drive

BTW, you will need the Windows XP installation CD to make the Boot CD. I'm sure you know someone with WinXP...

Alternative 2, Live CD of Linux (i.e., Ubuntu, Gentoo, etc) and follow the same steps, as most live CDs as of late will let you at least read NTFS. Make sure the destination is formatted FAT32, as they don't usually support writing back to NTFS.

Cost: Same as above.
Hope this helps.

Be a part of the DaniWeb community

We're a friendly, industry-focused community of developers, IT pros, digital marketers, and technology enthusiasts meeting, networking, learning, and sharing knowledge.