hey i need some help with my cp, and seeing how this is a tech forum i figure ill find it here.
A little while back my computer stopped starting up. I keep getting the following message, afterwhich i clicked a option it freezes. any ideas?

We apologize for the inconvenience, but Windows did not start successfully. A recent hardware or software change might have caused this.

If your computer stopped responding, restarted unexpectedly, or was automatically shut down to protect your files and folders, choose Last Known Good Configuration to revert to the most recent settings that worked.

If a previous startup attempt was interrupted due to a power failure or because the Power or Reset button was pressed, or if you aren't sure what caused the problem, choose Start Windows Normally.

Safe Mode
Safe Mode with Networking
Safe Mode with Command Prompt

Last Known Good Configuration (your most recent settings that worked)

Start Windows Normally

Use the up and down arrow keys to move the highlight to your choice.
Seconds until Windows starts: 30

Okay. You may have a RAM problem, so u could try exchanging RAM cards if u have only one, or

swap them out if you have two.
But first i would try working through these options..:-
1. Press F8 at startup [repeatedly if u do not know when..] to enter the Advanced Menu. Either go

down the list to Last Known Good Configuration and follow that through, or enter Safe Mode when

you will be given the chance to do a System Restore by pressing the No box [ you get to choose

the restore date here].
2. The other option is to change the primary boot device to CD and attempt an XP Repair. At

powerup u may have the option of pressing F11 to enter the Boot menu directly, so enabling you

to directly change the Windows boot device to CD, or alternatively press Delete to enter Setup - u

want the Advanced Bios Setup group [2nd?], and Boot order [change first boot device to CD];

and with the XP CD in the drive [you may have to restart the pc with the XP CD already in the

drive] let the system run on into the windows install/repair option screen. . Repair it.

something else.... in another startup attempt instead of answering No you could answer Yes to the question in Point 1 from my previous post [ie in Safe mode, press Yes when asked about sys retore], and note the last file windows loads before it freezes. Report it here.

okay i tried the safe mode and the last known good configuration and that just led me to a black screen with nothing on it...any ideas?

oh dear. I think that you have a problem with the HDD - possibly some of the Windows files are corrupt, not the boot sector or master boot record but some system files like sys.ini or win.ini, or the drivers and other files they in turn try to load. Whether you try to find the culprit using msconfig, or just do a repair, you will need the XP install CD. I'd jump straight in to the Repair option - you keep your apps and data that way. [Don't use Recovery Console]. So boot from the CD, enter windows setup, accept the license, point to the installation to repair, and press R.
I do not think there is any alternative for you. Whatever you find/do, please post your solution... I learn this way too. Best of luck.

so i have to go and get my hand on a windows xp cd lol will that work for sure? oh and im not sure if i mentioned this but the problem happened after a power surge, i have a surge protector but a friend told me it can only do so much. also, does this mean swapping the RAMs is outta the question?

oh and could the problem be that my harddrive is connected improperly? i tried taking it out so ic ud put it on my friends so i dont loose data, maybe i hooked it up wrong

If your friend is willing you can use his puter to test your HD. Connect yours as a IDE slave in his pc [in BIOS set Primary IDE Detect to AUTO], or just plug it in if both are sata, and check your data is ok. If you tell me what type of drive yours is, and your friend's {ide or sata] i could advise on connecting it, but it's all on the web. google it. If your data is ok then try disconnecting your friend's HD, connecting yours as master, and booting from it. Remember to change the jumpers if IDE.

yea mines is IDE, after i reconnect it is there ne special way to do it? i unno if i hooked it up properly. oh and u didnt answer some other questions in my last post..if u do that would be really helpful

IDE. Okay. Firstly, although you did not say, I will assume that your friend has IDE connections to his boot hard drive also. He will have it hooked to the master position [end] of the Primary IDE connector ribbon [if 80 wire] - if there is a spare connector on that ribbon [in the centre] simply set the jumper on the back of your drive to slave and plug into that connector. If there is no spare connector on that cable [either cos there isn't a second connector, or your friend has 2 drives on it], you can swap out the IDE ribbon for one with two connectors, or plug into the Secondary IDE channel. Now most likely there is an optical drive on that connector as master; it makes no real difference whether you make your drive slave and leave the optical drive as master, or swap them around making yours master and the DVD drive [or whatever] a slave. But set the jumpers of all accordingly. If his sys uses cable select, then use that setting for the jumper.
Secondly, if your friend's puter HD is SATA, his optical drive may be on the primary IDE port as a master; plug your drive in as slave on the Primary connector or as master on the secondary connector. Watch the jumper settings. Got it?
Do plug in a power connector - things just go better that way.
Right. Boot... during boot hit the pause key during drive detect to check whether all drives are detected. If not check in BIOS [or computer management] to see that the IDE detection is set to Auto. Reboot if you need to change it. The drive letters may have changed somewhat... no problem there - they will revert when you restore his setup.
See if your data is okay.
Now you could try removing his master boot HD and making yours master and then boot. If that works then something, your RAM or mobo, is toast.
NOTE. To you, master and slave are just cable positions, whether on P or S IDE port; they mean more to the the IDE controller which recognises them by the jumper setting. Usually you put the faster? drive as master [at the end]. The boot drive is always set as master.
On your sys you can still try swapping out RAM sticks - remove first one, then replace it with the other if that does not work. XP will get by with a minimum 64MB.
Tell us how you go...