One of my systems here in the house is playing up. It has run like it is for a couple of years, I've not added anything new, hardware or software. It has an MSI mobo with a Core 2 processor, 2GB RAM. a regular hard drive - usual stuff, running under a fully updated XP. Normally, it runs 24/7 as a BOINC cruncher. I connect a screen to it once/twice a day to send whatever BOINC work is finished home, then take the screen off and largely forget it.

A few days ago, it was "apparently" switched off. I had not done this, but it had that look about it, fans stopped, only a single LED on the mobo showing instead of the usual christmas tree it usually has.

I connected a screen, and switched it on. The black and white initial screen appeared, then the Windows XP start-up screen, the one with the moving "light" below the centre of the screen, under the XP logo. The disk activity lamp flickers away as usual. The screen goes dark as it usually does before it asks me to log on, but it never does. The screen remains dark. The disk activity lamp is off, and it sits there, and sits, and sits. It makes no sounds, (well, apart from the obvious things like fans).

Since it is getting that far, I assume the processor, mobo, video, disk and memory are all okay. So, what's up here?

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Try booting it in safe mode (by pressing F8 after the bios screen) and see what happens.
If it boots, run checkdisk on it.

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Ok, next, have a look in event viewer to see if that shows anything up. Instructions -

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Perhhaps updating your graphics driver may help!

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Try it in normal mode!

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Sometimes, just booting into safe mode then rebooting into normal mode works. But seeing as it won't in this case, go into safe mode with boot logging and see what that shows. Here's some instructions -

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Try booting it in safe mode (by pressing F8 after the bios screen) and see what happens.
If it boots, run checkdisk on it.

Try booting it in safe mode (by pressing F8 after the bios screen) and see what happens.
If it boots, run checkdisk on it.

Yup, boots to a kind of normal start screen. CHKDSK runs 3 tasks to completion, and does not report any issues.

I'll have to wait for morning, it is 04:00 here now and I can't see to move the screen.

See you later.

Okay. I looked in the event log. The Applications tab show a task hang, the graphics task from the Rosetta@Home BOINC program, about 2 weeks ago, the system has worked normally after that however. The System tab has many, but they seem to be associated with the start-up in Safe mode. DCOM failure to start in safe, followed shortly afterwards by several more similar looking things.

Perhhaps updating your graphics driver may help!

I can try, but would say I was doubtful.

Doesn't seem to want me to do anything in Safe Mode, IE will start but won't let me into NVIDIA. The MSI "tool" starts, but similarly, allows me to select the graphics system, but then refuses to anything else.

Try it in normal mode!

In the first post in this thread, I describe what happens if I try to boot the machine. Nothing has changed there.

Trying now.

The output file is LARGE. The first "did not load" was something about ACPI multiprocessor. There were loads of them after that.

See if you can remove the ACPI driver in safe mode and then see if it will boot in normal mode!

I'm not sure how to do that. Pointers?

Hang on, found it.

Okay, weird city. I'd browsed a few sites about this action, and it was looking a bit final, as in I'd likely need to reload XP. I've done that before, it takes ages, but fair enough. I had to go to the farm amd left it sitting there with the XP installation disk in the drive figuring I'd likely need it. So when I got back 30 minutes ago, I booted it up and, it came up. All the way up. It is now sitting there as it always does, humming away crunching BOINC.

? to put it mildly.

Weird, check it for malware as a precaution tho!

Still seems fine this morning. BOINC backlog clearing nicely. It has AVG on it so it is "looked after" but it is never on the net in dodgy environments, in fact, apart from BOINC projects getting and sending work, probably hasn't been on for a year or so.


Hello, everyone! This is my first post. It appears that my issue is unique from any problem I have read.
My computer is a Dell Inspiron laptop with 1.0 GHz running XP, and it will not properly boot. All it will do after POST and the "Starting Windows" spash screen is to load the cursor onto a blank screen. There is no taskbar, icons, or anything. I can't move the cursor. The menu does not appear when I right-click, and I can not drag to form the outline of a square.
Toggling between video output did not work. I also plugged in a monitor, but I got the same thing when broadcasting to that screen.
This started after I attempted to clean up Nvida card. I can't even load Safe Mode, and the CD loads but I can't see the screen. Is there anything I can do to access my laptop? Please help! If this is close to what your problem was Please help!

Just as a note (now that all the real work is done), I always enable /sos in the boot.ini. This causes Windows to display drivers as they are loaded (like you see in safe mode). I always prefer to see this instead of the no info "idiot lights". If it hangs anywhere while loading drivers you will see where the problem lies.

You can set this on one of the tabs under msconfig.exe or you can edit boot.ini directly. On my old XP system this changed

multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect


multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect /sos

try to replace your PSU,,, just try....hope it works.....

Problem has "gone away". The thing starts up and runs BOINC as it usually does. Strange, but there you go.

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