Was wondering if anyone could help me with this? I have a Compaq Presario V4000 - this is what appears on screen when I try to start the laptop:

We apologise for the inconvenience, but Windows did not start successfully... blah blah blah.
(Last time I used the laptop was to watch a DVD and charge up my mp3 player, could that have caused this?)

It then gives me options:
Safe Mode
Safe Mode with Networking
Safe Mode with Command Prompt
Last Known Good Configuration
Start Windows Normally

However, none of them work - they all just take me back to that same screen after about a minute.

I tried inserting the Operating System CD to try and repair it by following the instructions in the booklet that came with the laptop. However, the booklet says that after accepting the liscence agreement, I should press R to repair the selected Windows installation.
What is actually on screen after I accept the agreement is this:

Windows XP Home Edition Setup

The following list shows the existing partitions and unpartitioned space on this computer.
Use the UP and DOWN ARROW keys to select an item in the list.
To set up Windows XP on the selected item, press ENTER.
To create a partition in the unpartitioned space, press C.
To delete the selected partition, press D.

38155 MB Disk 0 at Id 0 on bus 0 on atapi [MBR]
C: Partition1 [NTFS] 38146 MB (20805 MB free)
Unpartitioned space 8 MB

I have absolutely no idea what this means! Am scared to do anything incase I mess up the computer even more.. and what's annoying is I don't know how it got like this in the first place.

I've seen a few other threads about this, but they seem slightly different to what my computer is doing and I was looking for direct advice incase my computer has a different problem or there's another way to solve it or something. So... anyone have any ideas? Any help would be greatly appreciated as I really don't have a clue what to do, and as I'm a student I'm a bit lacking in funds to put it in somewhere to be fixed!
Thank you VERY VERY much in advance to anyone who can help me! :)

Try doing a last good configuration. There should have been some error code in that message, it would help to know exactly what it said.

Try doing a last good configuration. There should have been some error code in that message, it would help to know exactly what it said.

Thankyou for the reply! When I try last good configuration it goes as if to load Windows, then a blue screen flashes for about half a second, too fast to read at once but I managed to record it on my camera - this is what it says:

STOP: <0000218 (Registry File Failure)
The registry cannot load the hive (file):
or its log or alternate.
It is corrupt, absent, or not writable.

Beginning dump of physical memory
Physical memory dump complete.
Contact your system administrator or technical support group for further assistance.

Guess that can't mean good news.. =(

No, that's not the best news. I keep all of my important files backed up on CDs just in case something like this occurs. I usually wipe the hdd, format, partition, and reinstall the OS. It's usually easier than the alternative.

Alternatively you could try reading this and see if it helps.

Thanks, I just read the stuff from that link, only thing is I think I need to be somehow logged into Windows on my laptop to do it, unfortunately.

You mentioned wipe the hdd, format, partition etc.. is there anyway I would be able to do that? I'm sure I could reinstall the OS by following the instructions in my computer booklet, but I have no idea what the other stuff you mentioned means.. sorry! and thanks again for your help.

Boot into reocvery console and do
chkdsk /p
chkdsk /r
Setup didnt give you the option to repair bcoz it could find the previous installation as ur HDD had some problems.
i suggest from recovery console do chkdsk /p and u will find errors and than do a chkdsk /r

I had a really good read on this, very detail, and very useful information.