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MS Win XP puter freezing upon boot up. How can I fix? :( Answered

I have a home made PC that is about 4 years old that runs Microsoft XP, usually anyway.  I purchased it from the guy that built it.  All was wonderful until last week when it froze upon boot up right at the welcome screen.  All I can do now is a safe boot or shut her off.  I have no idea how to fix this problem.  I have seen lots of stuff online about how common this used to be.   I am happy to be directed to a site with instructions but do not know how to fix it when it won't run.  It seems most of the info out there in the cloud speaks of preventing the problem.  I have my original discs if needed to repair.  Thanks in advance for your help.  


If it is running in safe mode and not in regular, that probably means that something required for normal boot has gone bad. If you know how to do a virus scan, do it. If you can't do it in safe mode, look up a software called Knoppix. It is a version of linux that you can boot right off the CD. There is a anti-virus scanner on that system that you can use.

Then do a check disk from safe mode in Windows. (Make sure that you start in safe mode with command prompt).

In the command prompt, type chkdsk /f /r and then press enter.
(Yes instructables community, I realize that /f is implied in /r, but I like to make absolutely sure)

The command prompt will ask you to run it at the next boot. Type y, press enter, then type shutdown /r /t 000 and press enter.

Your computer will reboot. Depending where your computer is freezing up, it may not check the disk on normal start-up, so try to get it to check in safe mode.

If that doesn't work, then use knoppix to find any files you need to back up, and then re-install your system. That should fix it.

Hope this helps!

Thanks so much!!! I followed your instructions step-by-step and ta-da!

She is working. Chkdsk was doing it's thing and i was doing laundry and other stuff. When I returned she was up and running.

Any other advice? I want to keep this from happening again. Also, I am considering switching to UBUNTU.

Comments please.

Thanks so much Instructables community!

No problem! I'm glad it's working now! If chkdsk fixed it, it probably means that your hard drive is starting to go bad. I would strongly suggest making a backup of all your data, and then getting a new hard drive. As for using ubuntu, I really like it, but it doesn't run a lot of the software that I need. You could try dual-booting to see if you like it or not.

Good luck! :)


6 years ago

Be thankful you can still run the PC in safe mode. That generally means that you can probably fix it with some effort on your part.
The first thing you should do is scan with an anti-virus for a virus or malware.
Next turn off or uninstall any recently installed software that may be causing a conflict.
Lastly, check for any hardware conflicts.
You can easily find walk-throughs for any of these procedures with a Google search.

Thank you for your response. I had not "thought" of "running it" in safe mode or how lucky that is. You answer got me started on my fix.

As long as your PC has been making regular automatic checkpoints, I've had THIS process recover no-boot problems in most software hangups I've dealt with.  It's the Microsoft support bulletin on manually restoring the registry files to a point before the problem happened, although instead of running from Recovery Console I do this from a Windows PE boot utility (I forget which one I use) but equally simple from a light Linux boot.
What you're doing is restoring the 5 main registry files from a system snapshot to make them the active registry.


6 years ago

Do you have another computer that you can use? First thing is to pull the hard drive and scan it using a different computer. Do a full scandisk including a surface scan. It takes a while but if there are bad sectors that have developed this will find them and mark them so windows will not use them anymore. Then run the virus scans and malware scans. if all that comes out good then you can put it back into your machine and boot from it.
Once you know the drive is clean, if its still not starting correctly then use your XP cd and boot from it. Let the set up run and let it get to the point that its ready to start writing to the hard drive. Here it will give you an option of doing a new install or a repair. Pick the repair and setup will preserve your registery and user files. It will reinstall all the critical windows files but you will have your desktop still and all your programs. You will need to do a lot of updates including the service packs but it usually does just fine. Sometimes though this goes very badly. There are problems with service pack 3 being reinstalled to service pack 2, You just never know at this point. But its better than formating and starting all over.